The most popular, most famous, and most colorful Greek Islands. When you think of Greek Islands the first thought is of Cyclades. They were named like this because of the imaginary circle that they form at the southern part of the Aegean Sea. Due to the snow-white houses shining in the sun, lined like clusters on the slopes above the bay, cliffs and shores, they are also called the white islands. In the past, Cyclades represented a natural crossing point by which the Minoan civilization spread to mainland Greece.
They were destroyed by the catastrophic volcanic eruption of Santorini Island in 1450 BC. After recovering they represent an important factor in creating of the ancient Greece, were the part of the Roman Empire, then the part of the Byzantine Empire, the center of the Venetian Governor, naval base of Ottoman fleet and finally the part of the modern European state.
Typical architectural style of Cyclades resorts, with small single floor houses without roofs, interspersed by the narrow streets and alleys was created at the time when pirates roamed these islands. To protect themselves the local population made some kind of mazes in order to confuse unwanted guests and to make ambushes. Today the only ones being confused are tourists who are very desirable guests. From all the Cyclades Islands, 33 are inhabited. They represent a perfect destination for your vacation.
Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades Islands
This is the largest island among this group and it is located almost right in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Naxos is full of beautiful, endlessly long beaches with crystal clear water. Discos and bars can be found along the beaches that gather around a lot of people. Sandy beaches and numerous monuments attract many visitors each year.
Naxos has more pleasant climate than the rest of the islands in its surrounding because of its size. The highest peak called Zeus is at 1000 m which attracts clouds so the rainfalls are more frequent and the air is less hot.
According to the Greek mythology, Naxos was the homeland of Zeus, the king of all Greek Gods. His mother hid him on the island in order to protect him from the wrath of his father Cronus. The son of Zeus called Dionysus, the God of grape harvest, winemaking and wine was also born on this island and grew up here under the supervision of the nymphs.
Places to visit on Naxos Island
Naxos Island is large, with lots of diversities and natural beauties. Therefore, the excursions around the island are really impressive.
Venetian castle was built by Marco Sanudo when he conquered the Cyclades in 1207.Then Naxos became the center of the Aegean principality which was then established. Castro is also located at the highest point in the city. From its walls there is a spectacular view on the city and surroundings.
This is the only place on Cyclades that was designed by an architect. The beautiful Venetian city is something you should see. Gorgeous villas on paved streets, old administrative monuments, beautiful churches, monasteries, towers, squares and more.
The six meters high marble doors are the trademark of Naxos. They are located in a small bay on the left side of the harbor and you can reach them via paved footpath. The doors are the access to the unfinished temple dedicated to Apollo. Building of the temple started in the 6th century by a tyrant called Lygdamis. The temple remained unfinished due to his abdication. Portara was built in the way that overlooks the holly island of Delos which is dedicated to Apollo as the temple as well.
Apollonas is a lively fishing village with a small sandy beach along which you can find a couple of excellent taverns that offers various fish specialties. The place is situated at the northern part of the island. In the proximity, the impressive statue of Kouros is located. The statue dates back from the 6th century and it is 10.5 meters high representing Dionysus.
This beautiful mountainous place is located 32 km from the island’s capital at altitude of 650 meters. It is considered to be one of the best places on Naxos. Impressive houses built in the Venetian style are very interesting and are definitely worth seeing. At the top of the village there are museums and you should at least visit Geological Museum.
Plaka beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Naxos and it is adjacent to Agia Anna beach. Endlessly long beach is famous for its crystal clear sea and very smooth and soft sand.
And last but not the least the capital of Naxos that bears the same name as the island. Naxos or Chora is one of the most beautiful places among the islands of Cyclades because of the beautiful buildings in Venetian style. This is also the main harbor of the island. The nearest place from here where you can take a bath is the beautiful Agios Georgios beach.
About the author
Aleksandar Mijailovic is a blogger, marketing manager and traveler. He likes everything that has to do with the summer and enjoy in all that lures smile on the face.