Explore Naxos

The 10th-largest island of Greece by area (166 sq. miles).

About Naxos

When entering the port of Naxos, the first thing that catches your eye is the Temple of Apollo, the most recognizable site on the island. As the sun sets behind the temple, you realize that you have chosen the right place to spend your summer. Naxos is the largest and one of the most beautiful islands in the Cyclades. It covers a total area of 430 square kilometers and its coastline is 148 kilometers long.

Every year the island attracts a great number of archaeologists, historians, artists as well as visitors from all over the world. They all come drawn by the beauty and the history of the island. Naxos has many interesting places to visit.

Chora with its characteristic Cycladic architecture, museums, Byzantine monasteries and churches with interesting frescoes, towers and castles. However, besides the archaeological and the historical sites, you will also find countless, beautiful beaches spread all over the island and numerous traditional villages built on the edges of mountains or in the middle of valleys.

Climate

The climate is dry, with mild winters and summers cooled by the northerly winds, that blow through the Aegean during the summer. From the end of July and throughout August, as in all the Cyclades islands, northerly winds, known as meltemia, blow strongly and they have a cooling effect. Between the months of May and September, the average daytime highest temperature is 28-30 C and the average night-time lowest temperature is 18-20 C.

Geography

Naxos has a very varied landscape: barren, rocky districts, high mountains, (Mount Zas, alt. 1000m), lush ravines and green valleys. The southwest coastline has with many capes and bays with broad sandy beaches, while the north coast is carved into the coves with smaller beaches. The beaches to the east are fewer but still interesting. The island also has considerable mineral wealth, such as the marble known from antiquity, granite and emery

Usefull Numbers

  • Police Naxos : (+30 22850) 22100, 23280
  • Air Port Naxos: (+30 22850) 23292
  • Town hall Naxos: (+30 22850) 22717
  • Health center Naxos: (+30 22850) 23333, 23676
  • Bus station Naxos: (+30 22850) 22291
  • Radio taxi Naxos: (+30 22850) 24331
  • Taxi Naxos: (+30 22850) 22444
  • Port police Naxos: (+30 22850) 22300, 23939

History

Venetian Occupation

Naxos makes history in 1207 when the Venetian Marco Sanudo captured the island”s chief Byzantine castle, T”aparilou, and declared himself Duke of Naxos, ruler over all the adventures who had grabbed the Aegean Islands after the conquest in Constantinopole.

When Venice refused to grant Sanudo the independent status he desired, he broke away in 1210 and became the Latin Emperor”s Duke of the Archipelago. Archipelago was the Byzantine name for the Agean; under Sanudo and his successors, it took on the meaning, ”a group of islands”, in this case the Cyclades.

Even after the Turkish conquest in 1564 the Dukes of Naxos remained in nominal control of Cyclades, although anwerable to the Sultan.

Naxos Archaeological Museum

Naxos first flourished during Early Cycladic II period (about 2700 – 2300 BC), during which, along with the small nearby islets, it evolved into one of the most important commercial and cultural centres of the period. During the later phases of the Bronze Age, there were a variety of changes and upheavals in the Aegean which resulted in new centres rising to prominence on other islands (Them, Milos, Paros) and Naxos lost its leading position in the Aegean.

The Archeological Museum of Naxos houses works of art and objects of everyday use dating from the Late Neolithic period to Early Christian times (5300 BC – 5th c. AD). These findings came to light in the excavations which have been continuing on the island since the Second World War. Excavations over the last forty years have brought a large number of archaeological sites (Grotta, Aplomata, Plithos in Horn, Melanes, Saggri, Yria, Tsikalario in central Naxos, Panormos, Korfi t”Aroniou in east Naxos), and also the many findings that are now housed in the Naxos Museum.

The Archaeological Museum building, which has been declared a historical monument, was built in the period from 1600 to 1800, and is an impressive example of the architecture that developed on Naxos at the time of the island”s prosperity during the Frankish period. It is a five-storey structure and was built on die course of the Frankish fortification wall, incorporating two of the towers. It was designed to house a school of Jesuits, founded in the 17th c, and ultimately, in the late 19th c. – early 20th c, housed the famous commercial school, one of the pupils at which was Nikos Kazantzakis. It was later made over to the Archaeological Service and has been used to house the Museum since 1973..

The archaeological collections of the Naxos Museum include some important findings, especially from the Early Cycladic periods (3200 to 2300 BC), though also from the earlier historical phases; many of these findings are unique.

The collection of Early Cycladic marble figurines is second to only to diat of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, and there are also some very fine collections of vases dating from the Mycenaean (late 2nd millennium BC) and Geometric periods (9th – 8th c. BC). The Archaic (7th – 6th c. BC), Classical (5th – 4th c. BC) and Hellenistic (3rd – 1st c. BC) periods are represented by characteristic examples of pottery and terracotta figurines.

The Roman period (1st c. BC to 2nd c. AD) has yielded not only pottery but also a large, highly interesting collection of glass vases. Archaic sculpture is represented by a few important works.

  • Some of the most important exhibits of the Museum are:
  • Early Cycladic clay rhyton of animal shape
  • Early Cycladic marble vase
  • Early Cycladic vases from the island of Pano Koufonissi
  • Early Cycladic vases decorated with incised decoration from the islands of Pano and Kato Koufonissi
  • Early Cyciadic pyxis of marble and schist from the cemetery at ApEomata
  • Early Cycladic marble figurine from Keros
  • Mycenaean stirrup jar from the chamber tomb cemetery at Aplomata, decorated after the octopus style
  • Mycenaean strainer hydria (jug) from the chamber tomb cemetery at Kamini decorated with a scene of circular dance
  • Four Late Mycenaean gold plaques from a rich child burial at the cemetery at Kamini depicting die dead child
  • Geometric amphora
  • Gold jewellery from cist tombs at Tsikalario and Hora dated to the Geometric period
  • Torso of a Naxian statue of a young man (Kouros)
  • Detail of a mosaic floor from Aplomata depicting a Nereid on a bull
Museum of Metropolis Square

Since 1949, the excavations of Nikolaos Kontoleon in Grotta beach, Irinodikio and Aplomata had made it known that an important city had flourished in the North of Naxos in the second millennium BC. Therefore, here at the Metropolis (cathedral) many interesting findings were expected. However, the findings uncovered in the three years of excavations, from 1982 to 1984, were beyond anyone”s expectations.

The city, dating from the last centuries of the 2nd millennium BC, belonged to the same civilisation as Mycenae. A large section of the city walls, descending from Fortress hill to the sea, has been preserved in a good state. On the 3-m. wide stone base of die wall, many of the clay bricks used to build it have been preserved, with the hay used for cohesion still intact. This type of wall is known from a few other cases; however, the one in Naxos is the only one from diat period diat can be visited today.

Within the city walls, sections of pottery workshops were brought to light, unveiling unique information about die small industry of that era: benches with vessels on them waiting to be baked, basin systems for painting the vessels white with kaolin. A kiln, near which one of the largest craters from the Mycenean period was found. This particularly vivacious city, as we know from the research, was densely inhabited and covered a large area, ending at the sea with a powerful port, which is still preserved underwater.

The multiple values represented by these findings convinced the experts and local authorities that they should be kept visible and exhibited. The particularly perishable materials required drastic measures for their protection. And modern life demanded that the area should continue to operate as a square. Thus, it was decided to protect the findings underground. At this phase, a particularly difficult and sensitive task was to support the heavy pavilion at points where the ancient relics would not be damaged. In two cases, no better solution was found than to design, number and remove the ancient constructions that, would be damaged, and replace them after the supports had been put in place.

The pavilion saved all the delicate relics. At the same time, the street was pedestrianised, and access to the island of Palatia and the temple of Apollo was arranged. The on-site museum was completed, as was the reformation of Metropolis Square, the small park at Chryssopolitissa, and the pedestrianisation of the street leading to the museum and the cathedral. Another project took place at the Palia Sfagia (Old Slaughter-houses).

The abandoned and ruined building was redesigned by Dimitris Koutsogiannis, so as to retain the elements of its original form, but at the same time be suitable for a ”milder” use as a children”s library. The on-site exhibition at the museum was no easy matter. The modern structures could not stand on the ancient relics. After much study and with much care, the ruins were partially restructured, while the National Archaeological Museum made faithful reproductions of the moveable findings exposed (the originals are kept in the Kastro Museum), and special care was taken to control humidity, which is monitored by special equipment.

The project will be concluded with a mild intervention on the ancient findings in Kokkinovrahos and Grotta beach. The result is the composition delivered to the loa and international public. A composition that enriches the image of modem life with the depth and uncontested right of a glorious historical identity.

Museums of Apiranthons

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Prehistoric findings (pottery, Cycladic figurines) from excavations in various parts of the island are exhibited in this museum. Of particular interest among them are die stone plates with embossed decorations,from the early Cycladic temple in Korfi t”Aroniou, on the southeastern side of the island.

FOLK ART MUSEUM

The Folk Art Museum is designed as a typical house, with a courtyard and three rooms: a kitchen, a workshop with a loom, and a traditional bedroom. In these rooms, it is possible to see local textiles and tools.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

This Museum contains particularly interesting exhibits from the flora and fauna of the area (a collection of 800 plants, sea-life, a small aquarium, etc.), as well as from other parts of Greece (natural sponges from Kalymnos, horns from Rhodian deer, and other exhibits).

GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

The Geological Museum is housed inside the Primary School, and its exhibits include samples of rock-types, ore, minerals and fossils.

Ancient History

Away from the port and the more popular beaches, you can go for miles without encountering anyone other than the odd shepherd, and I have often stumbled across mountain villages or modest tavernas shaded by vines perched on a hillside that I have never been able to find again.

From the strange moonscape of the high central region round Mount Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades, to the lovely fertile valley and olive groves of the Tragea, to the sandy beaches along the southern coast, Naxos has something for everyone. Naxos’ roots lie deep in mythology – Theseus, on his way back from Crete after slaying the Minotaur in which endeavour he had been helped by Ariadne, daughter of the King of Crete, stopped there and abandoned Ariadne on the island.

She took solace in the arms of Dionysus, Greek god of the vine. As you come into port, the first thing you see is a magnificent doorway silhouetted against the sea and skyline. This is all that remains of the unfinished Temple of Apollo, which was begun in 522 BC.

Prehistoric Period

The great prehistoric era of Naxos, from the proto cycladic till the late cycladic, is situated from the end of the 4th millennium till the end of the Isl millennium BC. During the 7th and 6th century BC [archaic era) Naxos flourishes and is dominant fn the Aegean region, not only politically but financially as well, and therefore and culturally, as the monuments indicate.

The temple of Apollo, today known as Portora (Big Door] that Ligdamis began constructing, on the islet of the port, the temple of Dionysus at Iria and the temple of Dimitra in Sagrf attest to the progress of the Naxians fn architecture. Close to this period, the unfinished archaic statues, the “kouroi” as they are known, and other works by the Naxians that are in Dilos, Delphi, and foreign museums attest to the progress and innovation of the Naxians in plastic art. \

The island was inhabited first by the Thracians and the Pelasgians. Later on the Kares came with Naxos as their leader, after whom the island was named. The conquerors however, never left the island in peace and they have sullied its latter history with conquests and pillages. Venetian invaders, with Marc Sanudo as their leader, occupied the island and ruled it for over three centuries.

The best way for the visitor to learn more about the history of the island is to go uphill to the castle (which in itself is a living museum with buildings from the Venetian era], to visit the archeologicol museum which is housed in the old Greek – French Commercial School, which the writer Nikos Kazantsakis attended. And to also visit the Museum of Prehistory which is situated across from the Metropolitan Church of the Hora.

Ancient History

Away from the port and the more popular beaches, you can go for miles without encountering anyone other than the odd shepherd, and I have often stumbled across mountain villages or modest tavernas shaded by vines perched on a hillside that I have never been able to find again.

From the strange moonscape of the high central region round Mount Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades, to the lovely fertile valley and olive groves of the Tragea, to the sandy beaches along the southern coast, Naxos has something for everyone. Naxos’ roots lie deep in mythology – Theseus, on his way back from Crete after slaying the Minotaur in which endeavour he had been helped by Ariadne, daughter of the King of Crete, stopped there and abandoned Ariadne on the island.

She took solace in the arms of Dionysus, Greek god of the vine. As you come into port, the first thing you see is a magnificent doorway silhouetted against the sea and skyline. This is all that remains of the unfinished Temple of Apollo, which was begun in 522 BC.

Prehistoric Period

The great prehistoric era of Naxos, from the proto cycladic till the late cycladic, is situated from the end of the 4th millennium till the end of the Isl millennium BC. During the 7th and 6th century BC [archaic era) Naxos flourishes and is dominant fn the Aegean region, not only politically but financially as well, and therefore and culturally, as the monuments indicate.

The temple of Apollo, today known as Portora (Big Door] that Ligdamis began constructing, on the islet of the port, the temple of Dionysus at Iria and the temple of Dimitra in Sagrf attest to the progress of the Naxians fn architecture. Close to this period, the unfinished archaic statues, the “kouroi” as they are known, and other works by the Naxians that are in Dilos, Delphi, and foreign museums attest to the progress and innovation of the Naxians in plastic art.

The island was inhabited first by the Thracians and the Pelasgians. Later on the Kares came with Naxos as their leader, after whom the island was named. The conquerors however, never left the island in peace and they have sullied its latter history with conquests and pillages. Venetian invaders, with Marc Sanudo as their leader, occupied the island and ruled it for over three centuries.

The best way for the visitor to learn more about the history of the island is to go uphill to the castle (which in itself is a living museum with buildings from the Venetian era], to visit the archeologicol museum which is housed in the old Greek – French Commercial School, which the writer Nikos Kazantsakis attended. And to also visit the Museum of Prehistory which is situated across from the Metropolitan Church of the Hora.

Tradition

Traditional

It”s the largest island of Cyclades, a fertile land with hardworking people that capitalized to the maximum on the natural abilities of the island, agriculture, cattle-breeding and fishing. Citron, potatoes, grapes, wine and cheeses from Naxos are well known. The wine-pressing and the “chatzanemata” (the making of tsipouro, a white spirit) is a party occasion for the locals.

They preserve the customs and traditions of the island with the “koydoynatoys” and “kordelatoys” during Mardigras, the “Klydona” on June 23rd, the local recipes, the fairs, the folk dances, the “kotsakia” (two-verse poems).

Naxos is also known for a few days or for long vacation. You will come across a society that consists of warm and hospitable people that is the real beauty of Naxos.

The local market place

The locals have lovingly cultivated their land for thousands of years and the island is characterized by its self-sufficiency in agricultural products. Naxos is famous for its potatoes, fruit, olive oil and wine and one of its most famous products is the citrus liquer, The old citrus” distillery is in the village of Chalki and is well worth a visit. Due to the prolific cattle breeding there is an abu-dance of dairy

products, the most famous of which are the local cheeses (gruyere, sour cream-cheese, hard cheese). Naxos has a remarkable tradition in the art of weaving.

You can buy weft-knitted textiles in Hora, in Aperanthos, Moni and Komiaki. In the area of Tragaia there are pottery workshops and the famous “eye of Naxos” is on sale in most of the island”s jewellery shops (the “eye of Naxos” comes from a cockleshell and is said to bring good fortune).

Activities

Cycling

Naxos is full of dozens of dirt roads and trades and small, asphalted roads that offer unique routes for cycling enthuasiasts. The coastal area on the southwestern coast stretching from Agia Anna to Kastraki is an excellent choice.

The more adventurous cyclist can try the route from Sagri to the bay of Agiassos. The mountainous part of Naxos offers beautiful routes forthose who wish to test their cycling abilities.

Trekking

People who love to explore will find Naxos a paradise! There are dozens of paths spread all over the island which lead to undiscovered areas, orchards, abandoned areas and historical monuments. We would like to suggest some routes but also believe you will discover some more by yourselves.

Chalki – Ap.ino Kastro – Potamia (approximate!/ 5-6 klm) 3-4 hours

Beginning from Chalki we take the road which is signposted to Potamia and Hora and then Tsikalario. We follow the path which starts at the church of Agios Stephanos (Kastrou Street) climbing up in a northwesterly direction and leading to the northern side of Epano Kastro. The view from the top is wonderful. Epano Kastro (Castle) was in use during several historical periods, from ancient times up to the Venetian rule. There are some bits of wall remaining, holes used for firing from, “palaces” and water tanks. In the foothills on the southwestern side there is a cemetery dating from the geometrical period (9th – 8th century B.C). A “menhir” (an upright stone) of 3m in height is situated at the entrance. From the Epano Castro we can descend on the western side continuing in a northwesterly direction across the fields until we come to the old path which goes from Chalki to Potamia.

Kinidaros- Egarres (almost 7klm) 4-5 hours

Starting from the village of Kinidaros we carry on in a northwesterly direction for about I klm; here we reach a flat, open area on the top of a hill which looks over a fertile valley. Following the narrow path we arrive at the river which runs through the valley. Close to this point (300m to the right) is Agios Artemios” church built in 1780. It is said that there was an ancient temple dedicated to goddess Diana built on the same spot. Following our course to the west beside the river we come across lush orchards, wells, small waterfalls, stone bridges and abandoned watermills ending up on the west coast on the road signposted to Chora and Apollo, close to the village of Egares.

On top of Zas (Zeus) mountain

We begin our trip from the place where the road which leads to Danakos crosses the main road just outside Filoti and where the church of Agia Marina is. Following the path in a southeasterly direction, we reach a water spring after 500 metres. Close to the spring, on a marble rock these words are written in ancient Greek: “OPOI AIOI MHADZIOY” (Mountain of Zeus) We continue on our route which leads to the top following paths made by sheep and goats (indicated by red marks on trees etc.) From the top of Zas Mountain we can see below Naxos and other islands and on a good day even further. On the southwestern side of Zas is the cave of Zas, not visible from the top. We can return on the road we previously took or walk to the cave (the route is rather difficult and steep). There is a path starting from the cave that leads to a flat, open area full of trees and with a spring; Filoti is I klm from here.

Diving in Naxos

Make it real, in the crystal clear waters of Naxos Island! Grab the opportunity to become a scuba diver and dive into a great adventure. We at Blue Fin Divers offer our guests the best diving experience in the deep blue water of Naxos, the island that, according to mythology, Zeus, king of gods, grew up.

Highly experienced instructors combined with our premier scuba diving facility on Naxos Island offer a full range of training courses and dive packages for qualified divers and beginners.

  • Filling station
  • Scuba equipment sales Classroom for all the theory Place to store your personal objects
  • Swimming pool for the courses 50 meters away
  • Glass bottom boat
  • Scuba equipment rental
Naxos Horse Riding

Still Set Tours: (aprox.3 hours)
Daily horse rides on the fantastic “jungle roads” of Naxos explore our wonderful beaches on horseback.

START: if you like we pick you up and bring you to stables 4:30 p.m. at meeting point. 5:00 p.m. we start the trail.
END: aprox. 8:15 p.m. transfer back.
PRICE: 40 € each person

Reservations till 6 p.m. the previous day.
Reservation call: 6948-809142
We speak German, English, Greek, Spanish and French.

Bookings are available for beginners and advanced.

Windsurf

Here in Naxos you will find the magical mix of waist-deep lagoon and waves, as well as the best equipped windsurf center.

Our features include: Superb surf spot with ideal wind conditions. New, top quality windsurf equipment 50 JP. Australia boards and 70 North Sails rigs.

Windsurfing school with VDWS and RYA certified surf instructors, Kitesurf lessons suitable for all levels and family friendly.

Just 10mins walk from Naxos town Have great fun surfing!

Festivals

February

Carnival : The celebrations start on the first Saturday of the Carnival, with the slaughter of pigs and other events. At midday on the last Sunday of the Carnival, in Apeiranthos, Koudounati, (people who bear bells), make their appearance. They wear clocks and hoods and go around the village creating a lot of noise, speaking and behaving in a provocative way. They also carry a piece of wood shaped like a penis, called somba, an ancient symbol related to god Dionysus.

The group is joined by other carnival figures such as Yeros (old man), Gria (old lady) and the Bear. Must – see: Koudounati acting stories like A Bride’s Wedding, Death, the Resurrection of the Dead and the Ploughing.

March

On Ash Monday, in the villages of Potamia, Kaloxido, Leivadia, Galini, Melanes, Kinidaros and others, Kordelati or Levendes appear, dressed in ribbons (Kordeles) on their fezzes and shoulders and wearing foustanella, the traditional greek kilt. They are also known as Levendes, a nickname they got from the pirates. They are followed by the robbers, who grab the local girls, forcing them to join in, dancing and celebrating, until dawn.

April

Easter Friday, at Koronos: Feast of Panagia Argokiliotissa. The feast of Panagia Argokiliotissa attracts pilgrims from all around the island and the minor.

May
  • Kinidaros : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agia Irene.
  • Agios Thaleleos : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agios Thaleleos that includes outdoor dancing, local instruments and free meal.
June
  • Apeiranthos : May wreaths fuel the bonfires of Agios Ioannis.
  • Melanes : The big panigyri (festival) of Agioi Apostoloi, that lasts for three days.
July
  • Potamia : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agia Kyriaki.
  • Agios Prokopios : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agios Prokopios, with music and dancing.
  • Chora : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agios Nikodimos, one of the biggest of the island, with dancing and live music performed by local groups.
  • Chora : The Dionysia, cultural festival with exhibitions, theatre, concerts and sports events.
  • Koronos : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agia Marina.
  • Agia Anna : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agia Anna, with music and dancing.
  • Kinidaros : Panigyri (festival) in honor of Agia Paraskevi, with music and dancing.
  • Agios Arsenios : Panigyri (festival) of Agios Panteleimon. The feast includes dancing to the sounds of traditional instruments.
August
  • Kourounochori: Panigyri (festival) commemorating the Transfiguration of the Savior.
  • Filoti, Apeiranthos and Agia monastery : Panigyria (festivals) in honor of the Virgin Mary. The celebrations at Filoti last 3 days and are among the island’s most festive.
  • Tripodes : Feast in honor of Virgin Mary.

Villagies

Apiranthos

The village of Apiranthos, is a village full of life.Words are not enough to describe it. Located in the heart of the mountainous Naxos, about 32km from the main town, Apeiranthos lies on the slopes of a hill, among the foothills of the Phanaria Mountains, between two beautiful, green valleys. Apeiranthos has an extraordinary view to the sea and the islands. It was thought to be Dionysus” homeland because of its superb wine.

The name of the village is the composite of two words, “Apeir” and “Anthos”. “Apeir” means “plenty of” and “Anthos” means “flowers”. Until today, Apeiranthos is a village where different kinds of flowers are growing in the mountains, as well as in the beautiful valleys, thanks to its fertile soil. Apeiranthos has maintained its traditional character. It is a village where the “anefani” (chimneys) make up a garden of strange flowers.

Thanks to its marble-paved streets, Apeiranthos is also called the “marble village”. The people of the village use marble to build their houses, because it gives a sense of royalty. They also make special emblems from marble, like the one with the Lion of St. Mark, the emblem of Venice, which they usually place above their doors.

Two of the mansions, in which the emblem exists, are those of the Bardanis’ House and the Zevgolis’ House. In Apeiranthos you can also find traditional handmade artworks, especially embroideries. The village has many beautiful churches, the most known is Panagia Aperathitissa, that has a masterly carved marble screen and post-Byzantine icons, Agia Kyriaki, of the 9th century AD and Agios Ioannis Theologos, with very interesting frescoes.

However the most notable, is Panagia Phanariotissa, which is located in an altitude of 1000m, on the top of mountain Phanari, with a magnificent view of the entire island. Maybe it will come as a surprise, but Apeiranthos has three small museums: Archaeological, Geological and one of Folk Art, as well as three libraries. In the Archaeological museum, you can find a lot of pre-historic findings from excavations in many different parts of Naxos.

In the Geological museum there are more than 2000 specimens to see and is one of the best in Greece. Last, in the museum of Folk art, you can get an idea of how a typical house of Apeiranthos looked like, hundred years ago, starting from the kitchen of the house, the farming tools, the clothes worn by the people of that period and more.

Apollonas

Following the road towards the southeast of the island, we arrive to Apollonas. Apollonas is a beautiful, green, seaside village, with a large sandy beach. Although it is a far away area, around 54km from the main town, a lot of Greek people and tourists are coming here to spend their vacations. In the last decade the villagers have built a lot of hotels and small taverns.

Apollonas is a well-organized summer resort. The village became known for its “Kouros”, a beautiful half-finished male statue that is lying on the ground and has never been moved from its place. Another site that is also worth seeing, are the old marble mines in Empoli. Many famous works of art were made by those marbles.

Chora

Chora is the capital city of Naxos island. You can start your exploration from “Portara”, the Temple of Apollo. This enormous marble gate, also known as the “Baths of Ariadne”, was built in the 6th century BC in Apollo’s honor. Besides its major historical and archeological significance, “Portara” offers a breathtaking experience. During the sunset, as the sun sets behind the mountains of Paros everything turns red… the sky, the sea, the clouds.

Also from there, whenever the horizon is clear, you can see the islands of Delos, Mykonos and Syros.The most beautiful part of Chora is with no doubt the old town. Take a long walk into the old market. … you will be pleasantly surprised to find so many small gift shops, restaurants, and taverns in the narrow streets where you can enjoy fresh fish and other delicacies from the Naxian cuisine. Follow up the stairs of the old town until you reach the gates of the castle. As you enter the gates, you will feel like you are travelling back in time, in a different world…

Chalki

Just 17km away from Naxos town, you will reach the region of Chalki. Chalki is known for its beautiful old mansions and many Byzantine churches. The villages Akadimi, Kaloxilos, Kerami, Rachi, Monitsa, Tsikalario and Koutsocherados, are part of the community of Chalki. They are all spread along a beautiful olive-grove.

Outside Chalki there is the tower of Gratsias-Barotsi-Frangopoulou, a beautiful Venetian residence of the 17th century that once had a hanging bridge. The church of Panagia Protothronos at Chalki is one of the most important monuments of Byzantine architecture.

In the village, you will also find Agios Georgios Diasoritis, an impressive 11th century church with remarkable architecture and frescoes. Monuments such as these indicate that Chalki, in Byzantine times, was a significant administrative and powerful center in the island.

Damarionas

A short cut of 1.200m, starting in the 15th kilometer of the central road, leads us to the village of Damarionas. The first area that we come across is that of Vourvouria. There, you can see the beautiful temple of Agios Prokopios, which has been renovated recently. At the end of the district, up on the hill, we can see the derelict temple of Agios Konstantinos, a building of the 13th century, with very important frescoes.

The village of Damarionas is placed in one of the most beautiful locations of the island. The white houses have the genuine architectural order and are literally buried inside the olive groves. Mostly farmers and stockbreeders, the villagers are taking good care of their land, which is full of olive grooves, oak-trees, vineyards, beautiful gardens and orchards. In the center of the village, stands out the temple of the “Metamorphosis of Savior”. It was renovated in the 16th century, it has a beautiful carved iconostasis and it is perfectly maintained. The temple celebrates on the 6th of August.

Danakos

In a distance of 25 km from the main town, on the junction before Apeiranthos, the road ends to the village of Danakos. Danakos is a very productive village with 150 inhabitants, located far away from the center of the island but near the sea. It is built in a beautiful valley. The running waters of the valley, were formerly used to operate watermills.

To the southeast of Danakos, the monastery of the Fotodotis is located. The old temple has been deserted for years but you can still see its beautiful Byzantine sculptures. According to the tradition it was built by the empress Irene around 1497.

The monastery of the Fotodotis is located up in the mountains, with a view to the peak of mountain Zas, but also to the eastern shores of Naxos. The legend says that Lord Byron once visited it and left his name carved on a column.

Engares

Just 7 km from the main town of Naxos and only 800m from the sandy and often choppy sea of the Ammitis Bay, you can reach the village of Engares. Located in a beautiful green valley, with orchards, full of pears, apples, damsons and above all apricots. Galini, Mytria, Mesi Geitonia or Langadia, are small hamlets, which also belong to the community of Engares.

Filoti

Filoti, is a village at the foothills of mountain Za, connected with the worship of god Zeus. Located in just 20 km from the main town, in the heart of a green valley, is one of the most beautiful villages in Naxos, bristling with white washed houses and stone paved streets, built in an amphitheatrical way and with a growing population of almost 2,000 inhabitants. In the middle of the main square of the village, you will find a huge tree, which forms a shadow more than 30 square meters long, a beautiful, cooling and breathing space for the visitors, as well as the villagers.

All around the square, you will find cozy coffee shops, traditional bakeries, taverns where you can enjoy the delicious local cuisine and good wine and many other stores. The Venetian mansion that stands near the center of the village, is a reminder of an era where Filoti was the fief of the Barozzis. When you see it from far away, it seems like it’s guarding the village.

Also in the village you can see the beautiful church of Panagia Filotitissa, with its wonderful sculptured belfry. The church celebrates on the 15th of August, a very big holiday for the village, and for the whole island that attracts many visitors from all around Naxos, as well as from Athens. After the Mass follows a big festival at the main square of the village with music, dancing, good homemade food and strong tasteful wine like old times.

Galanado

Galanado is the first village you will meet, on the main road, only 6 km from Chora. The village has 500 inhabitants. It has a beautiful parish church and a small primary school. Just a little bit outside the village, there is the imposing tower of Belonia, which used to be the summer resort of the region’s Catholic commander. Next to the tower of Belonia, there is the temple of Agios Ioannis and the ruins of a wall from the Hellenistic era

Galini

Galini is located on the east side of Engares and it has almost 300 inhabitants. Here you will find the beautiful church of Koimisis of Theotokou (Assumption). The village took its name from a local Turkish jail, for unknown reasons. Aside from the orchards that the villagers cultivate, they also produce large amounts of dry food for their animals

Glinado

Just 6 km from the main town, you will reach the region of Glinado, with a population of 700 inhabitants. The village is located on a rocky hill, from where you can see the main town, the deep blue sea and nearby islands. A beautiful temple, the Metamorphosis of Savior, is found between the villages of Galanado and Glinado, in the middle of a dell full of green, where the old district of Tzitzamos used to be. In a beautiful high spot, the temple of Agios Nikodemos was built.

Northeast of the village, at the slopes of the hill, there is the temple of Agioi Saranta, surrounded from ruins of a small monastery that was lying there since 1834. The temple was built around 1656, with the voluntary donation of the local people. A large number of the church’s icons are saved until today. Close to this location, the Naxians have built an aqueduct, in order to take water to irrigate their orchards, as well as thousands of hectares of land.

Keramoti

Between two mountains and embraced from the river, just like a small island, you can find the village of Keramoti, a community with approximately 250 inhabitants. It is built in a valley full of walnut-trees, vineyards and olive groves. On the top of the village, there is a small chapel called “Stavros (Cross) of Keramotis”, lying there, deserted and left in its own tradition. It also has a beautiful parish church, the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

On a big cross, the date1876 is engraved, which is the date that the church was renovated. The village has also its own, traditionally built primary school. Near the village there are ruins of an old temple. From the top of the village, you can also admire the boundlessness of the island, from the west till the east Aegean Sea. It is a site, which will be difficulty forgotten.

Kinidaros

In a distance of 14 km from the main town of Naxos, we come across the beautiful and most romantic village in the entire island. It is surrounded from green valleys, with vineyards, olive groves and cherry trees. The village is also famous for its waters, as Chora”s water supply comes from here, and its songwriters. Every single mountain that surrounds the village is a marble quarry.

Kinidaros was recently renovated; it has nearly 650 inhabitants and almost all of them work in open marble quarries. In the beautiful valley of Halandra, at the north side of the village, the temple of Agios Artemios is located, one of the largest and most imposing basilicas of Naxos.

Built in the 18th century, around the year 1779, the temple celebrates on the 20th of October. In the area of Agios Artemios, ancient graves were found as well as many other archaeological discoveries, like old Byzantine coins. This proves that the temple of Agios Artemios was built atop another temple, the ancient temple of Artemis.

In Kinidaros you will also find the parish church of Agios Georgios in the center of the village, which celebrates on the 23rd of April. These buildings, as well as the water mills which existed in the valley of Halandra, are evidence of economic activity in the region, which also explains the large population of the village during the antiquity and Byzantium.

Today the village is very well known for its musicians and its feasts and festivals.

Koronida

The village of Komiaki is located in the northern part of Naxos, 43km from the main town, in the slopes of one of the higher peaks of mountain Koronos, surrounded by other mountains. Nature has been kind to Komiaki. It’s full of beautiful trees and many different kinds of flowers. Olives, fruit trees and mostly vines are cultivated throughout this area, and its wine has a great reputation all over Greece.

Thanks to the waterfalls that exist in the village, you will find a lot of water mills and small lakes. Also, around the waterfalls there are orchards where people cultivate many vegetables like onions, garlic, potatoes, beans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, even tobacco. In the area there are a lot of churches as well.

Theoskepasti is a very old parish church, which is dedicated to Holy Mother and celebrates on the 8th of September. Panagia Vlakiotissa or Agios Konstantinos, is located southwest of the village, between beautiful orchards and is surrounded by water springs. Renovated recently, it celebrates on the 21st of May. Traditional Cycladic architecture is still widely used in Komiaki.

Koronos

The village of Koronos is located 36 km away from the main town, on the eastern foothills of Mountain Koronos, at a height of 540 meters above sea level, in a valley full of vineyards. Recumbent on the slopes of the mountain, between the vineyards, looks like it is drunk from its tasteful wine and its cool breeze.

The time passes through pleasantly as you climb up the picturesque alleyways, browsing the beautiful white houses with the panoramic view. The name of the village comes from the word “koroni”, which means “peak”. It is a traditional village, which is inhabited mostly by emery workers, that they always seize any opportunity for celebration.

The population of Koronos runs into 1,200 people. The emery mines are a very interesting feature of the area, situated on the road leading to Lionas. The mines were in existence from the ancient times and some interesting structures are still well preserved.

This whole area of emery mines is like an open museum. Furthermore, you can see the old system of transporting minerals, which was set up in the year 1925 and run down to the harbor of Moutsouna.

Today, the main occupation for the villagers is their land. Their products are well known for their quality, specially the pulses and grains, the potatoes, the pears and mainly the good and famous Apollonian wine.

Melanes

Melanes is a small village, but the richest one in tradition and legends. It is located in a beautiful valley full of olive and fruit trees, just a breath away from the main town, around 8 km. The valley has taken its name from its black soil (“Melanes” means “black”). In the Melanes’ valley, also are the villages of Kournochori and Agioi Apostoloi.

At Kournochori you will find the Frangopoulos tower-house. The tower reminds us that the region was one of the most important fiefs of the island. Leaving Melanes, our route takes us to Flerio, also known as “Ellinas” (“Greek”). There you will find the ”Kouros”. The statue was lying on the ground of an ancient quarry since the 7th century BC and represents a person, (its sex is not defined), which measures 6,40metres, and now lays in the corner of an orchard, which is under the exclusive protection of the Kondylis family.

The statue is 200 years older than Acropolis in the city of Athens. Another monument worth seeing in Melanes, is the temple of the Jesuit Monks, in the region of Kalamitsia, in a magic location in the countryside. A monk of the temple named R. Sauger, built it in the 17th century, in a way that nobody can build it the same. Pigeon”s houses, orchards, small waterfalls and a beautiful church behind it, surround the temple. The ground of the area, was famous for its fertility since antiquity, but also for the marble hidden in it.

Mesi

Just a little bit after Scado, driving west, we come across the village of Mesi. Inhabited by 150 people, mostly farmers, the beautiful village of Mesi is full of orchards and vineyards, cultivated intensively by the villagers, thanks to the richness of the soil. Near Mesi, there are the ruins of ancient hamlets and fortresses. The beautiful parish church, of Agia Paraskevi, adds splendor to the whole village.

Potamia

Leaving the village of Melanes and driving through the orchards of Paratrechos, we reach the village of Potamia, famous for its orchards and for fruit of every kind. About 9 km from the main town, we enter a village full of green orchards and fruit-trees. Potamia is divided in three parishes, Ano Potamia, Mesi Potamia and Kato Potamia, which come under the same community.

The village has almost 500 inhabitants, many less each year that passes through, because the villagers are trying to work in the main town, since the tourism started to increase in Naxos. As we reach Ano Potamia, we come across the church of Agios Ioannis. This is a good place for a rest. Refreshments to satisfy all contemporary tastes are available, but one can also try the preserved fruit, bitter orange and apricot, which is produced in Potamia.

The plentiful running water of the spring, has decorated the area with age-long trees, picturesque water mills and orchards. The dark green olive groves complete the beauty of the scenery. In a green garden with churches and towered houses, lies the 9th century church of Agios Mamas. It is one of the most important churches of the island, thanks to its remarkable architecture, sculptures and frescoes.

Sangri

The beautiful village of Sangri, located only 11 km from the main town, is a community with 600 inhabitants. The area is full of beautiful houses, marble paved streets, towers, windmills, Byzantine churches, monasteries and ruins of old temples in the middle of endless vineyards and well cultivated orchards.

The village of Sangri is divided in three smaller districts, Epano Sangri, Kanakari and Kato Sangri. Northwest, a little bit outside the village, in the beautiful valley of Agioi Anargyroi, you can see the Venetian tower of Palaiologos, the farm of the Bogiatzoglou family with the small traditional temple of Agioi Anargyroi and the church of Panagia, next to the tower.

At the area of Kato Sangri, you can find the well-maintained Venetian tower of the Somaripa family and on the east, the most fertile area of the village, the “Toubakades”, with plenty of waters. Furthermore, you can see the monastery of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), which today belongs to the Barotsi family. It was flourishing at the beginnings of the 18th century, when the abbots and the monks contributed all together for the increment of the richness of the monastery.

At the area of “Kato Sangri”, you can find the school of the village, built inside the one and only pine-tree forest in Naxos, created from the first teachers of Sangri.

Skado

Less than 2 km from Koronos, which means in a distance of 38 km from the main town, there is the village of Scado. It is located right across the village of Koronos and it has almost 250 inhabitants. It is a sunny village, surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and fruit trees.

Tripodes

The beautiful small village of 850 inhabitants, just 8 km from the main town, used to be the capital of the community of Vivlos. From this village begin the crossroads that will lead you to the beaches of Plaka, Kastraki and Alyko. The name of the village comes from an ancient tripod stand, which was found in archaeological excavations.

A traditional village, with marble paved streets and snow-white houses, picturesque windmills and natural springs, along with a beautiful and spacious square, where many events take place during the festive days of the year. The temple of Koimiseos of Theotokos (Assumption) celebrates on the 23rd of August. The temple belongs to a ruined monastery, which was erected before 1625. Today, the courtyard and some of the cells of the monastery, are still in a very good condition. The interior of the church demonstrates the intensive care of the villagers. It has a beautiful carved iconostasis with icons from different epochs, of remarkable artistry and value.

Naxos Beaches

Agios Prokopios

Agios Prokopios is a beach with golden sand and crystal clear sea, similar to a huge swimming pool. This is the most popular beach in Naxos island and it’s only 6 km from the main town. Thanks to the mountain that stands in front of it, the beach is well protected from the north winds, however strong they may be. It is a very organized beach, in which, apart from hotels and apartments, you can find supermarkets, traditional taverns, bars, sea sports and umbrellas.

Plaka

The beautiful beach of Plaka starts where the beach of Agia Anna ends. It is a lovely, quiet beach and it’s only organized at a few spots where there are hotels, taverns and umbrellas. Its completely white sand extends the length of the narrow dirt road that tunnels through the high reeds that block out the sea, reminding a desert. The access to Plaka beach is easy, driving through the beaches of Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna.

Agia Anna

The sandy beach of Agia Anna is located 7 km from the main town. You can reach it by car or even by boat. The seemingly endless sand is interrupted only by the picturesque fishing port-resort. In the beautiful and traditional small harbor of Agia Anna, you can relax and enjoy fresh fish from the numerous family taverns, along with many other dishes. The beach of Agia Anna is also one of the best-organized beaches in Naxos, like the one of Agios Prokopios.

Abram

The bay of Abram is located 25 km from the main town, on the northwest side of the island. The beach is pebbly and most of the time wavy. You can drive there easily, as the road is asphalt all the way. You can also find nice restaurants and traditional taverns, where you can enjoy homemade delicacies and very good wine.

Agiassos

About 22 km from the main town, the wonderful beach of Agiassos is located. It is a large, quiet and sandy beach with clear shallow water, next to a small-dispersed resort. At the end of the road and beach you will find the wonderful Vrachia tavern. The friendly proprietors, apart from serving good home cooking and fresh fish, also have some rooms available for rent.

Alyko

Located in a distance of 20 km southwest of Naxos, the beach of Alyko is a small peninsula with a lot of coves. Alyko has an exotic south sea atmosphere, sparkling white sand dunes and it’s placed among numerous, beautiful age-long cedar trees. The particular feature of Alyko is that however strong the wind may be elsewhere, here it is always calm enough to make swimming a pleasant experience.

Apollonas

Following the road towards the southeast of the island, we arrive to Apollonas. Apollonas is a beautiful, green, seaside village, with a large sandy beach. Although it is a far away area, around 54km from the main town, a lot of Greek people and tourists are coming here to spend their vacations. In the last decade the villagers have built a lot of hotels and small taverns.

Apollonas is a well-organized summer resort. The village became known for its “Kouros”, a beautiful half-finished male statue that is lying on the ground and has never been moved from its place. Another site that is also worth seeing, are the old marble mines in Empoli. Many famous works of art were made by those marbles.

Kalandos

Kalandos beach is located in the southern Naxos, in a distance of 48 km from the main town. Kalandos is reachable only by boat. If you want to go there by car, there is a very rough road, which starts from Filoti, but we do not recommend it unless you have a suitable vehicle. It is a beautiful, completely magical cove sheltered from the wind, where land meets the sea.

Kastraki

This brand-new resort, 17km from the main town, is of no particular interest, but its three kilometers of beach are wonderful. Its fine sand, stretches from Kastraki as far as Alyko, with umbrellas available at certain points and also some taverns. Here you will be surprised to find a farm where ostriches are raised.

Lionas

A little bit outside the village of Koronos, there is a small road, which leads to the beautiful beach of Lionas. In a distance of 40 km from the main town, the picturesque gulf of Lionas offers to its visitors the tranquility needed and a most enjoyable swimming. The road is asphalt all the way and it is accessible by any kind of car.

Mikri Vigla

The beach of Mikri Vigla is located 18 km from the main town and you can reach it passing through the villages of Glinado and Tripodes. It is the prettiest resort in southwest Naxos, with traditional taverns, hotels and rooms to let. It has a beautiful sandy beach with translucent water, which is protected from the wind and it’s well organized.

Orkos

In a distance of 15 km from the main town of Naxos, we come across the beautiful beach of Orkos. It is located between the beaches of Plaka and Mikri Vigla, as beautiful sculpted rocks and sandy mini coves surround the little resort of Orkos. The beach has beautiful golden sand and the water is crystal clear. You can easily drive there by car, just by taking the asphalt road that leads to Mikri Vigla.

Panormos

Located on the northern part of Naxos, around 45 km from the main town, the road to Panormos beach is bumpy, but if your car can cope, you will be rewarded by a beautiful little deserted beach. Panormos is a sandy beach with crystal waters and it is never crowded, thanks to the fact that is a long way for people to drive there. To go there, you take the road that leads to Moutsouna.

Psili Ammos

42 km from the main town of the island, you will find the spectacular beach of Psili Ammos. From Moutsouna, a seaside dirt road, takes you to the little hamlet of the beach. It is set in magic surroundings, next to a cedar wood and far from any annoying crowds or buildings. You can drive there easily, as the road up to Moutsouna is asphalt and only a few kilometers are bumpy.

Moutsouna

Moutsouna is the port of Apeiranthos. Located in a distance of 38 km from the main town, Moutsouna used to be a busy export harbor, when the emery trade was at its height. Next to the cove, around which the pretty little port is built, with its rooms to let and picturesque fish taverns, there is a series of small lovely beaches. When the wind is not blowing, the neighboring pebbly Asalas beach is a good alternative, especially if you walk or drive down the dirt road to it. On its northern tip, the pebbles give away to a perfect little sandy beach. You can drive there easily, with any kind of car, as the road is asphalt all the way.

Agios Georgios

This is the most popular and busy beach south of Hora and is large and sandy with crystal clear water and protected from the wind. It is about 10 minutes (on foot) from the port and there are shops of every kind, tavernas, cafes, night clubs and bars.

Pyrgaki

Located 21 km from Chora, a little bit beyond Alyko beach, there are two fantastic sandy beaches bordering with clean clear water and few bathers, next to sand dunes and a cedar forest. The better of the two is the furthest away. It has been equipped with umbrellas all provided by the Pyrgaki hotel on the hill above. At some distance from the sea but parallel to the beach, is the budding Pyrgaki resort, which is as yet sparsely built with a few rooms and very good family taverns

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