The Greek island of Naxos is mostly unheard of with UK windsurfers yet it’s one of the few spots in the world which offer great conditions along with loads of other activities for non-windsurfers.
Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades group of islands. Situated right in the middle, it feels the full force of the Meltemi wind during the summer months. Its major advantage is the lack of a major airport meaning that the island is free from the thousands of UK tourists who aim to spend their entire holiday clubbing and eating English breakfasts.
Windy Summer: The summer - especially July/August
Average wind speed: Force 4-6
Wetsuit?: Boardies/Speedos or sorty if you stay out for long.
Time difference: GMT +2
Exchange Rate: €1.21/£
Visa: Taken care of at the airport.
Jabs: None required.
Approx. Cost: 3 months ~€1500, 1 week package ~€600
The island’s major advantage can also be thought of as a disadvantage. The lack of major airport means there are no direct flights from the UK (or anywhere!). This appears to ward off most English tourists and as a result the island is considerably less ‘touristy’ than some of the other Greek islands, with the predominate nationality being Swedish or Norwegian. The disadvantage however, is that it involves a ferry to get to.
The most obvious route is to fly to Athens then get on a ferry to Naxos. Athens is a well served European airport and flights can be found from the UK for £30-£60. Mykonos and Santorini are nearby islands which also have direct UK flights and are well served by the ferries. Flights to these islands are generally more expensive (£100-£200 plus) but will dramatically reduce the journey time.
- British Airways (if you don’t take kit)
- SkyScanner is one the best ways to find the cheapest deal however, it can miss out some of the airlines. Taking kit on these airlines is relatively easy and usually costs £35 for a ‘windsurfer’. As usual, when travelling with kit try keep bags under 30 kg, arrive early and bring a copy of your receipt to prove you paid for your ‘windsurfer’.
Once you land in Athens there are two options to get to the port (Piraeus), an express bus X96 leaves every 20 minutes during the day and every 40 minutes at night from the airport’s arrivals level (between doors 4 and 5) to Karaiskaki Square in Piraeus, right outside the ferry harbour (Gate E7). The trip takes about 1.5 hour and costs €3.20. While it is possible to take kit on the bus it is generally better to assume you won’t be allowed – especially in peak months. A good trick can be to move the kit on the bus while the driver is having a fag then buy two tickets, one for you and one for your kit.
The other option is a taxi. If booked early this should not cost you more than €50. If you are alone then it can be a good idea to ask any other tourists around you to join and lower the cost.
The transfer to the ports of other islands is much quicker than Athens (e.g. Mykonos 10mins) and the best way is by taxi.
It is also possible to get a small plane from Athens airport to Naxos through Olympic Airways. This is €75 and has to be booked months in advance. No kit allowed.