Hora has the colour and bustle you'd expect of the island's port and capital. Settled on the west coast, the old town is a tangle of steep footpaths and is divided into two historic Venetian neighbourhoods: Bourgos, where the Greeks lived; and the hilltop Kastro, where the Roman Catholics lived. Despite being fairly large, Hora can still be easily managed on foot.
Conveniently just south of the town’s waterfront is sandy Agios Georgios, Naxos’ town beach. It’s backed by hotels and tavernas at the town end where it can get crowded, but it runs for some way to the south where you can spread out a little, and its shallow waters make it great for families.
To visit Naxos and not visit Halki would be a crime. This historic village is a vivid reflection of historic Naxos, with the handsome facades of old villas and tower houses, a legacy of its wealthy past as the island's long-ago capital. Today it is home to a fascinating collection of shops and galleries, drawing artists and culinary wizards.
Apiranthos seems to grow out of the stony flanks of the rugged Mt Fanari (883m). The village’s unadorned stone houses and marble-paved streets reflect a rugged individualism that is matched by the villagers themselves.
The handsome towerlike building of Bazeos Castle stands prominently in the landscape about 2km east of the village of Sangri. The castle was built in its original 17th-century form as the Monastery of Timios Stavros (True Cross).
The Panagia Drosiani evokes an immediate sense of awe in visitors. Located just below Moni and 2.5km north of Halki, it is one of the oldest and most revered churches in Greece. Inside is a warren of cavelike chapels. In the darkest chapels, monks and nuns secretly taught Greek language and religion to local children during the Turkish occupation.
Heading north, the roads wind and twist like spaghetti, eventually taking you to the seaside village of Apollonas. In an ancient quarry on the hillside above the village is a collosal 7th-century-BC kouros. There is no real parking and it's not well signposted, but you'll know it when you see it. Apollonas' beach isn't great but its seafood is.
The Tragaea region is a vast plain of olive groves and unspoilt villages, beneath the central mountains with Mt Zeus (1004m; also known as Mt Zas) dominating overall. Filoti, on the slopes of Mt Zeus, is the region’s largest village. It has an ATM booth just down from the main bus stop.