THE 6 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN NAXOS

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Naxos is a beautiful Greek island in the Cyclades archipelago, famous for its crystal-clear blue waters that attract many tourists during the summer. In reality, the island has much more to offer than beautiful beaches and there are a lot of places to visit in Naxos. Inland on Naxos, there are cultural treasures to discover, such as ancient temples, majestic mountains and picturesque traditional villages.

In this article, we’ll tell you about the amazing places you can find on this magical island and give you our list of the best places to visit in Naxos!

Naxos what to see

We stayed on Naxos for a week, exploring it far and wide. Although the beaches were the most popular, there are a lot of places to visit in Naxos and we spent some of our time exploring the interior of the island, visiting temples, hiking in the mountains and exploring inland villages where time seems to be stopped.

Here are the best places to visit in Naxos, particularly in its magnificent interior, where you will find temples such as the Temple of Demeter, mountains such as Mount Zeus and charming typical villages that seem to have stood still in time!

Visit Naxos: the Temple of Demeter

The Temple of Demeter is an archaeological site located in the central-western part of the island of Naxos, near the village of Ano Sangri. It’s one of the best places to visit in Naxos. The temple was dedicated to the goddess Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture and grain, and was built in the 6th century BC.

The temple of Demeter Naxos was a classical Greek temple of the Ionic order, with large columns of Naxos marble on the façade and sides. It was 60 metres long and the columns were 1.5 metres in diameter and about 10 metres high.

Unfortunately, not much is left of the temple today, which was damaged by the earthquake and by looting and demolition during the Christian era. However, it has been restored and a small portion of it has been rebuilt on the original plan that remained in place.

A visit to the temple takes about an hour, and you can extend it by visiting the small museum next door. The museum houses an exhibition on the history of the temple and the restoration work that has returned this beautiful archaeological site to us. There’s free parking a few minutes’ walk from the site, and the entrance ticket costs a few euros.

This beautiful site is definitely on the top of the ‘Naxos what to see’ list!

Cosa vedere a Naxos - I resti del tempio greco di Demetra nell'entroterra di Naxos

Naxos what to see: the temple of Demeter

Best places to visit in Naxos: Chalkio

“Naxos what to see?”: one of the answers to this question is the inland villages, starting with Chalkio.

Chalkio is located in the centre of the island and is a very small village typical of the island of Naxos, inhabited by about a hundred inhabitants. We recommend that you plan a stop in this magical place, where you can experience the tranquillity that characterises the Greek people, stroll through the small alleys winding between the white houses and the blooming bougainvillaea and stop in a bar to chat with the locals. Chalkio is definitely one of the places to see in Naxos, to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of yesteryear and savour the tranquillity of this beautiful island!

Chalkio is located in an area in the foothills of the mountains, where the landscape is dominated by fields of olive trees and forests, in which small churches with white walls and blue roofs stand out.

We recommend a visit to the Kitron distillery of the Vallindras family, a typical liqueur of the island of Naxos made from cedar, which gives this drink a fresh, sour taste. In addition to a visit to the distillery, during which you can taste some of the varieties of Kitron produced, you can do some shopping in the adjoining shop to take a few bottles of this delicious liqueur home with you!

Visit Naxos villages: Filoti

Filoti is another lovely village just a few minutes’ drive from Chalkio, along the road to Mount Zeus. There’s a handy parking area along the way, so you can easily walk into the centre of the village in just a few minutes. It’s a bit bigger than Chalkio, with a lovely pedestrianised area with pretty alleys leading up to the Church of the Virgin of Filoti (also known as Panagia Filotilissa).

There are lots of shops in this village selling local produce, including honey, cheese and wine.

Best places to see in Naxos: Mount Zeus

Mount Zeus Naxos, located in the centre of the island near the village of Filoti, is an ideal destination for trekking enthusiasts. This imposing mountain is the highest in the Cyclades, rising just over 1,000 metres and is an ancient, now extinct volcano. According to mythology, this mountain is where the young Zeus was hidden in a cave by his mother Rhea to protect him from his father, Cronus. Zeus grew up on this island before returning to Olympus to challenge his father and free his brothers. The path to the summit of the mountain leads to a large cave that has been identified as the place where the king of the gods hid.

The starting point of the route is the area of the ‘Fountains of Air’, water springs located at the base of the slopes of Mount Zeus Naxos, fed by an aquifer. The water is fresh, clean and drinkable.

On the trek, you’ll get to see mountain goats perched on rocks, eagles and griffon vultures soaring above you, and you’ll even get to walk with them to the summit. After about an hour or so of walking, you’ll reach the top of the mountain, where you can admire a breathtaking view of the island of Naxos and the surrounding Aegean Sea. Just a heads-up: to visit Mount Zeus Naxos and get to the top, we recommend wearing suitable shoes, like hiking boots, as the path winds through the rocks and is quite steep in places. Also, if you want to visit the Cave of Zeus, remember to take a fairly powerful torch with you as the interior is not illuminated and some spaces are very large (i.e. your phone’s torch does not have enough power).

If you’re looking for a bit of exercise and a great view of the island, here’s the n°1 of the places to see in Naxos!

Cosa vedere a Naxos - Vicoli di pietra vulcanica e casette bianche nel paese di Filoti a Naxos

Visit Naxos villages: Filoti

Cosa vedere a Naxos - Casette bianche e colorate, alberi in fiore nei vicoli del paese di Chalkio a Naxos

Best places to visit in Naxos: Chalkio

Cosa vedere a Naxos - Il sentiero in mezzo alle rocce che arriva in cima al Monte Zeus a Naxos

Best places to visit in Naxos: Mount Zeus

Naxos what to see in the town: the centre, the Portara and the Venetian Castle

Although the town of Naxos is not located inland, we include it in the category of non-beach areas and it definitely belongs on the ‘Best places to visit in Naxos’ list. We recommend that you spend an afternoon discovering this fascinating town, starting with a walk along the seafront promenade, where you will find numerous bars and restaurants, and continuing to the Portara, considered the symbol of the island.

The Portara is all that remains of the entrance to the Temple of Apollo, built in the 4th century BC but never completed. The dimensions of this portal are impressive, with columns rising some 6 metres and an entrance 3.5 metres wide. This monument, like the temple of Demeter Naxos, was also made of Naxos marble. Its location on a small peninsula connected to the island makes it an impressive site, particularly visited during sunset.

From Portara, we advise you to head towards the centre of Naxos town. The centre of Naxos is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways paved with volcanic stone and white escapes, surrounded by characteristic white buildings with blue windows, doors and roofs. Here, you will find numerous restaurants and shops offering a variety of products, from souvenirs to local olive-based handicrafts, such as kitchen items and scented green soaps.

Continuing through the centre of Naxos, we suggest you head for the Venetian Castle of Naxos, which dominates the town from above. This building was constructed during the medieval period, when the Venetians conquered the island during the Crusades. It is characterised by high stone walls and towers from which the town and the sea could be seen. 

Inside the castle, you will find a real village with streets that wind in a maze of stone, with narrow alleys and large gates. Here you will find many restaurants, hotels and shops, as well as several churches and the Naxos Archaeological Museum.

Best places to visit in Naxos: Apeiranthos

Apeiranthos is a charming village located inland on the island of Naxos, north of Mount Zeus in a mountainous region. The central core of Apeiranthos is entirely pedestrianised and is located in an elevated position above the main access road to the village, where there is a convenient car park, from which you can reach the centre in a few minutes.

The main pedestrian street follows the route of the road below and is a terrace overlooking the mountains in front of the village. Along this pedestrian street, you will find numerous shops and restaurants. Exploring inland from the village, you will discover the typical layout of Greek villages, with narrow paved alleys winding between white buildings and converging towards the main square. All the buildings in the village are made of Naxos marble, which is why Apeiranthos is often called the ‘marble village’.

We highly recommend a stop in this enchanting village to enjoy a traditional meal, as Apeiranthos is home to some of the historical taverns of Naxos Island, where you can savour authentic local dishes.

Cosa vedere a Naxos - La strada principale e i ristoranti sotto gli alberi nel paese di Apeiranthos a Naxos

Apeiranthos

As you may have discovered, Naxos is much more than just an island with beautiful beaches; it offers a rich cultural and natural heritage to explore. Immersing ourselves in the atmosphere of picturesque traditional villages, visits to ancient temples and adventures on Mount Zeus are extraordinary experiences that allowed us to discover many facets of this beautiful island. In this article we have tried to answer the question “Naxos what to see?”, hoping to have inspired you to dedicate some of your time to exploring the interior of this beautiful island!

Obviously, the beaches of Naxos are in a category of their own, deserving of a dedicated article which we post below!

We invite you to read related articles and stay connected with us via social channels and the newsletter and above all… trip to try!

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