The destinations of Naxos and its sights are many. It will certainly take 2 weeks to explore and enjoy all the beauties of the island. Enjoy Naxos rent a car are here to highlight the best and most beautiful destinations.
Starting from the first and most important monument of Naxos which is also the emblem of the island is the temple of the god Apollo the Portara as mentioned in modern history. It is a giant marble door that has stood for centuries now at the entrance of the island. It is the first thing you see when you come to the island of Naxos. The portara is built on top of the palaces of Bacchus as historians say. The temple began to be built in the 6th century BC. by the tyrant of the time Lygdamis but it was never perfected after the end of the tyranny of Lygdamis. So the temple was left unfinished. According to historians, mythology says that Ariadne was abandoned there by Theseus and immediately afterwards the god Dionysos stole her. The Rapture of Ariadne has inspired thousands of historians and musical composers. Even in the events of Naxos, the abduction of Ariadne by Dionysus is portrayed by local actors. It is an important monument for Naxos and for the ancient civilization of Greece, which is why it is recognized by major historical organizations.
Nowadays thousands of visitors to Naxos during the summer months mainly visit the portara to see the wonderful sunset of Naxos. Even NASA has shared a photo of the porta and its sunset.
THE CASTLE OF NAXOS
The castle of SANOUDOS, as it is called today, was built in 1207 by Marco Sanoudos, the Venetian conqueror of the time. The castle is built on the ancient ruins of the acropolis of Naxos by the feudal lord Markos Sanoudos. As soon as he conquered the castle of Apaliros, immediately after he created the duchy of Naxos. From there he controlled all the areas of Naxos as well as the 17 islands he had conquered in the Cyclades. Immediately after the completion of the castle he built 12 towers per area in Naxos to have complete control over the island.
In today’s era, only one tower out of the 12 survives. The tower of KRISPI, whose name in today’s era is the tower of Glezos. Large mansions were built around the castle, mainly by Catholic nobles of that time. They are dated around 1400-1500 AD. Even today these houses are preserved, inhabited and turned into tourist hostels.
The castle has 3 gates, the biggest and the most beautiful were the ones located on the north side of the castle called (trani gate). There is free parking on the north side of the castle for your Enjoy Naxos car rental .
CATHOLIC CHURCH YPAPANTI THE VIRGIN
At the top of the castle is the Catholic Church ypapanti the virgin. In this particular location you do not need a rental car or a vehicle, as it is accessible only on foot. Nowadays we refer to it as the catholic church of the castle or the metropolis of the catholics. It dates back to the 13th century AD. It started as a three-aisled church and then in 1536 another 2 aisles were added so the church is five-aisled and with 3 domes.
In the middle of the church there is the Virgin Mary, the Infant and Milk Nurse. It is the only image that was saved from the iconoclasms that depicts the whole body of the Virgin Mary nursing Christ. According to archaeologists, the icons were made in the 11th or 12th century AD. Next to it is the icon of Saint John the Forerunner. Inside the church is also the tomb of the bishops. The exterior of the church as well as its bell tower are made of excellent Tinos marble.
Leaving Naxos town you can visit by renting a comfortable and safe fiat panda from Enjoy rent a car Naxos the ancient ruins of Iria located just 1 kilometer from the center of the country and 10 minutes from the village of Agios Arsenios Naxos. The temple is dedicated to the god Dionysus, the god of wine and the vine. The temple dates back to the 4th century BC. Archaeologists say that it is the forerunner of the Parthenon along with the temple of Demeter which we will see below.
The entrance fee to enter the temple is low cost. The site is guarded by archaeologists and there you can see ancient marble pillars, marble troughs, stone wells and many other exhibits. The statue of the god Dionysos was found there which is kept in the archaeological museum of the country in Kastro.
According to historians, the temple was built and destroyed 4 times, mainly by floods or pirate raids. Currently a small part of the church is preserved and many of the marbles were used to build churches in the surrounding villages such as Glinados and Agios Arsenios Naxos.
TEMPLE OF DEMETER IN SAGRI
In Sagri you will find many ancient monasteries, ancient temples and ancient churches, but the largest and most historic temple is the temple of Demeter. The road is asphalt and is easily accessible with a Peugeot 208 or a Peugeot 207 family rental car. One of the most historical monuments of the Ionian times is the temple of Demeter or the holy temple of Gyroula as it is known. Historians say that he was a precursor to the construction of the Parthenon. The temple was built in 520 BC. in the center of the island just outside of Sagri at 11 kilometers from the town of Naxos and is dedicated according to the inscriptions to the goddess Demeter, the goddess of grain. The temple is square made of pure white Naxos marble, of excellent quality. There are marble columns in front as well as on the outside of the temple.
BAZEOS TOWER OR TIMIOS STAVROS MONASTERY
Bazeos tower dominates a hill in front of the plain of Aiassos. Its history starts in 1300 AD. together with the Venetians it began as a tower and then in 1600 it was completed and we find it as a monastery dedicated to Christ. The tower consists of kitchens, bedrooms, monks’ cells, cellars, storerooms, and animal stables.
Nowadays, it has been restored with private funds from the Bazeos family and is used as a museum and as a venue for events in the summer months. It is an extraordinary and beautiful building that creates awe as soon as you stand at its entrance, so we cannot miss it as one of the sights of Naxos.
TRADITIONAL POTTERY WORKSHOP AT DAMALA
Between the village of Sagri and the village of Chalkio on a hill just twenty minutes away from the town of Naxos with your rental car from Enjoy Naxos rent a car, we will meet the village of Damalas. At the entrance of the village there is a traditional pottery workshop that was built at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century by the Libertas family.
The laboratory still operates today in the old traditional way. It is worth visiting and buying some small souvenir vases. There, Manolis Libertas and his family will tell you useful information about the vases of that time. During the summer months when the events take place there is free parking opposite the tower for any private or rental car.
HALKI OF NAXOS
Explore the old capital of Naxos just 3 km from Damala, which is the village of Chalki or Chalkeio. There the first market of Naxos and by extension of the Cyclades developed, we will find many mansions in very warm shades that render the peculiarity and nobility of that time. The huge bougainvilleas, the picturesque beautiful alleys with stone paving and the elaborate balconies testify to the development that Halki had in the old days.
In Halki you can visit the Vallindras citrus distillery, famous for its quality and aroma. Citro is a liqueur made from the citron fruit. In Halki, you will also find the homemade galaktoboureko, a galaktobureko like you have never eaten before.
CHURCH OF AGIOS GEORGIOS DIASORITIS
Agios Georgios Diasoritis is one of the oldest temples of Naxos from the Byzantine era. It is 1 kilometer from Halki village and dates back to the 11th century AD. Leaving your rental car like the Peugeot 108 or Citroen c1 from Enjoy rent a car Naxos, you go straight down around 10 minutes from the main road where you will find the stone built church of Agios Georgios Diasoritis. By observing the church carefully, we will understand that it is from the Middle Byzantine era. Historians say that it was built by a wealthy builder of that time with a military background and we can conclude this by observing the church inside where we will meet 4 times Saint George as well as the military saints on their horses. Its architecture is a rare form and maybe the only one in Naxos. We will not come across any other church with the same architecture. The church is cruciform and its dome has a quadrilateral type. In the dome we will meet the Mighty One with four full-sized archangels.
MONASTERY PANAGIA DROSSIANI
Leaving about 1 kilometer from Chalki and near the village of Moni on the right side of the road, we will come across the Panagia Drosiani, one of the oldest Byzantine churches in the Balkans. According to the historians, the church was built around the 4th to 6th century AD. Panagia Drosiani is made up of 2 monasteries and 2 churches. It is said to have taken its name from a period of drought that had fallen on the island and the locals begged with ceremonies for rain. Then her miraculous image for 2 days continuously rained all over the island and thus she got the name of Our Lady of Drosiani. The stories and mythologies said that a great treasure is hidden under the church, but no one ever went to disturb it because the Virgin Drosiani would transform it into marble, of course since 1970 the church has been looted many times by antiquarians and the image that we see, we don’t know if it is the same form of the Virgin Drosiani. As the church does not have a parking lot you can park on the street but you will need a smaller car from Enjoy Naxos rent a car such as a Suzuki Alto.
Leaving the chalcedony of Naxos heading towards the mountains towards Mount Zeus we will meet the village of Filoti. Filoti village is the largest village of Naxos, the main village and the largest in the Cyclades, it has about 2000 inhabitants. In the village there are two free parking lots, the largest one is located at the entrance of the village on your left where you can leave your rental car from Enjoy Naxos Car Rental. The main occupation of the villagers is livestock farming and agriculture which is why it is famous for its pure traditional products of cheese, meat, wine and olives. In the centre of the village on the bridge as the locals call it, a huge plane tree dominates the whole square. Under the plane tree there are traditional cafes and traditional restaurants. A few meters from the village square are the offices of Enjoy Naxos rent a Car.
Going into the village on the left side of the plane tree you will find the Panagia Filotitissa, a huge church with a marble veil and 3 sanctuaries. The history of the church is immense, it is the only church built during the Turkish occupation. The church was erected in 1718. Proceeding into the village on the left side of the plane tree we will meet the Virgin Filotitissa, a huge church with a marble veil and 3 shrines. The history of the church is huge, it is the only church that was built during the Turkish occupation. The church was constructed in 1718.
CHIMAROS TOWER IN NAXOS
Chimaros tower is one of the most important monuments of Naxos and of the ancient era. It is located between Filoti and the beach of Kalantos and we recommend you to comfortably enjoy the route with a large, comfortable off road car (SUV) such as the brand new Dacia Duster from Enjoy Naxos Car. Chimaros tower was built in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC. It is a Greek defensive line architecture with a single window, gutters and battlements. This tower was used as an observatory because from there you could see the whole of the Aegean. So, if a pirate ship were coming they would see it even if it was far away. Many such towers existed throughout the Greek territory, but it is the only one that has been saved to this day and is almost intact. It has a height of 15 meters and is located on the road from Filoti to the beach of Kalandos. It is between 2 streams and 2 ancient settlements, Argiovesa and Bardaki.