Without further adieu, here’s our pic for where to head for a dip and a sunbathe on this glorious island…
It may be lacking the plethora of cafes and hotels that the east of the island has in spade but the west of the island is just as worthy of a decent look around too. Moutsouna is the biggest township around, but in saying that, it’s barely littered with a dozen whitewashed buildings and two tavernas.
The beach itself sits right outside these small, family-run eateries, and amounts to a strip of white sand and calm, clear seas. There’s a weird steps-to-nowhere type structure jutting out of the water for all the Instagram aficionados, a pier of sorts to plunge into the seas from, and a crane that looks as though it shouldn’t be in service.
Best of all, it’s extremely sheltered by being behind a peninsula so you’re sheltered from the blustery winds. Don’t leave without trying some fresh seafood from one of the tavernas – it’s all usually brought in from their boats the same day.
Psili Ammos beach
Just 8km south of Moutsouna is a favourite haunt of the locals; a long stretch of white golden sand and some good-sized shrubbery for those who prefer to lurk in the shadows to avoid sunstroke. It’s a bit more rugged and windswept than Moutsouna, but that also means less people and not a cafe or tout in sight. The sea also stays shallow for a good few hundred metres, so it’s a great one for young kids or those who just want to get their knees wet. The downside to this location is its lack of shelter and openness to wind – so save this one for a calm day.
We’re not sure why it was named as such, as we can’t imagine Hawaii beach is anything like its misnomer. It’s a sizeable strip of golden, sandy beach with a few craggy rocks at either end and a fairly steep drop into the ocean.
Another notable mention is probably the amount of people wandering freely without a strip of clothing on. When we first turned up, we were slightly surprised when a pair nearby proceeded to peel away their swimwear and frolick into the ocean as bare as the day they were born. Surprise became amusement when more arriving couples stripped down without thinking twice, and amusement turned into horror when we figured we were just about the only people on the beach with our genitalia covered up. But, fear not, dear beachgoers – this isn’t a nudist beach.
It just so happens that a fair few Greek people prefer to wear their birthday suits for a day in the ocean. And actually, power to them. If you’re fine with (mostly geriatric) people with their bits hanging out, the cedar tree-shrouded beach is quite lovely. It is a slightly exposed beach though (obviously in more ways than one), so make sure you’re visiting on a less gusty day. There’s also no nearby cafes or facilities, and it’s a short walk down from the carpark.
If you’ve gone with the ‘can’t beat em join em’ mantra on your trip to Hawaii beach and are really feeling the newfound freedom you’ve acquired in your skinny dipping phase, perhaps Plaka should be next on the cards.
The beautiful sandy beach and clear, shallow shores of Plaka beach stretch for several kilometres, and might one of the more commercialised strips of shoreline on the island – but the result isn’t touristy or crowded. You can rent a lounger for a couple of euro, or a bit more for the fancier wooden cabanas, and spend the day jumping in and out of the water.
While there’s plenty of people letting it all hang out here, there’s also plenty who prefer wearing clothes, so whatever your preference you’ll be in good company.
One for those who don’t want to travel too far out of Chora, but want to pretend like they’re at a tiny beach town miles from anywhere – this little cove is for you. About seven kilometres south from the town, past the airport, is another little inlet sheltered by a peninsula jutting out to protect it from the strong north winds. The golden sands of Agia Anna are soft and the water is clear and calm, so it’s a great one for a windy day. There are plenty of cafes, a supermarket, cars and motorbikes for rent and other facilities right by the beach.
By the Portara
If you prefer your swims to be around old ladies doing their aquasize and in full view of the glare of hundreds of camera-wielding tourists – here’s the perfect spot for you.
Along the main promenade, on your way out to the rocky outcrop where the Portara sits, is a sheltered inlet with crystal-clear, warm waters that are frequented by the locals of Naxos.
Every morning, the Naxians (Naxites? Naxosish?) stroll down the stone steps and into the water to bounce around with their mates, or let their children off the leash for a bit of fun. And just one hundred metres to the right, ancient ruins are pulling in a bounty of tourists every hour.
It’s quite a fantastic sight, realising that the dozens of brightly-coloured hats bobbing around in the harbour aren’t actually buoys, but are mostly elderly getting their daily exercise in, before pulling themselves up the stone stairs and sunning themselves on the steps.