NAXOS



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Naxos - CENTRAL AND SOUTHWESTERN NAXOS - east and southeast of Apeiranthos: Moutsouna to Panormos

East and southeast of Apeiranthos:
Moutsouna to Panormos

(This is an excursion of 28km each way, from Apeiranthos down to the deserted southeastern extremity of the island, with only the same road to return by. There are no petrol facilities on the route.)

For the last 5km of the descent through the hills to the coast at Moutsouna, the overhead cable-way which comes from the emery mines at Stravolangada and crosses the ridge, can be seen to the north. This ambitious project was necessary because the only harbour deep enough to receive cargo ships for loading the emery blocks was Moutsouna (36.5km from Chora). Some of the buildings of the loading station can still be seen by the shore. Moutsouna is a tranquil fishing harbour nowadays, with two good fish tavernas, and an attractive beach at Azala, 1.5km to its north.
   In the foothills to the interior of the coast there are many isolated Byzantine churches, most of them in a state of ruin. Just visible from the road at Ligaridia, 2km south of Moutsouna, is the unusual, flat-roofed church of Prophitis Elias Vlachaki (W) with 13th century paintings inside. (A track leads west, inland for 1.5km, from which a footpath climbs up to the south: access difficult.) The church appears to be built on the site of a prehistoric fort. This is not an uncommon occurrence on this eastern seaboard of Naxos , which was populated with settlements in pre historic times, and has proven to be archaeologically rich. The limestone slabs with prehistoric, ‘pecked’ reliefs dating from the 3rd millennium bc, exhibited in the museum of Apeiranthos, come from a panoramic site, by Kleidos Bay (48.5km), known as Korfi­ tou Aroni­ou, about half way between Kanaki and Panormos.
   The most dramatic and beautiful of all Naxos ’s prehistoric sites, however, is above the sheltered bay of Panormos (54km). At this point, Koufonisi and the other islands to the south seem so close across the generally calm sound of water that this settlement feels no longer a part of Naxos , but part of the wider community of these islands instead. The hill to the west of the bay forms a natural acropolis: on its crown, an Early Cycladic citadel of the 3rd millennium bc has been excavated. The paved entrance (running due east/west) flanked by stone ‘benches’ to either side, leading to a gateway made of larger blocks, is well-preserved and clearly visible, while inside is a tight-knit web of building foundations and alley-ways. The defensive walls here may have been added after the founding of the settlement, in the face of dangers perceived by the inhabitants at the end of the Early Bronze Age. The higher hill, a little way to the north, is crowned with what appear to be Byzantine fortifications, which are built in part over ancient walls. This was an important surveillance point in all periods: today it is a place of great beauty and tranquillity.


Naxos Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.


access

Naxos Island, Greece.

By boat:
Naxos has on average two or three connections per day throughout the year to Piraeus, and one or two each day to Rafina; the services all take cars, and the journey time typically varies between 4.25 hours (Hellenic Seaways Highspeed & NEL lines) and 5.5 hours (Blue Star Ferries). Nearly all services stop at Paros en route.
There are daily connections south to Ios and Santorini in the summer, either by ferry or Flying Dolphin: this reduces considerably in the winter to twice weekly.
The Express Skopelitis leaves Naxos at 3 pm every day for the Lesser Cyclades Islands, weather permitting.
By air:
Olympic Air currently runs one daily return flight from Athens to Naxos , with small craft only (c. 30 seats). The airport is 3.5km from Chora.

Naxos Travel Guide

eating

Naxos Island, Greece.

Of the myriad tavernas on the harbour front at Chora, the freshest fish and seafood is to be had at the minuscule, "To Steki tou Valetta", where excellent octopus and wine are served.
Of quite different character—elegant and with some carefully designed dishes—is Elli"s restaurant in the Grotta area of Chora.
For beachside eating, just outside Chora, Paradiso at Aghia Anna has good food, served at tables under trees on the sands.
One of the best of all fish restaurants on the island outside Chora is Michalakos at Moutsouna. For its setting by springs in the village of Ano Potamiá, the taverna Pigi is a joy—very popular with locals on Sundays.
Katsalis, under the plane trees in Filoti, is also to be recommended.
And for making a picnic from the best Naxiot wine and produce, the Tziblakis cheese shop on the main Papavasileiou Street in Chora is still excellent—even if in recent years the shop has become more self-conscious than before.

Naxos Travel Guide

further reading

Naxos Island, Greece.

Theodore Bent, The Cyclades (1885), reissued 2002 by Archaeopress, Oxford in the ‘3rd Guides’ series. For an excellent documentation of Byzantine Naxos , Giorgios Mastoro poulos, Νάξος, το ἄλλο κάλλος/ Naxos : Byzantine Monuments, Athens, 1996, cannot be bettered.

Naxos Travel Guide

lodging

Naxos Island, Greece.

For its size and importance, Naxos is poorly provided with good accommodations, outside the resort hotels.
The Chateau Zevgoli in the heart of the bourgo is the most charming place in Naxos, although its name promises more than it delivers and the rooms are small and over decorated (T. 22850 25201, fax 25200). The owner, Mrs Despina Kitini, also possesses a couple of spacious studio rooms up in the Kastro, which represent a good alternative: she can be found at the useful ‘Naxos Information Center’ which she manages, opposite the main ferry quay.
Karabatsi Studios, at Aghia Anna offer friendly, family hospitality of utter simplicity, at a short distance from the Chora (T. 22850 26440, www. dinaNaxos.com).
Of the resort hotels, Lianos Village at Aghios Prokopios, is comfort able and unpretentious (T. 22850 26366, fax 26362, www.lianosvillage.com).

Naxos Travel Guide

practical info

Naxos Island, Greece.

843 00 02
Naxos : area 389 sq.km
perimeter 133km
resident population 17,357
max. altitude 999m.
Port Authority: T. 22850 22300 & 23939.
Tourist information: Zas Travel (T. 22850 23330, fax 23419)

Naxos Travel Guide

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