Naxos in detail

Activities

Naxos draws outdoor enthusiasts, with kiteboarding off the sandy southern beaches, and traditional footpaths to follow between villages, churches and other sights. Walking guides and maps are available from local bookshops. Terrain (http://terrainmaps.gr) produces an excellent hiking map for Naxos. Walking in Naxos by Dieter Graf covers 25 trails with GPS data.

Off the Beaten Track: Tragaea & Mt Zeus

Naxos’ lovely inland Tragaea region is a vast plain of olive groves and unspoilt villages high in the mountains, harbouring numerous little Byzantine churches. The Cyclades’ highest peak, Mt Zeus (1004m; also known as Mt Zas), dominates the landscape. Filoti, on the slopes of Mt Zeus, is the region’s largest village.

To climb Mt Zeus from Filoti, walk 40 minutes up to Aria Spring, a verdant fountain and picnic area, carry on another 20 minutes to the Cave of Zeus, and then climb to the summit in another hour for 360-degree views of the Cyclades.

Alternatively, if you have own wheels and want to shorten the walk, there’s a junction signposted to Aria Spring and Zeus Cave, about 800m up from Filoti on the main road. This side road ends after 1.3km. From the road-end parking it’s a very short walk to Aria Spring, and you can carry on to the cave and summit from there.

An option for the descent, if you hike up via the cave, is to walk down via the little chapel of Agia Marina to Filoti. You can walk down this route on waymarked track Number 2 in about 1½ hours.

Make sure to take good walking shoes, water and sunscreen.