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I Visited Greece & Saved So Much By Going To This Island Instead Of Santorini (PHOTOS)

Fellow travellers, listen up! ✈️

Morgan Leet in Greece. Right: Chalkio, Naxos.

Morgan Leet in Greece. Right: Chalkio, Naxos.


Last year, Santorini was calling my name — a dreamy place full of crisp white buildings with starkly-contrasted blue roofs that create a magical-looking oasis.

Like many Canadians travelling to Greece though, the Santorini prices made me pause. The little island in the Aegean Sea isn't exactly a hidden gem, and tourists from all over the world flock to its shores, driving up the price of, well... everything.

From the ferry there to the hotels and food, a Greece vacation in Santorini was simply too expensive for me.

Determined to get the Grecian experience at the end of last summer, I turned to the surrounding Greek islands.

Morgan Leet and friend in Greece.Morgan Leet and friend in Greece.Morgan Leet | Narcity

After hours of Greek island research and endless swiping through photos of picturesque beaches and artfully crafted buildings, I found a winner — Naxos.

Naxos, Greece.Naxos, Greece.Morgan Leet | Narcity

While not as popular as Santorini, I got my friend and I an Airbnb with a pool in Naxos for less than $150 a night, so I was sold.

Thankfully it turned out to be one of the best places I've ever visited, with friendly locals, stunning views, and even some of its own bright white buildings that popped in photos.

Building in Greece. Building in Greece. Morgan Leet | Narcity

Naxos is a small island, about a four-hour ferry ride from Athens, but it's bursting with a vibrant culture.

Building in Naxos.Building in Naxos.Morgan Leet | Narcity

We stayed for a week, and my disappointment about missing out on Santorini faded away within the first few hours.

Walking off the ferry we were greeted by a bustling waterfront. Music and laughter wafted from the many restaurants, along with the delicious smell of Greek cuisine.

You can stroll along the windy cobblestone pathways in the town, which diverge into alleyways lined with little boutiques and shops.

We stayed at an Airbnb close to the main town but were pleased to find that transportation on the island was simple. A quick bus ride took us to the warm sandy beach of Agios Prokopios, where we dove into the turquoise waters.

Although there were lots of other tourists, it never felt overly crowded on the island, especially thanks to our late-summer timing. I would definitely say that the best time to visit Greece is the end of August to early September, based on our experience.

We walked into restaurants without reservations and took pictures of all the landmarks with uninterrupted views.

Naxos, Greece.Naxos, Greece.Morgan Leet | Narcity

One day we rented a car and drove all around the island, stopping at the small villages throughout.

Morgan Leet in Naxos. Morgan Leet in Naxos. Morgan Leet | Narcity

Without the steady stream of tourists all around, we were able to take in the local culture way more, which made for one of the best things we did on the trip.

Apiranthos village, Naxos.Apiranthos village, Naxos.Morgan Leet | Narcity

The quaint villages were steeped with history and had beautiful buildings lined with flowers. Stopping in Halki and Apiranthos should be part of any visitor's itinerary.

The next time you're searching for a Santorini trip, consider swapping it for Naxos. If you're anything like me, you won't regret it.

Pro tip: Make sure to fill up on whipped Greek yogurt with honey and fried feta — you'll be dreaming of it for years to come!

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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