The island of Naxos has a large variety of things to offer; delicious food, traditional villages, beautiful beaches, significant archaeological sites, numerous hiking paths and water sports. It’s a destination that can satisfy any taste!
One of the lesser known of the Cyclades islands, Naxos is the largest & also the greenest of the group. Farming having been its principal activity for years, tourism is fairly new in Naxos. Yet unspoiled by the progress that popularity brings, it still possesses a genuine unaffected Greek character seen and felt throughout its villages and its people.
The island has an area of 430 sq. kms, with 20,000 inhabitants and over 52 villages. Mount Zeus, the highest peak in the Cyclades (1003 meters high) dominates the landscape.
Naxos has long wide stretches of golden sand and crystal blue water. Its beaches are considered the best in the Cyclades and among the five best in Greece.
Its biggest appeal, however, lies in the diversity in scenery as well as the activities, which includes windsurfing, kite-surfing, snorkeling, sailing, and great walking trails.
Approaching Naxos by boat one of the first sights is the 20-foot high marble archway known as “Portara” or the Apollo Temple, surviving since the 6th century B.C.
Naxos town extends upward to what is known as “Chora”, crowned by a 13th century Venetian castle overlooking the harbour. The buildings of the castle “Kastro” surround a gothic tower (one remaining tower out of five) and are accessed through narrow cobbled streets, low archways and stone steps.
The Kastro is not the only Venetian imprint left on Naxos. Venetian castles (1207 to 1566) are scattered throughout the island. Another 6th century B.C. temple is the “Temple of Dimitras” in Sangri. There are excellent examples of churches from the Byzantine period (330-1204) with well-preserved frescoes in the Sangri area. Kalamitsia in Melanes and Fotodotis in Danakos are just two of many well preserved fortified monasteries from the 16th and 17th century.
Activities on Naxos:
- Fabulous beaches!
- Historical Sites/Ancient Ruins
- Tours of small villages
- Sailing trips
- Food, wine & nightlife
- Scuba diving and snorkeling