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.
Beaches south of Agios Georgios (Hora’s town beach) include beautiful Agios Prokopios, which is sandy and shallow and lies in a sheltered bay to the south of the headland of Cape Mougkri. It merges with Agia Anna, a stretch of shining white sand, quite narrow but long enough to feel uncrowded towards its southern end.
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’s home to a fascinating small 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), about 25km east of Hora (or 10 winding kilometres from Halki). The village’s unadorned stone houses and marble-paved streets reflect a rugged individualism that is matched by the villagers themselves.
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 from the mountains inland, the roads wind and twist like spaghetti, eventually taking you to the somewhat scrappy seaside village of Apollonas. In an ancient quarry on the hillside above the village is a collosal 7th century BC kouros, much larger and easier to find than the kouros at Melanes. Follow the small signs to get here.
Naxos’ lovely inland Tragaea (Τραγαια) region is a vast plain of olive groves and unspoilt villages harbouring numerous little Byzantine churches. It rests beneath the central mountains, with the Cyclades’ highest peak Mt Zeus (1004m; also known as Mt Zas) dominating. Filoti, on the slopes of Mt Zeus, is the region’s largest village.