Greek Guide

 

Naxos Car Hire Greece Greek Rentals

Naxos has many places of interest to explore so it's worth hiring a car for at least a day or two, especially if the violent meltemi north wind starts to rage (making a day at the beach rather uncomfortable).

Public buses connect Naxos Town with all the popular beaches to the south and there are regular services to all the island's main destinations, including Apollonas in the north. There are also plenty of excursion buses or you can hire a taxi for a day or half day (agree the price in advance and sus out the driver to make sure he's a helpful type and speaks your language.) Mopeds and mountain bikes are available for hire from several outlets in the town.

Car hire is relatively cheap and gives you the freedom to roam at will through the beautiful, unspoilt hinterland which many tourists never see. It's worth paying extra for air conditioning in the height of the summer when temperatures can top 40C.

There's a lovely drive across the centre of the island to Moutsouna on the west coast. It's only about 50 kilometres but allow at least two hours driving time because the roads are winding and treacherous, snaking through some wonderful mountain scenery. There are few crash barriers so drivers tend to sound their horns whenever they approach a sharp bend.

Stop at Chalki, 17 kilometres south east of Naxos Town, which lies at the heart of the lush Tragaea Valley where pretty Byzantine churches pepper the hillsides. The town has many attractive neoclassical buildings, a 17th century Venetian watch tower and one of the island's most important Byzantine churches where frescoes dating back to the 6th century have been uncovered. The church is still functioning after 14 centuries.

Filoti, on the slopes of Mount Zeus (the highest peak in the Cyclades at 1,004 metres is the region's largest village from here you walk to the famous Cave of Zeus where ancient tools and fragments of pottery have been found. Take a torch with you and be prepared for a fairly strenuous half hour walk.

Visit the Vallindras Distillery at Halki to see the production of the island's famous Citron drink. You can sample the drink, made from the lemon like citron fruit which was introduced to the Mediterranean around 300 BC and was the only citrus fruit cultivated in Europe until Christian times. Naxos is the only producer of the liqueur which is almost impossible to obtain anywhere outside Greece.

At Moutsouna you an enjoy a seafood lunch at the island's oldest restaurant, Taverna Mixaloukos where fresh, locally caught fish and octopus hang from a line strung alongside the dining terrace. The restaurant has been established since 1823.

Apollonas, 54 kilometres from Naxos Town at the northern tip of the island, is a popular day trip with those wanting to see the famous kouros (nude male statue) which lies in an ancient quarry. The 10 metre statue dates from the 7th century BC and is thought to represent either the god Apollo or the island's own deity Dionysos. Two more kouroi can be seen near the hillside village of Melanes, a short drive west of Naxos Town.

At Sangri, south east of Naxos Town, you can visit the 6th century BC Temple of Demeter (the goddess of grain) which has been painstakingly restored by German archaeologists.