Naxos, the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic islands, lies
almost at the centre of the Aegean. Meadows running down to vast beaches, cliffs
rising steeply out of the sea, rocky mountains side-by- side with fertile valleys,
abundant springs and streams; these are just some of the features of a natural
environment noted for its variety. The coastline of Naxos is abrupt on the south
side and more sheltered to the west, with numerous inlets and sandy beaches. The
island is first heard of in mythology and is then mentioned throughout every period
in history, though it was at the peak of its glory during the period of the Cycladic
Naxos or Chora covers a naturally amphitheatrical site on a hillside
to he north-west side of the island and is one of the most attractive towns in
the Cyclades. As the visitor walks from the harbour high up to the Venetian castle,
he will be struck by the beauty of the narrow lanes winding between old stone
houses. Interesting monuments from various periods are to be found all over the
town. They include fine Byzantine churches, the castle itself (with its tower
and battlements), and traces of Mycenean constructions in the part known as Grota.
The Archeological Museum of Naxos has some noteworthy exhibits. Traces of Greek
antiquity are to be seen everywhere. Each part of the island has something of
interest. For instance, near the pretty coastal village of Apolonas - on the north
side of the island - is a half-finished outsize "kouros" (statue of a youth),
dating from the 6th century BC, still lying in the marble quarry where it was
abandoned. Another such statue can be seen at Melanes. An interesting archaeological
museam is to be found at Apirathos, a village where a number of strange customs
and habits have survived. Among churches of interest are those of Our Lady "Protothroni"
at Tragea and Our Lady "Filotitissa" in the village of Filoti.
There are good swimming beaches at Agios Prokopios, Mikri Vigla Kastraki,
Alikos, Pirgaki, Agiassos (on the west side), Apolonas, Psili Amos, Panormos,
Pahia Amos and elsewhere The superb beaches of Naxos, its attractive villages
and its wealth of monuments draw thousands of visitors to the island each year.
The good tourist amenities in Hora make it easy to tour the charms of the island.