An introduction to the island of Naxos would not be complete if we did not go back to the island’s interesting mythical history. If you were asked how you imagined the place where Zeus, the father of the 12 ancient Greek gods, was raised, chances are your reply would include the following: fertile, imposing, exuding primeval majesty. If you were asked what you imagined to be the dominant features on the island where Dionysus, the god of merriment, was born and raised, you would probably include fun, song and dance. If, finally, you were asked how you imagined the scene of the wedding of Dionysus and princess Ariadne, you would probably respond, “Enchanting, almost magical…”. This is Naxos. A big island in the heart of the Aegean Sea and its sea routes, with imposing mountain massifs and fertile valleys, inhabited by cheerful people with a tradition in music and dance, and full of beauty that enchants visitors.
With its long history, important monuments and intense tourist life, it occupies a distinct place among the Cycladic islands. No matter how many days you stay on Naxos, there will always surely be more hidden niches to discover, beaches you haven’t seen, towers and forts you did not have time to visit, ancient temples whose secrets remain a mystery.
The geography and nature of Naxos offers an authenticity, richness and simplicity that is an experience to discover and explore. The island is marked by great variety: mountains with ravines, caves and gullies shade verdant valleys with olive, fig, orange, lemon trees and vineyards, abundant waters.
Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece’s foremost 20th century writer, once wrote about the time he spent as a teenager in Naxos’ fertile valley of Eggares: “If paradise was on Earth, it would be here.”
The valleys end at smooth, sandy beaches adorned with juniper and tamarisk trees; villages are surrounded by fields and vegetable gardens; migratory birds find refuge on trees, while wild pigeons and swifts in the inaccessible coastal rocks.