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|THE ISLAND OF NAXOS IN THE CYCLADES IN GREECE - ISLAND OF LARGE AND SANDY BEACHES|
Naxos is the biggest island of the Cyclades. We've only visited the island a couple of times, sometimes just to wait for the connecting ferry to the next island and sometimes to have a look around. The main town of Naxos is a bit bigger than most towns on other islands, but it is very attractive, with a Venetian castle (that is still lived in) at the top dominating the village. At the north side of the village there is an island connected by a path to Naxos Town, and on it there is an ancient gate of an old temple. In the harbour are many shops, restaurants, coffeeshops and bars, and there is a long boulevard looking out over the neighbouring island of Paros. We think that the people on the island are very friendly and polite, and they have a good sense of humour.
Naxos is a Greek island with a surface of 448 km², making it the largest island in the Cycladic island group, to which for instance also belong the islands of Tinos, Mykonos and Paros. It is well known since ancient times for its marble and its wine (the poet Archilochus compared it to the divine drink nectar and there was a strongly developped cultus for the god Dionysus. Also the local liquor, Kitron, is a well known delicatesse of the island).
The island of Naxos has about 12.000 inhabitants. It is quite mountainous and, especially in comparisson to the surrounding islands, reasonably green and fertile. A mighty mountain chain, the Zas, towers 1001 meter above the sealevel and can be seen from almost everywhere on the island. On the fertile lowland (by irrigation) citrusfruit trees, olives and grapes are grown, while in the mountain sheep and goats are held for the production of cheese. Marble and amaril are still dug out. The island of Naxos has rather large sandy beaches and dunes along the coastline, now making tourism one of the most important pillars of income.
The official name of the capitol is Naxos (-town), but is often referred to (as on other islands) as Chora. It is the home of the Greek orthodox bishop and a roman katholic archbishop. Naxos is one of the most popular Greek islands with island hoppers. A large number of people visit it and the average length of stay is also greater than that for other popular Greek island destinations. This is due to the combination of an attractive island port, many beautiful large and easy accessible sandy beaches with sand dunes, and a fertile and green interior with old villages and old ruins. Naxos also has good ferry connections and is often the starting point for people that want to travel to Amorgos or to one or more of the islands of the small Cyclades (Koufonissia, Schinoussa, Iraklia and Donoussa).
The opening of the airport on the island also brought quite a few tourists to Naxos. The airport is situated at a mere 1 kilometre distance from the Chora, or five minutes by car. Most of the tourists stay concentrated around Naxos Chora and the direct surroundings though and other parts of the island are much more quiet. Naxos Town or Naxos Chora is the arrival point for the ferry visitors. It has a nice waterfront with terraces, taverna's and shops and behind that there are winding and often steep little streets with small white houses. On top of the Chora is the Venetian castle or Kastro. Most people stay in Naxos Town during their stay or somewhere closeby and than visit the nearby miles of sandy beaches during the daytime. If you want to take a look at the map of Naxos Chora than please click here.
|THE CAPITAL OF THE ISLAND - NAXOS TOWN OR NAXOS CHORA|
You can easily spend an entire day strolling through the capital of Naxos Chora and look at the historic buildings. It is also enjoyable to sit in the harbour with a cup of coffee, a drink or with a meal (because the food on this island is excellent where-ever we were). Close to the place where the ferries come in there is a restaurant that is opened 24 hours a day and they serve a good breakfast. The townbeach was still pretty busy in september, because there are quite a bit of hotels in Naxos chora, but actually the whole coastline of Naxos is a beach. Once yoy get into the streets behind the boulevard and walk through the chora you will see the old and attrcative face of the village. On top is the well preserved Venetian castle, that is build on the remains of the old acropolis. There is a roman catholic cathedral and a museum. Part of the castle is still inhabited.
|THE BEACHES AND NATURIST BEACHES OF THE ISLAND OF NAXOS IN GREECE|
The whole western coastline of Naxos is one big beach. We have seen it from the ferry a couple of times, and we have seen it from our car when we drove past. You can find a place in the sand all for yourself without sharing it with the lot if you like that, and the beaches belong to the best of the Cyclades, or actually the are counted amongst the best in the whole wide world (they are in the top 10). But also in the east, in the south and in the north of the island there are plenty of nice beaches.
Naxos is the biggest of the cycladic islands, so it is worth renting a car for a couple of days and take a good look around the island. I think we should return back soon to see some more of it. The stretch with beaches on the west coast of the island has no equal in the Cyclades. The beaches are miles long, have soft sand and are also broad. Sometimes they have dunes behind it. The nearest beach to Chora is called Agios Georgios, and this is a busy family beach. South of Agios Georgios is the airport of Naxos and to the west the popular beach Stelida with his taverna. To the south of these beaches begin the larger sandy beaches as (successively) Agios Prokopias, Agia Anna, Golden beach (a large naturist beach), Plaka, Mikri Vegle, Kastraki and Pyrgaki. Further in the south are more the difficult to reach beaches Kalando and Rena (we of course went there - over a long and bumpy dirt track - drove carefully and then after that a long way walk).
For more information about the beaches and naturist beaches on the island of Naxos, go to my special beaches page - click here.
|THE SIGHTS OF THE ISLAND OF NAXOS IN GREECE|
From the ancient city of Naxos is hardly anything that can be detected nowadays. Interestin is the 6-meter-high marble Portára port on the island Palatia that dominates the harbour of Naxos Town. It dates from around 525 BC. Built as a temple entrance (of presumably for the god Apollon), it was never completed after the fall of Lygdamis.
The medieval town is situated above the harbour and is further divided into the Venetian Kastro, where once the Catholic nobility lived and the Bourgo, where the indigenous Greeks lived. The 18th-century Orthodox cathedral in the Bourgo, Mitrópoli Zoödóchou Pígis (meaning the life giving source), possesses a remarkable iconostas painted by Dimítrios Válvis, a painter from the so-called School of Crete. The Kastro with another twenty imposing mansions can be seen, decorated with the coat of arms of the Venetian nobles who lived there.
Members of the family of the Duke Sanudo lie buried in the 13th-century Catholic cathedral in the Kastro. In the palace of the Sanudo (in its present form from 1627) has long been a school and housed the writer Nikos Kazantzakis as the most famous pupil. Now there is the Archaeological Museum with a fine collection of marble sculptures from the Cycladic civilization.
The village Apollonas, 48 km from Naxos city on the north coast of the island, is located at the site of an ancient settlement with a shrine for the god Apollon. A staircase leads to the ancient marble place where from about 600 BC the unfinished statue of a kouros has been laying. Only the contours are finished. The 10.5 m long and 30 tonnes heavy image suggests a bearded figure, maybe picturing the god Dionysus (because Apollon is almost never shown with a beard). After a sculptor found a structural mistake in the marble, making it unusable, they stopped working on it and left the statue behind unfinished. A similar and equally large-screen Apollon stood up to the Hall of the the people of Naxos on Delos. The village Apiranthos, 25 km southeast of Naxos City, was founded in the 17th century by Cretans while fleeing the Turks. The attractive village has beautiful, marble paved streets and an apartment built by the Venetian family Crispi. Men still often bear the traditional costume. There is also a small museum with an archaeological and geological department.
|Naxos Hotels: Ikaros Studios - Naxos Town|
Ikaros is a family hotel which offers accommodation all year. It is situated in a quiet corner near the city of Naxos (800m) and very close to the saint George beach (300m). Moreover, it is easily accessible from the airport, being only 1,5 km away from it. This unique location enables our guests to combine entertainment along with relaxation. Ikaros has been designed to satisfy the needs of its guests, you can take your coffee with a view of our beautiful garden or take a refreshing swim in our pool.
All our studios have a spacious bathroom, telephone, television, radio, fully equipped kitchen, fridge, air-condition, safety box and a big balcony. Ikaro's personnel is always trying to make our guest's stay as comfortable as possible. And I can say this from my own experience: they are very friendly and helpful indeed! The studios are wihin easy walking distance from the village center, and out of the noise of the village itself. Closeby you can also find a bakery that serves a good breakfast and coffee outside on their terrace.
Check availabilities and price & book the Ikaros Studios in Naxos - click here.
|Naxos Hotels: Faros Apartments and Studios at the beach of Aliko|
A weekend of relaxing at the beach, away from the crowds. The lovers of beaches and nature will discover their paradise at the beach of Aliko. The west coast of Naxos, opposite the island of Paros, can best be described as one big playground with sand :). The beaches at Aliko are not overcrowded, without pebbles and stones, just beautiful and clear sandbeaches. We stayed for 3 nights at Faros Hotel, but this was too short to enjoy the beauty of the environment and the hospitality of the people! This place is amazing! The crystal clear water, the sandy beaches and the small bays, the Cedar forest and the sand dunes, along with hospitality of the family and the modern facilities at Faros, make it a recommendable destination for everyone.
The complex is situated just 150m from the beach, next to Cedar forest and combine studios, rooms, apartments, swimming pool with bar and restaurant with delicious greek dishes made by the family that run the complex. All the rooms have private balconies with sea view (& sunset some of them), bathroom, fridge & kitchenette, airconditioning, satelite tv, hairdryer and safety deposit box. At the pool you can get refreshing drinks and icecreams or you can relax on a sunbed.
The prices are abolutely reasonable, starting from 40 euro (2008) incuding breakfast. They also offer free of charge the transfer from/to the port. Above are some more pictures of Faros Hotel and of the beach. Some of the pictures were send to me because after a taking a picture in close-up of a flower I forgot to put my camera back in the normal position, making the whole row after that blurry :( and unsharp.
Tel-Fax: +30 22850 75244 - Mobile: +30 6945623733 - send an e-mail to Faros Studios on Naxos island
FOR MORE HOTELS, STUDIOS AND APARTMENTS ON NAXOS - CLICK HERE.
|HOW TO GET TO NAXOS - THE JOURNEY TO NAXOS|
Naxos can be easily reached from Piraeus (near Athens) where there are daily connections to the Cyclades. The journey takes about 5 hours but it depends on the speed of the ferry and the route it takes. At the airport of Athens there is a regular connection to Piraeus. It is also possible to fly to Mykonos and travel on from there. In this case the journey takes about 2 to 3 hours by boat.