As the Cyclades’ largest island, it could be said that in Naxos there is something for everyone. A mostly mountainous island with alternating landscape of torrents, gorges, caves, basins, plateaus and valleys encircled by 91 km of pristine coastline. Naxos is a great place to experience diverse outdoor activities;from hiking, mountain biking and water sports, to culinary expeditions such as partaking in the wine or olive oil harvest.Naxos is also an island of beautiful old churches, monasteries and Venetian castles coexisting in harmony with Cycladic cubic houses.
Upon entering the port, the whitewashed town of Naxos and the islet of Palatia at its entrance form the most welcoming setting. On Palatia islet lays the impressive “Portara”, a marble gate of a 6th Century BC temple of Apollo. According to mythology, the God Dionysus met Ariadne there, who had been abandoned by Thesseus.
The capital of Naxos, whose landmark is an imposing Venetian castle, is an old castle town with stone paved alleys where you can admire a unique blend of Cycladic and Medieval architecture.Naxos used to be the seat of the Ducat of the Aegean; a great number of well preservedtowers can be seen on the island, bearing eloquent witness to the island’s glorious past.
Being the most fertile island of Cyclades, Naxos boasts a major agricultural production. Do not miss the chance to taste local quality products like extra virgin olive oil, potatoes (the most delicious in Greece), traditional sweets made of fresh fruit (“spoon sweets”), the island’s famous liqueur called “Kitron”, mouthwatering wine and above all the renowned cheeses of Naxos: graviera (hard cheese), xinomyzithra (made of goat or sheep milk, yeast, and salt), xinotyro (sour cheese) and arseniko (a tasty hard cheese made of goat and sheep milk.
When in Naxos you enjoy the advantages of a remote and holistic experience with the security of a large island equipped with plenty of goods and high end services.
By airplane: Naxos is connected to Athens with regular domestic flights. The airport is located 1km from Naxos town.
By ferry: The island is connected to the ports of Piraeus and Rafina with daily itineraries. The highspeed ferry takes around 2.5 – 3.5 hrs and the conventional ferry takes up to 6hrs. Also, Naxos is connected with the rest of the Cyclades with inter Cycladic ferry routes to Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Koufonissia and other destinations.
- Naxos Archaeological Museum:The Archaeological Museum of Naxos is situated at the central square at the top of the Kastro. It is inside a beautiful 17thCentury Venetian building. It has five floors and was built to be a school for Jesuits eventually housing the School of Commerce in the late 19th Century and later becoming the Archaeological Museum in 1973 also being declared a historical monument since then. The museum also has an outstanding collection of Mycenaean pottery dating back to the second millennium B.C.
- Portara:Portara is one of Naxos’ most famous landmarks and is connected to Naxos town with a man-made causeway. The rectangular door stands 8m (26ft) high and is made of four blocks of marble weighing 20 tons. The Portara is the entrance to an unfinished temple that faces directly towards Delos (island right opposite Mykonos), Apollo’s birthplace. It stands on “Palatia”, which was once a hill but now is a separate little island.
- Apiranthos Archaeological Museum:Although the Museum is housed in a rather modest establishment in Apiranthos’ main street, it hosts the most important archaeological finds of the area. The exhibits include oil lamps and small receptacles of the early Cycladic period (3000-2700 BC), Cycladicidols and vessels, sculptures, parts of marble architectural structures, tools, weapons etc.The most important and rare exhibitsare considered the 10 stone slabs with rock drawings of scenes of everyday life, found at a hill overlooking the eastern coast of Naxos, where archaeologists believe that there was a small sanctuary and a watch tower.
- Hiking trail from Apiranthos to Moutsouna (12km):The hike starts from the main square of Apiranthos. You will walk through steep slopes with an excellent view until you reach a stream and see the emery mines after about a two-hour walk.The caves-tunnels of the mines as well as the open trucks used for the transportation of the emery compose an extraordinary setting.Then, you have two choices, either to go back to the village following the same road or to carry on walking in the direction of Moutsouna. If you choose the second option, follow the road for about 1,5km until you reach a road in the shape of a horseshoe where there is a path sloping down on your right. Walk along the stream on a dirt road for about 30 minutes and then you will see the picturesque little harbour of Moutsouna where the trucks carrying the emery used to end up starting their own trip.
- Naxos historic distillery:In the heart of Halki village, the old capital of Naxos, there is a small distillery that today works mostly as a museum. This distillery was established in 1896 and was managed by Vallindras family. It used to produce a very famous liqueur of the island, “Kitron”, a sort of yellow drink from a fruit that looks like a lemon but has a bitter taste. After visiting the distillery you can stroll around the alleys of the village and taste a traditional coffee under the eucalyptus.
Visit at the traditional villages of Naxos: Apirathos is a colorful mountainous village with beautiful squares and narrow alleys paved with marble. Its inhabitants have a Cretan accent and it is said that they are descendants of Cretan pirates that found shelter in Naxos during the Venetian times. Filoti, built on the top of a rock, is a picturesque village with cubic shaped houses and narrow stone-paved alleys. At the community of Sagri (AnoSagri, Kato Sagri, Kanakari, Kastraki and MikriVigla) you will admire the Venetian towers, the traditional windmills and a number of major Byzantine churches.