I’ve been camping solo in Greece for more than ten years and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s the cheapest and most delightful way to see the country. It’s affordable, comfortable and best of all, it’s safe!
One of my most favourite places to camp is on the island of Naxos. I’ve camped there a couple of times, once at Agios Georgios which is the closest campsite to the port, but my preference is Maragas Beach Campsite, located between Aghia Anna and Plaka Beaches, seven kilometers from Naxos town. My most recent camping trip there was last summer.
Maragas Beach Camping is a large, green, park-like area with lots of shade trees on one of the most beautiful beach areas in the Aegean. There is ample room for tents, RVs, and they also offer studios, rooms and apartments for the less hardy. You can rent equipment there or bring your own. I pitched my little tent under the shade of a bamboo roof and the trees. The site was full of holidayers, old and young, families, couples and singles like myself.
In spite of this, it’s a reasonably quiet campsite as campers are encouraged to have their rowdy parties on the beach rather than in the campsite area. There was an amusing group of young French girls there and each time I’d use the washroom they’d be primping as if they were setting off for a night at a Paris disco. There are beach tavernas nearby and a bus that goes into Naxos town every 20 minutes, so if you do want a night on the town, it’s quite accessible.
But my idea of a perfect camping holiday is to stay close to the sea, and enjoy a quiet time. The beach here is excellent, two kilometres of pure, silky sand and clean, turquoise water. I love the feeling of solitude. Even though you are in a tent surrounded by other campers there is a calmness and serenity, far different from the bustle of town or city.
Before dawn, I’m awakened by the first cock crowing. You can set your clock by it, 4 a.m., followed by all the roosters around the island. They keep up a boisterous cock-a-doodle, heralding the dawn until the first light appears. Then the ring-doves start their coo-cooing, and the village dogs bark. If there are donkeys nearby they’ll start to bray. That’s island life, and the country sounds I love to hear. I like to rise early each morning and walk along the shore which stretches in a long crescent of golden sand. It’s not difficult to find a spot where there are no other bathers as early in the morning the beaches are mostly deserted.
“Abandonment” is the word that comes to mind when I think of Naxos. Perhaps because of the myth regarding how Theseus deserted Ariadne here when she ran off with the maenads; the abandoned villages on the island; the abandoned temple structure at the entrance to Naxos port. When I’m camping on Naxos and strolling alone down the white sandy beach, I can easily imagine being a cast-away on a tropical isle.
I’m definitely planning a return trip next year. Because of the luggage restrictions on flights I’m going to rent one of the bed-tents available at the campsite rather than lug all my gear with me like I did last time. Maragas Camping is well equipped with everything including electricity for those who arrive in caravans. They have internet access, a supermarket, a restaurant bar and an excellent beach tavern; so you don’t have to go far for entertainment or to find something you may need.
Naxos is one of the most beautiful of the Greek islands, the largest of the Cyclades, a combination of majestic mountains, cultivated plains with citrus and olive groves, and over 40 kilometres of beaches. If you are looking for a perfect camping holiday you will enjoy Maragas Beach Camping, a little paradise where you can relax and have fun in the golden Aegean sun.
Written by W. Ruth Kozak for EuropeUpClose.com