EUROPE’S LATEST LONG-DISTANCE TRAIL: FINAL LEG OF THE NAXOS STRADA
The end of the Naxos Strada is perfectly, essentially Greek: the village of Apollonas, wrapped around a fishing harbour and sweeping curve of bay, at the foot of rugged marble cliffs. By the time you arrive at the end of the 11.5km hike from Koronos, appetising aromas of grilled fish and souvlaki will be rising from a string of water-front tavernas. Apollonas even has its own archaeological treasure, the Classical World’s largest statue carved from a single piece of marble, 10.7m tall and weighing 130 tonnes.
The Naxos Strada’s 52km of hiking trail from SW coast to the NE tip, has cut through the magnificent range of scenery that’s a result of the island’s size (it’s the largest in the Cyclades), abundant water, diversity of rock and active geological history. Just this last section of the Strada is full of contrasts in landscape mood. It moves from self-contained, rural villages teetering around the high valley heads of the northern mountains, wanders through dark shades of woodland then opens to wild Mediterranean scrub with a glittering array of rocks.
The Naxos Strada is the latest European long-distance footpath to open, its final section being cleared in April 2020. Gilly Cameron-Cooper’s guide to Walking on the Greek Islands: Naxos, Paros, Amorgos, Santorini is the first to publish the Naxos Strada route www.cicerone.co.uk/1009
You could be among the first to walk it once travel is possible on flights and ferries. Timely and strict lockdown measures in Greece kept COVID19 infections low, and there have been no cases on Naxos. Restrictions are gradually being lifted, with some hotels and domestic tourism opening up from 1 July.