What to See in Naxos
A walk through the town will give you the chance to visit its main sights. Do not forget to visit:
"Portara”: A marble gate dating back to 6th century B.C. which formed part of ancient temple of Apollo. It is situated at the port entrance.
The castle, an impressive monument associated with the long Venetian occupation of Naxos (1204-1537).
The boarding school of Ursulines situated at the highest point of the castle.
The archaeological site of Grotta located at the northern part of Chora, where you can observe the ruins of the Mycenaean capital of Naxos (1300 B.C.)
Panaghia Vlacherniotissa church with a remarkable wood-carved chancel andPanaghia Myrtidiotissa chapel at the port.
The cathedral of Zoodochos Pigi (Life-Giving font of Virgin Mary).
The Archaeological Museum exhibiting findings dating back from the Late Neolithic until the Paleochristian period.
The Monastery of Aghios Ioannis Chrysostomos.
The Town Hall building housing the municipal library, the municipal theater, the municipal philharmonic orchestra and the Model Library of University Textbooks.
Belonia Tower (6 km SE): the residence of the Venetian lord of the region with the twin (orthodox – catholic) Aghios Ioannis church.
Dionysos sanctuary (6th century B.C.): an official sanctuary of Naxos in “Yria”, 10 km SE of Chora.
Travelling to Naxos
In Tsikalario starts a pathway leading to Apano Kastro, a place located on a hill with amazing view. It seems that from antiquity up to the medieval times it was inhabited. The route continues down the west side of Apano Kastro and after passing through fields it ends up in Potamia.
Melanes village is ideal for a pleasant relaxing walk. The village is located in an area in Naxos and is full of springs, brooks and old watermills. It is a very interesting trip as it combines rich natural beauty with cultural developments. The village is close to the castle-like cottage of the Venetian potentate Markos Sanoudos, as well as close to the castles of Mavrogenis, Fragkopoulos and atheling De Marrie.
Archeological sites -Naxos
The most significant archaeological site of the island is the sanctuary of Demeter and Apollo (6th century), which has been built in its entirety of white marble. It lies south of Sagri at the position of Gyroula. The worship of the sanctuary is connected to the Eleusinian Mysteries. The restoration works on the temple have been completed and the finds are kept at a museum built inside the archaeological site.
Castles in Naxos
The castle of Chora is undoubtedly the most renowned medieval monument of Naxos. It was built under the lead of Venetian Duke Markos Sanoudos in 1207. The castle has two entrances: Trani Porta (Great Gate) to the north and Paraporti (wicket) to the left. Inside the castle you will find many medieval buildings, such as the boarding school of Ursulines and the School of Commerce founded by Jesuit monks, the Kapela Kazatza, a chapel of the Duke, the Catholic Cathedral and the Tower of Krispi or Glezos, today housing the Byzantine Museum.
Heading to the center of the island, near Chora, you will come across the Venetian castle of Belonia, a local nobleman at the Galanado village.
At the entrance of Apeirathos village, you will find the Zevgoli tower (17th century) built on a rock and in Sangkri village you will have the chance to admire some Venetian towers.
Monasteries in Naxos
The old monastery of Aghia Kyriaki and its small church dedicated to the Assumption (Koimissi tis Theotokou) can be found in Chora. The Ypsilotera Monastery-Tower, located NE of Chora in the valley of Eggares, provided shelter to the local farmers during the Frankish occupation. To the north, you will find the Faneromeni Monastery, dating back to the 17th century.
The fortified monastery of Fotodotis Christos is located at Danakos village.
Churches of Naxos
Naxos is full of churches with icons and religious objects of great historical and artistic value. In Chora there is the Church of the Virgin Mary Vlaherniotissa, one of the oldest churches on the island with two icons of Aggelou of Kritos. In Sargi you will also see Byzantine churches of interest.
Traditional Cuisine - Naxos
The main traditional dishes of Naxos island are based on meet and potatoes, but this does not mean that they do not have vegetable dishes as well. The most famous dishes are: “rosto” (meat in red sauce), stuffed lamb, pastitsio with pumpkin, “pentarates” potatoes, “karfa” omelet and kakavia (soup with different kinds of fish).
Some other famous specialties of the island are “giachnada” (different vegetables in fresh tomato sauce) and herb pies.
Naxos island is famous all around Greece for its products and mainly for "Naxos Graviera" (salted semi hard cheese) which since 1996 has been distinguished for its designation of origin. Other well known cheeses of Naxos island are “arseniko” (hard goat cheese), ksinomizithra (sour, slightly salted soft cheese) and anthotiro (soft, unsalted cheese).
Famous are also the potatoes from Naxos island, as well as its meat, fish and seafood.