Aegean-style whitewashed houses, old stone-built mansions, narrow alleys and arches and much more comprise Chora, the settlement spreading in and around Naxos’s medieval citadel founded by Marco Sanudo –its first Venetian ruler in the 13th century.
Deep in the mists of time, the beginnings of the history of Chora are intertwined with mythical beings, legends and heroes that are later succeeded by distinct eras: Mycenean, Roman, Byzantine and the periods of Venetian and Ottoman occupations.
Its many monuments speak about a splendid past – the most characteristic one being Portara, the imposing propylon, or monumental gateway of the 6th century temple of Apollo on Palatia, the islet by the harbor.
The Temple of Apollo or Portara
Portara, a huge marble gate and the single remaining part of an unfinished temple of Apollo of 530 BC, is Naxos’s emblem and main landmark. Standing on the islet of Palatia, at the entrance to Naxos harbour, it comprises four marble parts weighing about 20 tons each. The islet of Palatia has been associated with the worship of Ariadne –a Cretan princess- and Dionysus, the god of wine and merriment. Because, according to mythology, Dionysus abducted the princess at the beachside of Palatia, the islet is considered the place where Dionysian festivities were first held. Portara today is connected with the Naxos mainland via a paved footpath.
The spot offers one of the most enchanting sunsets in Greece.
A tour of Kastro
There are few places in Greece where one may go back in time and get a feeling of what a medieval town was like architectural structure and details still intact. The fortified citadel of Naxos, or Kastro, is one of these. The conversion of many mansions within its bounds into museums and the maintenance of others by their owners makes Kastro a veritable medieval museum with a unique atmosphere.
Entering the citadel via Trani Porta, you see the Della Rocca Barozzi Tower on the right. It is one of the oldest mansions in Kastro and houses today the Venetian and Folk History Museum. Next to the Venetian Museum is the Tower of Crispi while on the way to Kastro’s central square you see
the Catholic Cathedral. Directly behind the Catholic Cathedral and next to the Catholic Episcopal Palace is the Orthodox Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Theoskepasti. These days, the tower serves as a Byzantine Museum, as had been specified by its last private owners, the P. Glezos family, when they donated it to the state. The tower is also known as the Glezos Tower, or of Aperathitissa –derived from Apiranthos, the donor family’s hometown. The uphill street leads to the Naxos Archaeological Museum – one of undoubtedly special interest, with exhibits spanning thousands of years.
Panagia (Virgin Mary) Myrtidiotissa, an islet with a whitewashed chapel in the middle of Naxos harbor, stands as the first picturesque sight to greet the visitor’s eye. According to historical sources, this islet in antiquity served as a place of worship of the god of the sea, Poseidon.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
Mythology holds an outstanding position in Naxos’s web of history and culture. The figures of Dionysus, Zeus, Apollo, Ariadne and Demeter are woven with indelible colours in memory and time, never ceasing to stir interest and imagination. In the island’s age-old history myths blend with reality, with abundant archaeological finds dating to all periods throwing light on the historical reality behind every myth. Dionysus, Semele, Theseus, Ariadne, nymphs, Nereids-goddesses of the sea, tyrants, conquerors, pirates, noblemen and farmers and heroes have left their traces widely dispersed throughout the time and space of this island, composing a magical game between legends and history.
The human presence on Naxos spans thousands of years, endowing the island with a rich cultural mosaic of various periods and influences. Due to its geographical position, Naxos has been a center of communication and exchanges among the inhabitants of neighbouring islands, but also among different races and ethnicities. Naxos flourished during the period of the Cycladic Civilization, between 3000 and 2000 BC, thanks to trade, seafaring and its mineral wealth, notably marble and emery.
The ancient sanctuary of Apollo and Demeter at Gyroulas, Sagri
The Kouroi statues at the ancient marble quarries (Faraggi and Flerio areas)
The ancient quarry and the Kouros of Apollo
Near the coastal settlement of Apollonas is one of the two ancient marble quarries of Naxos, where sculpture, the greatest art of antiquity, emerged.
The Mycenean tomb at Chosti
The monument is situated approximately 200m outside the village of Komiaki, with which it is connected via a footpath.
The ancient Naxos aqueduct
The ancient sanctuary at Flerio water spring
The legendary tower of Chimarros at Filoti is considered one of the important ancient monuments of the island. Built on a hilltop by the road to Kalantos, it is named after two streams (chimarros in Greek) that defined the area’s east and west.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
The nature of Naxos talks to the heart of every artist with its authenticity, richness and simplicity. The island is marked by great variety: mountains with ravines, caves and gullies shade verdant valleys with olive, fig, orange, lemon trees and vineyards, abundant waters. The valleys end at smooth, sandy beaches adorned with juniper and tamarisk trees; villages are surrounded by fields and vegetable gardens; migratory birds find refuge on trees, while wild pigeons and swifts in the inaccessible coastal rocks. Protected biotopes with rare fauna and flora complete the mosaic of an
island that offers the visitor all the lavish gifts of nature. But the seabed around Naxos also offers another, exciting world, with marine ecosystems of astounding beauty, huge variety, reefs and
rocks full of life, meadows of Posidonia oceanica with colourful plates and reefs. Just pick your route, either on or off shore, and abandon yourself to the magic of Naxos’s nature. The thrill is there
throughout the year.
Mount Zas and its Cave
The summit of Mount Zas, which rises southeast of the village of Filoti, is the highest peak in the entire Cyclades region, with an elevation of 1,003m. According to mythology, God Zeus spent his
childhood years here and an eagle was said to have offered him the thunderbolt at the
top of this mountain which subsequently helped him reign supreme on Mountain Olympus. Besides its mythological interest, Mount Zas is endowed with wonderful natural beauty -a great place for trekking through old and very scenic routes. The cave of Zas, one of Naxos’s most impressive natural sights, is located southeast of Filoti, at an altitude of 630m.
Routsouna waterfall has a spectacular 20m drop. A plane tree is rooted at its base, while a lake of considerable depth offers a delightful swimming basin for Keramoti’s youngsters during the summer months. From here, the water continues its flow all the way to the fields at Eggares and
irrigates the area before reaching the sea, at Ammitis beach.
Alyko juniper forest
Alyko peninsula, in southwestern Naxos, is home to one of Greece’s largest and densest juniper forests. A land mass of approximately 200 acres, the peninsula is covered with age old juniper trees, lentisc shrubs, heather, thyme, calycotomes and various wildflowers.
Biotopes – Wetlands
•The open sea and the coastal zone
•The steep, rocky coastline – particularly on the eastern side.
•The sandy and pebbly beaches and the sand dunes with juniper trees in southwestern Naxos.
•The coastal, seasonal wetlands, such as the lagoon of Alyki – the largest and most significant coastal wetland in the Cyclades, both in terms of biodiversity and populations, as well as in terms of the rarity of the birds that find permanent or temporary refuge in its waters; also, lagoons such as those of Mikri Vigla, Glyfada and Agios Prokopios, the wetlands of Kalantos, Agiassos and Potamides and the Ammitis estuary.
Naxos’s white marble has been one of the island’s most important natural resources since antiquity. It is mostly found on the western section of the island and its quality rivaled the
marbles of any other origin. Quarries are seen in various locations – the most important being the one near the village of Kynidaros, which has an imposing presence and makes for a lunar landscape that extends from the mountain side to the main road. The fact that the first marble statue of a large size was sculpted on Naxos in 660 BC (Kouros) signifies the importance of the art of marble sculpture on the island, which is retained to this day.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
Naxos footpaths, which constituted the main means of access and transportation from one village to another, and from the settlements to the fields and other farming areas from antiquity to the late 1960’s, measure hundreds of kilometers in total length. Of these walking trails and rural tracks, we propose specific routes, which have also been set on map. By exploring this network of trails of cultural interest – which will be continuously updated and extended – trekkers will have the opportunity to admire an environment of particular natural beauty and, at the same time, acquaint themselves with the island’s history and culture. The proposed routes offer direct access to ancient monuments, medieval towers, traditional farmsteads, monasteries, churches and chapels but also to water fonts and mills and other important factors and aspects of the life of the people of Naxos.
Due to its considerable size and rich natural environment, which account for a broad variety of scenery and landscape – from the coastal to the upland areas – Naxos is highly suitable for mountain as well as road biking. The range of options is wide, from rural roads to exciting trails and specially designed cycling routes in various parts of the island.
Naxos with its topology creates ideal conditions for the water sports aficionados, especially during the summer season when meltemi winds make noticeable presence. In Naxos the most popular watersport is windsurf which has as a companion the meltemi, the positive north wind which blows throughout the summer during the day with average strength of 5-7 Beaufort. In Naxos one can find beaches for different levels (beginners, experts, advanced) as well as different disciplines (slalom/speed, wave, freestyle, free-ride). The beaches of Amiti, St. George (for north winds-meltemi) and Agiassos (for south winds) are offered for wave. In the lagoon of St. George are created the most ideal conditions for speed/slalom as well as one of the really growing fast discipline of freestyle (many riders from Greece and abroad choose the spot for their training). Moreover the lagoon with its shallow and calm waters, is one of the friendliest spots in Greece for those who want to make their first steps in the world of windsurf. On the beaches of St George, Plaka and Mikri Vigla are operate sport clubs with up to date equipment for those who want to learn the secrets of the sports. Mikri Vigla is an international meeting point for passionates of windsurf as well as kitesurf – a similar and really Water Sports popular sport – (schools oparate there for learning). For those who love waterski, wakeboard or water games with bananas and tubes, the organised beaches of St. George and Plaka offer equipment for rental to enjoy a ride and get full of adrenaline.
The island’s varied coastline is a sure pole of attraction for scuba divers. Exciting explorations in shipwrecks, caves and sunken aircraft await those at an advanced level. For beginners, the diving schools operating here offer a first class opportunity to discover the magic of the sea. They are located on the organized beaches of the island and provide modern equipment and experienced staff. Recommended areas for diving are the shipwrecks Marianna and Baufighter, Frouros rocky islet and Megalo Glaronissi. In all cases, you can contact the diving schools that know best the most suitable spots for each interest and can direct you with safety in underwater explorations.
A horse ride during your vacations is surely a special experience. You can ride on and along Naxos beaches, enjoying unique moments, but also on trails that offer the opportunity of acquainting yourself with the beauty of the island. Local operators οffer rides on Naxos beaches to riders of all levels. There are also ponies for children to accompany adults on bigger horses. Live up a unique experience on horseback on a beach (accompanied by a guide), enjoy a ride under a full moon or just experiment by the seaside and discover Naxos’s unspoiled nature.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
A tour of the villages of Naxos is a unique experience, a journey into the history and past of the island, with myths and heroes, medieval legends, folk customs that survive intact to this day. Coastal areas are refreshed by Aegean Sea breezes, the uplands by mountain coolness. Colours alternate, and so do the sounds: the waves, the gurgling waters of a stream, the squeaking reeds, the rustling leaves and so many other sounds accompany the visitor on every step. Churches and monasteries of rare historical value, mansions and towers, caves, trails, mines, threshing floors and vineyards give these villages a great wealth of sights that is difficult to encounter on any other island!
Danakos is a small, picturesque village situated deep in a gorge at the foot of Mt. Zas. It is one of the island’s oldest settlements, mentioned by Homer and ancient historian Thucydides – among
others, but this is also attested by the numerous remains of ancient cemeteries, wells and Byzantine chapels in the area. The village is well-known for its plentiful and clear water springs.
Eggares is a small farming village in the midst of a fertile plain still bearing the marks of blissful times that left an indelible impression on prominent writer Nikos Kazantzakis in his teens, at the end of the 19th century, as he recorded it in his “Report on Greco”. Eggares has two wonderfully restored olive mills.
Kynidaros, a village in the Naxos uplands, about 15km east of main town Chora, carries a rich and tumultuous past as well as a vibrant musical tradition, as highlighted by the numerous events staged here – possibly more frequently than in any other village of Naxos. Kynidaros sits on a rocky hillside, 400m above sea level, next to the island’s marble quarry, and is surrounded by olive, plane and oak trees.
Potamia is a traditional village set in the heart of a wonderfully lush and cool valley, replete with monuments of Naxos’ history and its economic and cultural past since the Middle Ages –water mills, chapels and ruined towers.
Located by the seaside road close to Kastraki, Oskelos is one of Naxos’s few towers built close to the sea. It dates back to the 17th century and is distinguished by its considerable height and its strong defensive character. It originally belonged to Ieronymos Conte, before its ownership was transferred to the Sommaripa family. Offering an exceptional view towards Paros and Ios, the tower is open to visitors.
Heading for the Tragea valley from Naxos Town the visitor is struck by the change in scenery. The vast blue expanse of the sea, the sandy beaches and the dry Cycladic landscape suddenly give way to a lush valley: age-old olive, plane and oak trees, vines and fruit groves surrounded by towering summits –a landscape reminiscent of mainland Greece and dotted by eight beautiful villages. Chalki, the head village, is the most alluring of them all. Tradition has it that its name derives from a family of bronze smiths that were settled here by the Venetian rulers (chalkos=bronze). Thanks to its position at the center of the island’s road network, Chalki thrived and prospered as the commercial hub of the entire Naxos uplands district up until a few decades ago
Economically and culturally vibrant Filoti is the largest of Naxiot villages. Set amphitheatrically on the slopes of two hills at the foot of Mount Zas, t is virtually surrounded by impressive summits. Filoti’s liveliness and cultural richness is made evident upon entry to the village while headed for its main square. Cultural venues and sights stand on both sides of the road, including an ancient-styled sports and entertainment theatre, a war-heroes’ cenotaph, and the Filoti Association Cultural Center which houses a library, cinema and a reading club.
Apiranthos, or «t’Aperathou» in local speech, is built at the foot of Mt. Fanari, at 600m above sea level and 28km from main town Chora. Venetian towers, pretty, old two-storey houses, marble paved alleys with arches above them, picturesque squares and the poetic disposition of Apiranthians combine to create a rare atmosphere in the Cycladic islands. Its inhabitants are considered to have largely come from other areas (e.g. Crete, Asia Minor) and Apiranthos’s local
language idiom, mores and customs are Apiranthos quite distinct from other Naxos villages.
This small but particularly energetic community has developed while keeping its local colour largely unaltered. Its «Nikos N. Glezos library» is the largest in the Cyclades, and it features a few very interesting museums and a women’s weaving cooperative.
Kaloritsa cave – monastery
The fascinating cave of the Nativity and the remains of the early Byzantine monastery of Kaloritsa are found above Timios Stavros monastery, on the slope of Mt. Prophitis Ilias. The natural cave, which measures approximately 30m in length and 10m in width, was likely converted into a church
in the 4th century because, according to tradition, an icon of the Nativity of Christ was found by a shepherd inside it.
The community of Melanes is considered one of Naxos’s most ancient settlements, built in amphitheatric fashion on the slope of a hill overlooking the same-name fertile valley.
The Jesuit summer resort at Kalamitsia
An impressive complex that was built as the summer resort of Jesuit monks in the 17th century is seen at Kalamitsia, between the settlements of Melanes and Potamia. Construction of the complex was funded by the family of the head of the Jesuit order himself, Robert Saulger. Being a distinct mixture of western and local architecture, it includes many The Jesuit summer resort at Kalamitsia
rooms, a chapel, auxiliary buildings such as dovecote, stable and olive mill, and a huge garden featuring terraces, bearing walls, cisterns and flights of stairs. Due to the luxury that characterized it, it was dubbed as “the Jesuit palace” and became the object of both admiration and criticism in its heyday, encountered in many reports of travelers and Papal emissaries.
A wonderful landsape and a sense of a pristine natural environment enchant the visitor to Myli, a small village situated in western Naxos’s lush Melanes valley. Its name is derived from the many old watermills – some of which still feature the funnels that supplied the water which powered the millstones.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
Many Cycladic islands are renowned for their beaches, but Naxos is the only one that can boast an endless coastline comprising a string of beaches of incredible beauty: superb turquoise waters and golden sands; beaches unspoiled or organized; beaches to discover, for water sports or family recreation; beaches next to ancient monuments, near important wetlands, medieval forts or Byzantine churches; beaches only steps away from the main town, Chora, and beaches in areas of exceptional natural beauty, untouched by civilization or tourism. Naxos has something for everyone – this is what makes it one of the most popular Aegean islands.
A favourite of the locals, as it is located next to Chora and is suitable for a swim without having to leave town. It has shallow waters, adversely affected only by strong northerly summer winds. Organized with sun umbrellas and sunbeds, especially by the hotels, taverns, and cafes. The beach’s southern end is dominated by windsurfers, as it is considered to be one of the island’s spots for surfing.
Located 5km from Chora and 2km long, Agios Prokopios is one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, highly graded every year for the transparency and cleanliness of its waters, the beauty of the landscape and the comfort it offers to visitors. It has been named after the picturesque chapel at the beginning of the beach. Among the most famous beaches on the island, Agia Anna is a favourite among Greek and foreign tourists – an endless stretch of golden sand and turquoise crystal-clear waters. It is organized for the best part, with sun umbrellas and sunbeds, and many tavernas and beach bars in the posterior part.
Endowed with coarse sand and crystal-clear waters, Agios Prokopios is one of Naxos’s best organized beaches and attracts large numbers of holidaymakers. Most tourism-related shops such as mini markets, taverns, cafés, car and motorbike rental agencies, are located at the beach’s eastern flank.
Among the most famous beaches on the island, Agia Anna is a favorite among Greek and foreign tourists – an endless stretch of golden sand and turquoise crystal-clear waters. It is organized for the best part, with sun umbrellas and sunbeds, and many tavernas and beach bars in the posterior part.
No longer a favourite of the hippies as in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Plaka beach today remains one of the most attractive and popular on Naxos. An endless stretch of golden sand with crystal-clear waters and views of Glaronissia and Paros, Plaka is a continuation of Agia Anna beach. Its “trademark” sand dunes in the posterior part appear even more exotic with the presence of sea lilies after August. Plaka is an organized beach with umbrellas and sun beds – but also natural shade from junipers near the water – and a heaven for sea sport fans. There are shops for renting out equipment and training for all levels of windsurfing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and sailing. It is lined with cafes, beach bars and tavernas catering for all tastes.
Mikri Vigla was used as an observation point during Frankish rule, designed to provide advance warning against pirates approaching the island. These days it rates as one of the most gorgeous beaches on the island. A rock divides the beach into two parts, nicknamed “Partheno” on the north side and “Limanaki” on the south side. This spot is ideal for windsurfing and is considered the island’s best location for kitesurfing as the bay is sheltered and winds are suitable for flights over Naxos’s beaches.
Kastraki is a small cove located behind the Mikri Vigla peninsula and next to Glyfada beach. Its fine white sand and tranquil waters attract numerous visitors. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available here.
Glyfada is an enormous sandy beach on the southwestern coast of Naxos. The landscape here features sand dunes and shady juniper trees at many points. Glyfada is a great place for swimming, fishing, sea sports, as well as walking from end to end. Owing to the extensive size of this beach, it never fills, not even during the busiest month of August, despite attracting many visitors.
The small inlets located below the juniper tree forest at Alyko peninsula offer visitors gorgeous sandy beaches with turquoise waters. Surrounded by sand dunes with junipers, these inlets offer a view of southern Naxos’s ridges. They are quiet, exotic, and suitable for all.
Pyrgaki is an attractive, white-sand beach on the southern coast of the island, near the Alyko juniper forest and very quiet. It offers views of the nearby islands of Iraklia and of Ios further beyond. Ideal for a chill-out as it is never crowded.
Agiassos beach offers an enticing 750- meter stretch of fine sand and crystal-clear, shallow waters on the southwestern coast of Naxos. It is one of the island’s most unspoiled beaches. To the side, the visitor may explore small inlets with caves suitable for spear-gun fishing, while a small wetland at one end hosts many bird species. A number of picturesque fish tavernas offer excellent food, while those looking
for quiet holidays will find rooms to rent
in the summer hamlet behind the beach.
Sheltered by the gulf at the island’s southeastern coast, Panermos harbor is almost always windless. It is equipped with a small pier and features a lovely
sandy beach with immaculately clean waters. A small canteen offering snacks and refreshments operates next to the beach during the summer months. The hill above the beach features the remains of the prehistoric acropolis (fortified citadel) of Amygdalies, considered to be the most
ancient inhabited spot in the Apiranthos area. The acropolis, which offers stunning views of Koufonissia islands, is reached via a signposted track beginning at the beach.
This sheltered, beautiful beach at the edge of the bay with the same name, at Naxos’s southernmost point, has an alluring stretch of sand and crystal-clear, shallow waters. A rich wetland has developed at the stream’s end, hosting numerous birds amongst other species. A marina/fishing pier in the bay offers protection from the annual northerly summer
breezes (meltemia) and southerly winds.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
Ok so you’ve decided to explore one or all of the beautiful islands of the Small Cyclades: Iraklia, Schinoussa, Koufonissia, Donoussa – the four gems of the Aegean – that are part of the municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades.
Some closer to Naxos than others, they all offer something a little different. Of course, one thing they all share in common, is gorgeous beaches and a more relaxed, remote holiday experience. If you’re visiting Naxos, consider the option of visiting these tiny islands as well. Here is a quick guide to assist you in planning your trip. These four tiny islands, surrounding Naxos, are accessible only by sea with the exception of Koufonissia and Schinoussa that each also have a helipad.
Iraklia, unspoiled, featuring an impressive mountain massif and excellent beaches – protected from strong winds thanks to its proximity to the much larger, craggy islands of Naxos and Ios – may be described as the “wild beauty” among the Small Cyclades. Part of the Natura 2000 network of natural habitats, it enchants with the superb views offered by its mountainous footpaths, the variety of its coastline and its own, unique sights. Life on Iraklia takes an easy pace, offering quiet and relaxation, with many alternative options for walks and exciting exploration, swimming in crystal-clear waters, diving in wonderful settings but also entertainment at the local, traditional island fetes.
Iraklia’s beaches cater to all tastes. If you prefer sandy ones, try Agios Georgios, Livadi, Vorini Spilia and Alimia – this last one is reached by boat. Pebbly beaches are found at Tourkopigado, Ammoudi tou Mericha and Karvounolakos, and rocky ones at Xylobatis, Vala and Kavos tou Thodorou.
Featuring a strange, rugged beauty, and nature that beckons for exploration, Schinoussa is an island which promises unforgettable vacations to the visitor. It has many characteristics which make it a wonderful “refuge”: Its harbour is well-known as a good shelter, the beaches with the golden sand are as a rule approached without any difficulty, and the climate of the island is so mild that is reminiscent of summer even in winter. Small Schinoussa wants to reward its visitors for their journey there, and so ensures that their stay is as pleasant as possible from the minute they anchor at its port.
Tucked between the isles of Iraklia and Koufonissia, off the southeastern coast of Naxos, Schinoussa promises unique experiences in the surrounding expanse of turquoise and deep blue waters, romantic sunsets, nights under the moonlight straight out of fairy tales, exciting hiking trails but also unforgettable gastronomic delights. It retains its traditional character unspoiled and offers you the relaxing holidays sought by those looking for isolated spots in the Aegean archipelago. The island has no public transport facilities, which adds to its picturesque character. Besides, its small area and relatively smooth landscape allow easy access throughout on foot. But is it also possible to hire bicycles and mopeds to explore the hinterland, or a boat to explore the highly indented coastline.
No matter how much you have been prepared from what you have heard about the beaches of Koufonissia, what you will actually feel when you get there cannot be easily described. Coves with emerald waters that look like natural pools and a background of rocks uniquely sculpted by the waves compose a magical picture that fires the senses right away.
For many years these two little isles were the refuge of the few that had discovered them. Today, they are favourite tourist destination but have kept their exotic charm.
Transportation is not needed on Koufonissi. The island can be walked around in just a few hours, or, if preferred, one may rent a bicycle, or do the round by boat, either private or through boat services on offer.
Kato Koufonissi is virtually deserted but has a small port and numerous small and isolated beaches.
In Ano Koufonissi one beach succeeds another along the island’s southern coastline, from Parianos in the west to Pori in the east, and they are all spellbinding. A track running parallel to the island’s southern coastline allows visitors to see and select the beach of their choice, which is no easy matter. The seaside track, a longer walk than it looks on the map, is definitely a far more delightful route to take than the road running deep through the island’s hinterland. Alternatively there is the equally beautiful overland route from the village to the east side on the beach ‘ Pori. The route offers stunning views of the Interior of the island.
This small island, that seems to be swimming alone at the edge of the Cycladic group, exudes a unique aura. This is perhaps why Dionysus, the ancient god of wine and merriment, chose it to hide Ariadne, the Cretan princess he was in love with, and why most people visiting it will claim they are in love. Hospitable, multifaceted and spontaneous, Donoussa bucks the trends prevailing in the busy tourist resorts and still offers the authenticity, tranquility and simplicity that were once synonymous with vacations in the Cyclades. Picturesque villages, idyllic locations, a breathtaking coastline and beaches where you cannot fail to relax compose a paradise on earth that will truly charm you.
Donoussa’s pretty beaches – sandy to the south and pebbly to the north, are a far cry from the style of organized bathing spots, and offer unique contact with nature, crystal-clear waters and a wonderful seabed. Even more isolated and unspoiled are the beaches on the nearby islets of Skoulonissi, Makares and Melantii, which are also ideal for fishing and diving, and can be reached by private or hired boat.
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
Due to its size, central position in the Aegean Sea and natural wealth Naxos has been self-sufficient since antiquity. Its olive oil and fruit were renowned throughout the archipelago, while its wine was likened to the nectar drunk by the Gods. The island’s fertile land continues to supply pure ingredients to the Naxian cuisine, while hundreds of traditional recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation have contributed to the creation of a plethora of flavourful dishes.
Naxos is also renowed for its unique cheeses, like arseniko, gruyere, myzithra, xinomyzithra, touloumotyri, antho – tyro, afromyzithra, thilykotyri, kefalotyri, kopanisti, ladotyri, manouri. The island also produces excellent thyme honey and good wine. According to Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of wine and merriment, was born on Naxos and planted the first vine as its patron. The vinifiable varieties today main – ly are athiri, aidani, potamissi, fokiano, mantilaria and some local strains. The edible varieties are mainly rozaki, soultanina and fraoula. The island also boasts a significant production of olives and olive oil, along with its animal farming sector. Goat and sheep breeding is mainly found in the uplands, while cattle stock predominates in the plains.
Milk-producing cows have been reared on Naxos since the 16th century and so, cheeses from cows’ milk are a very old affair. There are references to cheeses even in ancient texts, while for other varieties only the oral tradition survives. Today, the Naxian cheese industry includes a wide variety of extremely interesting tastes. Interestingly, many local producers persist with the traditional production methods while having modernized their installations. Only a few characteristic Naxian cheeses are presented here but it is worth seeking out more.
Naxos’s renowned citron liqueur is one of three Greek aperitifs marketed with a Protected Designation of Origin. Citron groves are cultivated in the plains of Eggares and Sagri, but also in the hinterland valleys, where winters are mild and summers cool. Citron leaves are used to produce the “Naxos citron” liqueur and the fruit itself is used in various spoon sweets.
The tasteful Naxos’ potatoes
The renowned Naxos potato is one of the most qualitative and tasteful products cultivated on Naxos. Potato cultivation in Naxos’s fertile plains grew rapidly after the mid-19th century and the vegetable became one of the island’s basic staples.
Due to its rich flora and high fluctuations in altitude, Naxos is ideal for the production of honey.
Bees mainly feed on thyme and heather, but also on summer savoury, sage, oregano and spring flowers. The largest part of the 35 to 40 tons produced annually is thyme honey – the rest being mainly heather and spring flower varieties.
Olives and olive oil
Olives and the oil extracted from them figure prominently among Naxian farming products. More than 270,000 olive trees are cultivated on some 3,000 hectares on the island – roughly half of them in the Tragea basin. The main olive variety is throumpa but manaki and koronia are also encountered. Modern and restored olive mills in several villages attest to the importance of olive cultivation in the economy of Naxos.
Naxian cuisine stands out for its authenticity and flavour. It is a cuisine replete with fragrances of the earth and the sea, full of products of unique taste, and ideal base for novel, tasteful and nutritious dishes.
Naxian cuisine carries the distillate of many different elements of a rich and age-old culture. They are frugal and unpretentious elements, exactly as those of the earth where the culture sprang from. With flavours, colours and fragrances such as those of the olive tree, the grapes, the thyme and the citrus fruit. The frugality of the means of ages past is reflected in many imaginative dishes made with local materials and pure products that defy time to excite even the most demanding palates. Their main feature, however, is the balance of flavours and the purity of ingredients of the Naxian cuisine that make it ideal for health and longevity – in line with the famous Mediterranean cuisine of which it is part.
Naxian Kalogeros (beef stew)
Local fresh fish
Source: Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades
Private and Group Workshop
July 2023 (date TBD)
BE YOURSELF is for abstract beginners looking to unleash their creativity, learn the steps and create something beautiful. Creating abstract art can be very fun and rewarding but it can also be incredibly challenging. If you have that inner desire and enthusiasm to learn how to paint and at the same time, you’re looking for play, expression and freedom, then BE YOURSELF is what you are looking for!
Every artist has a unique style for creating, with certain steps, favourite techniques and tools. Even if the result looks random, the randomness has been achieved by a process of learning. Painting can be intuitive and expressive, a translation of your inner voice, but you will be happier and more effective on the canvas once you learn the steps and form your own unique style.
Together, we will be enjoying the magnificent surroundings of Hidden Hill while working on
• Inspiration, tools and the colour palette
• Background, making marks and learning to trust your intuition
• The power of stepping back and creating the right composition
• Building contrast and developing visual interest by shaping and layering
• Editing and final touches
*All materials, colours and canvases are provided.
Prices and registration at firstname.lastname@example.org
Private and Group Lessons
A private yoga class designed around your needs and abilities.
You can book a lesson at a time most convenient to you. Any props are provided, and healthcare measures are being taken to ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe experience.
A private yoga class caters specifically to you. You set the boundaries, the challenges and the goals. Before the lesson, we will have a chat to define how your yoga class will flow.
Whether it is relaxation, stretching and mediation what you are looking for or power poses, quick shifts and breath of fire, we will form the practice to your needs.
A private class may take many forms. You might encounter a completely different experience in your yoga session during your holidays, than your regular practice back home.
Finding the right balance in your life is important. Each session is likely to be different on a physical and emotional level.
Prices and registration at email@example.com
Having your meals prepared by a Chef is possible with us either on a daily basis or on a special occasion.
Naxian and Mediterranean cuisines are available and custom-made requests may also be possible.
* Providing this service is always dependent on availability. Guests must check availability and costs for this service with us and arrangements must be done in advance.
While enjoying a fine Naxian meal, many people like to enjoy a nice refreshing glass of wine. Some may think of wine as simply a glass of fermented grapes, but wine is so much more than that! Even if you are not a wine connoisseur, you will not go wrong when selecting a fine wine from our wine list. The real question is, red or white? Which will you choose?
|Pet Nat Vassaltis – Vassaltis winery – Savatiano – Cyclades Santorini||55€|
|Viognier Skouras – Skouras winery – Viognier – Peloponnese||30€|
|Santorini 34 – Karamolegos winery – Assyrtiko – Santorini||70€|
|Piritis – Karamolegos winery – Assyrtiko – Santorini||100€|
|A muse – Ktima Mouson – Sauvignon, Muchtaro – Viotia||40€|
|Idylle D’Achinos – La tour Melas winery – Grenache Rouge, Syrah, Agiorgitiko – Fthiotida||45€|
|Megas Oinos – Skouras winery – Agiorgitiko, Cabernet Sauvignon – Peloponnese||60€|
|Gi kai Uranos – Thimiopoulos winery – Xinomavro – Imathia||60€|
|Le Roi Des Montagnes – Papargyriou winery – Syrah – Korinthia||100€|
* Providing this service is always dependent on availability.
Guests must check availability and costs for this service with us and arrangements must be done in advance when possible.
Extra cleaning services can be provided.
Our cleaning ladies are able to help you with your daily cleaning.
* Providing this service is always dependent on availability. Guests must check availability for this service with us and arrangements must be done in advance.