The Beautiful Greek Islands

The Beautiful Greek Islands

Santorini and Naxos form very good and contrasting bases for a walking trip. Words literally fail to describe the spectacle of the enormous caldera that is the main feature of Santorini. It has a superb ridge walk along its edge that affords stunning views at every twist and turn as it weaves along the ridge, and through the quaint villages that dot the rim. These villages seem to cling precariously to the very steep edges of cliffs that plunge down into the sea. Now, lest all this sound too precarious, the path is a safe and wide one so there is plenty of scope to enjoy the panoramic views whilst walking in safety.

Naxos, though, is a much more typical Greek island and also has great walking, and like Santorini was covered in a wide display of springtime wildflowers. Naxos is a mountainous island that is criss-crossed by mule paths that make for good walking and get you right into the heart of interesting and historic countryside. As we discovered, the mule paths on both of these islands are not just historic features. They are still used today by the local farmers who pass by either riding on their mule, or leading them loaded down with some improbable load or other.

The mountainous landscape on Naxos is also dotted with ancient Kouros statues, old Venetian forts, monasteries and churches – with some early ones dating from around the 12th century. Of course, there are many more ancient ruins of temples and such like. So, all in all, good walking in varied and very interesting surroundings – and with each day ending in good company in the pleasant ambience of local tavernas for dinner. A very pleasant holiday.