Naxos is a blessed land. Its unique morphology unravels soon after the visitor's arrival; however, the island boasts many hidden places to explore. The island is known for its impressive landscape, with sharp cliffs, high peaks, and rocky hinterland that end up in sandy shores.
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Naxos’ mainland is full of picturesque, traditional villages; the geology of the land led to the formation of many hiking routes that connect different destinations, as the island is rather large in size. There are many trails connecting places such as Filoti, Melanes, Apiranthos, Halki & the valley of Tragea, Potamia, and many more, where the walker can admire the buildings, architecture, archaeological findings, and view. In addition, the overgrown slopes and charming glades with the unique flora and fauna are awe-inspiring.
The most preferred trail is a circular route that starts and finishes in Filoti. It reaches the peak of Zas mountain, the highest point of the Cyclades at 1003m, offering a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea and the Cyclades islands. On the way, walkers will encounter the Zas cave where, according to the myth, Zeus grew up. The trail might be hard to navigate at certain parts, but there is a resting area with a water spring.
• The circular trail beginning from Halki and returning to it goes through the largest part of the Byzantine park of Naxos, where hikers will find ten Byzantine temples, including Panagia Drossiani and Agios Georgios Diasoritis, and two traditional towers spread across different settlements on the island. It can be separated into two different routes, with Moni village as the middle point.
• Another trail that starts from Halki stops at the Ano Potamia area. Visitors can explore three Byzantine churches, a medieval fortification and an ancient cemetery from the Geometric Period throughout this trip. Part of the path is what remains of a medieval road.
A different trail starts from the mountain village of Apiranthos and ends at Azalas beach. It is laid by cobblestone at its most prominent part and goes through various types of vegetation. During this hike, visitors have the opportunity to visit the emery mines of Naxos and see facilities, such as the aerial emery transportation railway. In addition, there are two Byzantine churches on the path, one dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist and one to Saint Kyriaki.
From other villages
• Starting from the spring of Agios Stefanos, this route goes through several traditional settlements to finally conclude at Gyroulas hill. Apart from Byzantine temples and towers, on this trail, visitors will have the chance to explore the ancient temple of Demeter, which has been preserved in the area.
• Following the route from the mountain village of Danakos to Halki, hikers will discover an array of Byzantine temples and impressive towers. The trail is marked and runs along a stream for part of its length.
• Another unique route begins from the Melanes area and concludes at the point of Mitropolou. Hikers will discover ancient springs and sanctuaries, a watermill and the tunnel of an ancient water reservoir. In addition, Byzantine temples, towers, quarries and archaic statues can be seen on the way.
Due to its size, Naxos may be a challenge to explore - one that you must take up, though, as it is a land of mesmerizing natural beauty and rich cultural background!