Naxos Island, Greece

Naxos Island
Panorama of Naxos Town. Photo Creative Commons License Mats Hagwall.

Naxos is the largest and most fertile of Greece's Cyclades Islands. It is relatively new to tourism, with a thriving agricultural harvest of olives, grapes, lemons and potatoes making the tourist industry unnecessary. A new airport and speedier inter-island travel now make it easier for visitors to get here. There are also new hotels in the port and clusters of hotels on island beaches. Naxos is home to a few ancient temple ruins, modern pilgrimage churches, and some unique medieval architecture due to the Venetians who ruled Naxos from 1207 until it fell to the Turks in 1566. The influence of Venetian architecture is obvious in the Kastro in Hora and the fortified Venetian towers, or piryi, that dot the hillsides. Another notable feature of Naxos is a remarkable abundance of Byzantine chapels, even by Greek island standards. Many of them contain exceptional frescoes from the 9th to the 13th centuries.

This iconic door that leads nowhere is the entrance to an unfinished Temple of Apollo that faces exactly toward Delos, the god's birthplace. It was begun about 530 BC.
Temple of Demeter
Demeter was a grain goddess, and it's not hard to see what she is doing in this beautiful spot among farmlands on Naxos Island. The temple dates from the 6th-century BC.