Naxos, Escape to the paradise of the Cyclades
Green areas, high mountains, deep ravines, springs, cedar forests, caves, endless sandy beaches. The island is only one of the few inhabited since ancient times - a place with unpretentious nature that provokes you to explore it.
A walk in Chora, built amphitheatrically on a hill with Kastropolitia dominating at its highest point, is the famous spot of the island. The narrow uphill roads will lead you to the Venetian Castle (founded in 1207), wander in its winding alleys connected with the medieval history of the place and feel like traveling to the past, where Venetian lords roamed its alleys. On the outskirts of the Castle is the picturesque Old Town, a settlement with narrow cobbled streets adorned with arches, Cycladic houses and Venetian mansions with inner flowery courtyards. Stroll through the medieval streets and admire in the central square the Metropolitan Cathedral, an impressive medieval building with marble floors and coats of arms. In the same square is the Archaeological Museum of Naxos housed in an old mansion. After wandering in the Castle, end up in Portara, a monument - symbol of Naxos for unique photos overlooking the sea at sunset.
You should not miss one of the most important gifts that the island offers, nature, as you will walk among the uniquely beautiful traditional lowland and mountain villages. From Chora to Melanes, from Melanes to Filoti and from there to Apeiranthos, the beauty of the place will captivate you.
For enjoyable dives and swimming you have only to discover one by one the countless beaches of the island. Just 2 km south of Chora is the first beach called Agios Georgios with its wide, sandy beach with shallow waters. Continue and you will find the beach of Agios Prokopios, its waters remind of a swimming pool, followed by the beaches of Agia Anna with golden sand, perhaps the most popular beaches in Naxos full of restaurants and beach bars. Below the coast is the beach of Plaka, which stands out for the enchanting scenery composed by the white, fine sand, the high dunes and the endless blue. Shortly after Plaka to the south, Orkos will excite you with its beauty. The continuous, small and shady coves make the area ideal for private dives! For the real adventurers, Mikri Vigla beach, Hawaii beach and Alyko beach are the most isolated, quiet and exotic beaches of the island.
Enjoy the excellent local cuisine of Naxos
Naxos is famous for its delicious dishes. In the traditional taverns and restaurants you will enjoy local dishes of Naxos, such as pork roast (garlic-wine pork in the pot), the "monk" (beef with eggplant and cheese), pork fricassee with herbs, "Zula" (boiled goat), the "patudo" (stuffed lamb or goat with aromatic herbs), braised rooster with thick spaghetti and cinnamon, lemon rabbit, goat with potatoes or spaghetti, braised veal. While from the seafood with the kolios, the salatouri (skate with lemon oil sauce), the marinated anchovy, the lobster spaghetti and the grilled octopus you will make you gain some extra weight!
Do not forget to try the locally recognized products such as the Naxian potatoes, the cheese products (gruyere, kopanisti, xinomyzithra, kefalotyri, etc.) and the citrus liqueur.
From the local sweets stand out: the "brunette", a kind of walnut pie, which contains a small amount of citrus and is usually served with ice cream and spoon sweets (cherry, citrus, quince, sour cherry).
Best time to visit Naxos
Each season has its charm and no matter how much the seaside villages of Naxos steal the show during the summer months, the rest of the time it is worth visiting its mountain villages, to get to know its tradition.
How to use transportation in Naxos
Airport/port transfer options
For Naxos, you can travel either by ferry from the port of Piraeus (duration from 4 to 6 hours), from the port of Rafina (duration from 3.5 to 6 hours), or by plane from the airport of Athens (duration 45 minutes).
To get around Naxos, it is good to have your own car, but even if you don’t, there are local bus routes. Of course there is also the option of a taxi, which can take you anywhere you want on the island.