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Inland Villages

archSouthward from Naxos Town, you come first to Galanado where there is a restored Venetian Tower and the Church of St. John. Take the short walk toward Ano Sangri to see the island's first cathedral (which was dedicated to the patron saint of thieves) at Ag. Mamas. In Ano Sangri, there are Byzantine frescoes and medieval towers. One mile from Ano Sangri, you'll find the Temple of Demeter, built in the 6th Century BC. It's a bit harder walking to go southeast from Ano Sangri to reach the ruins of T'Apalirou, a Byzantine castle high on a rocky hill.

From Ano Sangri, the road rises to a verdant plateau where there are several villages. Both the Byzantines and the Venetians built tower houses in Chalki. Chalki (alternate spelling Halki) has two fine frescoed churches, Panagia Protothronis and Ag. Diasoritis. The most striking church on Naxos, Panagia Drossiani with its corbelled domes and excellent frescoes is here. Chalki is in kitron country and the Vallindras Naxos Citron distillery, with it ancient jars and copper stills, is open most mornings. Nearby is good shopping in a very nice ceramics shop called L'Olivier with stoneware, jewelery, artefacts in olive wood and olive products such as candles.

West of Chalki is Ano Potamia, a popular spot with Naxians. The main road leads to Filoti on the slopes of Mt. Zas. Filoti is the largest village and boasts amenities such as an ATM booth. They make cheese here and have a Venetian towerhouse and the churches Koimisis tis Theotokou and Panagia Filotissa. There's a sacred cave near the summit of Mt. Zas where the baby Zeus was once kept, according to legend. The cave is now home to a colony of bats.

From Filoti, hike three hours along the west flank of the mountains to reach the isolated and well-preserved Tower of Chimarou. This tower was built by Ptolemy of Egypt. It's made of white marble.

The road from Filoti leads to Apiranthos, where you can see more Venetian towers. Apiranthos is considered the most beautiful village on Naxos. It has narrow, winding paths paved with marble. Lord Byron reportedly loved this village so much he said he wanted to die there. You may be lucky enough to see women weaving, or find farmers selling fresh produce. There's a small Cycladic Museum and a Geological and Folklore Museum.

From Apiranthos, the road drops to the port of Moutsouna, where you'll find an excellent beach.

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