Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands, it extends for 440 km: 50 km long by 30 wide.
The capital, Chora!
Located on the west coast, Chora is the capital, known for its old town that embraces the walls of the Kastro. The old town is composed of two well-recognizable Venetian villages: Bourgos, where the Greeks once lived, and Kastro, the citadel of the Romans, built in 1207 by the Venetian duke Marco Sanudo. The unfinished Temple of Apollo, also known as Portara (meaning “front door”) has become one of the symbols of the city of Naxos.
The temple was started by the tyrant of Naxos, Ligdamide, as far back as 530 BC, but never completed. It consists of 4 blocks of marble, each of which 6 meters long, and is oriented towards the temple of Apollo on the island of Delos. Only the plinths and the doors survive today. At Portara, the view towards Paros becomes amazing at sunset, be ready to take memorable pictures!
Villages to explore…
Don’t forget to visit the beautiful inland villages of Halki, Filoti and Apiranthos. The first one is a small, village, where bars and restaurants are nestled in narrow rows, with beautiful traditional architectures.
Filoti is a small village, situated only 18 km from Chora. We suggest you to visit the wonderful Church Panagia Filotitissa, located on the top of a small hill, just 2 minutes by walk from the center of the village, in the middle of a labyrinth of small streets. And don’t forget to attend the famous traditional feast that starts 15 of August for 3 days, to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin.
Apiranthos, 10 kilometers away, is a mountain village. Its inhabitants, descendants of the Cretans, speak a language other than the modern Greek you can hear in the rest of the island. The narrow marble paved streets, the shops and the art galleries located at heart of the village will have you fall in love!
Not to miss…
The Temple of Demeter is located in the south, near the village of Sangri, dating back to the 6th Century BC and composed entirely of marble, it was turned into a Basilica at the starting of Christianity. Some columns and a shred of a wall survived to nowadays while, underneath the ruins, a small museum houses other remains of the original construction. 2 kilometers away from Alki is Panagia Drosiani, one of the oldest and most fascinating early Christian Greek churches. Inside the church, several cavelike little chapels, where the place where monks and nuns secretly taught Greek language to the locals, under Turkish occupation.
Read our article about the Coastline.