While hiking on Naxos, you’ll traverse marbled paths, gorgeous hills and fragrant olive groves while admiring ancient sites tucked between quaint little villages. Here, nature is the show and Stella knows where every trail leads.
Hiking on Naxos
The marble I stepped on sparkled in the midday sun. I was walking on brilliantly worn, sturdy – and sometimes slippery – marbled paths that have been in the middle of Naxos island for God knows how long. Stella Korre, my hiking guide, told me how she has walked them ever since she was a young child clutching her grandmother’s hand.
She reminisced how her yia yia would pick herbs and fruit as she followed along with her brother, ready for adventure. Signs of sleepiness would mean they would find themselves in their accompanying donkey’s baskets – one child slumped in a handmade basket that was secured on each side of the gentle animal.
The image was so endearing to me, and I told her how much I loved that story.
“Well, you don’t know what it’s like to try to sleep in a donkey basket!” she said with a friendly laugh.
Naxos: A Greek Island for Hikers
I was hiking with a local who loves her island and its gift from the gods – rich and fertile nature. Naxos, for some reason, is the only Cycladic island that doesn’t have a dry and barren landscape.
That anomaly is one reason I wrote this piece for CNN Travel last year: Naxos: Live well – or vacation well on this Greek island. I had interviewed Stella over the phone about her well-known hiking tours. Now, I was experiencing it in person.
Deeply tanned with a never-ending smile, Stella eagerly told us stories about Naxos as we approached gorgeous landscapes familiar to her. She’d wave (and so would we) at the villagers she got to know after decades of walking each path. From the start, her enthusiasm had me alert even without a second cup of coffee.
Well, truth be told, I’m already a fan of Naxos. It is my favorite Greek islands to date. Why? I love the people, beaches, villages, food and the overall vibe and energy of the island. After hiking with Stella, I loved Naxos even more.
Hiking on Naxos: Explore Seven Villages
Our little group consisted of me and my awesome traveling partner/fellow blogger Elena (Passion for Greece), and three German hiking aficionados. Stella impressively switched from English, German and Greek with ease as we started off in Kurunochori, the first of seven villages on our agenda.
The terrain was easy to walk, spotted with varied paths of dirt road, stone steps and those brilliant marbled paths that have remained in place for millennia. The scenes kept changing, showing off the charm and beauty of the island.
I found myself rambling through whitewashed villages where a few locals would be sitting out watching us pass by. I walked under the welcoming shade from trees that canopied well-worn trails set by gurgling brooks. Here, bright red and blue dragonflies danced over the water and fat crickets hopped across the path.
I walked between the old landmarks that tattoo the landscapes on Greek islands: stacked stone walls. These walls which crisscrossed the plains around us were slowly built – stone by stone – to define local land boundaries.
Our group also stopped to admire two ancient kuros marble statues. These giants sadly fell in the spot they were abandoned millennia ago.
We followed donkeys and met a few more along the way. We picked fruit off a few trees including fresh apricots. For the first time I savored a ripe, right-off-the branch blackberry. It was heaven. I could’ve hung out like a lump under the shade of that tree all afternoon and cleaned off its branches. But, I had to catch up with Stella!
By the end of the four-hour hike, Stella had taken us from Kurunochori to Mili, Upper Potamia, Lower Potamia, Kalamitsia and into Melanes.
At the last village, we sat down at a family-run taverna and ate a well-deserved meal of Naxian dishes and local wine. It was a perfect, laid-back, post-hiking meal of simple, healthy and delicious island cooking.
Conclusion: Hiking on Naxos
If you love hiking, make time to explore the amazing trails and paths of Naxos island. Stella will make it all the more incredible. She wonderfully intertwines the rich history and mythology of Naxos along with her beautiful personal stories.
In my view, hiking on Naxos means crossing routes that touch all five senses and Stella knows that. Her infectious energy and her love of nature become a part of the overall experience. On a special island like Naxos, a hiker couldn’t ask for a better guide.
Naxos Hiking Tours
Seven Villages Tour hiking time is 4 hours.
Cost: Starting at 30 euro per person; lunch and transfer separate cost – around 20 euro
Stella also offers other hiking tours. Check her site for details: www.naxoshiking.com
Book in advance.
For more about where to stay, what to do and where to eat on Naxos, check out my mini-guide about Naxos island on this blog.
Have you ever gone on a terrific hike on the Greek islands?