Naxos - The Biggest Island In The Cyclades
Naxos is the biggest and the greenest island in the Cyclades. It has high mountains, fertile valleys, lush green gorges, stunning seascapes and traditional villages perched high on mountain tops, where the inhabitants still wear their traditional dress and live off the fruits of the land. Naxos is also home to beautiful old churches, monasteries and Venetian castles coexisting harmoniously with the Cycladic architecture.
Upon entering the port of the whitewashed Chora of Naxos you'll encounter the islet of Palatia at its entrance. On Palatia islet the impressive marble gate, temple of Apollo, “Portara” stands still since the 6th century BC. According to mythology, the god Dionysus met Ariadni there, who had been abandoned by Thesseus.
Chora, the capital of Naxos, whose landmark is an imposing Venetian castle, is an old castle town with stone paved alleys (known as kalderimia in Greek) 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 in Greek), catholic churches and fortifications.
Visit the Archaeological Museum, housed in a historic building of the Venetian Period, that showcases artifacts from the Early Neolithic Age up to the Early Christian (Paleochristian) Period and an interesting collection of Cycladic figurines.
Discover the varied landscape of the island by following numerous breathtaking routes (Chora–Melane-Halki, Halki–Danakos-Apeiranthos, Skado-Apollonas, etc.); follow the hiking trail from Apiranthos (or Aperathos), along the emery mines (12 km), where you'll have a breathtaking view to the Archipelago up to Moutsouna Beach! Climb to the top of Zas Mountain, Cyclades’ highest mountain (1,004 m) and Fanari Mountain (908 m) or follow beautiful biking routes around the mountains! On your way to Zas’ top, don’t forget to visit the beautiful cave of Zas and observe its impressive stalactite formations. Note that the cave used to be dedicated to Zeus in ancient times.
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