Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades group of islands.
Naxos is a green, mountainous jewel of an island amongst many barren places.
It is a wonderful isle to spend a couple of days exploring as it's full of history, beauty and culture.
Naxos Holidays - Greece
Naxos's history is long and detailed. In mythology, the island was the site where Theseus abandoned Ariadne, who then went on to meet Dionysus, the protector of the island. There are two stories as to how this meeting ended; one stating that Ariadne fell in love with the vivacious god, the other claiming that she threw herself off the cliffs behind the Portara. Historically, the island has been an important trading island, the green hills producing many crops.
The first wonder tourists will notice is the Temple of Apollo, the ancient site that greets visitors as they come into the port. The temple, also known at Portara or the Church of Ariadne is instantly recognisable as it frames the Naxos Town. The shape of a large picture frame, or gateway, the dimensions of the temple are recognisable as the icon for National Geographic magazine, and it is one of the most photographed ancient sites in the world.
Naxos Town is a mix of restaurants, shops and amazing sites. The waterfront bustles with tourists and locals during the day, taking on a life of its own in the evening. Behind the waterfront is the Old Town and the Kastro, a spectacular area build by the Venetians, still inhabited by people of the town. The old town is a myriad of narrow streets and underpasses, a reminder of another time. It is a place to wander about during the siesta, when in the heat of the afternoon; the full impact of the atmosphere can be felt. It is stunningly preserved and a must for all tourists to the island.
Monasteries, churches and ruins are a forte of Naxos. As the island has been continuously inhabited since Mycenaean times, these historic sites are well documented. The Venetian invasion has left a number of castles still in good condition.
Being such a large island, there are many places to visit. There are numerous sandy beaches dotted about the Naxos coastline, indeed, there are over 40 kilometres of beaches to be explored, many with their own towns nearby. The nearest beach to the town is Grotta, to the north of the town, which is by no means the best nor the quietest beach on Naxos. A car or moped is often the best way to get to these out of the way beaches, though many of the local buses service the beaches nearest to Naxos Town.
Inland, there are many quaint towns to visit, such as Apiranthos, to the east in the mountains. Settled by Cretan refugees nearly two hundred years ago, the marble lined streets are beautiful. Getting off the main roads of Apiranthos, the back streets are a maze of laneways. Apollonos, to the North East, is a traditional fishing village, where lunch in the taverna and a walk along the beach can be had in the quieter atmosphere. Halki used to be the trade centre of the island, and the architecture of the town, with its towers encapsulating the sky. Koronos appears to be spring out of a crevice in the mountains. There are plenty of other villages to visit, and the public transport on the island means that you can get to other parts of the island and back to the main towns in a day.
NAXOS island vacation:
The impression of Naxos island is difficult to exceed.
But except this amazing accumulation of historical and cultural monuments, is Naxos also a great place for relaxing and recover.