Naxos Island - Paradiso Studios

images/naxos is the biggest and most fertile island of the Cyclades.
Its rich geographical relief has created dramatic changes of scenery. High mountains, fertile valleys, plateaus, springs, rivers, caves, huge beaches, sand dunes with cedar trees growing on them, all existing harmoniously on this small piece of earth.

images/naxos is one of the few islands, which has been inhabited continiously since ancient times (end of the 4th millennium B.C.) till today.
It has been possible to gather information about the history of the Aegean from traces left behind from each historical period, along with unique monuments which are scattered all over the island.
images/naxos has the cosmopolitan atmosphere of a modern tourist resort, but at the same time has kept its traditional colour and it's local culture.
Hora (the main town) is a harbour and the administrative centre of the island. It is a modern town, which offers all kinds of facilities. There is a Health Centre, banks, a very good market place and lots of restaurants, bars and cafes. It has a lively nightlife, not only during the summer months, like most islands, but all the year round.
It's famous beaches on the south western side of the island, which are made up of kilometers of white golden sand, are being developed rapidly, but at the same time still maintain some of the atmosphere of the seventies when they were discovered by the "flower people".
However for someone to really get to know images/naxos, he must visit the inland areas, the mountain villages, to walk the paths which crisscross the island, to listen to the violin and the lute at one of the local festivals and to get drunk on the island's energy.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to images/naxos.

at Chora

 

The archeological museum
All findings from excavations are kept in the archaeological museum, proof of the uninterrupted cultural presence in images/naxos from pre-historic times until the end of the ancient times. The museum is housed in the building of the former Commercial School in the area of the Castle.

Grota's archaeological site
Excavations made under Metropolis square have revealed some remains of the Mycenaean city of images/naxos (1600 - 1100 B.C). The place has been landscaped and it is open to the public.

"Portara": images/naxos' trademark
Portara can be seen from afar as ships approach the island of images/naxos, standing on the northern side of the port. This monument is a gigantic gate, which remains from a temple that was dedicated to Apollo. It was built during the 6th century B.C, when images/naxos used to be a commercial and cultural centre.

The castle
An impressive monument which was built during the long Venetian rule (1204-1537); it is located on a hill which is the natural acropolis of Hora. A medieval town in the heart of the Aegean still in its original form, inhabited continuously since 1207. The external walls of the peripheral houses shape the wall of the Castle, which has only three entrance gates.

Outside of Hora

The museums of Apeiranthos
The village Apeiranthos has a museum of archeology, geology and folk art. In the archeological museum there are pre-historic exhibits that have been excavated from the southeastern part of the island.

Iria - Dionysus' sanctuary
The Iria sanctuary, situated 10 kilometres south from Hora, at Livadi area, was the formal sanctuary of the city of images/naxos, dedicated to Dionysus. During the various historical periods some buildings were destroyed and new ones were built over them. It has been discovered that at the fourth Iria temple (580-550 BC) was the beginning of classical Greek marble architecture. The restoration of the site is finished.

Sagri - Demeter's temple
It is situated south of the village Sagri, at Gyroulas area. The marble temple was dedicated to Demeter (the goddess of fertility) and to Apollo and is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in Greece, dating from 530 B.C. The restoration of the site is finished and there is also a small museum.

Kouros (Flerio)
At Flerio, near the village of Melanes, there is a half finished male statue, belonging to the 7th century B.C., 6.4 metres tall, which was found in an olive grove.

Kouros (Apollonas)
Near the village Apollonas and near to the entrance of an ancient mine, there is a half finished "Kouros" (male statue) lying on the ground, which has never been moved from this spot. The statue is 10.45 metres high and is dated at the beginning of the 6th century B.C.

Plaka's tower
It is an ancient Greek tower, situated on the dirt road, which connects the village Tripodes to Plaka beach.

Himarros' tower
This tower is one of the most famous ancient monuments on the island and is situated towards the northeastern side of the island, about half way between Zas, images/naxos' highest mountain, and the sea. Himarros tower is an imposing, marble, circular fortress, belonging to the Hellenistic period (4-3 centuries B.C.).

Apalirou castle
It was the strongest fortress in images/naxos and the administrative centre of the island during the Byzantine empire, situated on the top of an unapproachable mountain in the area of Sagri.

Apano Kastro (Upper castle)
It is situated on the top of a mountain in the area of Tragea. Apano Kastro (Castle) was in use during several historical periods, from ancient times up to the Venetian rule. There are paths, which lead to the castle from the villages Tsikalario and Potamia.

The fortified monastery of Fotodotis (light giver) Christ
It is situated next to the village of Danakos. According to a legend it was built by a princesse during the byzantine years.

The church of Protothroni Virgin
The church of Protothroni Virgin (9th-10th cent.) in the village Halki is the biggest Byzantine church in images/naxos, with important wall paintings. Mass has been held here since Early Christian times until today.

The church of Drosiani Virgin
The church of Drosiani Virgin near the village of Moni is one of the best-preserved monuments from the early Christian era in the whole of southeastern Europe.
It was constructed in three stages starting from the early Christian period. The oldest frescoes are from the 7th century.

The Venetian Towers
They can be found all over the island and they were built during the long Venetian rule. The Venetian towers were built with Naxian stone, un-plastered without any covering so that they blended in with the countryside. The most important Venetian Towers are the Bellonia tower, built a little way out of the village Galanado, the towers of Gratsia and Markopoliti, in the area of Tragea, the tower of Fragopoulos, in the village Kourounohori and the Barotsi tower, in the village Filoti.

The fortified monastery of Virgin Mary (Ipsilotera)
A monastery-tower dedicated to the Virgin Mary built in 1600, situated on the road, which leads from the village Galini to the coast of Amitis.

Agia
In Agia, about 6 klm. from the village Apollonas, in a strategic spot near to the most northerly point of the island is the Tower of Agia. Not far from the tower amongst plane trees and running water is the old monastery of the Holy Virgin with its miraculous icon, which according to tradition, was found in the sea.

 

     

In naxos there are some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Lets get to know them.

THE ENDLESS SANDY BEACHES OF THE SOUTHWEST SIDE

From the bay of St. George, south of Hora up until the bay of Agiassos, there is one magical beach after another; St. Prokopis, St. Anna, Plaka, Orkos, Mikri Vigla, Kastraki, Aliko, Pirgaki and Agiassos. St. Prokopis and St. Anna beaches are well organized for tourism with shops of every kind. The rest of the beaches offer facilities for the tourist but they are not so crowded.

Agios Georgios (St. George)
This is the popular and busy beach south of Hora and is large and sandy with crystal, clear sallow water, protected from the wind and ideal for children.
There are shops of every kind and organized water sports.

Agios Prokopis (St Prokopis)
St. Prokopis beach (4 klm. from Hora) with its wide stretch of sand and crystal clear sea, like a huge swimming pool, is very popular. There are many facilities for tourists on the beach and organized sea sports.

Agia Anna (St. Anna)
The beach of Agia Anna (5 klm. from Chora) is a continuation of the beach of Agios Prokopis. Agia Anna beach offers many facilities for the tourist and there are organized sea sports. There is a rare kind of cedar tree, which grows along the beach, which is like the Lebanese cedar and thrives in hot sand.

Plaka
Further on from the beach at Agia Anna, is Plaka, a sandy beach several kilometres long. A dirt road separates the beach from some tavernas and bars, which are spread out along the beach.

Mikri Vigla
The rock of Mikri Vigla (16 klm. from Chora), separates the sandy beaches of Parthenos and Mikri Vigla. Because of the perfect weather conditions the beach of Parthenos has become a meeting place for surfers from all over the world. Mikri Vigla beach with its crystal clear water stretches as far as the eye can see. There are few tavernas.

Kastraki
Carrying on from Mikri Vigla is Kastraki beach (15 klm.from Hora) with it's white sand and clear water. In this area there are some ancient remains and the Tower of Oskelos. There are few tavernas.

Aliko
Aliko is a sandy beach with sand dunes, cedar trees and exotic atmosphere. It is not a well-known beach and it is quiet. In the area there are few tavernas.

Pyrgaki
The circular road, which starts from Hora, ends up in the south at Pyrgaki, a magical sandy beach with cedar trees. There are tavernas.

Agiasos
Agiassos is a sandy isolated beach with sallow clear water. There are two dirty roads leading to Agiassos. One of them starts just outside Sangri and the other just before Pyrgaki. There is a taverna next to the sea.

THE EAST COAST

On the eastern side of images/naxos there are also magical beaches, far away from the tourist development and the tourist crowds. Apollonas is the exception. On the east coach you can find a peaceful place just for you and your company even the summer months.Apollonas
Apollonas (54klm from Hora) is a beautiful, green, seaside settlement on the northeast side of the island, with picturesque tavernas and cafes. There is a large beach made up of small white marble pebbles and an area of sand. Just outside the settlement, you will see a half finished "Êouros" (male statue) lying on the ground, which has never been moved from this spot.

 

Lionas
Just outside the village of Koronos there is a road, which leads to the beach of Lionas (40 klm. from Hora). It is a small quiet, beautiful pebble beach, perfect for those who want to get away from the crowds. There is a settlement and few tavernas next to the sea.
Moutsouna
Outside Apiranthos there is a road which leads to Moutsouna (39 klm. from Hora) a beautiful little seaside settlement with picturesque tavernas situated right on the edge of the beautiful beach. Moutsouna is the port from where emery was shipped during the period of thriving commercial activity.

Psili Ammos
From Moutsouna starts a seaside road, which leads south to the wonderful beach of Psili Ammos. It is a fine sandy beach with sand dunes, cedar trees and idyllic atmosphere.
Kalados
On the southern tip of images/naxos is the bay of Calados, a magical place sheltered from the wind, where the land meets the sea. Calados is reachable only by boat (there is a very rough dirt road, which starts from Filoti and leads to Calados but we do not recommend it unless you have a suitable vehicle.) It's necessary to take supplies if you decide to visit the beach.

THE BEACHES OF THE NORTHWEST SIDE

On the northwestern coast of images/naxos there are some quiet beaches, ideal for swimming, but exposed to northerly winds.

Ambram
Ambram beach (25 klm. from Hora) is a wonderful beach for swimming, with crystal clear water. There is a taverna next to the sea. Close to the bay is the monastery of Phaneromeni (17th century), with rare icons.

Amitis
From Galini starts the road, which leads to Amitis, a long sandy quiet beach.
On the road stands a monastery - tower dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

 

     

The settlement
Up until the seventies Agia Anna was just a small harbour, a shelter for the fishing boats with a few small fishermen's houses between the churches of Agia Anna and Agios Nikolas which are situated to the right and the left of the harbour. From then until now things have changed dramatically and the small, isolated seaside settlement has become a modern tourist resort with a wide variety of shops.
There are supermarkets, tavernas, day and night time bars and organized sea sports. The area is perfect for families with young children as most of the village is only for pedestrians. There are frequent buses connecting Agia Anna with Hora (running every half an hour from the morning until late in the evening). Agia Anna has fans from all over the world who return every summer, regarding it as their second home and every year new fans are added as tourists discover the perfect holiday conditions.


The Beach
The beach at Agia Anna (5klm. from Hora), on the western side of the island, is a continuation of the beach Agios Prokopis. This huge stretch of sand is cut into by the attractive fishing harbour of the settlement with the same name as the beach (Agia Anna). Next to the harbour there is a forest with rare cedar trees, which thrive in the hot sand and offer shade to the swimmers. In the summer the sand dunes are covered with small white lilies, which are known as sand lilies.
Continuing on from Agia Anna beach is Plaka beach, which stretches on to Orkos. In the seventies and eighties it was a favorite beach for hippies and cambers. Today it's peaceful and relaxing and a good place for sea sports.


The Surrounding Area
The seaside settlement of Agia Anna is the port for the village of Agios Arsenios. Agios Arsenios (locally known as Agersani) is built on the plain of "Livadi", 7 kilometres from Hora, and is one of the oldest and most beautiful villages on images/naxos. This area has been inhabited for thousands of years, a fact proven by the discovery of the ancient temple at Yria (6th century B.C.) in the "Livadi" (meadow) area, by the ruins of an ancient Greek tower in the Plaka area (known as the old tower of Plaka) and also by the right angled granite stones, marble slabs, capitals and pieces of marble columns which have been found from time to time by farmers while working in their fields. The area is good for walking and exploration on foot can be a unique experience. The large plain which starts where the beach ends is a good place to see some of the local sights, such as a farmer working in his fields, cows munching on their food, small farmhouses, myrtles, "ligaries" (very straight trees), daphne bushes and "athanata" (a cactus) all of which grow along the roadsides.
It is even possible that on your wanderings in this area you may suddenly come across one of it's many chapels. In the area where the plain comes to an end there is a hill called "katzilieri". Here nature and time have molded the huge granite rocks into different shapes giving the visitor the feeling that he is at an open air sculpture exhibition. The local people have given different names for the rocks depending on their shapes. Potatoes crops are a main source of income in the area as well as a cheese factory where the famous images/naxos graviere cheese is produced. Nowadays, because tourism in the area has grown by such leaps and bounds, many of the locals are involved with the tourist industry and units of rooms for rent have sprung up like mushrooms along the beaches and on the plain behind.


Festivals in the area
Once a year, on their festivals days, the churches of each area come to life and are filled with life and light. After the service is finished the music starts, the main instruments being the lute and the violin, and the celebration continues until the early morning. The main festivals are:

  • Agios Prokopis on the 8th of July.
  • Agia Anna on the 25th of July.
  • Agios Pandelimonas on the 27th July.
  • Agios Ioannis Prodromos on the 7th January and the 29th of August.
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