'It's a fact!' - the long-awaited long-distance path across the Cycladic island of Naxos is open, reports local news-outlet Cycladic Voice https://www.cycladesvoice.gr/?aid=92514. After a two-year wait for the local council to open the route, the final blockage to the 52-kilometre, coast-to-coast 'Naxos Strada' was cleared by volunteers led by waymarker Tassos Anastasiou. It was only days before the route directions were due to be published in the Cicerone guide to Walking on Greek Islands (Paros, Naxos, Amorgos, Santorini). The book release has been postponed, as travel is banned and locals are in lockdown due to COVID19, so few if any will be trying out the new trail. Instead, this blog will give you some tasters of what it's like, to look forward to:
'The Naxos Strada' - which sounds like an Italian street rather than a hike in rural Greece – comes from 'communes stradas' the term for the island's network of paths that was coined by Venetians who conquered Naxos in the early 13th century. Some of the old stone paths date back to Early Bronze Age. It is in five day-walk sections, which encompass the full diversity of the island's dramatic landscape and some wonderful sites of social and historical interest.
The first stage leaves the long sandy strip of Plaka Beach and wriggles along bamboo-shaded lanes before rising abruptly into granite-bouldered hills, from where you look down to the wide patchwork of coastal plain. From the village of Tripodes, over the ridge, an immense interior landscape opens up over a convergence of valleys spreading from a rim of marble mountains. Sheltered in meadow land are an 18th-century bishop's 'palace' (now home to goats), and a gem of an early Byzantine church into which local craftsmen incorporated the latest architectural ideas from Constantinople and some decorative marble spolia (salvage) from a Classical temple. The first day-walk ends at Kato Potamia (down river), the lowest of a trio of steep-stacked stream-fed villages, from where you could have arranged for your hotel, a friend, or a taxi to pick you up. Or if you are 5 or more, book firstname.lastname@example.org in advance. #greekislandwalking #naxosisland @cicerone.co.uk #ciceronepress #hikingingreece #virtualtravelgreekislands #tassosanastasiounaxos