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Introduction

Naxos - Greece

Naxos - Greece

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Naxos is an island in Greece, with 429 square kilometres the biggest of the Cyclades group. It's located right in the centre of the Aegean Sea. Roughly 20,000 people live on the island and it's a popular tourist destination, including some fine beaches and ancient ruines as well. Something for everyone's taste.

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Towns

  • Naxos town
  • Drymalia
  • Apiranthos
  • Halki
  • Filoti
  • Potamia
  • Koronos
  • Apollonas
  • Sangri
  • Melanes
  • Agia Anna Village
  • Moutsouna
  • Agios Arsenios
  • Egares
  • Galini
  • Glinado
  • Keramoti
  • Kinidaros
  • Kourounochori
  • Moni
  • Skado
  • Tripodes

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Sights and Activities

  • Beaches like the ones at Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Alikos and Kastraki.
  • Ancient ruins like Dimitra's temple at Sangri, and Dionysus' temple below Glinado village.
  • Portara gateway.

The Venetian Castle and Chora
Like the most Cycladic islands, Naxos has a beautiful main town (Chora) with whitewashed houses and labyrinth-like narrow streets, where you can walk and buy local products, clothes, jewellery and souvenirs from the traditional shops or just relax, eat in a cute tavern or drink a coffee or a cocktail. The oldest quarter in Naxos Chora is the Venetian Castle (or Kastro). It was constructed by the Venetians in the Medieval Times, and today, the most buildings in this area are boutique hotels, romantic restaurants and cultural venues.

Portara
Portara is the symbol of Naxos and the first thing you will see on the cliff above the port as the boat approaches the island. Portara is a gate, which is the only remain of the ancient Temple of Apollo that was constructed in the 6th century B.C.

The Temple of Demeter
In the 6th century B.C., it was also constructed the ancient Temple of Demeter, the goddess of grain and agriculture. It is located in a short walking distance from the village of Ano Sangri, and it is an ideal place to explore the history and ancient culture of Naxos.

Kouros Statue
Outside the village of Melanes, in the countryside of Naxos, can be seen the remarkable statue of Kouros. It lies on the ground, at the exact position, where it was found by the archaeologists. It is 6 meters long and dates back to the 7th century B.C. Historians believe that this huge statues represents either a god or a local hero. Another Kouros statue is located 200 m from the first, and there is also a third statue in the village of Apollonas. If you have seen the impressive Portara many times and you want something different, this statue, which looks like hidden on the ground, is the perfect opportunity for you to learn about the history of Naxos, admiring this treasure in its natural place and not inside a cold museum.

Apiranthos and the other inland villages
Apiranthos is the most famous mountainous village in Naxos, but there are also other traditional villages in the mainland of the island that are picturesque and worth a visit. Halki, Filoti and Potamia are surrounded by green nature and with their authentic character, they can give you a true experience away from the mass tourism.

Halki
Halki, in the centre of Naxos, is an authentic island that has kept its Venetian style. Halki, which is located 16 km from Naxos Chora, used to be the capital of the island as well as the main administrative and trade centre. Neoclassical buildings, Venetian towers and Byzantine churches testify the past wealth and prosperity of Halki. In Halki, you can spend some relaxing moments away from the mass tourism and explore a village, which is not as famous as Naxos Chora or Apiranthos, but it is equally beautiful.

Pyrgaki Beach
Forget the crowded beaches of Agios Prokopios beach (Naxos), Agia Anna Beach (Naxos) and Mikri Vigla Beach (Naxos). Spend a day in the exotic beach of Pyrgaki, and you will feel like being on a secluded oasis. Pyrgaki is a golden, calm beach that reflects the peaceful character of Naxos. Soft sand, calm waters and the sun warming your face are the only things you want to forget everything.

Hiking paths on Mount Zeus
Mount Zeus is the mountain of Naxos and the best place for the lovers of hiking. Start from the village of Filoti a circular trail, during which you can see sheep, fountains, windmills, caves and of course the breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea from the top of the mountain.

Wind sports
The western side of the island is ideal also for wind sports. Mikri Vigla, Agios Georgios and Laguna are the best beaches for windsurfing and kitesurfing, and you can find there sport centres that rent equipment and offer courses.

The traditional cuisine of Naxos
The fertile nature of Naxos provides the island with local goods that are unique for their taste and texture. The traditional local food of Naxos will impress you and travel you in a gastronomic paradise, where the only think you can do is to enjoy the Naxian cuisine. Naxos is the largest island of Cyclades complex, but still, it is not a big island, such as Crete for instance. However, its cuisine is not uniform, but it is divided into three categories. In the local dishes of the coastal regions fish and seafood are prevailing. In the cuisine of the plains, vegetable and cattle dishes have a leading role, while in the mountainous villages, goat and sheep dishes constitute the Naxian cuisine.

Among the best local products you can try and buy in Naxos, are the Naxian potatoes, the sweet tomato, the dairy products, such as graviera or xinotyro cheese, and the citron liqueur. But you will have the best culinary experience of your life when you taste the savoury dishes of Naxos that will please your stomach in an amazing way. Patoudo is lamb stuffed with chard, fennel, aromatic herbs and garlic, and it is the main course on Easter Sunaday, although you can find it in Naxos every day. Pig rosto is pork leg stuffed with wine and praised with wine, but in the traditional taverns of Naxos, you will find many other signature dishes, such as goat with Naxian potatoes or pasta, pork fricassee, rabbit braised in wine and veal stew with eggplant. Koukoulomaeria is a soup with white beans, wheat, corn and olive oil, while sefoukloti is a sweet-savoury pie with chards or wild greens, parsley, fennel, onion, mint and rice. From the fish dishes, the most famous recipes in Naxos are salachtouri, which is rays salad with lemon dressing, marinated anchovies, lobster pasta and grilled octopus. Among the signature desserts of Naxos, melachrino is famous all over Greece. It is a kind of karydopita (= walnut cake) made from a small quantity of citron liqueur and served with kaimaki ice cream, which is the ice cream made from mastic resin and sheep's milk.

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Weather

Naxos has a mild Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny and dry summes and mild but wetter winters. Summers from June to September average around 25-27 degrees Celsius during the day and still above 20 degrees at night. The influence of the sea means that it never feels oppresively hot and nights are kept nice and warm as well.
Winters from December to February are mostly betweeen 13-15 degrees Celsius during the day and 10-12 degrees at night. Most of the rain falls during these months with heavy rainshowers mainly in December. Summers are almost completely dry.

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Getting There

By Plane

Naxos Island Airport is only served by Olympic Airlines to/from Athens. There are no direct flights from other places, so you have to connect here.

By Boat

Naxos has around six ferries a day to Piraeus (five hours), Paros (one hour), Ios (1¼ hours) and Santorini (three hours), as well as four daily with Mykonos (three hours).
There is one daily boat to Tinos (4¼ hours), Syros (three hours), Iraklia (one hour), Schinousa (1¼ hours), Koufonisia (two hours), Amorgos (2½ hours), Donousa (one to four hours, depeding on route) and Ikaria (1½ hours).
There are five ferries weekly to Anafi (seven hours).
There are two boats weekly to Astypalea (5½ hours), Sikinos (3½ hours) and Folegandros (2½ hours).
One ferry goes weekly to Kythnos (seven hours), Kea (8¾ hours), Lavrio (10 hours), Thessaloniki (15 hours), Rhodes (14 hours), Kos (8¼ hours) and Heraklion on Crete (seven hours).

Altogether, there are around half a dozen companies who operate on the above routes.
Check the Greek Travel Pages for an impression about companies, schedules and prices, as the choice is very wide. Or check the Greek Ferries website or another one about Ferries between islands in Greece.

Apart from the regular ferries, there are fast boats and catamarans. Note that they are much more expensive, though much faster as well of course. For example to Crete, it saves at least 3 hours.
There are at least two catamarans daily to Paros (45 minutes), Mykonos (1½ hours) and Piraeus (four hours). There are also daily services to Ios (50 minutes), Santorini (1½ hours) and Heraklion on Crete (3¼ hours), and four weekly to Tinos (1½ hours) and Syros (1¼ hours)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet access is widely available throughout the country. Almost all hotels provide internet access, either free or paid. Local coffee shops usually offer free Wi-Fi access, as many other public places do. Feel free to ask for the password, if the network is locked. Internet cafes however tend to be expensive, about €1.5-2 per hour.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The cheapest way to call someone abroad is to use a pre-paid calling card and call from a land line anywhere (also from your hotel room). Pre-paid calling cards are sold in many shops and kiosks. The calling card is not much more than a phone number and a pin code, which you dial prior to dialing the usual phone number. If you want to call internationally, ask for an international calling card. For one euro you can call for about 45 minutes, so buy a card in the cheapest value (which is about €3). Calling someone for half an hour is cheaper than sending one email from an internet café. Cards expire usually 90 days after first use. You can also use this pre-paid calling card at public phone boxes, which are widely available.

Mobile phones are prevalent in Greek's communication, and if you need to talk with your co-travelers it is advised that you buy a local prepaid plan instead of using roaming, as it is far cheaper. There are at least three mobile carriers, Cosmote, Wind and Vodafone all of which require by law presenting some form of identification in order to activate your prepaid plan. Choose whichever has better reception in your area, keeping in mind that GSM 900, GSM 1800 and UMTS 2100 bands are supported. Data usage is cheap, costing about €3 per 100 MB. Ask the mobile carrier for more information.

Post

Hellenic Post is the Greek postal service. On their website you find more information about options to send letters, postcards and parcels and there is a search function regarding post offices and post boxes. It also has information on services like paying bills, transferring money, financial products etc. Greek post codes are five digits long and are usually written as follows; 123 45. The first three digits are used to identify the city, municipality or prefecture, for example the digits between 100 and 180 relate to the city of Athens. The last two digits identify a street or part of a street. Most post offices are open Monday to Friday from 07:30-14:00, although the largers ones usually have longer opening hours. For sending packages, you can also use international courier services like DHL, UPS or TNT.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 37.106821
  • Longitude: 25.375576

Accommodation in Naxos

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Naxos searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Naxos and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as Sander (1%)

Naxos Travel Helpers

  • anniesweetiepie

    There is no place like Naxos! Amazing beaches, tasty local products, endless sight-seeing. I usually use Naxos as my base for when I go Greek island hopping. By doing this I had the chance to explore every inch of it through the years. If you need some tips, just ask!

    Ask anniesweetiepie a question about Naxos

This is version 13. Last edited at 11:37 on Apr 13, 18 by Sander. 7 articles link to this page.

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