Naxos

Naxos

About Naxos

Naxos is a Greek island in the South Aegean, the largest of the Cyclades island group. Its fertile landscape spans mountain villages, ancient ruins and long stretches of beach. The namesake capital (also called Hora or Chora) is a port town filled with whitewashed, cube-shaped houses and medieval Venetian mansions. Kastro, a hilltop castle dating to the 13th century, houses an archaeological museum.

Naxos features prominently in Greek mythology. In this island Zeus, Apollo, Dionysus and Ariadne, Demeter and Artemis were worshiped above all. Zeus, father of all gods, was born in Crete but was brought up in Naxos in his honor the inhabitants named the island’s tallest mountain after him (Zeus or Zas).

Area: 165.9 mi²

Island group: Cyclades

Population: 18,904 (2011)

Climate

In Naxos, island of the Cyclades, the climate is Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and warm, sunny summers. The average temperature of January and February is 12 °C, that of July and August is 24.5 °C.

Safety

Naxos is generally a safe island. Be aware of rental scams, especially with agencies working only with motorbikes and ATVs. Using these types of vehicles is very common on Naxos and there are a lot of rental agencies. Some of them are ready to cheat. They will offer faulty motorbikes or ATVs for a lower price, but in case of accident they will demand that the customer pay for the whole cost of damage. They are offering only basic insurance but will present it like full insurance. Also, there is a big possibility of serious injuries.

It is possible to recognize these rental agencies by observing them aggressively attracting tourists and offering lower prices than others. Employees in front of these type of agencies will be loud and ready to promise everything until the contract is signed. It is necessary to check the vehicle before making any decision. Their vehicles are in most of the cases dusty, dirty and look old.

Getting Around

By taxi: Taxis are available throughout the island. Travellers who do not have a car when they reach the island do not face problems as there are taxis waiting at Chora port. Moreover there are taxis always waiting outside the airport’s gateway. Rates are fixed every year and different from low to high season.

By bus: The island of Naxos is served by a quite organised network of buses. Even though the routes and the timings differ from naxos boat winter to summer months, when the tourists are more, there are schedules posted at the bus stations, so as people get informed. In the high season buses there are frequent itineraries from Chora to Agios Prokopios & Agia Anna, Apollonas, Apiranthos, Chalki, Filoti, Mikri Vigla, Moutsouna, Agios Arsenios & Plaka, Pyrgaki, Sagri, Tripodes and other villages. Ticket values depend on the destination but they are generally very cheap, especially compared to taxi fares, and rarely overpass 3 euros (in certain long distances).

By car: Naxos has in general a good road network with asphalted and wide roads. However in order to reach most beaches travellers have to drive a few kilometres in earthroad. If you do not have your own car, you can easily rent a car at Naxos from fantasticgreece.com. It is the quickest way to get around, however you have to fulfil certain conditions to do so (p.e. driving licence, age etc).

Popular Car rentals: Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Naxos auto rental.

Activities

Old town

Naxos old town is divided into two neighbourhoods. Brougos where the Greeks lived and the fortified Venetian Castle (or Kastro in Greek) was built under the rule of Marco Sanoudo on the top of a natural hill where the Acropolis of ancient era was. Only two of the seven original seven twoers (those of Sanoudo and Glezos families) remain, although the North Gate survives and it is an excellent example of medieval fort entrance. The Venetian Catholic descendants still live in the old mansions which encircle the site.

Portars

The Portara, or the Great Door, is essentially a massive marble doorway that stands proudly as teh jewel of Naxos. It lies close to the port, on the islet of Palatia which was once a hill. Back in the ancient times a strip of land connected the north side of Naxos port to the islet of Palatia. Today, the strip of land has been replaced by a causeway.

Kastro

The Castle of Naxos Town along with the Tower of Glezos serves as a protective shield to the impregnable fortress of Sanoudos in Chora of Naxos. The fortification adjoining the fortress is conspicuous by its pentagonal shape and has three gates. The Glezos tower popularly referred to as the Krispi stands like a sentinel in close proximity to the northwestern gate and certain parts of the tower extend to the western and northern side of the fortress.

Eggares Olive Press Museum

In Naxos there are 90 counted olive press buildings. Today is operating as a museum. The building is made of stone, 100,00m2 that consists of 2 rooms, the traditional with all the stages of olive oil production as well as an exhibition with olive products. It’s dated back to 1884, from its press indication, but according to the hearsay of the locals, it’s dated before that, probably at the start of the century. see more

The Temple of Demeter

The Temple of Demeter was built in the 6th century BC. The temple was partially dismantled in the 6th century AD when a church was built over it. In later centuries the site was abandoned and plundered for its marble. It was subsequently restored by German archaeologists to its present state, which is now intact enough to show the basic form of the Temple of Demeter at Sangri. It is one of the few known temples with a square floor plan.

Archaeological Museum

This newly declared historical monument is located in a Venetian building, built sometime between 1600 and 1800 for the Jesuit school established in 1700, later becoming the Archaeological Museum in 1972. The museum houses finds from the Early Cycladic period including figurines from Naxos itself, Kato Kouphonisi and Keros, from the Late Mycenaean period including stirrup jars and other grave goods from chamber tombs and other graves from the Kamini mound and Aplomata. A smaller area is given over to finds from the Geometric Period and later finds, including sculpture from all periods of Naxos’ history.

Zas Mountain

Zas Mountain takes its name from the ancient Greek God Zeus. In Greek Mythology, Zeus was the father of all the other Gods. It was believed that he had spent his early life on Naxos. Zas mountain stands at an impressive 1,004 meters. Its summit offers stunning, panoramic views of the vast blue Aegean sea. On clear days, you can see all the Cycladic islands that surround Naxos. If you enjoy trekking, you can reach the mountain top by following a trail that starts from St. Marina Church. The church itself is on route to Danakos village.

Kouros Statue

The term Kouros refers to statues representing young male figures. There are three in Naxos The first is located on a hillside, directly above Apollonas village. The other two are close to the village of Melanes.

Bazeos Tower

The tower dates back to the 17th century and belongs to the most typical group of monuments in Naxos, dating from 13th to the 18th century. The reason for the common presence of such buildings has its sources in the social and historic conditions prevailing in post-Byzantine years. Great uncertainty prevailed at the time in the Aegean, because of the frequent pirate raids that had not stopped since the Byzantine era and also because of the feudal system on the island, which after having being introduced and systematically applied during Venetian rule, survived during the years of Turkish rule. see more

Cave of Zeus

The Cave of Zeus is a system of caves located on the slopes of Mount Ida, on the island of Crete, Greece. The deep cave has a single entrance and features beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. In antiquity it was a place of worship, because it was believed to be the cave where the titan Rhea hid the infant Zeus, to protect him from his father Cronus who intended to swallow him like other of his progeny. It is one of a number of caves believed to have been the birthplace or hiding place of Zeus. The Cave of Zeus may also refer to a cave by the same name on the Aegean island of Naxos or the Psychro Cave on Crete.

Booking

Old Town

Hotels

Portars

(Hotelcombined)

Kastro

Agoda

Eggares Olive Press Museum

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The Temple of Demeter

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Archaeological Museum

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Zas Mountain

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Kouros Statue

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Bazeos Tower

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Cave of Zeus

Accommodation

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Hotels

Expedia

(Hotelcombined)

Home away

Agoda

Hotels.com

Top Beaches

Agios prokopios beach

It is the most famous beach on the island. It has been honored as one of the best beaches of Europe. This 1.2 km long sandy beach is stretching from East to West. The southern exposure of the coast protects visitors from the north winds which makes it ideal for children. North of the beach are developed impressive Salinas. The homonymous chapel stands at the westernmost point of the beach. Type Sandy, Family Friendly, Partly Organized, Diving Club, Water sports.

Agia Anna beach

The beach of Agia Anna is essentially a continuation of Agios Prokopios in the southwest. Agia Anna is easily accessible, just 7 km away from Chora. The sandy beach of Agia Anna is well organized featuring sun beds, umbrellas, restaurants and beach bars. Agia Anna is awarded with a Blue Flag. Type Sandy, Family Friendly, Organised, Nudism Friendly.

Plaka beach

What used to be just a nudists’ beach is now one of the most popular beaches of Naxos, retaining bits of its original character. It is still a favourite beach for nudists, who flock mostly off season but it also gathers families and couples, especially during high season, which “forces” the nudists to segregate off to the one end, towards the south of this long and splendid beach. Its main characteristic is the long and wide, white expanse of sand and the turquoise water. Type Sandy, Family Friendly, Partly Organized, Windsurfing, Water sport.

Amitis beach

Amitis is a small, isolate beach on the way from Chora to Apollonas. It doesn’t have many visitors, while the wind is strong sometimes. Type Sandy, Non Organised, Secluded.

Mikri Vigla

Mikri Vigla is one of the most famous windsurfing spots in Naxos. The wind is perfect for windsurfing and kitesurfing and many watersports centre line this beach.

Abram beach

The beach of Abram (or otherwise called Abrami) is most well-known and is situated at a small cove along the north-western coast of the island, only 20 kilometres from Naxos Town. The journey itself is an experience as you will travel a scenic route which stretches along the top of steep cliffs which are punctuated with small coves with attractive beaches that offer great tranquil views. Its main characteristic is its exceptional natural beauty as the blue of the sea mixes with the green of the trees in a wonderful colour combination.

Saint George beach

Saint George beach is and has always been the most popular beach in Naxos. It lays south-west of the capital, Naxos Town, and is easily accessible on foot from almost every part of the capital. The beach is usually calm since it is well protected from the northern winds. It has shallow, warm waters so it is widely preferred by families with young children because it offers a great degree of safety. It is very well organized with many umbrellas and sun-beds for rent.

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