|Visited in 1986, 2004, 2006,
2008, 2009 (2X), 2010,
2011, 2012 (2X) and 2013
Walking, hiking and trekking on NAXOS
(last update on the 30th of August 2013)
*** = very beautiful
**** = exceptional
N = new in 2011
with Páros, also the island of Náxos takes a special place among the
Cyclades. With a surface area of 448 km˛ Naxos is definitely the largest
island of the Cyclades, larger than Andros (385 km2), Páros (195 km˛) and
Tínos (195 km˛).
It also has a fairly large population: in 1991 the island had a little
under 15 000 inhabitants. Just like Páros, also Náxos is very centrally
located, which means that it is the landing place of many boat connections.
Long boat lines to Santoríni, to Kos and Ródos, to Ikaría and Sámos or to
Amorgós often call at the islands of Náxos and Páros.
Already in the ancient times, Náxos was a rich island, amongst others because of its marble-quarries and its agriculture. But also in these days, Náxos is definitely the richest and most multifaceted island of the Cyclades. The island is very fertile, especially because there are plenty of wells; the villages in the interior are really picturesque, and you can find Byzantine chapels, towers from the Venetian era and even kouros-statues everywhere. Also the beaches attract many tourists nowadays.
Boats coming from
the Piraeus arrive at the harbour of Náxos or Chóra after 6 to 7 hours. Náxos
is a very lively town, with a busy harbour and lots of traffic. There are
many large buildings in the modern city, which does not make it as
attractive as the other villages and towns on the Cycladic isles. However,
the town is dominated by a marvellous kástro. In 1207, in the aftermath
of the 4th crusade, the Venetian gentleman Marco Sanudo, built a fortified
castle on this spot. Until 1566 Naxos even remained the capital of a
Venetian dukedom. The nobility then settled around the kastro. This is
also the catholic neighbourhood of Naxos, with the catholic church and
with a couple of monasteries. Over here you can also find a beautiful
archaeological museum (among others with the famous Cycladic statues).
The interior of Náxos
is magnificent and still has to offer a lot of authentic spots.
The large village of
Filóti is built in the shape of an amphitheatre at the foot of the
slopes of the highest mountain, Zas (1001 m). This might be one of the
most beautiful villages of the island, with the Barozzi-tower and the
Panagía-church – from where you have a great panoramic view.
The town of Apíranthos
is situated about 8 km more to the north. This is also a very
picturesque village on the slopes of the Fanári-mountain (883 m). Because
marble was used a lot here, Apíranthos was given the nickname “marble
village”. The small churches, the archaeological museum and the Zevgoli-
and Bardani-towers are worth a visit.
We can also
recommend a visit to the villages of Chalkí and Damariónas
(more to the south-west), to Kóronos, which is also built on the
slopes of the mountain, and to Koronída, the highest village on
the island (700m). But on the hikes you will even discover much more:
small villages such as Potamiá, Moní, Tsikalarió, Mélanes and much
more: kouros-statues in Flerió, Potamiá or Apóllonas, monasteries,
towers, ancient remnants, and many more things.
Náxos is also renowned for its beaches: the crowded beach of Agios Geórgios, south of Chóra, and then the beaches of Agia Anna, Mikrí Vígla, Kastráki, Alíko, Agiassós, etc. more to the south.
The interior of Náxos
is a paradise for hikers. Because the distances are larger than for
example on Sífnos or Amorgós, you have to prepare your hikes well in
advance. You often have to catch a bus or a taxi first in order to get to
the point of departure, because there are not a lot of hikes in the
immediate vicinity of Chóra. Therefore, it could be a good idea to stay
in the interior for a couple of nights, for example in Filóti, Apíranthos
or Chalkí; it is also possible to stay the night at the end of the hike
The nicest map of
the island of Náxos is, as usual, published in the very interesting Anávasi-series (Topo 10.28): it shows a lot of monopátia and it is really
quite indispensable. The map in the Road-editions (111) also shows many
trails, but is less accurate. On the Anávasi-map you can easily get about 15
–20 ideas for hiking trajectories.
On both maps, a few small stretches of other monopátia are absent: the paths between Mélanes and Kournochóri and the path that leads from Ano Sagrí to the temple of Demeter. In the region of the Fanári, the Anávasi-map is more complete.
Of course, I also refer to the nice book "Naxos and the Small Cyclades", published by Graf Editions - in this book, 30 hikes are described.
I have selected 44 walks that I've followed myself - the choice will be difficult, but my personal top five is:
1. Mélanes - Koúroi - Potamiá - Agios Mámas - Káto Potamiá
2. Filóti - Chalkí - Moní (the church-route) or Chalkí - Panagía I Drosianí - Moní - Kalóxylos - Chalkí
3. Kóronos - bay of Liónas and back or Kóronos - Tzoumagiá and back
4. Apíranthos - Fanári - Moní of Apíranthos - Fanári - Kalóxylos - Chalkí
5. Filóti - Agia Marína - Zas and back.
Since January the 1st 2004
you are visitor n°
Panoramic view of Chóra Naxos
Byzantine church of Agii Apóstoli
Panoramic view of Filóti
The kouros of Apollonas
The Hellenistic tower of Chimárrou
The pebbles on the beach of Liónas
The temple of Demeter
A square in Apíranthos
The Panagía in Chalkí
Sunset over the Portara