Guide to Naxos
Hora, often called Hora is not only Naxos’ capital but it is also the Cyclades’ economic centre. Entry into the harbour is guarded by the “Portara” of a temple of Apollo that was never finished: romantics flock here to watch the sunset. Wander around the old town built around the Kastro, the Venetian castle built in 1207. We recommend coming in through the Trani gates north west of the city as it provides a great view of the Crispi tower, the only one left standing. In the city centre you’ll find the Catholic church as well as the Ursuline and Capucine convents. The archaeological museum located next to the Kastro teaches visitors about Cycladic art.
Naxos’ large size makes it a great place for hiking. There are ample opportunities for exploration by foot, notably on the Tragea Plateau. During your walk, stop at the Kouros statue in Menales. Wander through the island’s central region to discover the charming little villages of Halki, Moni and Filoti, the “path of churches”. Apiranthos is undoubtedly one of the island’s most beautiful villages. Its streets and buildings are made of marble. Several museums, one of which is of course the archaeological museum located on the main road, display artefacts from different civilizations once influential on the island.
Don’t forget to go to the temple of Demeter, on the way to Ano Sangri in the centre of the island. Bring back a bit of Naxos with you, the peculiar consistency of its sand is good for making paper out of.
World renowned, Naxos’ beaches will not let you down. Here is a list of our favourites:
– Agios Georgios, just south of Hora, this beach is lined with terraces and pleasant taverns. Perfect for playing water sports.
– Agios Prokopios and Agios Ana, located approximately 5 kilometres from the capital. You’ll find all the comfort you desire with long chairs and nearby shops.
– Mikri Vigia, on the western coast is a powder sand beach and a heaven for windsurfing thanks to the “meltemi” wind that blows there regularly.
– Kastraki calmer, this beach is a good spot for a quiet picnic. A car is necessary to access its coves, but it has been cited as one of the island’s cleanest places.
– Apollonas, on the island’s northern tip, this sandy beach allows you to relax while admiring the Kouros statues.
Naxos: Must Sees
You cannot come to Naxos without stopping at these places:
– Hora, the capital: walking around its narrow winding roads makes for a fun adventure! Don’t miss the Portara where the ancient temple of Apollo once stood. Stroll through the city’s Kastro (fortified citadel).
– The temple of Appollo Palatia: started in the sixth century but never finished.
– The Drosiania church in the Traghea Valley: this Christian church was built in the sixth century. Its architecture includes domes, and inside there are a number of lovely paintings.
– The ancient temple of Demeter: off the road to Ano Sangri, the ruins are in very good condition.
– Aspiranthos: with its marble roads, is it one of the island’s most beautiful villages. There are three museums worth a visit here: the archaeological museum, the folklore museum and the geology museum.
– The Kouros statues at Appollonas and Melanes: these majestic marble statues depict young men and are believed to have been built to adorn a temple before they were abandoned.