Naxos is the largest island of Cyclades and is located in the heart of the Aegean. It is one of the most mountainous islands and always stood on the historical path as a cultural center in the Aegean, which can be prooved by the towers, castles and the ancient temples of the island. The last several years, Naxos has a cosmopolitan atmosphere of a modern tourist resort without losing its traditional color, culture and a sense of historicity.
Portara is a trademark of the island and the first image someone sees when entering the port . It is a marble gate dating back to 6th-7th century BC. This gate was made for the temple of Apollo which was tried to built by the tyrant Ligdamis, but remained unfinished after the fall of his tyranny. Dominates over the rock because of its large dimensions (54m over 28m) and is a very good place to admire the sunset.
On the island you will find many scattered Venetian towers. It is worth taking the time to visit some of them up close and admire mentally transported many years before, the turrets, the battlements and the reliefs on the facades. Most known are: the Calabria, the Chimaros, Zevgolis, Agia, Bazeos and dozens more.
In the top of Naxos Town is built its Castle. Constructed by the Venetian Marco Sanudo was administrative, educational and religious center of the Venetian conquerors. Passing the "Great Door" and ascending the narrow streets, you will find in the center of Castle the square, where you'll see the Catholic Cathedral, the remains of the central tower, the Sistine Kazatza - a 13th century chapel and the Ursuline School.
Located in the northeastern part of the island, at an altitude of 550 meters. Perhaps the "most authentic" village of the whole island, and one of the most beautiful places in the Aegean maintaining its architectural form almost intact, from the Venetian times. Many of the streets are covered with vaulted arches and together with the stone houses and beautiful squares compose a stunning, historic village. The villagers are characterized by their dialectas as well as a series of village's customs and traditions it worths knowing.
A museum extremely interesting is the Archaeological Museum of Naxos. Housed in an old mansion in the town Castle has findings dating from the Neolithic Age to the 6th century AD. In another imposing building of the castle is housed the Byzantine Museum. You can see a very valuable exhibition with many Byzantine sculptures from all Cyclades. It also offers spectacular views of the harbor. The Cathedral square of Naxos is including the epitope Archaeological museum. Unique of its kind in Greece, gives the opportunity for the vissitors to wander alone looking ancient relics exactly where they found. Last but not least is the village Apeiranthou, which perhaps is a global phenomenon having five (!) Museums. Archaeological Museum with archaeological finds of the region, Museum of Fine Arts with remarkable paintings, sculptures and engravings, Natural History with an aquarium and great collection of shells and skeletons, Folklore Museum with over 1,200 exhibits of folk art and Geology at the Municipal school with rock samples, minerals and ores.
Naxos has a really long coastline full of beaches, some secluded and quiet, others cosmopolitan, and most of these windswept. We start with Saint George in Naxos Town, which attracts people because of its variety of water sports and several beach bars. Just a few km away are "Agios Prokopios" and "Agia Anna" both really in the trees and with crystal clear waters. Third in the series is the wonderful, 4 km long (!), beach of Plaka. For extreme sport and battles with the wind and waves we suggest "Parthenos" Beach, small Vigla and Apollo. Finally, the most lonely guys can look for the Kalanto, the Klidos and "Psili Ammos".
Naxos has an airport where flights arrive from Athens daily, and a port where ships arrive also daily from Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio. Inside the island you can navigate with buses serve all the villages and beaches. The bus schedule however is not often, but you can adjust your explorations. However it would be wize to rent a car having more movement freedom and because the island is really large.
Flavors and shopping guide
Naxos foods are full of flavors from its land and sea. Except of course the delicious fresh fish and other seafood we suggest you try "Melitzanopita" with "Arseniko" cheese of Naxos, "the Monk" which is an amazing combination of eggplant-beef-cheese and fantastic rolls with olive oil. Leaving bring along some unique cheeses, such as gruyere, touloumotyri, thilikotiri or ladotyri. Take also wine because Naxos considered to be the birthplace of Dionysus, god of wine and entertainment.