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.
Fondest memory: 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.
Favorite thing: Portara is called the uncompleted Temple of Apollo which is situated on a very small island Palatia which is connected with Naxos island by a narrow road. Portara has 6 m. height and 3,5 m. Archaeologists believe that the building of the temple had stop when war broke out between Naxos and Samos and it remained unfinished.
Favorite thing: The Venetian castle is situated at the upper part of the town of Naxos. The castle is a medieavl city which includes a complex of houses and some towers. In some of them some venetians catholics still live. It s the most nice location to enjoy the sunset.
Favorite thing: Agios Prokopios is a very big beach which is situated at the southwest coast of Naxos and is considered as one of the most beautiful of the island. The water is crystal clear and the sand is gold and due to its position protected from the north winds.
Favorite thing: Agia Anna is a resort situated 8 km south of Naxos town. It s the most known touristic sandy beach of Naxos, with very clear water but very crowed all hours during the summer. There are also many restaurants, taverns, and beach cafes and clubs, along the beach and at general area of Agia Anna. Windsurfing and other water sports are available on the beach.
This beautiful seaside resort is situated in the north of the island.
Not far from Apollonas and near the entrance of an ancient quarry there is a half finished "kouros". This is a very big statue (6th century B. C.) that should represents the god Dionisos.
The history of the island goes back to Ancient Greece times. Herodotus had written about the products of the island (fruits, olives, wine). What’s more, Naxos had high quality marble. In Cycladic Era (2500 BC) the town must been in the area above the castle where many tombs, statues and other things have been found. During the second millennium BC (Minoan Era) Creta takes all the power that lasts for many centuries. During the Classic Era in the island many temples and statues are dedicates to the Gods. Because of the marble quality sculptors and architectures had the opportunity to build temples for Dimitra, for Apollo, the statues of Kouros etc
At 490 BC during the Persian war Naxos lost, the inhabitants went away and many cities tried to take advantage of this after (Athens, Sparta, Egypt, Macedonia etc). The roman empire used the island as place of exile. During Byzantium era many churches build over the temples and in 1207 the Venetian Marko Sanudo founded the Douchy of Aegean sea, built the castle in Hora and his offices built their towers across the island. The ottoman empire were taking taxes but there’s nothing left on the island to be seen by that period (1564-1821)
There are at least two of these Kouros on Naxos. They are believed to been made in the 6th century BC and are thought to have represented gods or heroes.
This one is near the town of Melanes, just lying there in a field. It was never finished but still makes a impression, especially its size.
On our day driving around Naxos we came across a lot of villages. Naxos is much less touristic than many other Greek Islands and many villages are unaffected by tourism.
Fondest memory: I was feeling rather tired after driving on these roads, which are not the best in the world. So, we stopped in this village, Koronida, right by the road under a big tree and took a nap for half an hour. The peace was incredible the only sounds that broke the silence were the birds singing and the occational goat.
A good idea for romantic couples is to take an evening walk from Naxos town up to Agia Ioannis Theológos, which is a small church located on a hill up from the town, close to the Chrysóstomos monastery. It takes less than an half an hour to walk up there from the ferry harbour.
Fondest memory: The sunset view from the steps of this small church is magnificent plus you have a great view over the town. My girlfriend and I were the only people up there and it was a beautiful moment.
I can't pick one single thing . . . and that's why I chose this picture. I spent a long time thinking what was best, and realized I couldn't put my finger on it. Naxos has a bustling, touristy port town, but other parts of the island make you feel you are alone on planet Earth. There are ancient ruins, and flowers newly bloomed.
Fondest memory: Here in this picture (taken in the town of Apiranthos) I think my thoughts are summed up. It's a strong tower, and a cliff, and a beautiful work of architecture, and a garden, and a birdhouse . . .
This beach is on the West side of the island, northern than Naxos town.
I rented a Quad to get there and it was a real fun experience as this part of the island is the most suitable for this kind of bike. There are plenty of unpaved sandy roads along the cost where you will need the 4 wheels and wide sandy areas where you can really enjoy the drive and have fun.
Mikri Vigla is a long beach with white sand and crystal blue water, it is very large with some intersting rocks in the right side forming little sandy cove.
There were some cedar trees for the shade and one beach rental with sunbeds and umbrellas. There were also a small taverna.
With a quad you can drive back to Naxos town following the sandy roads that go north along the cost but I would not try those with a different kind of scooter. Too easy to get stuck in the sand.
On your way north you will see several other wonderful smaller beaches worth a visit.
While in Apiranthos I asked a bar tender which one was the best beach on the East coast of the island. He told me to go to Moutsona bay. We drove the scooter down a steep, narrow, curvy and not protected road for about 25 minutes but we did not liked Moutsona bay too much, so we kept going to the next one Psili Ammos bay, about 9 km South.
Psili Ammos is a half moon shaped bay with crystal clear shallow water and white sand. The sand form some nice dunes where cedar trees grow and provide some shade. One the right part of the beach (front at the water) there are some interesting rock formations to explore.
I do not remember for sure if there were beach rentals or taverna by this beach I probably was too tired for all that seating on the small scooter saddle and cooked by the sun!
Saint George is the town beach of Naxos. It lay right outside the East side of the Chora and it is very long, sandy and with clear enaugh shallow water. The further you go from the Chora the wider and cleaner is the beach.
There are beach rentals (7 euros two sunbed and umbrella in 2008) and beach bars where you can have a snack, a drink or a delicious Horiatiky (greek salad).
There are free showers to wash off the salt and the sand from your body.
Fondest memory: The best spot for me was by the Trata bar. Their pergola was the best to cool off with a Frappe or to have lunch and, as soon as the sunset aproach, they pull out chairs and little tables on the beach and you can sit and sip your drink watching the sun go down in the water.
South of Chora, you can reach it with KTEL bus that start at Chora port. It is a short ride, maybe 10-15 minutes.
The beach is long, sandy, with shallow water and VERY organized. The sea is the usual wonderful Greek sea, but there were too many people for my taste, a endless line of beach rentals, sunbeds, umbrellas and sweaty bodies.
After awhile I noticed that the left part of the beach (water in front of you) seemed to be more quiet, there were some little boats, no rentals, a lot less people and an interesting promontory to explore with a nice traditional white and blue chapel on top.
I definitely reccomend this beach to those who have childrens because there are many playgrounds and beach activities, to those who like loud music because there are plenty of beach bar thay play VERY LOUD music, but I would not go back.