Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades, combining beautiful beaches and remote villages at the slopes of Mt Zas, the highest mountain of the area. These are our favourite 5 places you should definitely visit on Naxos island!
1. Chora of Naxos, 4 km north of the island airport
The Chora of Naxos is also the main harbor of the island. Park your car at the public parking areas and walk up to the residential neighborhood of Kastro (Castle). Stroll along the cobbled alleys and the Venetian 13th-century stone buildings with the tall arches and enjoy the view overlooking the port. Visit the Byzantine Museum at the Tower of Krispi or Glezos, as well as the Archaeological Museum at the central square at the top of the castle with the impressive marble statue collection.
At the north side of the port is the small island of Palatia, or Vakchos island. Here stands the Portara (Great Door), a marble gate, remaining of an unfinished temple built at 6th BC in honor of Apollo. According to the myth, this is where Thisseas abandoned Ariadne, the daughter of king Minos, on his way back from Crete where he killed the Minotaur. Following Athina’s orders Thisseas left Ariadne in Naxos. However Dionisos fell in love with her and married her.
2. Agios Prokopios beach, 6 km southwest of Chora, Naxos
Agios Prokopios is a long sandy beach ideal for all tastes. One part of the beach is organized with sun beds and water sports while the other one is more quiet. At the same time, Agios Prokopios is ideal for days with strong northern winds. If you decide to stay there during your holiday, there is a variety of rooms and restaurants in the area.
3. Mikri Vigla beach, 16 km south of Chora, Naxos island
Mikri Vigla is a sandy beach with two sides separated by a small hill. The northern side with stronger winds is a popular destination for wind and kite surfers. The southern beach is protected and more suitable for those who want to relax and enjoy the beach and the crystal waters.
4. Apollonas village, 35 km northeast of Chora, Naxos
Apollonas is a small fishing village with a sandy beach and nice tavernas for a quiet lunch by the sea. This is where the famous Naxian marble from the local quarry was shipped to the rest of Greece and other Mediterranean destinations. Rent a car in Naxos Chora and drive to Apollonas through Eggares, of if you feel a bit more adventurous you can take the long road through Kanakari and Mount Fanari, close to Apeirnathos village. Once you get to here visit the nearby archaeological site with the 10 meter famous statue of Kouros dating back to the 6th ceentury BC.
5. Apeiranthos village, 26 km east of Chora
Naxos island, like the rest of Greece, is much more than the beautiful coastline. Apeiranthos is a mountainous village at an altitude of 650 meters which has kept its authenticity and the traditional architecture using stone and marble.
Getting here will give you a chance to see much more of Naxos than if you stick to the coast. Park your car at the top of the village and walk down to the main street and the impressive church of Panagia Apeirathitissa. Visit the Archaeological museum or the Museum of Folk Art to learn more about the history and local culture. The locals have a strong connection with Cretans and share the same accent as the inhabitants of the mountainous villages of Crete.
Post featured photo by Navin RajagopalanFollow, licensed.