Saint George Beach area,
Naxos Town, Naxos Island, Greece
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CLOSE TO SAINT GEORGE BEACH
ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS
Naxos is located in the centre of the Cyclades and is the largest island. Not only is it ideal for a relaxing holiday for families and romantic couples, but also for groups of friends as it offers many fun activities. Naxos differs substantially from other islands of the Cyclades because it has a very fertile interior and dramatic scenery with the highest mountain of Zeus being 3290ft/1003m, which make this island ideal for those interested in mountain biking or hiking or just driving around in a rented car enjoying beautiful scenery.
According to mythology many important deities are connected to Naxos like Zeus, Dionysos, Ariadne, and Demeter to name but a few. Zeus was supposed to have spent his childhood here and the highest mountain on the island takes his name. During the ascent of his mountain you pass an engraving which states mountain of Dios Milosiou (Mountain of Zeus, protector of the herds) Naxos was also home to the god of wine, Dionysus, which may explain why the island produces such delicious wine. The uncompleted statue in the quarry near to Apollona bears his name. Another myth says that Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos (where the Temple of Apollo or 'The Portara' stands) when returning from Crete where he killed the mythical Minotaur. As the myth goes, Dionysus later met Ariadne and married her. These are but a few of the compelling myths which still live on in the present names of castles, streets villages and hotels! There are large number of castles and towers on Naxos, like the tower in the Filoti area called Himarrou, the Belonia Castle in Galanado, The Barotsi-Frangopoulou Gratsia Castle in Halki and many more.
With a long history, amazing physical geography genuine hospitality, and compelling culture, Naxos is considered one of the best islands to visit in Greece. Here are some of the many activities you will find on the island of Naxos.
#1 DISCOVER NAXOS'S AMAZING BEACHES
The Western part of Naxos has the best beaches on the island. From St. George's, Agios Prokopios and Plaka, to Mikri Vigla and Alyko, all these beaches have crystal-clear blue waters and soft white sand. Some are busy with organised sun-beds, umbrellas, cafès and restaurants, while others are completely remote for those who value their privacy.
#2 PLAY WITH THE WIND
Naxos is famous for its wind which is ideal for sports such as wind surfing and kite-surfing. Mikri-Vigla beach, Orkos, St. George's beach and the Laguna are the best places for both windsurfing and kite-surfing in Naxos. On these beaches, you will find sports centres that will provide you with all necessary equipment and offer surfing courses for all ages.
#3 WALK IN THE KASTRO
The Kastro, meaning 'castle' in Greek, is part of the oldest quarter of Naxos. Consisting of stone buildings, paved paths, courtyards, archeways and beautiful alleys, the Kastro was constructed by the Venetians in 1207 and was the seat of power in the Cyclades for 300 years. As you walk around you will see a number of Venetian residences, a 13th Century Catholic Cathedral, and the French School where Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece's greatest modern writer who wrote among other things, Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ, studied. This is now where the Naxos Archaeological Museum is housed, whose exhibits include some white marble figurines and ceramics from Naxos and its neighbouring islands dating from the late Neolithic Age (4th millennium). Today many residences have been turned into high-class hotels, studios, cafeterias, shops, cultural venues and restaurants, contributing to the vivid atmosphere of the Town. Take a romantic walk in these wonderful alleys of the Kastro and allow them to take you back in time.
#4 VISIT INLAND VILLAGES
The authentic, picturesque villages in the centre of Naxos are definitely worth a visit. Apiranthos, Halki, Filoti and Potamia to name a few, are some of the best places to go for local food and wine. In addition, the genuine hospitality of the local people will take you by surprise. In some of the villages you will find small but very interesting museums and other interesting historical artefacts.
#5 SEE THE TEMPLE OF APOLLO (OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE 'PORTARA')
The Portara, one may say is the symbol of Naxos and the first thing one sees as the ferry approaches the island. It's a huge marble door that stands on a small peninsula that is connected to Naxos Town through a small passageway. This monument is the only remain from a 6th Century BC temple of Apollo.
#6 CYCLE TO THE TEMPLE OF DEMETER
Not very far from Naxos town, only a short walk or bike ride, is the Temple of Demeter, goddess of grain. As the Temple of Apollo, this temple was also originally constructed in the 6th century BC and restoration works have been undertaken. A small Christian chapel of Saint John may be found next to the ancient temple.
#7 SAMPLE THE LOCAL PRODUCTS
Naxos is known for the variety of products it produces but also for its quality. The olive oil and fruit that are produced are exported throughout Europe. Naxos is also renowned for its unique cheeses such as arseniko, graviera, myzithra, xinomizuthra, anthotyro, kefalotyri, ladotyri, manouri. The island also produces excellent thyme honey and good wine, while the potatoes of Naxos have a history, taste and fine quality that has made them famous. Thanks to the island's fertile land, the Naxian cuisine consists solely of pure ingredients which contribute to the creation of the variety of flavourful dishes. When visiting the village of Halki, you will come across the Vallindras Traditional Distillery of Kitron. Kitron is the local liqueur with a unique taste. This distillery offers a tour in process of the Kitron production, and at the end of the tour you may taste this traditional drink of Naxos.
#8 HIKE TO THE MONASTERY OF KALAMITSIA
Hiking is one the many adventurous activities one can take up when visiting Naxos. There are many old stone footpaths that cross the centre of the island and connect mountainous villages, Venetian towers, ancient sites and ruins. One of the most enjoyable and famous hike route is the one that begins in the village of Melanes and continues to the deserted Monastery of Kalamitsia.
#9 EXPERIENCE THE GREEK NIGHTLIFE
Experience the Greek nightlife in Naxos and you won't be sorry. Whether you are a party animal or you prefer a relaxing and romantic drink on a rooftop bar, Naxos caters for all tastes. You will find cocktail bars with magnificent views where you can enjoy the sunset, and nightclubs where you can party the night away until the early hours of the morning.
#10 TAKE A BOAT TRIP TO OTHER SMALLER ISLANDS
There are many small ferries that offer day-trips to other small islands such as Amorgos, Koufonissia, Paros etc. There are also yachts for hire for you to explore deserted beaches.
#11 TRY ACTIVITIES SUCH AS SCUBA-DIVING OR HORSE-RIDING
For the more adventurous, activities such as scuba-diving and horse-riding should be on the top of your list. Imagine horse-riding on the beach at sunset. What more romantic than that? As far as scuba-diving is concerned, explore the waters of the Aegean sea starting at one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Ag. Prokopios, where the Bluefin divers are based.
#12 VISIT A GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL
Naxos has a plethora of Orthodox Cathedrals and churches dated back to the 6th Century BC. Allow the byzantine architecture to take your breath away and take you back in time.
#13 WATCH A MOVIE IN THE OPEN-AIR CINEMA
Watching a blockbuster under the stars is an unforgettable experience that every visitor of the island should not miss.
#14 TAKE PART IN A 'PANIGIRI'
There are so many churches in Naxos that there is a possibility that you will attend a 'panigiri' (meaning religious feast) while you are on holiday. Panigiria are organised annually to celebrate the name day of the church's saint. These panigiria include eating and drinking in the central square until the early hours of the morning. The most famous panigiri is on August 15th, which is a celebration of the Virgin Mary.