As always, Hotel Kouros will remain functional (open) this winter (2017/2018). Come and join me for some hiking and canoeing adventures. A certain amount of "craziness" is necessary. A need for "something else" is also required. See you or not. Cheers
Welcome to Hotel Kouros blog
As you might already noticed our hotel is located in the northern Naxos, in a small coastal village called Apollon (Apollonas) about 36 Km from the port (Naxos Town). It would take about 1 hour with a car to come here (coastal road) or 2 hours if you take the bus, since it is taking the long road throughout the main villages (52 Km).
Apollon is the epineio (the coastal village) of the village Komiaki (Koronida). It has mostly summer houses, couple of hotels, some apartments and only 100 people live here in the winter time. It has taverna’s, café’s a couple of small bars. It has the biggest marble statue in the world (11 meters kouros type Dionysos) and a few stone beaches at a walking distance (Aghios Fokas, Chilia Vrysi, Aghios Georgios, Glyfada). The main beach is partially sandy (near by the town) but mostly stony. Apollon also has great drinking water. For the most part is a quiet place but there are a lot of things you can do here.
Hotel Kouros has 23 rooms, of the same medium size. 14 rooms with view to the sea (30 meters from the hotel) and 11 at the mountain side, the valley of Apollonas. In the high season there is a price difference. The building is old, build by our father but we do our best to maintain in in good shape. Practically, Hotel Kouros stands alone in Armyrolimni (the name of the area).
For people who like places like Mykonos and Santorini there is not much to do here, you be much better if you pick another place. For people who enjoy activities like: hiking which you can do alone or with a guide, biking (we have 4 bikes here for you), canoeing (we also have couple of canoes), board games (tavli, chess, katan, ticket to ride, code names etc) this might be your place. We also have sun chairs and umbrella’s at the beach for you, snorkeling equipment, body surf boards and other things you might find interesting) and all that free of charge!
In front of our hotel and by the sea our beach bar plays all sorts of music although I prefer rock music from all times. You won’t hear any Rihanna here, I promise you that much! In the back of the hotel, there is a garden with lots of vegetables and trees and flowers and a kiosk where you can be completely alone and enjoy a good read, if you prefer solitude!
There are only a couple of buses per day from Naxos Town to Apollonas, one departs at 09.30 and the second at 13.30. Tickets cost 7 euro (one way). Otherwise a taxi would cost you 55 euro but we always recommend our customers, if they intend to drive around anyway, better have a car or a bike waiting for them at the port.
There are many information I could add to the above, abandoned villages, cult place, nice small restaurants you could visit. Also I could tell you many things about the ancient history of Naxos, as the author of the book “The contributions of Naxos to the ancient Greek civilization” but I will wait for you to come here and ask. Until then, have a Great time wherever you are!
From the south (the valley, Hotel Kouros & Apollon)
From the north, north-west (Apollon and Hotel Kouros)
From the harbour (North) Hotel Kouros & part of Apollon bay
From the west Apollon Bay & Hotel Kouros
The Balcony (from inside the seaside room)
From the sea (North - East)
Part of the bay and Hotel Kouros
Flex Bar (Hotel Kouros Bar) & Apollon
Carving marble stones from the beach
Flex Bar & Hotel Kouros
Panoramic Seaside view
Night Seaside View (Flex Bar & Apollon)
This was meant to be a map to good and undiscovered Naxian restaurants. Consciously, I will not make any references for the local restaurants in Apollonas, which you have to discover yourselves; on the contrary I will try to point you towards certain restaurants and villages throughout mountain Naxos and elsewhere.
The nearest, to Apollonas, village is Komiaki or Koronida (you must not confuse this village with the neighboring village called Koronos). Komiaki is the mother village of Apollonas, in the 19th century there were no registered people living in Apollonas, they all moved from Komiaki during the first half of the 20th century. Komiaki is a real mountain village, you must leave your car in the asphalt and go up the stairs, have a look around, maybe visit the Mycenaean tomb near by the village and in case you want to eat something, there are 2 good restaurants-café’s behind the main church. Liagouris & Fakinos . I have tried Liagouris Restaurant (the one with the yard and the flowers) and the food was great every time in amazing prices. The food here, in general, is good and cheap and the people are friendly, they are not very used to tourists so they don’t speak good English but I would take that as an acid, it means they are not corrupted by tourism.
Next village you meet on your way is Skado, unless you skipped Komiaki and you came through Mesi (Mesi has no restaurants but give it some time to look around, it is, after all, one of the smiridohoria – the emery villages). Skados, like Mesi is, more or less abandoned, but here there is a restaurant on the main street that the food is good although it doesn’t look very nice. To discover the village you must leave your car and wonder around. There is a school here for all children of the neighboring villages.
Next village on your way is Koronos. Koronos was built on 2 different mountain and the action is down below. Koronos is the second in importance of the north mountain villages, after Komiaki. Their near by the sea settlement is called Lyonas around 10 km away with good restaurants (I hear but never tried). There is a restaurant in Koronos called Plaza or Matina’s that is probably the best in Naxos as it concerns the food, the external decoration and the position. Right next to Matina’s there is the restaurant of Dalas that is also really good and often live bands play there but it doesn’t have the recognition it deserves because it lucks in style and variety of cousine.
After Koronos at the crossroad of Stavros Keramotis (where you can see the sea to the east and the west, an amazing coincidence in the middle of Naxos!) you have to options:
Before I talk about your options I have to say this, there is a village here and its called Keramoti, its small, down the valley, strange, the people –I hear- are not that friendly but they are not going to throw you stones, so just take a walk around. I am not sure if the village has a restaurant but I was there for a wedding when I was a kid and I keep good memories! As a matter of fact, I just learned that there is a restaurant now in Keramoti!
Now, back to our options: option number one is continue on the main road to Apiranthos. People say that there are good restaurants in Apiranthos. Maybe, but expensive and touristic. I would go to Apiranthos after I had eaten fish to the coast settlement of Apiranthos, Moutsouna (13 km down the weirdest road in all Naxos). Dihty restaurant and the other one right next to it (near the harbor of Moutsouna), are the best fish restaurants in Naxos, for fresh fish, lobsters etc. Plus, on the way from Apiranthos to Moutsouna you can see the old air vagons that were taking the emery for the mountains of Koronos to the port of Moutsouna. People say that there is a good restaurant in one of the coastal settlements of Apiranthos, like in Psili Ammos (with a beautiful beach) but I have never tried. On the way back you can stop at Apiranthos, around 18.00-20.00 for a coffee, sweet or ice cream, for a visit to the archaeological museum (a real discovery for the size of the village), the other, less important museums, and a walk around the village, maybe the most beautiful in Naxos. Note: Panormos is a small coastal settlement 30 km from Moutsouna, its hard to get there, and harder to come back but if I were you, I would visit. There are stories that once upon a time there was an island opposite to Panormos that was called Delos! An island that sunk or… moved where Delos is today. Also in Panormos there are the ruins of a pro-historic settlement/fortress (Korfari Amygdalion 2400-2200 BC)
If you do not stop in Apiranthos or go down to Moutsouna, if you are in a real adventurous mood, on the way from Apiranthos to Filoti there is a crossroad to take you to Danakos, a real discovery as it concerns Naxos. Here, you must eat fried sukini at Giorgos restaurant, or rabbit or whatever he offers and you must meet this old man, one of the remaining symbols of an island that is changing rapidly. Beyond that you must see the spring and the tree. I wouldn’t want to miss that! There are many cute places in Danakos but I never tried them since I always eat at Giorgos. From Danakos, there is a difficult road that will take you close to Psili Ammos (the one you can also visit from Moutsouna) but I wouldn’t suggest it for normal cars. From Danakos and if you like hiking, you can leave your car near by and walk (45 minutes) to the cave of Zas which apparently is n the Zas mountain right over Danakos. If you don’t like walking you can also just see the pictures. On the other hand Zas came here to hide from his father and here an eagle gave him the weapon of thunder to start the war between the Titans and the Gods. Plus, it is proven that peope were finding refuge in this cave since 5.000 BC.
Next village, from Apiranthos and on the way to Naxos and if we assume that you skipped Danakos or another day perhaps, you will meet Filoti, the biggest village of the mountain Naxos. I never ate here but I walked around in between old and modern houses, please do not forget that this village is alive even in winter time and the main production of meat and cheese come from here. The next village is Tragea or Chalki, the old capital of the mountain Naxos (Drymalia). There is a distillery here that produces Naxian spirits and surely you want to visit this one. There are so many ancient churches in the area of Tragea that they call it little Mystras. Visit some of them, you might take an idea of the development of the Greek architecture. The olive trees in this area, at least some of them, are more than 2.500 years old and that is amazing.
Now you are in Tragea (Chalkio) on your way to Naxos town but some people would say you took the wrong turn at the crossroad of Stavros Keramotis. That take us to option number 2. If you just turned right, instead of visiting Keramoti or Apiranthos, you would find your way to Moni, another strange and isolated village but more friendly and really beautiful to see with a nice restaurant in a bad location. Nevertheless I recommend it since my friend Stuart Thorpe vouches for it and although he is British, he can appreciate that quality of Greek food after so many years in Naxos.
Ok, this next tip came from a Greek family but I have never tried any restaurants in Potamia, the one they recommend is at Ano Potamia its called Pigi and its famous for the rooster in red sauce. Judging from the restaurant they preferred here, In Apollon, I am not so sure about the accuracy of these informations. Anyway, if you want to go to Ano potamia and try the rooster you must turn right in Tragea (Chalki) instead of continuing on the main road to Naxos Town.
From Ano Potamia the road will take you to Flerio, a zone with many archaic findings, a couple of unfinished Kouros, the temple of Aloades and a female goddess, the spring that provided the archaic Naxos town with water!!! and many more (a place worth seeing) you will meet another interesting restaurant in a village called Kourounochori. He is a shepherd, he is called Mousatos and they say that his restaurant, although primitive, has the most fantastic meat and vegetable from his garden in strangely cheap prices. You see, it’s all about the personality of the owner.
If, while you were in Tragea (Chalki) you didn’t turn towards Potamia but you continued on the main road you better turn left towards Sangri because there stands the half restored archaic temple of Demetra and Apollonas. If you do not visit the fantastic temple, a prototype for Acropolis and the free museum, if you don’t stand there admiring the location of it, you must be punished. By the way, near by the airport, you can see a few remains of the temple of Dionysos, in Yria Naxos, and you know surely he was the protector god of this island, and also you must know that the kouros type Dionysos, standing on the hill right above us, meant to stand at the entrance of this temple.
Now that you have visited Kourounochori and saw Melanes from the other side of the hill, maybe you should go down to Melanes and have a look around. Too many stairs, I know, but this name stands here for more than 2.300 years.
Either you come from the main road, either you come from Kourounochori and Melanes, you finally reached Naxos town! If you don’t visit the archaeological museum and the Kastro, I will punish you personally. On the roof of this museum lies the most ancient Kouros ever found (around 675 BC), his body is 7 time the length of his feet, his hair (vostryhoi) fall in the front and he is clearly daedalic, so obviously early archaic. The collection of the 3rd millennium BC artifacts of the Naxian archaeological museum is the largest in the world. The Mycenaean pottery is worth seeing (with the octopuses) left to the entrance there are the artifacts from the cave of Zas.
Hey, I have good news for you , there is a good restaurant in Naxos and it is called Irini, very close to the Zas travel agency near the harbor. Irini is the name of the daughter but the mother is cooking, a fantastic woman I might add.
I hope you have enough food for a day because I am out of restaurants