Castro Residence

Naxos, Greece Book from Book from £54 per night

Simple, characterful studio rooms tucked inside the Venetian citadel of Naxos Town - a lovely base for a budget Greek island holiday
Naxos is the largest and most varied of the Cyclades islands, with endless sandy beaches down its west coast, remote terraced villages in the north and east, high rocky mountains in the centre, and dozens of castles and chapels scattered across the island. Whatever your interests, there’s plenty to keep you amused for a week or more.

Its main town, called Chora (or Naxos Town), makes a great base. It’s a classic tangle of white-washed houses and cobbled lanes, spilling down from the imposing 13thC Venetian citadel towards a seafront of lively tavernas, cafés and fishing boats. The most exclusive place to stay is in the castro (citadel) itself, perched inside the thick fortress walls, and looking out over the newer parts of town towards the temple-crowned peninsula of Palatia. There are no hotels inside the citadel, but we discovered these 2 simple but charming studio rooms, which we think are ideal for adventurous couples wanting to get under the skin of the island. It’s not in the guidebooks, and it’s rarely advertised online, so get in there while you can.

Highs

  • You've got tavernas, bars, shops and beaches on your doorstep (but how wonderful to retreat to the cosy fastness of the citadel at night), and a mountainous interior a short drive away
  • The views from the shared terrace and from the window of the top flat are magnificent, especially at sunset
  • Both studios have a little kitchenette (with hob and fridge) which is handy for breakfast and snacks
  • If they're full, the owners also run the cosy Chateau Zevgoli hotel just beneath the citadel

Lows

  • It’s certainly a privilege to stay in the citadel, but you should be aware that it’s a 10-minute walk up pedestrian lanes (there’s an Albanian lad to help with your bags)
  • There is little service besides a daily maid visit and twice weekly linen change - this is for self-sufficient types
  • Interiors are simple and homely, more like a spare room than a hotel, and maintenance is not always 100%
  • The downstairs studio is small, with lower ceilings

Best time to go

April and May are the loveliest months, with a profusion of wild flowers, few tourists, and the added benefit of Easter, one of the biggest festivals in the Orthodox calendar. But the sea is still quite cool. It's a great time to put on your hiking boots and expore the hilly interior.

Another alternative is late September and early October, when the sea is much warmer, but the crowds have left and the light can be clear and cool.

Midsummer does get busy on Naxos, mostly on the beaches of the southeast coast.

Our top tips

Book the upstairs studio if you can - it's well worth the (small) extra cost. Bring a portable speaker to make it feel more homely, some warmer clothes to take the chill off windy evenings, and a rucksack for bringing provisions back to the studio. You can use buses to explore, if you don't want to hire a car. I'd allow a week to get under the skin of the island.

Great for...

Beach
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 2 studios for 2
  • Self-catering
  • Welcome (but no extra beds)
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

You enter the studios through a typically Greek little salon - a decorative sofa and chair guarded by 2 family portraits - and emerge onto a lovely terrace, with wooden table and deck chairs for all the guests. The views over the town and coast are suitably regal, though the prevailing north wind sometimes disturbs your siesta here.

Off the terrace is the downstairs studio, which consists of a long, thin double bedroom with a simple kitchen unit at the other end; and, through a deep archway, a windowless bathroom with curtained shower and earthy tiles. Curly brass lamps, old prints of steamships, marble-topped commodes and exposed squares of stone wall add character, though we found it a little cramped.

Up a steep flight of steps from the reception salon is the upstairs studio, a much lighter and more spacious option. There is a small hall with the same kitchen unit, a tall double bedroom with a netted brass bed, and a bathroom with shower. A small covered balcony offers fabulous views over town and coast: a lovely breakfast or reading spot. Motley figurines, bottles, lamps, mirrors and other ornaments sits on the bedroom niches, making it feel very homely.

Both studios have air-con, reliable hot water, a TV, daily cleaning and twice-weekly linen change. There is no central heating, but the air-con doubles up as convection heating in winter.

If all those are full, Castro Residence also owns the Chateau Zevgoli, a charming small hotel below the citadel walls, which we can recommend as a decent fallback - though some rooms are quite small.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Terrace
  • TV

Eating

The kitchen units contain a sink, 2 electric rings, a small fridge, kettle, coffee machine and basic cutlery / crockery - enough for breakfast or salad lunches, but not for hot dinners.

For that, you've a wealth of choice on your doorstep, from the beachside tavernas of Agios Georgios, where the sea practically laps at the table-legs; to the superb home-cooking of restaurants like Lucullus hidden amongst the alleys. For a pre-prandial snack à la Cyclade, stop at the most mouth-watering of the waterfront grills for some octopus legs washed down with an ouzo.

A short drive away are more recommended tavernas, including the Axiotissa in Kastraki, and the village taverna in Halki. For the full list, see our Naxos guide.

Features include:

  • Kitchenette
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the picturesque alleys, churches and shops of Chora (Naxos) town
  • Wander along to Agios Georgios beach (10 mins walk) for a swim or windsurf
  • Or head further south, by car, bus or bicycle, to some of the Cyclades' loveliest sandy beaches at Agia Anna and Plaka beaches (3-5km)
  • Head inland to visit ruined Byzantine castles, fortified monasteries and ancient kouros statues
  • Or take a hike along paved mulepaths, through fruit groves, or up to the 1000m-peak of Mt Zas (Zeus), highest in the Cyclades
  • 2 or 3 evenings a week (in summer), there are classical and Greek-dance concerts in the nearby Venetian museum

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing

Kids

A family of four might consider booking both studios, if the 2 children don't mind sharing a double bed (both studios have one double bed and no extra beds are available).

Kid Friendly:

Location

Castro Residence is in the historic citadel of harbour town of Naxos, which is the capital town and main port on the island of Naxos in the Greek Cyclades Islands.

By Air
Fly to Athens or Naxos (5km - restricted flights). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From Athens
Either take a boat (4-6 hours), hydrofoil (3-4 hours) or internal flight (1 hour) to Naxos.

By Boat/Hydrofoil
Most boats and hydrofoils to Naxos go from Piraeus, to the west of Athens, connected to the airport by a regular bus in 40-60 mins. There are several sailings every day. Some vessels go from the port of Rafina, a short taxi ride from Athens airport. We advise that you check boat timetables (see GTP) before confirming your hotel booking.

From the Port
The hotel is a 10-minute walk from Naxos port – stop at the Naxos Tourist Information Centre, which is run by the owners of the Castro (Despina Kitini), and they will have someone show you to the studios and help carry your bags. It is a 5-minute taxi ride from Naxos airport to the Naxos Tourist Information Centre.

More on getting to Greece and getting around.

Airports:

  • Naxos 5.0 km JNX
  • Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos 65.0 km ATH

Other:

  • Beach 0.3 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Two elegant high-ceilinged connecting rooms with a terrace set in the walls of the old Venetian fortress at the top of Naxos town. Excellent service, with room cleaning, new towels and water on request. The owner, Despina Katinis, organised services and gave good friendly advice on restaurants etc. An unforgettable holiday.

10/10,

I cannot recommend the Castro Residence too highly, as an absolutely wonderful place to stay and Despina and her staff are a total delight, incredibly friendly and very caring. If you want a feeling of history (the residence was originally built in the 1200s), views over Apollo's Gate and the Aegean from the house and terrace, direct access to all the winding city streets, and a wonderful place to go out from to explore one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, then you cannot do better than this. I will remember my visit always (I ended up staying 6 weeks, and was sorry to leave!)!

10/10,

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