Hiking Village TrailsThere are certain popular villages from where several hiking routes begin. Some of these villages include Filoti, Apiranthos, Chalki, Koronos, Potamia, Apollonas, and more. The hiking routes loop back, starting and ending at the same point. All the hiking villages are easily accessible either by car or public bus. For more adventure, one might also rent a motorbike to get around. The main Naxos Town, also called Chora, is connected to most of the hiking villages by road, as well as public transport.
There are several attractions that one passes while hiking in Naxos. The villages themselves are highlights along the trails. You can rest, detour a bit and explore the village and learn more about the culture and history of the land. The natural attractions include beaches, ravines, plateaus, forests, springs, waterfalls, islands, and more. On the other hand, the urban and rural landscapes encountered during hiking are churches, chapels, water fountains, marble quarries, aqueducts, windmills, and more.
1. Filoti – Mount Zas TrailThere are many trails that start out from Filoti to Mount Zas and back. Depending on the time in hand, as well as the level of difficulty of the hike, one can choose among them. Mount Zas is one of the highest points in Naxos. Filoti is a traditional village located at the foot of Mount Zas. A 9.2 km trail from Filoti to Mount Zas and back is a moderately easy to difficult hike. It can take anywhere between 3-4 hours and is also the most popular hiking trail in Naxos. In fact, there may be other groups hiking on this same trail during the peak tourist season. Starting from Filoti, you would reach an altitude of 1004m at the peak of Mount Zas. The views from atop Naxos and other surrounding islands are fantastic. Also, the climb itself is enjoyable as one encounters a diverse range of flora and fauna. Different bird species, sheep, goats, and butterflies along with the brightly colored flowers and lush green slopes further add to the charm of the hike.
Another trail from Filoti to Mount Zas and back is 5.6km long. This trail has a few steep points, and the last ascent to the peak is slightly tricky, considering the position of the rock and the direction of the wind. However, the views from the top of the peak compensate for all the hard work uphill.
2. Cave of Zas TrailThis 8km trail from Filoti to Mount Zas takes around 3 and a half hours to complete. The ascent trail is towards the east and is relatively easy to climb. The trail passes the Agios Romanos Chapel till it reaches its peak. The downward hike is challenging as the trail gets steeper. With the help of markings, the trail continues to the Cave of Zas, which lies at a height of 600m. It is believed that Zeus stayed in the Cave of Zas, and it was here that he was given his weapon of light. The cave itself is magnificently beautiful and has several stalagmites and stalactites. The views of the sea and surrounding landscape from the cave are undoubtedly stunning too. While descending from the cave, the trail crosses the Katafygi Spring until the trail turns into a stone path and reaches the Arion Fountain which is an ideal resting place for hikers.
Another trail leading to the Cave of Zas begins from Filoti along the western slope. The trail passes the Cave of Zas during ascent. Also, before reaching the cave, one passes the Aria Spring. The Aria Spring is a great resting place if you are tired from the climb. The trail then continues upwards towards the peak. This section is a difficult climb as the trail is rough and steep. However, it continues offering spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. On the descent, the trail passes Agia Marina and continues towards Filoti. This trail is 4.2km long and takes around two and a half hours to complete. This trail, too, is relatively hard, as the other trails on Mount Zas.
3. Chalki and Tragea Valley TrailsChalki is another village in Naxos from where several hiking trails commence. One of the easy hiking experiences from Chalki includes the Chalki – Moni trail. This is an almost 7km loop trail and can take a little over 2 hours to complete. The hike starts from Chalki and moves west to the village of Rachi. It then reaches the Taxiarches Church and runs parallelly to the Tragea Valley. It then crosses the Agios Isidororos and Pangia Rachidiotissa Chapel. The hiking trail reaches the iconic Byzantine Monastery, the Panagia Drosiani, till one finally arrives at the petite village of Moni.
Moni is the highest point on the hike at about 500m. You can return to Chalki or continue to the village of Kaloxilos, where you can spot another Byzantine church, the Panagia Damiotissa. The trail continues to Akadimi village, where the Markopoitis Tower is located. From here, the trail loops back to Chalki again.
Another trail is the Chalki – Ano Potamia hike. The route begins from Chalki and turns west towards Tsikalario village. It passes through the magnificent Tragea Valley, looking resplendent with its olive groves. The route then continues on to Apano Kastro Hill, goes downhill again, and finally ends at the village of Ano Potamia. Further down are the picturesque villages of Mesi Potamia and Kato Potamia. This trail is about 3.5 km and takes an hour or so to complete.
A great hiking trail to explore the Tragea valley begins at the village of Danakos. The toad is stone paved initially but leads into a forest area. The trail then passes the Monastery of Christ Photodotis. From here, one can view beautiful views of Naxos and the sea. The route continues to Karkos and then moves onwards through the Pera Chorio region, where the dam is its main attraction. The hiking trail reaches Agios Ioannis Church, and one can see the stone windmill, which highlights the village of Apiranthos. One needs to hike through the Finelia area to reach the Tragea plateau. The route then reaches the village of Kerami and continues to Metochi, where the remains of the Church of Agii Apostoli are found. The hike ends at the Church of Panagia Protothronos, also called the Byzantine Park in Chalki.
There are other trails from Chalki, such as Chalki – Filoti, Chalki – Damarionas – Panagia sti Spilia Chapel, Chalki – Kerami – Agios Ioannis – Apiranthos, Chalki – Koronos - Apollonas and more.
4. Danakos TrailsSome trails begin from the village of Danakos. The most popular hiking from here is the Danakos – Fotodoti Monastery trail. Starting from Danakos, there is a short but steep trail that leads to the Fotodoti Monastery. The impressive tower of the monastery is its main highlight, and there are many inscriptions and ruins that are worth exploring for history buffs. The route is only 1.5km long and can take less than an hour to complete. However, another trail further continues uphill to reach Agios Ioannis. The route then turns downhill to the village of Kerami and through the Tragea Valley to Chalki.
Another hiking trail begins at Apiranthos and ends at Danakos. From Apiranthos, the trail passes the plateau and then descends south. From there, one reaches the Fotodoti Monastery, and continuing downhill, the trail leads to Danakos.
5. Koronos TrailsStarting at the Plasta Square in Koronos, the trail from the village passes the St. John Church. There are water mills and fountains that are seen along the way. From here, the route reaches the village of Skado and continues to the village of Komiaki. Here one can encounter green vegetation and walnut and oak trees. In Komiaki, one can visit the church museum, and a slight detour can lead to Hosti, where the Mycenaean tombs are found. The route then descends towards the village of Apollona.
Another popular trail is the Koronos – Lionas route. Starting from Koronos, one has to move across deep ravines to reach the bridge at Tihio. The path continues till another bridge at the Kolos tou Vounou is reached. The hike now is uphill towards Kalamafka village. Further, the trail reaches the Our Lady Avdeliotissas Chapel. The path continues till it reaches its final destination, the Lionas coast. At Lionas, there are remains of shipping facilities and an inviting pebble beach.
6. Melanes TrailThis hike starts from the village of Melanes. The trail leads to Myli village and then opens into the forested areas until one reaches Kouroi. The route loops back to Melanes on a rocky dirt road. The trail is around 6km and takes 2-3 hours to complete.
Another trail from Melanes reaches Ano Potamia and back. It is 10.5km long and is moderately easy to hike. Starting at Melanes, the route leads through vegetative groves and marble quarries. The trail reaches Kourounochori village. Here one can visit the Faragi Kouros and Flerio Kouros, the two unfinished male statues from the 6th century BC. From here, the trail passes Ano Potamia and back to Melanes.
7. Seven Villages TrailThe Seven Villages Trail is an 11 km circular route that starts from the village of Kourounochori. It continues to Myli village and the two statues of Kouros. The route then heads south, passing through olive groves to reach the village of Ano Potamia, and the path continues to Mesi Potamia and Kato Potamia. The trail then starts towards the north, going uphill to reach the village of Melanes. The route from here loops back to Kourounochori, completing the hike. The entire hike can take approximately a little more than 3 hours to complete.
Other Hiking Routes in Naxos
Kynidaros – EggaresThis route starts from the village of Kynidaros. The trail then leads northwest and passes through green vegetated landscapes. Hikers can see water springs, aqueducts, watermills, and waterfalls along the way. The trail finally reaches Eggares and loops back to Kynidaros.
Ano Sangri – Temple of DemeterThis 5km hiking trail is easy and great for first-time hikers. The hike begins from Ano Sangri and crosses fields and ravines to reach the Temple of Demeter. This temple is a historic landmark built in 530 BC and is made from Naxos marble.
Similarly, other trails lead to the Temple of Demeter. One such trail begins at the village of Tsikalario. From there, it passes Chimarros village, and forward hikers can view the Agios Artemios church on their left. Other landmarks on the trail include the Agii Anargiri, Paleologos Tower, and the Panagia Orfani Church. The route then continues to the village of Sagri and reaches the Temple of Demeter. There is also a museum near the temple for those who are interested. This trail is around 7km long and can take around 2 hours to complete.
Naxos West Coast TrailThis trail passes through three amazing beaches on the west coast of Naxos. The trail begins at Agios Arsenios and is approximately 10km long. The trail follows dirt pathways along the island's west coast and passes the Plaka, Agia Anna, and Agios Prokopios beaches. The sandy beaches and clear waters are perfectly complementary to the hike.
Kalandos – Rina BayThe trail begins at Kalanos Beach and moves southeast. It then follows the coast route at Cape Patsouras till it reaches Rina Beach. Rina beach is a pretty sandy beach where there are caves to explore. The road circles back to Kalanos beach.
Agiassos – KalantosAnother relatively easy hike in southern Naxos, this trail starts from Agiassos. The dirt road from Agiassos to Kalantos is beautiful as it offers splendid sea views and coast views. One can also see the island of Iraklia along the hike.
Vivlos – Plaka BeachThis trail begins in the village of Vivlos, also known as Tripodes. Vivlos is one of the larger villages of Naxos and the trail heads southwest and ascends a plateau. Crossing the plateau, one then descends the slopes to reach the plains of Plaka. The route continues towards the lovely Plaka beach, where hikers can take a break before walking back to Vivlos.
There is another trail from Plaka that leads to Mikri village. The route starts from the Plaka beach, follows the rural pathways, and emerges again on the coast. It leads to the slopes of the Pyrnios hill and continues to the private beaches of Orkos before finally reaching the Mikri Vigla.
There are many other hiking trails across Naxos. You can plan your hiking route depending on where you stay and how much time you have at hand.
Hiking Operators in NaxosIt might get overwhelming to check maps and search for hiking options. Some hiking companies plan guided tours and are great if you are traveling in a group or solo. Below are some of the hiking tour companies in Naxos.
Find In Greece
Best Time for Hiking in NaxosThe best time to visit Naxos is between April to October. Spring and fall are ideal for hiking when it is not too hot or too cold. July and August are considered the peak season for Greece tourism. So if you want to avoid crowds, you must avoid the summer. Also, it rains in January, so December to February may not be ideal for hiking.
- The first thing to do is lay your hands on a Naxos hiking map. There are many available in the shops around Naxos. Or you can also use digital maps.
- If hiking is the main attraction in Naxos for you, then staying in Filoti, Chalki, or Apirenthos is perhaps best. There are many routes in and around these villages.
- If you are not too fond of circular trails, you can drive back from the last point on the hike before the road loops back to the beginning. You can hire a car or check out the route and timings of public buses. Also, certain taverns and hotels do arrange for pick-and-drop services.
- There are also guided hiking tours organized by different travel and hiking companies. It is advisable to book these tours in advance.
- Ensure you have the essentials for hiking – comfortable shoes, drinking water, hats, sunshade, and more.
- Some hikes might be crowded during the peak tourist season. You can choose to start out early if you want to avoid crowds.
- There are several hikes in Naxos, and more than one trail usually begins or ends at the many villages and beaches of the island. Thus, choose your hiking trail according to your interests. The choice of trail route can depend on whether you are a nature enthusiast or enjoy local culture or historic structures.
- Research the hiking trails well. There is often much to explore and other attractions by taking small detours off the trails.