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Naxos:
The aristocratic cosmopolite of the Cyclades

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Naxos: The aristocratic cosmopolite of the Cyclades

Aristocratic yet traditional, cosmopolitan yet mysterious, touristy but still authentic, with a rich history imprinted on its archaeological sites, the medieval castle towns and the Byzantine churches, the largest island of the Cyclades invites you to experience memorable holiday moments. Discover its unique villages, its popular as well as most unchartered beaches and its unprecedented gastronomic wealth.

Your ticket to Naxos will lead you to a place of unlimited options, where one visit is never enough.

Routes & Attractions

The first view of the island when you approach the port by boat is the characteristic landmark of the impressive Portara. It is the marble gate of the Temple of Apollo, dating back to the 6th century BC and built on the islet of Palatia in Chora. It is ideal to visit the Portara just before the sun goes down, to marvel at the unique sunset.

Staying in Chora, walk to the Castle of Naxos to admire the medieval castle town of the 13th century, one of the few that are still inhabited today. There you will also find the Archaeological Museum of Naxos, with unique exhibits from the Early Cycladic period and collections of ceramics of the Mycenaean era.

One of the most famous villages of the Cyclades is the picturesque mountain village of Apiranthos, known as the "marble village", where you will admire the Venetian towers and the alleys with vaulted arches that will take you to the "plazza", the main square of the village, with the beautiful traditional cafes. Before you leave, visit Apiranthos Women's Traditional Art Cooperative for its traditional hand-woven textiles.

Take a walk in the village of Chalki and visit the Vallindras Distillery - Museum, where the famous citrus liqueur of Naxos, made of citrus leaf distillate has been produced since the end of the 19th century by the same family that keeps the recipe a secret to this day. Halki, in the green valley of Tragea, is known as "Little Mystras" of the Cyclades with over thirty Byzantine churches.

Climb to the top of Zas, the highest mountain in Cyclades, where Zeus grew up, according to mythology, and enjoy the view of the Aegean Sea. You can also visit the cave of Zas, on the northwest slopes of the mountain.

In the island’s ancient marble quarries, at Apollonas and Flerio, you will admire the unfinished giant archaic statues of the Kouroi of Naxos, dating back to the 6th century BC.

Passing through the village of Sagri, stop at the archaeological site of Gyroula, which was an archaic centre of worship of the goddess Demeter, with the marble sanctuary of 530 BC.

Close to Sagri is the mountain village of Damalas, with a pottery workshop where you may discover the special ceramics of Naxos.

Admire the view of the Aegean Sea during your visit to the impressive Holy Monastery of Fotodotis, which is the oldest castle monastery in Naxos, above the village of Danakos.

The villages of Naxos are full of small surprises waiting for you to discover them, so is the village of Moni, built on a green slope, where you will admire the Byzantine monastery of Panagia Drosiani.

Beaches & Activities

A go-to for families with young children, the beach of Agios Georgios is close to Chora, fully organized and ideal for water sports in its shallow turquoise waters, which make it extremely popular.

Blue-green waters and fine golden sand await you at the cosmopolitan beach of Agios Prokopios, which has been awarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Much of it is organized and offers many options for water sports.

Mikri Vigla, a long sandy beach with turquoise waters is also very popular. It is divided in two by a rocky hill: the north side is preferred by those who love windsurfing and kitesurfing, while its south side (the Sahara) is frequented by couples and families who seek moments of relaxation in the organized part of beach, with its crystal-clear, shallow waters.

Four kilometres away is the beach of Plaka, a continuation of the famous Agia Anna, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Naxos thanks to its characteristic dunes and fine, white sand.

If you long for more relaxed and quiet moments, the exotic and sheltered beach of Aliko on the northwest part of the island is an ideal choice, with the cedar forest that surrounds it, the white sand dunes, and turquoise waters.

Tastes of the island

A fertile land, with developed livestock farming and fishing, Naxos is famous for its local products and its unique gastronomic tradition, which you may enjoy in the villages and traditional tavernas, but also in new restaurants that raise the island’s culinary profile by making good use of its excellent raw materials.

Its valleys, vineyards and olive groves offer a variety of products, such as the famous Naxos potatoes, but also its local sweet wine.

Try the exquisite local cheeses, such as the famous Naxos graviera made of cow's milk, but also the Arseniko (sheep's and goat's kefalotyri), which are part of the island's cheese-making with roots in antiquity.

Citron holds a prominent place, as the fruit of the citrus tree gives the elegant citron liqueur, produced unceasingly and only in Naxos, since the 19th century.

In Apiranthos, look for kolokithopastitsa, fried pumpkin pie, rosto (braised pork) and the fine ham of Apiranthos, which resembles the Italian prosciutto.

The local recipes of Naxos include sefoukloti (pie with chard, rice and raisins), served during Lent, and patoudo (stuffed lamb roll with chard and fennel), a typical Easter Sunday dish.

Dessert lovers try the melachrino, the local citrus walnut pie, accompanied by kaimaki ice cream made from sheep's milk, almonds, and citrus jam. In the mountain villages you will find excellent oven-baked desserts and spoon sweets.

Traditions & Events

Throughout the year, events and local customs are held on the island, such as the "koudounati" on "kreatini" (meat-eating) Sunday and the "foustanellati" on Ash Monday, the traditional Easter with local music and dancing, as well as festivals on major religious celebrations. August 15th is celebrated throughout the island and especially in the village of Filoti.

In the summer, Naxos Festival takes place in the stately Bazeos Tower, dating back to the 17th century, in the valley of Agiassos.

Don’t miss…

Discover the hiking trails of Naxos, including the beautiful path that starts from the old bridge of Keramoti and reaches the waterfall of Routsouna, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the lake.

MAP OF NAXOS
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