The center of Naxos is mountainous and dotted with small, picturesque villages. It is a beautiful area and it looks remotely different from the landscapes we saw on Mykonos and Santorini. Naxos is green, forested, idyllic, and much quieter than the other islands.
If you are looking for a very nice, easy walk that takes you through several villages and to one historical site, this is perfect for you. Start and end in the town of Melanes, walk on ancient marble paths, visit the Kouroi of Flerio, and enjoy the views along the way. This wonderful walk only takes a few hours of your time and it is a great way to explore this part of Naxos.
Quick Facts about the Walk
For most of the time you will be on marble walking paths and dirt roads. Occasionally, you will walk on dirt trails and through grassy fields. A pair of good walking shoes is ideal but I did this walk in a pair of sandals.
Distance: 6.1 km (3.8 miles)
Total Ascent: 300 meters (1000 feet)
Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours
This walk starts and ends in Melanes. From Naxos City, it takes 15 minutes to drive here. There is a very small parking lot in town (GPS coordinates: 37°05’26.9″N 25°26’14.7″E) and this is where we parked. Parking here is free.
This parking lot is located on the top of the hill in Melanes. The trail starts at the bottom of town. It’s a downhill walk to get to the trailhead (GPS coordinates: 37°5’24.473″ N 25°26’20.771″ E).
Getting to the trailhead can be a little tricky. The roads in Melanes are unnamed and staircases connect the roads as they switchback through the town. You can wander through town until you get down to the lowest road or walk along the roads from the parking lot to the trailhead as I marked them on this map.
Map of Melanes, Myli, and the Kouroi. The route from Melanes to Myli and the detour to Flerio Kouros is not included on the route because Google does not yet have the data for these two walking trails. However, we have lots of photos from these trails so you know what to expect.
Walking through Melanes
Trail marker on the edge of town. To get to the trailhead, continue on this lower road until you get to the trail marker in the next photo.
Start of the trail in Melanes
Walking to Myli
From the trailhead, continue the walk downhill on the stone path. You will walk through a dense grove of bamboo, past old stone walls and the small yards and farms of the people who live here, and past old, crumbling buildings.
The path changes from an easy-to-follow stone path to faint, dirt trails that wander through fields of wildflowers and grassy fields. At several spots, a faint trail will break off from the “main” trail. These forks in the trail are unmarked, which had us questioning which way to go. We always stayed on the more distinct trail and this got us to Myli. If you take one of these detours, it might lead you to Kourounochori, another town that can be included in the villages walk.
The trail can be very faint in some spots.
When you reach this pink and green building you made it to Myli.
Once in Myli, I made a quick detour into the town but didn’t see much that was interesting. Feel free to detour if you are curious…it won’t take long because Myli is tiny!
Myli to the Kouroi
Once past Myli, the views open up a little bit more. You trade the forests and bamboo for olive groves, giant clusters of cacti, and views of the rolling hills.
The path is much easier to follow here. For most of the time, you are on a stone path and you walk along stone walls. Occasionally, a sign labeled “6” marks the trail.
The trail ends at a small parking lot. This is the lot where people park to visit the Kouroi, if they are not touring the area on their own two feet. Follow the signs to Kouros.
At first, you will walk on a wide, concrete road. Take a right turn and follow the signs to Kouros of Flerio.
In this area of Naxos, craftsmen in the 6th and 7th centuries BC quarried rock and sculpted statues. The statue that is lying on the ground here dates back to 570 BC.
Walk back to the wide concrete path and turn right to continue to the second statue. Near the end of the path, you will turn right to walk on a dirt path. The path is very easy to follow and ends roughly 200 meters later at the second statue. It’s easier to spot the two feet than the giant statue lying on the ground, since it blends in with the surrounding rock.
The second Kouros
The view from the second Kouros.
Return to the parking lot.
Return to Melanes
Once at the parking lot, follow the signs for Melanes. This final leg of the walk is on a rocky, dirt road. It’s a very nice walk and the best part are the views across the rolling hills and the views of Myli and Melanes.
Melanes is the small village in the distance.
Blue dome church and a horse on the loose in Melanes.
Have More Time?
The walk I just described is part of a bigger loop through the area. You can also walk to Ano Potamia and Kato Potamia before returning to Melanes. Since we did not do this, I do how difficult it is to follow the trail between these towns.
We ended up driving to Ano Potamia and then hiking to Apano Kastro, the ruins of an ancient castle. It was wonderful, maybe even better than this walk through the villages. I will be writing about this soon so stay tuned if you are interested.
If you like the idea of doing this hike, or something longer, and prefer to have a guide, check out NaxosHiking.com.
When We Did This
We did this walk in mid-April. It was a very windy day and temperatures hovered around 15°C (60°F). We saw one other group of people on the trail and several families at the Kouros.
Hiking on Naxos
A hike not to be missed on Naxos is the hike to Mount Zas (Mount Zeus). This is a true hike with a hefty amount of elevation gain on rocky trails. Along the way, visit the cave where Zeus was raised. Once at the top of Mount Zas, enjoy the view and get bragging rights that you hiked to the highest point in the Cyclades.
Are you planning a visit to Naxos? If you have any questions about this walk or if you want to share your experience, comment below!
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