Take the Naxos trip with us. This island was a gem to discover, a continuous surprise along the roads. Roads leading to impressive mountain villages, mysterious archaeological sites and some of the best beaches of Greece. Are you a beach lover? Naxos can be your paradise. Are you into archaeological findings? Do you love history? Well… are you really not packing yet? This island proved to be a fantastic journey. Naxos, journey through stunning beaches and mysterious sites.
When it comes to beaches, Naxos has an endless offer for you to choose from. Such an extended territory, it counts with a very long coastal area where turquoise waters and soft white sand recall some of the best places in the Caribbean. And yet, you’re still in Greece.
One of the many great things that Naxos has to offer is the quantity but also the quality of its beaches. And the variety of choice. From relaxing sandy shores, ideal for families and kids, to secluded pebble beaches, romantic coves and even naturist areas. Solitary beaches as well as fashionable hangouts with tavernas and cafés, and ideal spots for snorkelling and diving.
With only four days to spend on the island, and so many places to see, we decided to try the best known shores of the islands. Making it a choice based mostly on beaches that suited our kids needs: safe, shallow and sandy. Three were the beaches that captured us, and everyone in the family enjoyed the three of them so much
Agios Prokopios was the most obvious and comfortable choice for us. Being our hotel located in Stelida, reaching Agios Prokopios was easy and fast. This is a fantastic beach that stretches out to reach, and almost unite, with the next shore known as Agia Anna. Quite busy during Summer months due to its shallow turquoise waters, ideal for kids to swim in complete safety.
Right in front of the beach, the tiny village of Agios Prokopios offers a wide choice of hotels and studios. Restaurants, tavernas and bars are also available for those wanting to spend the whole day on the beach.
Continuing on the road that leaves Agia Anna to the south, the first beach you reach is Maragas, a solitary angle of Naxos. Here, it is possible to sunbathe wihtout any clothes. The sea is calm and waters idyllic. Soft dunes and hidden coves, with a few trees offer a refreshing shadow. All characteristics that make this place a true gem. Few tavernas place their little tables on the sand and… heaven is served.
Next to Maragas, the long beach of Plaka displays one of the most beautiful beaches of Naxos. Several kilometers of soft, clear sand and vibrant blue seas. Choose between organized beach areas and completely wild ones.
According to us, this was one of the most beautiful spots in Naxos for sea lovers, and would definitely be our beach of choice if we were to spend several weeks on the island.
Right across the street, there is a long promenade with fashionable bars, a few supermarkets and some solitary boutique hotels. A place that becomes very animated during the high season, without stealing the peace from the beach in front.
Mikri Vigla has all the paradisiacal touches of an exotic beach. Crystal clear waters and soft, mild winds. A few rock on the shore and extremely relaxing atmosphere.
Mikri Vigla is one of the finest beaches of the Aegean. The area, quite unique, provides two different beaches divided by an impressive rocky hill. These two sides allow you to swim or just relax, no matter where the wind comes from.
The southern side of Mikri Vigla is Limanaki. This is an endless seaside of about one kilometer, ideal for children as it’s protected from the north wind that is why it is considered ideal for children and families. A magnificent place with beautiful surroundings and impressive underwater scenarios. Here it’s possible to spot soles and even octopus!
Parthenos is located on the northern side of Mikri Vigla. This is a small bay, perfect for windsurfing and kite surfing thanks to the north wind of the Cyclades, the Meltemi, which usually blows in this area. The proximity of Paros Island create unique conditions where wind blowing through the strait between the two islands speeds up. Closeness to Paros also prevents the creation of too high waves granting an ideal spot for both windsurfers and kite surfers of any level.
Archaeological Sites and Mysteries
Naxos has always been an interest point for archeologists, historians, and people with an interest in history and culture. The island’s extension, together with its central position in the Aegean and its rich soil have made it a self-sufficient territory thus allowing an important development.
Several archaeological fndings on Naxos prove the presence of an advanced society quite early in times, as from the Neolithic. Among the several findings dating back several thousands of years, we can count temples, and the well-known Kouros.
Sanctuary of Demeter
The Temple of Sangri, or Sanctuary of Demeter is a Late Archaic Greek temple. It is in the area of Gyroulas, and it as probably built around 530 b.C. The sanctuary is one of the earliest temples of Ionic order and it was completely made of marble from Naxos.
In the area of the archaeological site, a small museum exhibits other findings in the area, such as sculptures and rests of the temple itself. It also presents parts of a late Christian temple, built on the site, when the sanctuary was demolished.
The museum offers a very clear explanation about the findings and excellent reconstructions that make it clear to understand the way the area used to be. I recommend to visit the museum before the actual temple as it will give you a better idea of the area and its importance. The museum also exhibits rests of pottery, vases and jewelry.
According to research, the temple contains several unusual characteristics. For instance, the ground plan is almost square, while most Greek temples used to have a rectangular plan.
The entrance to the archeological site and museum is free. They are both open to the public from 8.30 to 15.00 (Mondays closed).
Kouros in Melanes
The island of Naxos is home to three ancient Kouroi, all statues that date back VIII to VI centuries b.C. With the term Kouros (pl. Kouroi) we refer to statues that represent free-standing, ancient Greek, nude young male figures. The ones in Naxos are quite impressive in size and remain a mystery as the had been abandoned incomplete. Later they were found in the same place where probably sculptors had been working.
You can visit the first one of them on a hillside, directly above the village of Apollonas, in the north of the island. The other two are easier to reach as they are in Melanes, not more than 20 minutes from Naxos chora. In Apollonas, the unfinished statue lies horizontal on the ground and measures about 10 metres. According to archaeologists, this kouros probably depicts the Greek God Dionysus.
We visited the other two statues in the village to Melanes, they were not easy to find, (signs start to appear only after Melanes) but it was worth the effort…. and the hike in the morning heat!
These two statues have been laying in the same spot for more than 2.500 years. Archaeologists believe that ancient sculptors abandoned them there after the stone cracked under their chisels. The first of the two kouros in not very far from the parking spot. To reach the second, instead, you will need to hike a hillside for about 15 minutes more.
It is well worth the fatigue, not only because of the kouros, but also because the view of the mountains and the underlying valley is impressive. Remember to have water with you and wear comfortable shoes too!
The Tiny Book specially wants to thank Vangelis and Maria from Summer Car Naxos, in Agios Prokopios, for providing us a comfortable way to visit such an extensive island.
In Naxos, car rental is really a must, and this local rental office has excellent prices and modern units. Cars that will take you safely from one tip of the island to the other.
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