19 independent reviews for Naxos and the small Cyclades walking holiday, Greece

Reviews for Naxos and the small Cyclades walking holiday, Greece

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review 11 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The variety of walks and the stark differences of the three Islands. The abundance of Spring flowers and herbs along the trails - beautiful! The thrill of reaching the top of Mt Zeus, and the many delicious meals shared in small village Tavernas.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for some steep and rocky climbs and descents.....solid walking boots and a pole would be beneficial.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We enjoyed excellent accommodation from local providers and ate at local Tavernas that utilized locally grown produce.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent! Annie, our guide was fantastic, and was passionate in sharing her comprehensive knowledge of the Cyclades islands with us. Her commitment to the conservation of the environment, her sense of humor, patience and friendship all ensured that our experience would be unforgettable.

review 14 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The views from the top of Mount Zas on Naxos and the tranquillity of Iraklia.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Get in a lot of practice for walking up and down hill. Stamina is essential.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We certainly spent money with local businesses and did a bit of rubbish collection, but other than primarily using public transport I doubt we did much to reduce environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The guide was excellent, the fellow walkers were like-minded, the accommodation varied from traditional to comfortable. Overall it was thoroughly enjoyable.

review 7 Nov 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The people, food and landscape, especially seeing the other islands from Mt Zas - amazing! The local people are really friendly & helpful and their cooking is fantastic!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you tell the holiday company what you would like to do/see while you are there. They are incredibly helpful & knowledgeable and will do their best to fulfil your requirements. This was the best organised walking holiday we've been on and that was totally down to the Guide - nothing was too much trouble and she went out of her way to help us.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

yes definitely benefited local people going out of normal season. Much more relaxing

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Best organised walking holiday ever! Would definitely use this company again

review 29 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It's hard to know where to start - there were so many memorable parts! The jaw-dropping beauty of Naxos and the chance to be outdoors in perfect weather for a whole week. The sound of the goat bells in the mountains. The smell of growing herbs and wildflowers. The warmth and generosity of the Greek people. My delightful traveling companions. The delicious, fresh food - including the best goat cheese and tomatoes I've ever had. And our wonderful guide Annie, who was an absolute pleasure to be with and whose thoughtfulness, attention to every detail, and knowledge and love of the natural world, made this an unforgettable experience. This was my first visit to Greece, but will certainly not be my last.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

There's a lot of mountain walking on uneven surfaces, so make sure to bring trekking poles and a good, broken-in pair of hiking boots. If you're not used to walking up and down hills, try to incorporate it into your exercise routine before you arrive. Sunscreen is a must. Also, try to learn a little Greek before you arrive it's a way of showing respect for your hosts and I found people truly appreciated the effort to speak their language.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We used public transportation as much as possible to get to and from our day hikes and ate in many locally-owned tavernas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I loved every minute of it. I'm already thinking about when I can come back again.

review 15 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Pretty much everything was memorable, fabulous scenery, beautiful ancient paths and villages, swimming off lovely secluded beaches, meeting local people and eating delicious food. It was the Greek Orthodox Church Easter during our stay and it was fascinating to see the the processions and traditions associated with this. Annie Antonatou is a really excellent guide, knowledgeable, funny and great company.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take reliably comfy walking boots that are up to several hours walking.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Perhaps in a small way - we enjoyed eating and drinking in lovely small restaurants and used public transport to get around.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really enjoyable, fantastic way to see the islands in spring and get a sense of local culture and tradition. Also good to relax and absorb a quieter way of life.

review 2 Apr 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The spectacular views back onto the mountains whilst swimming in turquoise waters. Amazing hikes discovering nature with knowledgeable guide. Delicious food served by friendly locals happy to stop and chat...then surprise pieces of cake or savouries to try.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book for as long as you can go.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes-we ate in local taverns, not the tourist ones. Random bits of plastic come across were picked up to be binned-generally extremely clean.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent mix of relaxing and walking in stunning scenery. Extremely well organised-no need to think about anything. I will be back...

review 21 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Climbing to the top of Mount Zas (Zeus) on a beautifully warm sunny day.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book early so that you can get a direct flight to Naxos itself, rather than having to fly to Mykonos or Santorini and then use the ferry.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people were very friendly and hospitable. I should like to think they benefitted from our presence. Certainly the hotel and restaurants all seemed to be owned by local people, rather than global brands. Some of the tavernas in remote villages were glad to welcome half a dozen hungry and thirsty walkers

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A marvellous and memorable week, with a nice mix of walking, relaxation and (my weakness) eating.

review 7 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were many. We happened to be there to experience the Greek Orthodox Easter Celebrations in the villages. Swimming in the turquoise sea. The beautiful scenery and aromatic flora. The wonderful fresh food. The friendly people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Annie did have walking poles but you definitely need to use one. Ankle walking boots are advisable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly. We met some wonderful hospitable people all trying to make a living despite the uncertain political situation. All the rooms, restaurants and cafes were small establishments run by local families. The fresh produce used to prepare meals came straight out of their gardens.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

One of our best ever holidays. Annie is a superb guide and we had a wonderful introduction to the quieter Cyclades Islands. She knew the islands well and many of the wonderful people we met were her friends.

review 21 Jul 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It would have to be - experiencing Greece, like a local, in the truest sense possible. Annie, the tour leader and guide was always suggesting places and experiences that would help us experience and appreciate the land, its people, the culture and history in the truest sense. I came back from my holiday feeling totally refreshed and also enriched with knowledge of a land that I had until read about in my history books! Our interactions with the locals were so enriching and a definite eye-opener! To me, life in Greece epitomized simplicity and that is endearing to say the least! I may have booked my holiday tour driven by curiosity to see and experience the country, but I came back loaded with an experience of a lifetime and made friends for a lifetime! I didn’t just come back from a holiday, but I came back with an experience that echoed – ‘I lived in Greece, like a true local and experienced life in Greece in its truest sense – be it lunching with locals, exploring old castles or sitting on the edge of a cliff looking over the Aegean sea or plucking olives as we walked past little villages and smiling at the villagers and arriving famished at the local restaurants to be treated to delicious Greek salad with fresh veggies’ and responsibletravel.com and Annie made that possible!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you wish to experience Greece and breathe its soul, then this is the tour to go on! Annie is passionate about what she does and of the land itself and it comes across her conversations – she never gets tired of the questions and is always so excited to explain and show more! The more I saw, the more I wanted to know and Annie was always quick to spot the curiosity and even before I asked, she was showing and telling me stories of the place we visited – she bought the land the history to life right there in front of your eyes as she spoke. Advice for those booking the tours – travel light and be cognizant of the way of life in Greece – you will be advised not to waste natural resources (Water, paper etc.). Traveling light (a backpack and a day pack) would help you cover more places than you would if you had plenty of luggage! Keep a good water proof jacket and fleece jacket handy – the weather in the mountains changes without warning – being prepared helps! Good shoes, sunglasses and sunscreen and you are all set! WiFi is available in all the places, you will be staying, but a little piece of advice from a fellow traveler - leave those phones and tablets in the room – go out there – talk to the locals, enjoy a glass of wine and hear what they have to say – you will be amazed at what you will hear and how much there is to see!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, it certainly did, in every which way – be it eating at the local restaurants, shopping local made wares or ensuring no water was wasted. The tour is designed to ensure to benefit the locals as much as it allows a lovely holiday experience for its clients!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

5 Stars all the way! The tour I booked saw some cancellations and I ended up being the only one on the tour and Annie still went ahead and took me on the tour and she made sure it was the best I had - no compromises were made, none whatsoever and I am ever so glad, that she ensured that I was taken care of and felt comfortable, no matter where we went and ensure the smile on my face stayed put all throughout the tour!

review 24 Jun 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking in beautiful landscapes, visiting fantastic beaches and wonderful villages,meeting Greek people and eating great food. If you aim for just one thing it must be the mount zas hike in Naxos.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be open for whatever happens. Things may not go according to plan and have to be changed. For me it turned out fine. Another important thing is to walk quietly, I.e.no talking. Then you can more be in the moment. Really be here and now and enjoy your surroundings.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I really think we did that. We supported local businesses. We took care of our garbage and also picked some from others. We took buses many places rather than taxi or car. By walking we chose an activity giving low environmental impact. It also gives local authorities an incentive to better protect the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I had a fantastic holiday. Ten out of ten possible. Annie the guide was large part of that. Very professional and with a big heart.

review 17 Apr 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Climbing Mount Zas, the birthplace of Zeus on Naxos, and watching a big flock of ravens flying almost out of sight and descending was very special. Also eating island food, including greens picked from the wild and boiled hyacinth bulbs (the place was alive with tasselled hyacinths in bloom) and of course lots of raki on Amorgos in a rustic restaurant that was really our hosts' home was something I will never forget. Finally for the first time eating about 50 of the snails I had seen feasting on mandragora (mandrake)throughout our holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be ready for some serious but very enjoyable walking and unpredictable weather. It was very windy and cool for much of our 2 weeks in March/April, but it didn't stop us enjoying ourselves!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely. We always stayed in locally-owned accommodation and ate in locally-owned restaurants, with locally-sourced food like the hyacinths, greens and snails mentioned above. Annie even objected to eating at Greek-owned chains! The smaller Cyclades are very depopulated, but the kind of holiday offered must encourage those who fed and housed us to stay.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great. I hope to climb Mount Olympus with the same holiday company when I have learned enough Greek!

review 27 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole holiday was memorable (I will not forget it for a long time) and exciting. Everything about it was excellent - the organisation, the type and variety of hikes, the accommodation, the helpfulness and knowledge of the guides, the local cuisine - and even the weather.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for a wonderful time. No other special tips required - the information provided was so complete and helpful.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes visiting the villages helped to provide economic support for them. There was an emphasis on being environmentally friendly - our guide even picked up rubbish at one point.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

See under 1 above.

review 27 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The locations were excellent and scenery was beautiful. The walks allowed us to visit parts of the islands that were really off the beaten track. I also loved the archaeology.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take good boots and the right equipment and your camera!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, it benefited the local people in using services such as restaurants, shops, transport etc

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

An excellent week. The holiday was well organised, allowed for excellent walks and was a great opportunity to find out lots about many aspects of Greece. Both guides were really helpful and knowledgeable and were able to tell us lots about the islands. It was a very enjoyable week.

review 16 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Arriving at the different islands.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

1. Be aware that ferries do a very fast turnaround 2. Bring binoculars 3. Very light tshirts & shorts for walking 4. Ideally walk for 5 or 6 days with a day off and a few days more for just relaxation.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

General spending i.e. Restaurants, souvenir shops, buying clothes, taxis etc. Would have benefited local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Would definitely take similar holiday again.

review 10 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Climbing to the top of Mount Zas on Naxos - birthplace of Zeus. Walking the ancient marble paved mule tracks passing varied landscapes of olive groves, picturesque villages, deep ravines, rocky outcrops and an ever changing coastline where islands appear and disappear beneath startling blue skies, haze and shifting clouds. The swim in crystal clear sea at Lionas on Naxos after descending from the remote village of Koronas. Wonderful pebbles there too! Arriving at The bay of Aegali with the sun setting behind us over Paros and the moon rising above the steep slopes of Amorgos. Sunset drinks at Amorgis in Aegali. Breakfasts at Hotel Kymata in Naxos. Seeing a griffin vulture.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Use all your senses and take time to savour the scents and the scenery. Take time to just stop and be still and listen to the silence broken only by goatbells and the cry of a bird of prey.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we stayed at small family run hotels and ate and drank at a variety of tavernas and cafes - some of which were in remote villages where passing thirsty tourists clearly boosted their trade. The holiday provider is a small Athens based company with a team of passionate guides keen to pass on their local knowledge. We left a few footprints - but only in the sand!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A feast for the senses!

review 8 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

HIking to the summit of Mt. Zas and enjoying panoramic views of the Cycladic Islands!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring hiking poles and be prepared for rocky surfaces.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes I feel we benefited the local businesses by frequenting family-run hotels and restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The holiday was very enjoyable, a great blend of nature and history.

review 7 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Enjoying the nice food, walks and scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To be reasonably fit before it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It definitely benefited locals as we supported the food and wine producers and also purchased a few items of jewellery, and food items as presents.We helped the environment by using local transport and consumed local produce as much as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We would rate it v highly and have recommended it to friends. We would appreciate a coffee stop or break after about 2hrs walking.The same in the afternoon. There is always a great rush to finish the walk for no apparent reason. All the restaurants and walks and guides were better than Exodus .

review 29 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Beach side walk

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Absolutely excellent- Annie gave it her all. Some walking surfaces quite tricky - bring suitable shoes/ light boots Take breaks/ supplies on longer walks

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Marvellous

review 15 May 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Wild spring flowers everywhere, with Mediterranean blue in the background, even with the odd flamingo in the "laguna"!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Late April is a wonderful time, still off high season: almost deserted beaches where you can already swim - although water is still a bit on the chilly side, and wonderful spring blossoms on every trail. The friendly guides can arrange any walk to suit the group's needs and wishes: from lovely countryside strolls when you are still jet-lagged on arrival day to sunrise uphill more demanding climbs if you wish - stopping or ending on some wonderful beaches whenever you want!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes : accomodation at a local farmer's family home now renovated as a very comfortable and charming guest house. Using local buses (also very comfortable)as often as possible or sharing a taxi to reach the walks starting points or to come back from the walks to the Chora or main town on the island where we stayed, helped us maintain a low carbon print. Lunches or dinners at local village taverns also help Naxian inhabitants make a living on the island.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very relaxing, a real Greek "hanami" (spring flowers everywhere), guided by an enthusiastic and friendly Greek woman!

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