The Archaeological Museum of Naxos is located at the top of the hill in the central square of the castle. Next to it is a very old monastery and the square is very nice with very old 17th Century Venetian buildings around it. The building it used to be a school for Comerce but in the 19th Century it has become the Archaeological Museum and declared a historical building in 1973.
The museum it has two floors of archaeological finds from Late Neolithic period to Early Christian times. All the finds in the museum are from excavations that have taken place around the island.
In the museum you will find a lot of marble statues,gold jewelry, vessels, clay pots and coins. Also on display is wooden tools and a lot of burial objects.
My favourite piece of the collection there is the almond shape vessel in my second photo. I think the detail on it and the condition that it was found in one piece makes unique.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.30 am until 14.30 pm
The price of the ticket it was 1.50 euros.
Address: Ioannou Dellaroka
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Naxos is quite a big island, offering wonderful landscapes, so the best to do is to have a scooter or a car to visit the inland villages and the best beaches, which are on the south-western coast, starting with Agio Prokopio, 5 minutes from Naxos Town, to Agia Anna, Plaka, Mikri Vigla ad Aliko. Logistically, it is much better and relaxing to have accomodation in this area and not in town, but what is a must is to go to town for a nice dinner, for example enjoying the sunset in one of the seafront restaurants, a stroll in the fascinating alleys of the Venetian medieval Castro and...proper shopping therapy!!!
Naxos is changing quickly and there are few new restaurants on the seafront that are definetely changing the "bad name" it had in the past: now you can choose among excellent Greek or Italian cuisine, pizza or ouzerie style places, enyoing the amazing view of the sailing boats and the Portara, the symbol of the island. So off you go, exploring the Island of Ariadne during the day, to plung into Naxos Town and the Paralia (that's how the seafront is called) where everything happens at night!
Address: Round Naxos in the daytime, Paralia at night!
- Food and Dining
When you have been in Naxos for more than 2-3 times, then you want to do something more than see the "Portara", sleep at the beach and visit the villages. And Naxos won't let you down, there are many things to do. I would start with water sports like windsurfing, cannoning, sailing or whatever you prefer. There are quite a few business working on this at the Saint George beach.
If surfing on the surface of the water seems boring to you, then i have to recommend scuba diving. You can only do this in Saint Prokopios beach where there are 2-3 business with all the essential equipment, there is also a beautiful seabed there to see, so if scuba is too much for you, don't forget to take your snorkel with you.
If you are not a water sports fan, there is no way that you will deny a peaceful ride on a horse with a magnificent view of the sunset. There are some business working on this as well but the prices are a little salty, if you know what i mean.
- Water Sports
- Diving and Snorkeling
Naxos has many ancient sites, the most visible of course being the Portara, on the islet of Palatia, which is just outside the harbour. The huge frame is all that remains of a temple that was dedicated to Apollo.
Built in the 6th Century, this magnificent landmark was built with marble.
There is a walkway to the Portara, and once on the Palatia islet, which is covered with wildflowers- photo opportunties abound.
The climb up to the Portara is slightly challenging, but well worth the view once one gets there.
The Kouros is a enormous 7th Century BC statue of a man, laying on its back- and situated in an ancient quarry, above Apollonas beach.The statue measure 10m, and is easy to locate. Follow signs on the road from Hora to Apollonas.
Temple of Dimitra- set on top of a hill, the well preserved ruins of this temple are well worth a visit.
There is a small museum on the site, which is worth a visit .
The surrounding hills are covered in wildflowers.
Temple of Dimitra is approx 1.5km south of Sangri.
- Historical Travel
Not everyone enjoys wandering around museums. However, this is a small one, with some fascinating artifacts, which were discovered on the island.
All of Greece is an Archeologist Paradise- so if one can't actually do the digging, at least one can admire the treasures that we are fortunate to examine.
The artifacts and statues are well dispayed, with explanations in English and Greek.
The Museum attendent was kind enough to elaborate if we wanted more information.
Directions: Above harbour in old walled area
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The old walled area called the Castro is atmospheric, interesting and easy to explore.
It overlooks the harbour, and has quite unique ancient architecture. The narrow cobbled lanes with their walls of creepers and flowerboxes lure one firther and further- but because of the easy and compact nature of the area, its easy going. Take your time and meander.
Then- grab a map of the island, hire a small car, and drive around the island. The beaches are magnificent, some have small fishing harbours- some are secluded. But all have sparkling azure waters and sandy beaches to walk along.
Inland, driving is easy. Take any road that has a good sign. Its difficult to get lost on Naxos anyway, and one never knows what magical surprise lies around each corner. We saw Vineyards- with very unusual vines. On the islands the vines are grown in coils, I would guess this is an ancient practise that is carried on by the islanders. It may also be a shortage of wood (for supporting vines0
The Olive farms have steppes, and the trees look as ancient as they probabably are. They are, however, laden with olives- fertile soil in the valleys.
I would recommend Naxos for all travellers in Greece- it really has something for everyone.
Address: Castro Old Walled City
Directions: Overlooks harbour, Naxos
- Historical Travel
Exiting the waterfront of Hora and after surviving the maze of alleys of Bourgos, lay the magnificent Kastro (Fort). Its origin is Venetian.
The houses here are starkingly whitewashed and as I meandered my way up on a hot afternoon, I found eeriely and hauntingly silent alley ways awaiting my arrival. If you stand really still, you can just imagine hearing a pin drop.
The scenery is therapeutic. Silence engulfed you, just hugging you but not suffocating you. A cat companied me part of the journey up before it yawned and slinked down a side alley. The entire place felt so abandoned and so much so, I almost jumped out of my skin in fright when a young couple exited from behind a seemingly crumbling door (presumably their home) and we startled each other.
At the top of the Kastro are 3 monuments.
The almost invisible Archaeological Museum is here (entry 3 Euros, circa Sep 2006), housed within the Kastro itself, in a former school, where you'll find Hellenistic, Roman and some early Cycladic figurines as well as weaponry and jewelries. The collection is quite substantial for such a small space though I found myself having difficulties concentrating on the exhibits as I was still perspiring aplenty (Note: There is no air-conditioning)
Step up to the roof top and you'll find colourful Roman mosaics on display.
Exiting the museum, I stumbled upon a very handsome Roman Catholic Cathedral, looking every bit beautiful with the trees around it in full bloom.
Walking down the stairs a little further and close by, lies the crumbling Della Rocca-Barozzi Venetian Museum where according to the signs on display, sunset concerts are held. Standing behind the fence ropes and looking at the concert venue, I could only imagine how awesome it is!
Directions: Kastro, Naxos Town.
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
A very old church, some parts are dated back in VII and VIII century, it is a wonder how it can still stand. The structure is heavy with wide stone made walls, decorated with arch where the bells hung.
When I visited there were some women selling their embroidery in order to make the money to keep up the place. I am not sure this was the truth, I guess yes, but the objects were nice and inexpensive so why not?
Koronos is in the Northern part of the island, it is somehow similar to Apiranthos but, as it is hard to reach being in a remote part up by the side of a tall mountain, it is absolutely not touristic.
I counted one bar (closed) and two small taverna in the center.
Walk around is hard as everything is very steep with narrow paved street but it was so quiet, sleepy and real that it sure worth the visit.
I believe the people living here have some trouble with TV signal so they got pretty creative on antennas, take a look to the last picture of this tip to see what I mean.
From Naxos is easy to organize a day trip to Santorini, you can choose to take the normal ferry and than use the buses to visit but I found much more confortable, given the short time, to book a day tour in one of the many travel agency in town.
The boat left the port at 7.15, the trip last about 2 hours and if you look carefully you might get lucky as I did and see douphins swimming along the boat. Take your food if you want a morning snack, the boatìs bar will be of course expensive and with a small selection, btw the coffee was awful either.
The aproach by sea to Santorini is hard to describe, so impressive and dramatic that it would be worth the trip even if you would just turn around ang go back without visiting the villages.
At the port there were a private bus with a tour guide that took us easily to Oia Village and than to Thira village. They left us enaugh time to look around and have a refreshing drink and the guide gave us enaugh informations. They did not took us around the villages, just let us wonder on our own that I liked best.
We arrived back in Naxos at 8.30pm. The day trip was sure exhausting but gave us a pretty good idea about Santorini and made the experience much easyer than it would have been organizing a day like this on our own.
Be aware that due to the strong wind in all Cycladic island, the navigation with a small boat like those can get pretty rough. If you get sea sick bring your medication and take them even if at the port the sea seems to be calm. If the sea get strong with high waves, be very carefull on the boat, sit and try to hold on on something. I have seen people falling and hitting their head bad because they took the boat as a playgound and were jumping along with the waves.
A Kuoros is an incomplete colossal statue, probably representing a hero or a warrior, those statues were never finished and abandoned in the quarry probably because of imperfections found in the stone they were being carved that would have not made them suitable for the place they were assigned.
In Naxos island there are some interesting examples.
Kuoros Ferio in Melanes
There are two of them, the first closest to the parking lot, more refinished and in a nice shady park, the second one is higher, walking up the trail and less refinished.
This one is much bigger,10 meters long and very refinished. Worth the long drive 50 km North of Naxos town.
Apollona Bay is close to it, but the beach is nothing special compared to the ones you are used in Naxos so go up there only if you really want to see the Kuoros.
If you drive to Apollonas make sure you fill your scooter tank at Angares, it is the last gas station in the North of the island.
- Historical Travel
This village is a little gem, it is build on the side of a tall mountain overlooking the valley where there are olive trees and vineyards. It is known to be a Crete colony as lots of Cretan people moved here escaping the Deskaloisnnis Revolution in 1770 and stayed.
Its fully pedestrian streets are entirely paved with marbles, there are some caffe, tavernas and souvenir shops at the lower part of the villages, near the parking lot. If you take the time to walk uphill to the top you can find some really good antiques and crafts shops and artisan's workshop.
I met a old man who was working in his wookwork workshop and, after i kindly ask permission, he let me wonder in it.
The best spot for a refreshing drink or for a snack is on the way down from the top, on the right there are some bar under pergolas with a awesome view of the valley.
Directions: From Naxos town drive East following Aphirantos indications or take one of the frequent KTEL bus from the port.
I stopped in Filoti on my way to Aphirantos. The village is obviously not tourism related, it is clear that normal people live there all year round. Altough it is worth visiting.
It lay in an anphiteatrical shape on a steep hill surrounded by olive trees. The Tragea region is famous for olive groves and for byzantine churches and there are some nice examples in Filoti.
The day I was there was right after 15th August Catholic celebrations of the Assumption of Mary, and the main street was decorated with colorful flags.
I stopped in the main taverna for a refreshing Nescaffe frappe and watched the old men playing cards and having their greek coffee. I also went to a couple of bakeries to buy some spanakopita (a roll made of phillo paste stuffed with cheese and spinach) and a cheese pita, sorry forgot the greek name for it.... Those are my favourite beach snacks.
I really enjoyed strolling the steep streets and watching the white houses with colorful doors and windows and just look at the normal people doing their everyday jobs.
Directions: From Chora drive East following Filoti or Apiranthos directions.
Windmills are the symbol of the Cycladic Islands and one would expect to find them all over the place. Unfortunally there are not so many left in Naxos.
Driving along the island you will occasionally see them, sometimes they will have been restored and kept in very good shape, sometimes they will be almost ruins.
On the North Western side of the island there are some modern electricity generator windmill, they do not look as pretty as their ancestors but they help Greece to make clean energy so I forgive them for their uglyness.
Walking along the street of the Old Town you can easily find some real gem, like the bakery in my first picture, it looked much like somebody's kitchen from the past century, the bread loafs were sitting on top of the old wooden table and one would say that it was not following all the health authorities rules, but i didn't care, it was delicious!!
The fruit and vegetables stands are here and there along the small streets, they are pretty and the products are fresh and inexpensive.
There were several very interesting art and craft shops. Of course the best one were more expensive but the items were well done and warrantied.
- Food and Dining