Aromatic and colourful walks
The walks took us over hills and rocks and through meadows and even over a small river in one valley. The views were magnificent, especially the white villages hugging the mountainsides, Filotis being one of the nicest and nearest to Mount Zas. We passed the olive groves along the valleys. And went along the rocky mountain paths were we would come across herds of goats, we also saw ducks and a lone turkey. We noticed that there are very few cattle here on the island.
There was a lot more that we were delighted to see; there was the Kouros, an ancient statue never fully erected and still lying in its ancient quarry. The marble quarries and the emery and obsidian stone. The ruins of the temple to Demetre. The colour of the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. The interesting looking moths, butterflies, lizards and beetles. The beautiful sunsets. The lovely little shops full of copies of artefacts, some of which I saw in the local archaeological museum, very ancient remnants of life in Naxos and the Cyclades.
I came home very energised and happy, and with lots of photos and stones. Because of it being spring time, the whole of the island was covered in the blooms of wild flowers and herbs, a wonderful sight to behold! The fragrance of Oregano, Thyme, Chamomile, Lavender, and Melissa were a daily delight.
The island is also very rich in archaeological finds and remains as it has been lived on constantly for the past 3000 years. I very much enjoyed these sites and the feel of the history connected with it.
Simple but beautiful Byzantine churches and monasteries we found all over the island, many containing icons of great artistic value, covered in gold leaf and intricate painting, some are also half covered in silver to protect the paintings. The architecture of these churches, while simple, I found very graceful and atheistically pleasing, painted in brilliant white with some of the domes in Greek blue, the older ones, of which we saw quite a few, are in natural stone, even the roofs are. I loved all the blue and white which are the colours used to paint houses and churches. Ten days was too short to really get to know the people but I really enjoyed meeting the islanders.
What I miss most after having experienced in Naxos is the flavour of a real Greek Salad. The peacefull colours white and blue and fragrance and abundance of the flowers and herbs. Also I loved the sound of the language and the music.
This beach is on the further South part of Naxos, we wanted to rent a quad to get there but the hotel manager gave us the much appreciated advice to rent a big scooter instead.
The drive to reach it is long, you have to go East toward Filoti and than South, the road is deserted, there is absolutely nothing after Filoti all the way down to the beach. The road is sometimes steep with impressive view of the valley and the sea. It is mostly paved but there is a pebbly part in the middle and the last part is also white.
The beach is nice, with golden sand and clear crystal water. It is a bay so the water is warmer then elsewhere in Naxos. There were no beach facilities at all and no trees for shade. There is a small river that goes into the sea and a white church on the rock in the right.
On the left side of the beach (front at the sea) they were finishing to build a dock for small boats so i guess they are trying to develop this area more.
Except tourism , the second occupation of the local people is agriculture. There are many local products such as goat meat, potatoes, tomatoes, fruits and some of the most famous varieties of cheese (graviera, kefalotiri, anthotiro). And liquer "Kitron" a sweet aperitif which is made from the fruit Kitron ( a fryit close to lemon).
Top of the Cyclades
Mt. Zeus is the highest mountain in the Cyclades, 1001m high. It is a relatively easy hike, the ascend takes approx. 2 hours.
The starting point is at Filoti, which you easily reach by a bus from Hora. On the way you walk past the Cave of Zeus, which is one of many places claimed to be the birthplace of the god. Bring a good flashlight to be able to explore the cave.
The views from the top were great (although we really couldn´t enjoy them, see travelogue). And that feeling of beating the mountain, refreshing.
See travelogue for more details Ascending Mt. Zeus
For route information and other hikes in Naxos see "Walking the Greek Islands: Naxos and the small Cyclades" by Christian Ucke and Dieter Graf
A delicious stop in Halki
Driving around in Naxos Halki is a must to visit and in the little square in the middle of the little village you find this tiny taverna where you can find very typical dishes lihe greek salad, spinach pie, fresh fried potatoes but also something weird like the dish of the day: pork with tomato sauce, onions, peppers, mushrooms and beans!!! Oh yes! The perfect diet! In this little simple spot on the main street you'll find simple but tasty dishes for a very good price.