May 12, 2012

Summer Vacation // Greek Islands: Naxos

Portara // Port of Naxos

Naxos is the largest island of Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean sea. Hubby and I visited this magical place last year (2011) during August. It is a typical Cycladic island, with innumerable archaeological sightings, beautiful sandy beaches, white houses and very windy!



Typical cycladic white house and fence

Ancient Sightings, Temples and Ruins

When travelling around Greece we always devote 1-2 days to visit ancient temples and ruins. We see it not as an obligation towards are history and ancestors but as an exciting adventure! Naxos is full of such sightings, but we stayed only 4 days so we managed to visit only five of them:

-- Demeter's Temple, Goddess of harvest and fertility, near Sagri, at the West side of the island, built around 400 BC.

Stone-path to Demeter's Temple

Flowers on the stone-path

Demeter's Temple ruins

-- Kouros #1 and #2 in Melanes, also sited at the West side of the island, both sculpted around 600 BC. A kouros (plural kouroi, Ancient Greek κοῦρος) is the modern term given to those representations of male youths which first appear in the Archaic period in Greece. (source Wikipedia)

Unfinished Kouros #1 (Flerio). Big boy!

Donkey is a way of transport.
There are a few peasants around the archaeological site taking care of their plots. 

Unfinished Kouros #2 (Potamia). Another big boy here!

Olive and Fig trees.
Getting to the Kouros site at Potamia involves 0.5 km hiking up a hill... under the Greek Summer sun this is hard!

Ready-to-eat-straight-from-the-tree figs

-- The Venetian Castle in the heart of Naxos' "Hora" (= the island's capital city) built right after the fourth crusade in 1204 AD. There is also a Venetian Museum for which we got lost in the old city's labyrinth while trying to find it... Well, we didn't find it!

The Venetian Castle by night

Venetian Castle's ruins


-- Portara (Porta in Greek means door), the island's most famous sighting. It is the enormous marble door of Apollo's temple, God of sun and music, built around 600 BC. It is sited on a tiny island called Palatia, right beside the port of Naxos and you can go there on foot. It is recommended to visit it during the sunset and so we did along with hundreds of tourists and took some amazing pictures while the sea swallowed the sun so that the moon can come. So beautiful and romantic, for me, equivalent to that of Santorini





What else to do apart from sight-seeing?

Go to the beach!! Naxos is famous for its paradise beaches with crystal turquoise waters and golden soft sand. The western side of Naxos is more developed in tourism, while the eastern side is secluded and affected by the strong winds. See here all the Naxian beaches. We went to 6 of them (!) but we fell in love with Maragas (sigh).

Plaka Beach

Sunbathing (or sunburning...) in Maragas

Go eat!! As the largest island of Cyclades, Naxos has its own meat, cheese and vegetables. In the center of Hora (Naxos capital city), there is a unique complex of restaurants on the balconies of old well preserved buildings where you can enjoy great food (I suggest beef and local cheese plates) with a great view!

Complex of restaurants in Naxos' Hora

Naxos is an island that I would love to visit again. I hope that you enjoyed my small guide to the island and that it will intrigue you to visit our beautiful country!



Until my next "Summer Vacation // Greek Islands" post, keep dreaming about summer =)
Thank you so much for reading,







ALL images by barefoot duchess (personal archive). Copyright protected.
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