If you desire to embark on an adventure that is off the beaten track, then you may consider setting off at the break of dawn for a hiking trip to the summit of Mount Zas (Zeus), while also exploring the spectacular Zas Cave. The highest mountain of Naxos, but of the entire Cyclades Islands complex as well, Mount Zas is the mythological home of Zeus, his shelter from the wrath of his father Cronus where he was reared in Zas Cave as a child by the nymphs of Naxos, and at the top is where Zeus was bequeathed with his legendary lightning bolt by a giant eagle that held it in its talons. Besides the mythological interest of Mount Zas and Zas Cave, the scenic routes and breath-taking views and landscapes make for an unforgettable adventure.
Zas (Zeus) Cave is found at a height of 603m, with a magnificent interior consisting of a chamber 115m in length and a maximum width of 75m, with impressive stalagmites, as well as rare stone formations whereas archaeological evidence such as the enormous statue lying at its entrance suggests that the cave was used as a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus for centuries. Reaching a peak of 1003m, the summit of Mount Zas is the highest point of the Cycladic Islands and on a clear day, one can but only express absolute awe and wonder at the spectacular views across the Aegean and of the neighbouring Cycladic Islands.
There are essentially two routes to the top of the mountain, with the easier of the two being a well-maintained path starting at the little chapel of Agia Marina (Danakos Village neighbouring Apeiranthos), while the second more challenging and steeper route begins at the natural spring of Aria (between Apeiranthos and the neighbouring village of Filoti), first taking you past the mountain Cave of Zas.
Follow the 5km long path (approximately 3 hours of hiking) through a landscape of impressive flora and fauna, rare minerals and geological formations and reach the top and take in breath-taking panoramic views to neighbouring islands that reach as far as the eye can see. The perfect time to be at the top is at the break of dawn, as the sunrise from the top is an unbeatable experience.
The reception of Ostria Inn Naxos Hotel would be delighted to arrange a professional guide for you, or, should you wish to explore on your own, provide you with a map of Naxos and detailed directions to the hiking path to the top of Mt. Zas and Zas Cave.
Hiking time: approx. 3 h
Hiking route from Danakos to Moni Photodoti
The exciting route begins from one of the oldest villages of Naxos, Danakos, a village well-known for its crystal-clear natural springs. From the foot of Mt. Zas where Danakos is located, a stone paved path climbs up through rich vegetation of oak trees and leads all the way up to the castle-monastery of Christ Photodotis, the oldest monastery on Naxos Island, said to have been built by a wealthy family of princes from Constantinople. This monastery is known for its remarkable aniconic murals. From there, the path continues to the chapel of Agia Marina through a verdant valley full of plane and oak trees. The refreshing waters of the natural spring under the centennial plane tree in the courtyard of Agia Marina is perfect for a cooling break under the shades, before you begin your hike back to Danakos.
Hiking time: approx. 1h 50 min
Hiking route from Apeiranthos to Agia Kiriaki
Another interesting hiking route, one that starts from the quaint, reknowned village of Apeiranthos this time. Following a route that passes through the roads of the abandoned emery mines, we pass through a forest area filled with maple and oak trees. On our way, we will come across two significant local churches, the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos, a unique specimen of Byzantine architecture, and Agia Kiriaki, one of the most important Byzantine churches on the island with immense historical and cultural significance, which has been recently fully restored to preserve its unique aniconic murals.
Along this hiking route, the landscape interchanges between rocky and forest areas, whereas the views to the sea are highly rewarding. On the way back to the village of Apeiranthos, we will pass through verdant olive groves and vineyards, a typical scenery of Naxos. This route presents immense geological interest, characteristic of the mainland’s landscape, but it is also more physically demanding due to its long duration.
#1 restaurant to visit in Naxos! Excellent restaurant, people, service and place! I am a huge fan of shrimp pasta and the best one I have ever had in my life was in Ostria Inn. I highly recommend it!!!
Fresh fish, homemade dishes with a twist, stunning views, excellent service and a very interesting wine list. If you want to enjoy high-quality food that is prepared with love and served with love-this is your place!!!
We have travelled all over the world, but Ostria Inn is nothing like we have ever seen before. Feel impressed by the taste and feel at home as you are more than welcomed. A secluded restaurant by the beach, excellent quality of ingredients, fresh local products and an incredible result made with love. Fresh fish, traditional dishes with a twist, interesting wine list and excellent service.
We have been to this restaurant lots. We always got a great welcome from all staff. The quality of the ingredients is second to none. For us, this is the best in Naxos. They improve every year and of course, they do deserve their reputation.
Fantastic setting next to the sea - I've been swimming every day and the water has been absolutely wonderful. What an amazing place for Loic and Van Anh's wedding. This has been a superb experience.
Ostria Inn was the perfect getaway for my yoga retreat. Location is beautiful, away from traffic, and very inspiring. very nice village close by. The family who owns the business has done a beautiful job. Everything was perfect, and I totally recommend this hotel. Joanna.
What a lovely place. We came here for the first time because of the suggestions. That was definitely worth the way. Excellent food, lovely people and a nice spot. You have to go there!!!
Just wonderful and totally relaxing. Recommended consciously :·) Many thank's to miss Eirine who did all the best to please us.
I can honestly say Ostria inn is the most amazing place in all of Greece! The food is absolutely delicious and the staff are so hospitable and welcoming! I will definitely be coming back! xxx
Beautiful and relaxed spot - wonderful food, wonderful people, wonderful beach! Very easy to love