Greek Guide

 

Naxos Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

Naxos has enough beaches and tavernas to keep the average holidaymaker more than happy for a couple of weeks but those interested in the island's history and culture will find plenty of historic buildings and places of interest to satisfy their curiosity. The island is a haven for hikers and for those who prefer a gentle stroll down the high street there's a wealth of jewellery, textiles, antique and souvenir shops to be found in Naxos Town.

Take the time to explore the old part of the town because it's a delightful maze of winding, cobbled streets with flower filled balconies, archways and elegant old Venetian houses.

The medieval Kastro (meaning castle) dominates the town, accessed by three entrances in its fortified outer wall. Visit the lovely 16th century Catholic cathedral at the centre of the Kastro, preferably on a Sunday morning when you can hear the strains of the choir through the open door and imagine yourself in another world from the bustle of the waterfront.

Behind the cathedral you'll find the former French School of Commerce in a building where one of the country's most famous literary sons Nikos Kazantzakis, who penned Zorba the Greek, once studied. The building is now home to the Archaeological Museum which boasts a fine collection of treasures unearthed on the island including Cycladic figurines, fashioned from white marble, which are the earliest examples of Greek sculpture. The museum also has some beautiful Roman mosaics.

At the Venetian Museum, at the northern entrance to the Kastro, you can see inside a typical Kastro home something you'll be longing to do after you've prowled these fascinating jasmine scented alleyways for a while.

The Mitropolis Site Museum, facing the town's Orthodox Cathedral, is a subterranean room revealing the excavated site of a 13th century BC Mycenaean civilisation.

When you've "done" the town, hire a car or take a bus to explore further afield. There are some charming unspoilt villages and hamlets in the central Tragaea region of the island, including Halki where you can visit the Vallindras Distillery to see the production of the island's famous Citron drink. Filoti is the region's largest village, perched on the slopes of Mount Zeus (also known as Mount Zas) which at 1,004 metres is the highest peak in the archipelago. If you're feeling fit, you can make the half hour trek from Filoti to see the Cave of Zeus where ancient tools and fragments of pottery have been found.

At Sangri, between Filoti and Hora, you can visit the 6th century BC Temple of Demeter, recently restored by German archaeologists.

A trip over to Apollonas in the north of the island is on most tourists' agenda. Here you can see the colossal 7th century BC kouros (nude male statue), believed to represent the god of light Apollo or the island's own deity Dionysos. The island's second most famous kouros is at Flerio in the Melanes Valley. The 6th century statue, measuring eight metres, lies in a lovely private orchard and there's another lesser known kouros in a nearby field.