Naxos – Green Gem of the Aegean, Culinary Wonder of the Archipelago

January 19, 2020

The word ‘Greece’ is synonymous with islands – but while everyone knows there are many, many Greek Islands, most Americans may only be able to name two: Mykonos and Santorini. And while they may be aware that there are several island groups, few would be able to name the Cyclades – let alone one of the largest and most delightful members of that collection of Aegean gems: Naxos.

It is the largest and greenest of the Cyclades, with high mountains, fertile valleys, green gorges, wonderful seascapes, and gleaming white villages perched on mountains.

Many inhabitants still wear their traditional dress and live off the fruits of the land and visitors delight in beautiful homes, churches and monasteries – masterpieces of Cycladic architecture that appear side by side with Venetian castles.

When one enters the port of Chora, glimmering with whitewashed buildings, he is greeted by the islet of Palatia, with its iconic and much-photographed marble gate, the Portara, the remains of the temple of Apollo that has stood since the 6th century B.C. Greek mythology tells us that the god Dionysus met Ariadni there after she was abandoned by Theseus.

The dominant landmark of Chora, the capital of Naxos, is an imposing Venetian castle. It is an old castle town with stone paved alleys (known as kalderimia) where you can admire a unique blend of Cycladic and Medieval architecture: mansions with Venetian blazons still decorating their entrances, narrow arched alleys (known as stegadia), Catholic churches, and fortifications.

A visit to the Archaeological Museum is a must. Housed in a historic building of the Venetian Period, it showcases artifacts from the Early Neolithic Age up to the Early Christian Period and has an excellent collection of Cycladic figurines.

Guests love exploring the varied landscape of the island by following numerous breathtaking routes (Chora–Melane-Halki, Halki-Danakos-Apeiranthos, Skado-Apollonas, etc.). By following the hiking trail from Apiranthos (or Aperathos), along the emery mines (12 km), you’ll have a breathtaking view of the Archipelago up to Moutsouna Beach! Climb to the top of Zas Mountain, the Cyclades’ highest mountain (1,004 m) and Fanari Mountain (908 m) or follow beautiful biking routes around the mountains! On your way to Zas’ summit, don’t forget to visit the beautiful cave of Zas and observe its impressive stalactite formations. Note that the cave was dedicated to Zeus.

There are many traditional villages around the island: Aperathos is a colorful mountain village that is home to five museums, stone-built houses, beautiful squares, and narrow alleys paved with marble, and Panagia Drosiani, a beautiful church of the Early Christian Period.

Filoti is a picturesque mountain village, built on the top of a rock, surrounded by lush vegetation and cubistic houses, and narrow stone-paved alleys. Nearby is the biggest Byzantine Church on Naxos, containing important murals, Panagia Protothroni (9th-10th c.).

Sagri consists of five small neighborhoods (Ano Sagri, Kato Sagri, Kanakari, Kastraki, and Mikri Vigla) where guests are awestruck by the Venetian towers, the traditional windmills, and Byzantine churches, such as Agios Mamas. These delights make Sagri the most significant destination of Naxos!

Nearby is the 6th century B.C. sanctuary of Demeter and Apollo built of white marble.

Naxos was the seat of the renowned Duchy of the Archipelago, part of Venice’s great maritime empire. Many well-preserved towers can be seen on the island, bearing eloquent witness to the island’s glorious past, among them are the Bazeos Tower in Sagri, the Crispi-Glezos Tower (in Chora), the Belonia Tower at Galanado,  and the Della Rocca-Barozzi Tower in Chora.
Because Naxos is the most fertile island of the Cyclades, it is a major agricultural producer.

Visitors are encouraged to taste quality local products like olive oil, potatoes, spoon sweets, the island’s famous liqueur (called Kitron), mouth-watering wine and above all the renowned cheeses of Naxos: graviera (hard cheese), xinomyzithra (sour myzithra, made of goat or sheep milk, yeast, and salt), xinotyro (sour cheese), and arseniko (a tasty hard cheese made of goat and sheep milk) – all delights for the palate.


Naxos is famous for its wide variety of cultural events and traditional fairs, including the Naxos Festival, organized by the Municipality of Naxos at Bazeos Tower and Dionissia. Fascinating events take place all summer long and the celebrations culminate with the famous Wine Festival and the Fisherman’s Feast held in September.



ATHENS - With new destinations in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as strengthened presence in traditional markets like Cyprus, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, AEGEAN continues its development path, celebrating 25 years of air transport.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Tornado Kills Multiple People in Iowa as Powerful Storms Again Tear Through Midwest

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Multiple people were killed when a tornado tore through a small town in Iowa and left a wide swath of obliterated homes and crumpled cars, while the howling winds also twisted and toppled wind turbines.

LOS ANGELES – ‘Mary, Marianna, Maria – The Unsung Greek Years of Callas’, directed by Michalis Ashenidis and Vasilis Louras, makes its U.

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral present ‘A Taste of Cyprus,’ lecture and food tasting with Christina Loucas, author, recipe developer, and food photographer on Wednesday, June 12, cocktails, 6:15 PM, and lecture and dinner, 7 PM, at the Huffington Center at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1324 S.

HALKIDIKI – Professionals and amateur golfers from Europe, the ideal weather, the impressive golf course of Porto Carras, and the excellent facilities of Porto Carras Grand Resort, created a unique setting for the international golf tournament Porto Carras Pro-Am Aegean Mini Tour, held from May 14-18, on the peninsula of Sithonia in Halkidiki.

ATHENS - The Minister of the Interior, Niki Kerameus, highlighted the postal vote for the upcoming European elections and the cooperation with local and regional governments at the thematic conference of the Union of Regions of Greece, "The Regions Facing the Challenges: Institutional Armoring - Rural Development," in Patras.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.