Top 3 Must-See Attractions in Naxos, Cyclades

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

May 29, 2024

A stone's throw away from the cosmopolitan MykonosNaxos Island is a treasure trove of history and culture. With a rich past that dates back to the Neolithic period, the island has seen the likes of Venetian and Byzantine occupations, ancient temples, Frank and Venetian castles, and much more. Churches with Byzantine frescoes, ruins of Neolithic settlements, palaces, and archaeological and folklore museums all bear witness to the island's storied past. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the top 3 must-see attractions in Naxos.

© Istock/SHansche

1. Portara in Naxos Town

Portara is arguably the most famous monument in Naxos. It is a huge gate, standing at 6 meters in height and 3.5 meters in width. It is a remnant of the ancient temple dedicated to Apollo that Naxos tyrant Lygdamis began building on Palatia Islet in the 6th century BC. The monument is located in the northern part of the port and can be seen from ships approaching Naxos.

© Istock/SHansche

2. Venetian Castle in Old Naxos Town

The Naxos Town Castle was built on the island during the three-century Venetian rule (1204 to 1537). It is an impressive monument located on a hill- the natural acropolis- of Chora. This medieval settlement is still inhabited and preserves its original form and characteristics. The Castle's walls, created by the external walls of the peripheral houses, form a pentagon, and there are three gates to the inside of the Town Castle. Near the north-western gate stands Glezos Tower (Krispi), which extends along both the northern and the western side of the Castle.

© Istock/Freeartist

3. Archaeological Museum in Naxos Town

The Archaeological Museum of Naxos is housed in a 17th-century Venetian building. The museum houses works of art and objects from the Late Neolithic period until the Early Christian times. Visitors can view a variety of exhibits, including ceramics, sculptures, inscriptions, and jewellery.

Sightseeing Bonus - The Temple of Demeter

Located in the village of Sangri, the Temple of Demeter is a must-visit attraction for history buffs. It dates back to the 6th century BC and was dedicated to the goddess of fertility and agriculture. The temple's location in the countryside adds to its charm, and visitors can admire the stunning views from the top of the hill.

© Istock/AndreaKuipers

Recommended Naxos Sightseeing Activities

© Istock/SandyBro

If you're planning a trip to Naxos, we recommend the following activities:

  1. Naxos: Highlights Full-Day Tour by Bus:  This full-day tour by bus is the perfect way to explore the island of Naxos. You'll visit several different sites, including the majestic Demeter temple site, the local modern museum, a pottery workshop where you can watch a demonstration and learn about olive oil production, and the neoclassical Chalkio, where you can visit art galleries and try citron liquor. You'll also explore Apeiranthos, the marble village, where you can take photos of the marble alleys and learn more about the island's history. Finally, you'll relax at Apollonas, a seashore village on the northeast edge of the island, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery and soak up some sun.

2.  Naxos Town: Greek Mythology Guided Sunset Tour:  This guided tour takes place at sunset and is perfect for those who love Greek mythology. You'll explore Naxos's ancient streets, bathed in the sun's light, and listen to enchanting mythological stories about monsters, gods, and heroes. You'll also learn about the medieval dukes who made their homes behind walled forts and hear about the Naxos' connection to the wedding of the god Dionysus to Ariadne. Finally, you'll catch the last of the stunning sunset from the viewpoint at the Temple of Apollo.

3.  Naxos Island: Highlight Bus Tour with Swim Stop at Apollonas: This guided bus tour of Naxos island is perfect for those who want to relax and take in the beautiful scenery. You'll travel in an air-conditioned bus and visit some of the highlights of Naxos Island, including Demeter's Temple, a sanctuary dating to the 6th Century BC, the marble-paved neighbourhoods of Apeiranthos, the gigantic statue of Kouros at the ancient marble quarries, and picturesque Apollonas Bay, where you can enjoy a refreshing swimming stop. Along the way, you'll learn more about the island's culture and history.

© Istock/ saiko3p

These activities are highly recommended and offer a unique way to experience the island of Naxos. So why not book one today and start exploring this beautiful part of the Cyclades?

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