“Naxos - Far beyond exquisite beaches”
According to the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne, after Ariadne had helped Theseus to slay the monster, Minotaur, on Crete, he decided to bring her back to Athens with him, where they were to marry. En route, they stopped on Naxos for provisions, where Theseus had a change of heart. As son of the king of Athens, Theseus decided his father would never permit him to marry a woman, even the daughter of King Minos of Crete, not of Athenian origin. Therefore, he chose to abandon her on Naxos. It was there that the Naxian god of wine, Dionysus, found Ariadne asleep, bathed in her tears, and fell madly in love with her. After the young lovers married, one night they flew up from Mount Zas, in Naxos, to Olympus, where Zeus made Ariadne immortal. Voted 2014 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards 1st Place Best Island in Greece, 2nd Best Island in Europe, and 6th Best Island in the World, Naxos is gradually being appreciated for what it has always been, and had to offer. Visitors to Naxos have spread the word, helping it to achieve top travel destination status. Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic Islands, boasting a rich history that goes back over six thousand years, and is the only Cycladic Island to have been continuously inhabited for over four thousand years.
" YOU MAKE THE DECISION, WE DO THE REST! "
Upon approach to Naxos Island, the small, connecting isle of Palatia greets the visitor. Perched upon this rocky island jutting out of the majestic Aegean, is Portara - the massive marble doorway - for which Naxos has been famous for centuries. This monument is all that is left of the temple dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. One of the best-preserved medieval towns left in Greece, built by its Venetian ruler Marco Sanudo in the 13th century, is found in Naxos, in what is now its present capital, Chora. Other evidence of Venetian history mingled with that of Naxos are Sanudo’s Kastro (castle) and its Venetian Museum, Sanudo Tower, and the Catholic Cathedral. Some other notable sights in Chora are the Mitropolis Museum that houses remnants of a Mycenaean civilization in its actual location, from the 11th-13th century BC, and the nearby Archeological Museum that houses evidence of Naxos’ existence, going back to the Cycladic Period. Wander along the twisting paths of picturesque Old Town, perusing the typically Naxian wares, souvenirs, handcrafted items, art, clothing, accessories, and more.
Savor a local Greek coffee at a café, or scrumptious ice-cream, made from the freshest of Naxian cow’s milk, while seated right on the waterfront, with an unparalleled view of the azure Aegean.Or simply take joy in the beauty of the day – You’re in Greece!
As is clearly evident, Naxos is much more than exquisite beaches. However, Naxian award-winning beaches are a must on anyone’s visit here. Naxos has twenty kilometers of southwest coastline, full of fine white, sandy beaches with rolling dunes, and crystal waters in shades of turquoise and sapphire so inviting it is nearly impossible to resist. On the north-eastern side of the island, you can find small and isolated, picturesque gulfs. Some of the most notable beaches, with waters whose luscious hues of Aegean blue, words are simply incapable of describing are: Agios Georgos, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka, Mikri Vigla, Kastraki, Pyrgaki, Alyko, Agiassos, and Moutsouna. Each one of these jewels is different than the next, so anything you are looking for in a beach can be found here. From family oriented with calm, shallow water, to plenty of wind for recreational activities, to privacy (even a nude beach), to cedar-lined, to rolling dunes, to plenty of amenities like umbrella-covered chaises with refreshments served at the water's edge - Naxos has a beach for you!Naxos offers a multitude of pleasurable beach activities, so take time to enjoy some of them!
Choose from a carefree and refreshing swim, sunbathing, or even a wealth of water sports, including scuba diving, snorkeling, kiteboarding, and windsurfing, at one of these diverse beaches.
Naxos’ historical importance is substantial. Consider the Kouros at Apollonas Village, with its impressive nearly 11 meter length and 80 ton weight. The smaller but no less valuable Kouros of Flerio in Melanes village is another example. The Ligdamis Aqueduct dating to the 6th century. Temples dedicated to mythological gods, such as Apollo and Dionysus, and Demeter’s Temple at Sangri Village, are monuments to the glory of Naxos. Some of the world’s best-preserved Byzantine frescoes, in Panagia Drosiani church, dating back to the 4th century, are testaments to man’s faith in God.
Charming, picturesque, centuries-old villages are scattered all over the island: From Damalas Village with its traditional pottery workshop, to Chalki, with its 120 year old, family-owned Vallendras Distillery, producing the famous Kitron liqueur for which Naxos is known, to Kaloxylos with its quaint Folklore Museum.
Then on to Apeiranthos, with its marble-tiled pathways, and buildings carved right into the mountainside. Koronos Village is next, the emery capital of the world until WWII.
Then farming villages such as Agios Arsenios can be found, each more charming than the next.
And all this merely scratches the surface of a very rich Naxian heritage.
THE BOUNTY OF NAXOS
The natural beauty of this island paradise is clearly apparent, and not only from its beaches. From the highest mountain in the Cyclades (Zas, at 1,004 meters), to fertile, green valleys swelling with olive groves, fruits, vegetables, grains, grazing cows, goats and sheep, to the abundance of herbs growing wild, their aroma perfuming the Cycladic breezes.
As not only a visit-worthy tourist destination, but equally as an agricultural island, Naxos has an abundance of farm animals, especially goats, sheep and cows, and this is one of the reasons that it produces huge quantities of exquisite cheeses, for which it is famous. Traveling along the rural roads of Naxos, you might easily happen upon a farmer on a donkey, carrying his milk to the creamery in tin canisters, as the old ways are still valued. Herb-fed, mountain grazing, katzikia (goats) also make Naxos famous for its delicious goat meat. Naxian potatoes are second to none, and greatly prized all over Greece. Naxos is the largest producer of olive oil in the Cyclades. And its traditional spoon sweets made from every variety of local fruit are very popular. As a matter of fact, the abundance of agriculture products here is such that all year round Naxos is virtually self-sufficient.
GETTING TO NAXOS
Any season is a great time for a visit to Naxos, because each of them has its special and unique weather, activities for visitors, agricultural products and festivities. An example of this is Mardi Gras in Naxos, which is a three day celebration, so spectacular, and so famous now, that visitors come from all over Greece every year to attend. Of course, no one can dispute how exquisite summer is here, however, any time of year you visit, you will not be disappointed!
There are 8-10 arrivals/departures to and from Piraeus Port in Athens and nearby islands, during high season. They are less frequent at other times of year. The journey from Piraeus takes 5-6 ½ hours by conventional ferry and 3 ½ hours by speedboat. The distance from Mykonos is 40-60 minutes, and Santorini is 2-3 hours – both dependent on schedules. Both islands have international airports.
There are 2-3 flights daily to and from Athens Airport, which can vary by season. Flight time is 30 minutes.