Tag: Apiranthos

Naxos: The quietly traditional heart of the Cyclades

Share

Mike Andrew photo of a lane in Naxos Town

Shops line a narrow lane in the historic Old Market district of Naxos Town. Photo by Mike Andrew.

 

Sitting at the heart of the Aegean, can the unassuming and traditionally minded Naxos hold its own against its cosmopolitan neighbours?

 

Guest post by James Andrew

The shutters bang and clatter against the window. The howling, whistling noises coming from outside are more than a little disconcerting. The meltemi, the strong warming wind that blows constantly through the Aegean at this time of year, is definitely strong today.

Looking out of our villa window at the large, agriculturally rich fields, curious, twisted rock formations and, in the distance, the somewhat foreboding Mount Zas silhouetted against the dusk skyline, this all feels slightly alien. Certainly it’s a world away from the cosmopolitan and touristy island of Santorini from which we caught the ferry earlier in the day. No, this is very different. This is the much less visited and certainly less known island of Naxos.

 

 

Positioned at the heart of the Cycladic (or White) Islands, Naxos sits somewhat oddly next to its much-lauded neighbours Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. Whilst the island has gradually been building a fan base amongst Greece afficionados in the know, it still remains defiantly off the main cruise routes. Its main port in Naxos Town sees the arrival of daily ferries but no towering cruise ship behemoths like the ones that anchor in Santorini’s caldera.

The highest peak in the Cyclades, Mount Zas dominates the island. Breaking from the image of barren, volcanic lunar landscapes one most associates with this area of Greece, Naxos is blessed by nature. Green and verdant throughout, it defies convention. So, how would this island that lacks Santorini’s chic, polished veneer and Mykonos’ cool, hipster vibe reveal itself? Can it compete with its upmarket neighbours? We cracked the rattling shutters open and stepped into the wind to find out.

 

Fish Olive Creations Facebook page photo of Mount Zas on Naxos

A view of Mount Zas, Filoti village and Halki village (bottom). Photo by the Fish & Olive Creations art gallery and shop in Halki.

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading and view more photos.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Ambling through Apeiranthos

Share

Apeiranthos is one of the mountain villages most visited by tourists to Naxos island

Apeiranthos is sometimes referred to as “the marble village” because many of its buildings, lanes and public squares have been constructed from marble and stone. Click on the photo to see a full-size image.

 

 

Marble marvel: One of our memorable excursions on Naxos last October was a visit to Apeiranthos, described in many travel guides and websites as one of the island’s prettiest mountain villages.

Literally made of stone, Apeiranthos is often called “the marble village” since many of its squares, streets and buildings have been constructed with slabs and sheets of the crystalline rock.

The village is home to four separate museums (Archaeological, Folk Art, Geological and Natural History), the Zevgoli Tower (which dates to the 17th Century), several tavernas and cafés, and some local artcraft and gift shops.

 

Village is situated 28 km from Naxos Town

We got to Apeiranthos by taking one of the local buses which, at that time of season, operated only a few return trips per day on the 28 km route between Chora (Naxos Town) and the village. Return fare cost €12.40 — a price of €3.10 per person each way. The highlight of the ride was the tremendous scenery we got to enjoy, particularly the mountain and valley views on the twisting section of highway above Filoti village (check out the post below for a videoclip showing some of the fabulous views from the bus). Despite the limited departure and return bus trips, we still had several hours at Apeiranthos — plenty of time to explore the village and vicinity, as well as stop for a drink and snack at Samaradiko Café.

The village was fairly quiet during the several hours we spent visiting the museums and walking around. We saw several small tour groups and perhaps three dozen other tourists (at most) wandering through the village or having coffee or lunch in one of the cafés. Besides the people working in restaurants and shops, we saw just a handful of local residents plus a few cats and dogs. We had most of the village entirely to ourselves which was wonderful, since we don’t like crowded places.

 

A video walk along the marble-paved streets

Below is a two and a half-minute videoclip that I shot while we were walking through passageways and up some of the marble- and stone-paved steps. I think it will give you a reasonably good impression of what it’s like to actually wander the village’s residential hillside streets.

To see more of this charming mountain village, click here to view over 300 photos in the Apeiranthos album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.

If you would like to learn more about Apeiranthos, click here to read a richly detailed article that was written by Konstantinos Toubakaris and published on the travel website This is Naxos. Take note that if you plan to do further research, you will probably encounter several variations in the spelling of the village name. Besides Apeiranthos, I have seen guides, maps and websites use Apiranthos, Aperanthos, Aperathos and Aperathou. They’re all one and the same place.

 

Here’s a 2.5-minute videoclip I shot while walking around “the marble village” of Apeiranthos on October 9 2013.

 

 

Video visit: Apiranthos village on Naxos

Share

 This Apiranthos travel video runs nearly two and a half minutes. It was posted online by YouTube member naxosislandtv.

 

Marble & museums: When we visited Naxos in 2006, we rented a car so we could do one of the much-recommended round-the-island drives and visit some of the scenic mountain villages — including Apiranthos — along the way. We wound up seeing far less than we expected, thanks to the weather.

When we picked up the car shortly after breakfast, it was already 29 degrees Celsius (84 F).  By the time we reached the mountain village of Filoti, the temperature was in the mid-30s, and we felt like we were going to melt after only a few minutes of walking around. We got back in the air conditioned comfort of the car and headed on, planning to stop at Apiranthos, but as we approached the village the dashboard thermometer showed it was a scorching 38 degrees outside. There was no way we could drag ourselves around the village in that heat, so we didn’t even bother getting out of the car and just kept on going. We eventually stopped at the Apollonas coastal resort area, where it was only marginally cooler at the seaside.

 

Marble architecture & four museums

It was a huge disappointment not to see Apiranthos, which we’d heard is one of the most beautiful villages on the island. Boasting marble buildings and marble-paved streets and squares, along with four museums (the Archaeological Museum, Folk Art Museum, Geological Museum and Museum of Natural History), the medieval village certainly sounded like a place we would enjoy. We thought we would get there during our next Naxos visit, in 2009, but we didn’t rent a car that trip and never made it to Apiranthos.  We didn’t have a car during our brief stop in Naxos in May of this year, either, so the village remains on our Naxos “must-see” list.

With luck, we might finally get to see it when we return to Naxos next month. If we do make it there, you’ll see our photos (and maybe some videos, too) here on the blog. In the meantime, check out the videoclip above for a quick peek at the scenic village.

 

error: Content is protected !!