The airport of Naxos (the largest Cycladic Island) is set to receive a long-anticipated upgrade- allowing direct international flights to Naxos, once the project is completed.
Deputy Development and Investments Minister Ioannis Tsakiris’ signed off on the project, which is budgeted at 23,07 million euros. Major works will include expansion of the runway and the aircraft parking area; while there are also plans for improvement of the maneuvering area, widening of existing taxiways, and construction of two new taxiways.
According to the Ministry, this project will create the appropriate safety conditions necessary to service international flights; as well as improve the level of service required for larger aircraft and direct flights from overseas.
Naxos State Airport “Apollos” is located approximately 4km southwest of the island’s capital Chora and it’s also close to Agios Prokopios, one of the island’s most popular spots. The runway is currently only 900m long and can only service small planes, that fly direct from Athens International Airport; European airports can also fly to Naxos- only via pre-arranged charter flights.
This new project is set to boost tourism while making it easier for locals and international visitors to arrive and depart from Naxos island.
People from all over the country and the world arrive in Naxos each year to visit Melimilon, home to Greece’s most sought-after homemade marmalades.
Local Evangelia Lianopoulou has spent the last few years introducing authentic Naxian flavours to thousands of people from all over the world through her delightful creations including homemade jams, marmalades, spoon sweets, and liqueurs, which are all made from locally sourced produce.
“My passion has always been to give people a true and authentic Naxian experience. I try and use as many local products and Cycladic flavours for people to taste,” Evangelia tells IN+SIGHTS GREECE.
Ancient Greeks referred to marmalade as Melimilon, which is the name Evangelia chose for her thriving family business that now includes her famous range of homemade products, an all-day cafe and this year they also opened a concept store in the heart of town, where people can purchase an even wider range of Melimilon products.
Evangelia’s creations include her apple and plum marmalade, prickly pear jam, and sweet potato jam; as well as a special tomato and onion marmalade- and if you are lucky you may be able to get your hands on limited edition beetroot, zucchini or pumpkin flavours.
“I try to use ingredients that give people more opportunity to try a different range of flavours, aromas and tastes of Greece and more specifically from our beautiful Cycladic islands,” she says.
Evangelia reveals it was her grandmother’s cooking that inspired her to launch her products, as her grandparents’ garden was always full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, all organic “with the most wonderful taste. I had to create something special and allow others to taste the wholesome goodness.”
After seeing the instant love people had for her homemade jams, Evangelia decided it was time to expand and she opened up a cafe, where visitors had a chance to try the marmalades before they purchased them. From its inviting courtyard setting to its chic old-style interior, which is filled with Melimilon products, the light and breezy cafe has quickly become a favourite breakfast spot on the island.
The enticing menu includes free-range eggs made in a variety of ways, tiganites (Greek-style pancakes) topped with local cheese and Melimilon’s marmalades; cheese and spinach pies served with homemade spiced preserves, as well as freshly baked sweets and a range of coffees and juices.
Melimilon’s success has seen it expand once again and this year they opened a charming store located in the island’s old town, where people can purchase a range of homemade jams, honey, liqueurs, spices, herbs, and other local goods they can take home.
What makes Melimilon so special is that it allows visitors to experience an old-world charm, when Greece’s life had a slower pace, and locals from the island gathered food from their garden and shared it with family and friends. This is what Evangelia now wants to share with the rest of the world.
Will Naxos be the first of many islands to play host to professionals from around the world, perhaps even year-round?
I interviewed Jerome Bajou to find out more about his and his partner Luca Lattanzio’s plans for making Naxos an attractive and functional destination for Digital Nomads, through their project WorkFromNaxos.
Interview by Alexia Amvrazi
Please tell us a little about yourselves.
My name is Jerome Bajou, I was born close to Paris, France, 35 years ago. I am the CEO of Blue Mango Business LTD, a UK tech company that I incorporated in 2009. I’m also the Founder of CaptainBook.io, a travel-tech startup in the pre-seed stage helping tourpreneurs to sell their tours via their own website. I co-founded the website WorkFromNaxos with Luca Lattanzio in March 2021. Luca was born in Milan and is 42 years old. He has more than 10 years of experience in industrial automation software and has worked for industry leaders. He founded Naxos Vacation Rentals in 2016, a company focused on hotels, property management, and general travel agency services.
What led the two of you to team up for this project?
We both experienced the same problem with our life, leading us to move to Naxos: our work-life balance was completely off. We were working in high-stress environments – long hours – and somehow lost the meaning of it.
What is the active concept behind Work From Naxos?
I moved to Naxos in 2011 because of its central position in the Cyclades. It’s close to Mykonos and Santorini, both islands that have international airports, without being on the mass touristic path. The landscapes of Naxos definitely played a role as well. The island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and is an island that remains very much alive during winter as well, due to its large population (22 000 inhabitants).
Four or five years ago, Luca and I were speaking about the Digital Nomad trend growing abroad, recognising the fact that we were somehow connected to it through the choices of life we’d made. The pandemic of COVID-19 accelerated the trend while slowing down the tourism market in general. It became clear to us that it was the time to help Naxos shift into this new era by facilitating the installation of Digital Nomads on the island.
Why is Naxos a great destination for Digital Nomads?
Naxos benefits from good weather almost all year round. It has lots of activities to offer (from sailing to trekking, ie. from sea to mountain activities). The interconnection of the island for electricity has made power on the island as stable as on the mainland while optic fibre is being installed in town. 5G will arrive, and Naxos (and Greece in general) will be covered by StarLink (the internet-by-satellite program created by Elon Musk), possibly as early as this year.
We joined the Digital Nomad Observatory just a few days after the launch in the context of the convergence of our visions. This partnership will help us build the Digital Nomad Community in Naxos in a sustainable way, benefiting both nomads and locals.
How would you be making life easier?
We offer consultancy services for Digital Nomads aiming at moving to Naxos and benefiting from policies voted by the Greek Government (50% tax break for the first 7 years of fiscal installation in Greece, the Digital Nomad Visa, etc). We also help people to settle in, find the right place to stay, and dealing with all necessary actions that will help them feel at home. Finally, we help companies that are willing to relocate to Naxos via different partnerships that we are making in collaboration with specialised lawyers, accountants, etc.
What are your greatest goals related to this project?
At the moment, we are working on analysing the needs of the Digital Nomads wishing to come to Naxos. We believe that creating a co-working space would be the right move to help build a community on the island, with networking events running alongside that. Our greatest goal for this project is to attract innovation to the island, having startups working from Naxos in tech of course; but wouldn’t it be amazing to have agritech startups choosing one of the most fertile islands of the Cyclades as their home?
As you drive down the dirt road of Plaka Beach in Naxos towards Tortuga beach bar and restaurant, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve laid eyes on a desert oasis…if it wasn’t for the white sand and sparkling turquoise water of the Aegean Sea to your other side.
A tribal-chic vision with accents of bamboo, cactus, wicker, and muted copper tones, Tortuga has been designed to immediately relax the eye and transport you into an exceptional Summer experience. Attached to the chic rooms of Naxian on the Beach and with its own beach bar, hours could easily roll into days underneath the bamboo-canopied sunbeds. Up from the beach, the dining experience becomes the focus, with a fresh and modern take on Mediterranean cuisine.
Type of cuisine: Modern, Seafood, Mediterranean.
Type of eatery: Casual yet chic, with a focus on fine food.
The low down…Whether you’ve stepped off the beach in your kaftan or dressed up to enjoy dinner and cocktails, Tortuga offers a unique dining experience that you won’t find elsewhere on the island of Naxos.
Décor/ Ambience: Tribal-luxe. Think long golden reeds blowing in the wind, bamboo walls, and an eclectic array of cushions and furnishings.
Entrees: Try the scallops with pumpkin and celeriac puree or the tuna tartare.
Mains: The orzo with prawns is memorable, for all the right reasons. Meat-fiends will love the Beef tagliata.
Something to drink: To quench that Summer thirst, try the gin-based Naxian Side or the Tortuga Spritz.
Order our fave dish: The ceviche is tangy and fresh, featuring locally caught fish of the day.
Price range: Tortuga’s pimped-up beach snacks (think salads, tacos, and club sandwiches) start from 10 €. At the restaurant, entrees start from 12 €, and mains are mostly priced between 15 to 40 €.