Naxos was one of the major centres of the Cycladic culture. Around 3000BC, the main settlements appear to have been near Hora, on the hill of Kastro and at Grotta. The island was later colonised by a party from Karia, led by a son of Apollo named Naxos.
Naxos was one of the first islands to work in marble and in the Archaic period produced the lions of Delos and Kouroi statues of increadible size. Indeed, for a period, huge was beautiful on Naxos; in 523BC the tyrant Lygdamis declared he would make Naxos' buildings the highest and most glorious in all Greece, although only the massive lintel from the gate of the Temple of Apollo remains on the islet of Palatia (in Naxos Town).
As with most of the islands Naxos declined in importance in the Classical age.
In Hellinistic times it was governed by Ptolemy of Egypt.
Naxos makes history in 1207 when the Venetian Marco Sanudo captured the island's chief Byzantine castle, T'aparilou, and declared himself Duke of Naxos, ruler over all the adventures who had grabbed the Aegean Islands after the conquest in Constantinopole.
When Venice refused to grant Sanudo the independent status he desired, he broke away in 1210 and became the Latin Emperor's Duke of the Archipelago. Archipelago was the Byzantine name for the Agean; under Sanudo and his successors, it took on the meaning, 'a group of islands', in this case the Cyclades. Even after the Turkish conquest in 1564 the Dukes of Naxos remained in nominal control of Cyclades, although anwerable to the Sultan.
Hora (Naxos Town) - Capital
the island's port and capital, is a typical Cycladic town with a maze of narrow streets and tiny passages. Hora is a lively town and makes an very good resort.
Behind the waterfront an extensive, almost Medieval Old Quarter stretches up the hillside where Kastro (Castle) is. Walking around Kastro is a must while the views will take your breath.The old town up on the hill is divided into two neighbourhoods, Bourgos where the the Greeks lived and Kastro (Castle), residence of the Venetian-Catholic nobility.
Places to visit include is the Archaeological Museum with Mycenaean pottery and Cycladic figurines, Portara (on Palatia islet) a huge portal (6 meters height, 3.5 meters width) of the unfinished Temple of Apollo (530 BC by Naxos' tyrant Ligdamis), the Venetian Kastro (Castle) where fortress walls are dated back to the 13th century. Inside the Castle there is the Capuchines Monastery, the Catholic Cathedral, the Ursulines Monastery, the Catholic Episcopal Edifice and the small church of Panagia Myrtidiotissa on a tiny islet in the port.
is a lovely resort with long sandy beach. There are a few hotels and rooms to let, tavernas, restaurants and water sports. In summer high season, there are boats to Naxos town.
Agios Georgios (Saint George)
is Naxos Town beach. Sandy and very long (1 km) is the first choice for both swimming and staying. Although in high season, the beach is crowded, evenings are very quiet. There are many hotels to choose from, many of them are on the beach with the sea on the doorstep.
is 5 kilometers away from Naxos and linked with frequent buses from Naxos town and it claims to has be the best beach in Naxos.
There are plenty of hotels, apartments and rooms to let, tavernas, restaurants, bars and water sports.
is a pretty village on the slops of Mount Zas and was supposed to have originally been settled by Cretans. The Folk Art Museum is an interesting place to visit.
Panagia Apeirathitissa is one of the oldest and remarkable churches of Naxos Island with some excellent post Byzantine icons.
Zevgoli Tower is an impressive building since 17th century and it is situated on a massive rock.
Agia Kyriaki church at Kalloni area of Apeiranthos district, has unstructured walls with small openings. Its decoration reflects to the Iconoclastic period (9th century).
is the the northen village of the island. A lovely fishing boat port is situated on a bay sheltered by high mountains.
On the way to the village and after Skado village there are two routes available. Both of them are excellent, passing through mountains and green valleys. Try both, via Messi village and via Komiaki (Koronida) village which is a rough track but the best one.
Very nice village in the middle of an olive grove with towers built by Byzantines and Venetians. The monuments indicate that Halki was a significant administrative centre, controlling the interior of the island.
You visit the Byzantine church of Panagia Protothroni which was built in the 12th century and the church of Agios Georgios Diasoritis which was built in the 9th century have fine frescoes.
Agios Stefanos at Tsikalario, with its 13th and 14th century frescoes is also a place to visit.
is worth a trip village, settled well up on the flank of Zas mountain. There are quite a few cafes and tavernas, many of them been shaded by a massive plane tree.
Koronos is a beautiful stepped village, scrabbling up the the mountain sides and renowned for its emery mines. The local Folklore Collection Museum is worth a visit.
A turning off to the right, 500 meters prior to Koronos, leads to the church of Panagia Argokiliotissa (4 Km) which is beautifully situated on a hill and has an excellent view.
is the port where the emery used to bought down from the mountains around Koronos by a rope funicular and loaded to ships.
Moutsouna has a fine sandy beach and there is accommodation and tavern for those wish to stay in this sea side village.
with its ancient monuments, Byzantine Churches, Venician castles is one of the interesting places in Naxos. The plethora of old Byzantine churches and Monasteries in the area are reminiscent of the famous Byzantine area of Mystra.
The village itself with the beautiful island houses, quaint cobblestone alleys's old churches and monasteries, amazing windmills and above all its hospitable inhabitants, gathers the interests of both localsand visitors to the area.