The cottages Azalás belong to the small settlement Ágios Dimítris, inhabited mostly be (former) shepherds and their families. Around the settlement lie old olive groves and no longer cultivated fields with abandoned old stone houses here and there. The surrounding hills are covered with shrub, macchia and low, open wood.
view of the bay of Azalás from the north
the small settlement Ágios Dimítris
Photos from the immediate neighbourhood of Azalás (click on the pictures for enlargement):
The area around Azalás was cultivated some 50 years ago in the traditional way with olive groves and fields of wheat and barley. Nowadays only the sheperds let their sheep and goats graze on the abandoned fields and in the shrub. Here and there one still encounters one of the old stone houses.
North and south of the settlement lie two dry river beds with steep gorges.
Following the coast to the north one can walk to idyllic bays with marble rock or pebbles.
Panoramic view of Azalás from the sea
The small harbor village of Moutsoúna lies 3 kilometers away — you can reach it in half an hour on foot or 10 minutes by car. Here you will find several tavernas and a mini market, as well a bus to the next villages and Naxos town (mainly during school season).
left: the beach Chochlakás bei Moutsoúna, right: on cape Stávros
The next larger settlement is the idyllic traditional village of Apiranthos (13 kilometers distance and about 550 meters high in the mountains). There you can visit beautiful churches, four small museums and shops with local products – or you can just stroll along the narrow alleys of the village.
Several marked hiking trails start in Apíranthos:
- to the peak of the 900 meter high mountain Fanári with a picturesque chapel and a breathtaking view over the island
- through fields and forests to the chapel of Ágia Kyriakí with important medieval frescoes; the path continues to the emery mines and finally meets the gravel road near Azalás
- to the monastery Fotodótis and the village of Danakós on the slopes of mighty Zas — with 1,000 meters the highest mountain of the Cyclades
- around mount Fanári, a marvellous if rather long hiking tour
The capital of Naxos Chóra has a charming Venetian quarter with small alleyways with many tiny shops and cafés. There are two archeological museums, and on a small peninsula next to the harbor lie the ruins of a temple of Apollon and its impressive giant portal, the Portara.
The island of Naxos
The island of Naxos bewitches mainly by its great diversity. Every valley, every mountain, every village has its own character and its own appeal, and invites you to come discover it.
left: Kinídaros, right: Filóti
All over the island lie interesting antique monuments that allow us to get an impression of long past times. The oldest buildings on the island are small settlements and strongholds from the Early Bronze Age, which is known especially for the famous Cycladic idols. Other ancient monuments are a Mycenaean vault tomb, ruins of a large temple of Dionysus, a partly restored temple of Demeter, unfinished monumental marble statues, and a round tower from the classical epoch. In addition, the island has an exceptionally large number of important Byzantine churches, many with old frescoes (among these one of the oldest churches of the Balkans, Panagía Drosianí near the village of Moní). Finally in many villages you will find a medieval tower of the Venetian period.
left, from above to below: the prehistoric acropole of Panormos, the Kouros of Apollonas, Agios Georgios Diasoritis, right, from above to below: mycenaean tholos tomb, the tower of Cheimarrou, Apano Kastro
Naxos is the cycladic island with the richest nature: it offers a great variety of landscapes, from ancient cultivated areas over lush rivers to forbidding mountain peaks, barren hillsides and lonely coasts. Every day you can dive into a different world!
Naxos has a lot to offer – immerse yourself into the charming and fascinating island of Dionysos!
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