Tragea (Naxos)


Tragea is the name of the rather mountainous inland of Naxos. There is almost no tourism. Tragea is where you find the traditional Naxos; unspoiled villages, beautiful but deserted hiking paths, picturesque churches and chapels in the middle of nowhere.

Tragea Mountains on Naxos

Filoti

With about 2000 people living there Filoti is the second biggest town after Naxos City. It is in the very heart of the Tragea. For years now Filoti during summer is overrun by excursion busses. It is proper mass tourism and - needless to say - with visible results. Apart from the place being anything but the allegedly unspoiled mountain village it during the day is packed with tourists.

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Around the village square you'll find no less than 10 restaurants. They all have huge signs in English and cater more or less exclusively for the day trippers. As a result and that certainly doesn't come as a surprise prices went up as well.


Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying the village isn't pretty. Even the central square with a huge tree giving shade still is pretty cool despite the 10 restaurants. It's just that "rooms to rent" signs and untouched remote village don't go well together. Of course they do make things a lot easier.

With the Tragea becoming more and more popular with hikers they do need a base camp. Filoti is perfect especially when you are planning to walk up the mountain Zas. And once the day trippers have left Filoti indeed turns into the quiet village the masses came to see in the first place. If you stay for the night you will have a pleasant and enjoyable time.

Chalkio

The second biggest village in the Tragea is Chalkio. It is only 5 kilometres from Filoti but quiet different. It basically remained a quiet and unspoiled mountain village where Filoti became a tourist spot.

Approximately 500 people live her. The narrow streets invite visitors to stroll around and take it easy. On my last visit in April 2008 something very amusing happened. While we were sitting in the local Kafenion enjoying our coffee a sheep walked in. It was funny mainly because no one seemed the least surprised. It's just like good old times.

With Chalkio being more a local place it is quiet cheap. Especially the older people are actually interested in you as a tourist. They are still curious about people and that these days is something rare.

There is little to see other than the place itself although the frescos in the little 9th century church (Panagia i Protothronos) are quite interesting and so is the little museum.

Moni

Moni is a small village in the Tragea. It is well known for its marble. The local quarry is in use until this very day. Most of the marble you see in Naxos City indeed comes from this quarry.

Apiranthos

There are many ways to attract tourists; the people from Apiranthos came up with their very own idea: They built four museums in their little village. That is remarkable and even more since all four are actually quite interesting. They have an archaeological museum, a geological one and two that deal with natural history. Give it a go. They are mostly free. One of them charges 2 Euro from what I remember.

Zas

Mount Zas with an impressive 1003 metres is not only the highest mountain of Naxos but of all the Cyclades islands. Getting up there is pretty easy. There is no climbing involved. The view from the top is terrific. When standing on top the world seems to be ones oyster well at least Naxos and the surrounding islands. It is quite impressive.

Getting up and down takes about 2.5 hours. Get off the bus to Apiranthos just behind Filoti. Ask the bus driver to give you a shout. They know. And don't forget to ask what time they are going back.

The alternative is to start the trip from Filoti. Form there it takes 3 to 3.5 hours for the whole trip.


Koronos

Koronos probably is the most picturesque of all villages on Naxos. All the houses are built in the traditional style (white and blue). The village is situated on a hill so instead of streets they mainly have stairways. Very few tourists get here. Most of them are hikers. There are a couple tavernas in Koronos. They are on the little road that leads through the village.

Koronida

The most remote of all the villages in the Tragea is Koronida.. It is about 12 kilometres south of Apollonas. To get there follow the inland route from Naxos City towards Apollonas. In the little village of Skado you come to a junction. Rather then going straight to Apollonas turn left and take the long route to Apollonas. It leads through Koronida.

The mountain village is high up (700 metres) and very few tourists come here. Still there are two restaurants advertising in English. Other than that Koronida still is a very traditional village. If you are interested in country life as it used to be this would be one of the places to go.

Times are difficult for the Koronida. Like in most villages many of the young people have left for Naxos and Athens. Most of those left are elderly people. Quite a few houses are abandoned at this stage. The tough life as a farmer and/or shepherd isn't appealing to young people. You can hardly make your living with olives and sheep and there are hardly any other jobs in the area. The result you can see. It is a pity but this is how life goes.

Busses

All of the above mentioned are easy to reach by bus. There are a few busses every day and they do go all year. Even during winter up to five busses a day go to Chalkio and Filoti, still 2-3 to Apiranthos, Koronos, Koronida and Moni. In summer there are even more busses. There also is a regular bus from Apollonas to Filoti, Koronos, Koronida and Apiranthos. It goes 2-3 times a day.

Last update 04/2008

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