On Naxos there are many picturesque and interesting villages and places to visit. So you do miss out if you only spend time on your favourite beach during your stay on Naxos. Many of the villages are situated in the mountains with spectacular scenery. I will in this article describe some of these places I have been to and will add more later.
To travel around Náxos you can choose collective transportation such as bus, or rent scooter or car. If you enjoy a hard workout you can rent a bicycle. There are also tremendous possibilities of walking around the villages on different tracks that binds villages and settlements together.
Temple of Demeter
About 1,5 km south of Sangri is the Temple of Demeter/Dimitra's Temple (see photo). It's an interesting historical site. The restoration of the temple took place during 1994-2000. Since then a small museum has been built showcasing some of the temples features. The complete site is very attractive done with much flowers and plants, including paths leading to the temple and the museum.
If you follow the main road to central Náxos you reach Chalki after about 16 km. This village is the capital of the newly formed Municipality of Drymalia (includes also Filioti, Damarionas and Moni villages, as well as smaller settlements). The region is also called Tragaea. Chalki village has a small but charming centre just behind the first junction, as you enter the village from south.
I would like to recommend a visit to M.G Vallindras Naxos Citron, a distillery and shop, where the proprietors explain the process of producing this special citrus liqueur. Telephone to Vallindras is +3022850-31 220. Please don't miss the new Citron Cafe, see article Where to eat!
Since a couple of years there is a great ceramics shop Fish & Olive Creations, where you find handicrafts by Katharina and Alex Bolesch. Katharina produce stoneware pottery inspired on the ancient and sacred themes of olives and fish, while Alex focus on pedants and jewellery of own and original design. Furthermore you find splendid artefacts made by olive wood as well as olive oil. Telephone to the shop is: +3022850-32 829.
I'm now a happy owner of two ceramic plates with motives of fish and cock!
In between the above establishments is tavern Ο ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ - Yiannis situated, see photo. This is a good place for lunch after a nice walk in the village.
If you want to get to know the lovely landscape in this area of Naxos, with olive groves, unspoiled villages and many small Byzantine churches, please try to get the guide Central Naxos - A Guide with map, where you among other things find detailed descriptions of seven trekking routes. You can buy the guide in Cycladic Design Centre, an office not far from Citron Cafe. This office and business works with design and coordination of cultural events on Náxos.
Note: I think Cycladic Design Centre does not exist any more,
at least not in the same position as before!
This village is situated in the centre of Naxos in a beautiful valley near the mountain Zeus, about 19 km from Chora. If you are interested in walking to the top of Zeus, Filoti is a good starting point.
When entering the village from south it strikes you how beautiful this place is. The main road is passing right through the village. But take a moment to stop here, walking a bit away from the centre in small paths, looking on picturesque houses, pretty flowers, feel the special scent from a Greek village a warm summer day.
Most cafés a taverns are concentrated around the central square, by the main road. I enjoyed one of my best coffee experiences here after coming back from my walk to Zeus. It was probably not the coffee and ice cream itself, but the nice feeling of relaxation after defeating the high peak. For a couple of photos, see the photo section!
Apiranthos is a mountain village along the main road, situated 23 km from Náxos town. I often come here to enjoy the pretty view, beautiful houses and relaxed atmosphere. Well, during lunchtime there are often buses from Chora with charter travellers doing touring around the island. But on other times this is a charming and peaceful place!
One of my favourite taverns in Apiranthos is Ο ΠΔΑΤΑΝΟΣ - The Plátanos. It's nice situated by the main walking path with the outdoor section sheltered by a huge tree.
Here you find three museums: an Archaeological Museum, a Museum of Folk Art and a Geological Museum. I have been visiting the last one and it's interesting because the geology of Greece is complex and fascinating. The museum would however gain if there were some information in English. Or maybe I should do some effort and learn some Greek?
You can find local products of Naxos here such as weaving products, art et c. I bought a nice tablecloth by a lady, which I now have (had) in my living room!
5 km north of Apiranthos you reach Stavros church where the road from Moni connects. Just after this junction there is a small road down to the remote village of Keramoti. Just outside the village there is a parking lot. In this village there is no restaurant or other similar services. You go to this place to experience something difference.
Keramoti (see photo section) is located in a fertile valley with a lot of water. The water is taken care of by an extensive channel system, which leads the water to small terraces where the cultivation takes place. There is also a washing place for laundry connected the water system, but I guess its not of much use nowadays. This is a nice place "away from it all" to get an uplifting experience.
36 km north of Chora you find the traditional and calm mountain village Koronos that is placed in a picturesque valley. In the valley are many vineyards and agricultural products of all kind are produced, for example the speciality Koronos-cheese.
The village has played an important role in the islands history and economical growth, mainly due to emery excavation in the area.
It's nice to walk in the narrow alleys and trying to find your way through the village meeting friendly locals. With some luck you reach the tavern, café and grill ΤΟ ΓΕΘΥΡΙ - The Bridge. Here I have been enjoying superb traditional salad including the Koronos-cheese as well as coffee. For photo, see photo section.