Chora, the capital of Naxos
Chora Naxos or Naxos Town is the capital and main harbor of the island. It is considered one of the most beautiful Cycladic villages in the entire group for it has a fine architecture, composed of Venetian and Cycladic elements.
Naxos Town has kept an authentic and traditional character and is located on the west coast of Naxos and, on its top, stands an impressive Venetian castle.
“KASTRO” – The Venetian Castle in the main town of Naxos Island is located under the Venetian Castle (Kastro), built by Marco Sanudo after the fourth crusade. He was part of the family of Enrico Dandolo, doge of Venice and participator of the crusade. In the castle’s area there is also the Archaeological Museum of Naxos, housed in an old Jesuit Commercial school.
“PORTARA” – La Portara [Πορτάρα] is an impressive marble portal 6 m high and 3.5 m wide located on an islet near the port of Naxos. Today the Portara is the symbol of Naxos, the subject of most of the photographs of tourists. This huge monument is the only part of an ancient temple dating back to the 6th century BC, when the island was in its heyday. Taken power, the ambitious tyrant Ligdami designed the construction of the largest temple in all of Greece. Even today the history of this temple remains shrouded in mystery; it is not known with certainty even to which deity the temple was consecrated. The historians debate on the subject by dividing between Dionysus, the God of wine born in Naxos, and Apollo, relying on the fact the Portara is facing the island of Delos, the birthplace of Apollo. They agree on a fact: the temple was never completed due to a sudden war between Naxos and Samos. The small island on which the Portara is located is called Palatia and it was the site of a great fortress used by Milesi and Eritrei to conquer the city of Naxos.
A little paradise called Naxos
Naxos is the biggest island of the Cyclades, very famous for the high mountains, amazing beaches and traditional small villages, where you can eat the typical Greek cousin.
Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades. The island combines the Cycladic beauty and the beautiful white houses and the picturesque villages.
Driving across the streets you can see little old churches and monasteries, incredible beaches and have a lunch in the little tavern where you can taste the real Greek flavors!
The Chora Town, port and administrative center of the island, is a modern city that offers all services and amenities to visitors and residents of the island like health center, banks, post office, market, restaurants, bars and cafes.
You will meet Mycenaean tombs and relics from the ancient Mycenaean capital, Venetian towers, castles, churches, ancient statues that testify the history of the island and the influences of those who inhabited the island over the centuries. This island is perfect to search a little piece of paradise on earth!
The most beautiful beaches of Naxos
The beach of Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka, Orkos, Mikri Vigla, Kastraki, Aliko and Pyrgaki are only a few of the known beaches with kilometers of white sand.
“SAINT GEORGE BEACH” – This beach lays south-west of the capital, Naxos Town and is easily accessible on foot from almost every part of the capital. The beach is usually calm since it is well protected from the northern winds.
“AGIOS PROKOPIOS” – Agios Prokopios lies right after Saint George’s beach and it is approximately 4 kilometres from Naxos Town. Awarded for its quality waters on both a Greek and international level, the beach of Agios Prokopios is truly magnificent. This long beach of light colored thick sand has bright turquoise waters and its natural beauty is such that it attracts many visitors.
“AGIA ANNA“– Agia Anna is a continuation of the beach of Agios Prokopios. The long sandy beach with the small picturesque port, that now only hosts fishing boats and provides the wonderful view, it has been a centre of attraction for tourists for decades. This beach offers many umbrellas and sun-beds throughout its length and it is one of the best organized beaches of Naxos.
“PLAKA“– The beach of Plaka extends for approximately 4 kilometres making it a very long beach. Only parts of it are organized with umbrellas and sun-beds, other part of the beach is totally free and its main characteristic is the long and wide, white expanse of sand and the turquoise water.
“ORKOS“– This beautiful sandy beach consists of two sections, a 700 meter sandy beach (right after Plaka) with trees along its entire shore and another of small coves of less than 100 meters length each, that form some sort of “private beaches” with thick sand in between sharp rocks.
“MIKRI VIGLA“– Mikri Vigla on the west coast is a masterpiece of nature, a small headland that juts out into the sea and is found between the beaches of Parthena to the north, (which is ideal for swimming and windsurfing) and Sahara towards the south, a 4 Kilometer long beach of white sand and a veritable magnet for bathers.
“GLYFADA“– Glyfada beach is surrounded by big sand dunes on which tall cedar trees have grown over the years. Next to the beach, there are some excellent taverns serving mostly local food.
“PYRGAKI“– Pyrgaki beach is located on the southwestern coast of the island, with views of the nearby islands of Iraklia and Ios further beyond.
“AGIASSOS“– Approximately 25 kilometres from Naxos Town to the southwest of Naxos Island, you can find the bay of Agiasos beach where the color of the water is absolutely amazing.
“PANORMOS“– the amazing beach of Naxos, famous for its 9 palms that welcome the visitors! From this beach you can take a little boat to visit the Rina Cave. You’ll see the coast of Koufonissi that is very close to Panormos…the sea is really transparent and the calm and the silence are incredible.
The traditional villages
Apiranthos is one of the most charming villages, with its light-colored streets and its traditional places! In Filoti you can have lunch in the shade of a giant tree! And finally Halki: the Real Greece! All blue doors and pergolas full of flowers and at the same time the liveliness of artisan’s shops and art galleries. Here there is also the oldest distillery of the island, where the cedar is used for the production of “Kitron”, a typical liqueur of the place. Apollonas village is a settlement on Naxos’s northeastern coast. It is a beautiful fishing village which has been inhabited since antiquity. The beach is lined with taverns, tourist shops and a mini-market, there are also rooms to let, hotels and cafes.
“DEMETER TEMPLE” – Near the village of Sangri, you can visit the ruins of the Temple of Demeter, the most important site outside the city of Naxos. Built in the VI century a.C., on a hill overlooking a fertile valley, the temple of Demeter plays a particularly important role in Templar architecture. It was built at a crucial time for temple constructions and is a very unusual example, having a square-shaped plan with five Ionic columns facing the main entrance. Its roof is a mixture of thick and thin marble to allow optimal light inside. In the VI century d.C., the building was converted into a church and its main axis was rotated from north-south to west-east. The structure was modified by closing the open side where the columns were. It survived until the ninth century, when it was razed to the ground probably during one of the many pirate raids. Near the temple there is also a small museum.
“LITTLE KOUROS” in the Village of Melanes, is located above a luxuriant garden named Kouros Paradise where the garden’s owners have opened a nice little coffee place.
“THE BIG KOUROS” in the Village of Apollonas, is the biggest Kouros. All the Kouros (=handsome young man) statues are made of marble, they represent gods and they are over 2500 years old.