Naxos is Greece in a nutshell,
where you can experience all that’s good about Greece, from mythology and ancient civilization to wild flowers and island-studded seascapes, on one exceptional island. Naxos is big enough to have the highest mountains in the Cyclades, broad vales of olive groves, secret valleys with fairytale pools, and the best selection of deserted beaches in Greece; small enough to be explored in a holiday – although you’ll want to return for more.
Island life is shaped by the rhythms of the seasons and agricultural traditions; this is a working island which has not been destroyed by dependence on tourism and runaway development. It has a great past but also a lively present, making it a rewarding place to visit or live on at any time of the year.
A permanent and growing population of c. 22,000 spans a healthy demographic balance, from young, active, creative professionals through to craftsmen and farmers. Most people live in and around Naxos town (Chora); village populations range from a handful of resilient old-timers to a mixed population of 300.
...is a land of myths, where:• Minotaur-slayer Theseus abandoned the Cretan princess Ariadne
• God of wine and good times Dionysos was born, in the cave they call Genesis
• Top Olympian god Zeus grew to manhood, on the slopes of Zas, tallest mountain in the Cyclades
…was the heart of a famous Stone Age civilization, where:• the earliest evidence of olives cultivated for domestic use was discovered • domesticated goats and sheep grazed, and wheat was cultivated 6,000 years ago
• a tiny village museum houses unique prehistoric rock carvings of hunting and dancing scenes
• a Bronze Age city was the buzzing centre of trade in the Cyclades
...paved the way for Classical Greek art and architecture• giant ‘kouros’ statues on a Naxos hillside are examples of the first known monumental sculptures of ancient Greece
• the pioneering architecture of a temple to Demeter heralds the Classical Greek order of architecture
... has distinctive local food and traditions• with plenty of farmland and natural water, Naxos is self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, famed for its potatoes, traditional cheeses, and the high quality of its olive oil
...has chapels with rare and beautiful frescoes• more early Christian church frescoes survive in the chapels of Naxos than on any other island in the Southern Aegean
... has a rich natural history• with wonderful wild flowers: Dr Fred Rumsey of London’s Natural History Museum describes the “riot of colour, scent and form” which bursts from the island each spring. “The diversity of the Naxos landscape,” he says, “ is a wildflower hotspot, with a wide range of habitants in a compact area. ”
• in deep, green valleys, dragonflies dance, turtles and freshwater crabs inhabit fairytale pools, and jersey tiger moths shelter from the summer sun
• eagles and vultures patrol high above the limestone crags, and far below Agama stellio, a North African lizard, bobs its head atop a drystone wall
... is a graphic, textbook example of contact metamorphism!
• where igneous rocks from the Earth’s core invaded local limestone to change it into dazzling marble mountains * and where dark, glittering bands of emery, a rock only second in hardness to diamond, has been used for grinding and polishing since prehistoric times