The Portara of Naxos

The Portara of Naxos

The Portara of Naxos is a fantastic landmark, a colossal 2,500-year-old marble doorway that leads to nowhere

The Portara of Naxos

In a word: magical. I’ve seen my share of Greek archaeological sites but the Portara was truly special. I have to say there was some kind of energy around it.  Naxians and Naxos lovers told me later on that I was on to something… The island has an incredible energy which the ancients discovered.  That energy is one reason the people who love Naxos really love it. A connection is made.

As the story goes, the Portara of Naxos was once the doorway to a temple to be dedicated to the Greek god named Apollo.  However, the temple was abandoned in the fifth century B.C. when a Naxian leader behind its construction was overthrown.

The temple was later used as a church then under Ottoman rule it was torn apart for its marble.  The doorway remained only because it was so massive and 20 tons heavy.  Its huge size was exactly why no one could steal it. So, the picturesque Portara remains standing.

Portara Naxos mygreecemytravels (9)

Portara Naxos mygreecemytravels (4)

The Portara of Naxos at Sunset

The Portara is located on a small islet, a short walk from the harbor of Naxos Town.  You can’t miss it actually. It kind of sticks out in the sea!  You will see it on your ferry or boat ride over to Naxos.

It recommend taking a stroll to it before sunset to be there while the sun sets. It was a breathtaking sight.  More of that great energy was around… 😉

Portara Naxos mygreecemytravels (2)


You can find an excellent seafood restaurant and cafe located “under” the ancient sight. You’ll understand when you’re there what I mean.  The local Kioulafis family runs Palatia Island. Enjoy views of the sea and whitewashed Naxos Town.

How to Get to Naxos

Aegean and Olympic Air fly to Naxos from Athens International Airport.  The travel time is one hour. Check out the best flight deals on Vayama.

Ferry: There are ferries to the Athens port of  Piraeus. I highly recommend booking with Blue Star Ferries.

You can also reach Naxos from many of the Cycladic isles. It is a fantastic island to “island hop” to and from.

During the summer season, there are more ferries and flights scheduled.

Where to Stay in Naxos

It’s nice experience to stay in Naxos Chora. I recommend Chateau Zevgoli for its traditional setting and atmospheric location tucked in the heart of Naxos Chora’s castro. You can check the list of hotels I reviewed for Fodor’s Greek Islands at this link. I had a lovely stay at Apollon which is within walking distance of the harbor and the Naxos Chora.

Where to Eat in Naxos

In the Naxos Chora, dine right in the charming whitewashed paths of the palia agora at Metaxi Mas  (+30 22850 26425).  The local Flerianos family prides themselves on home cooked taverna food.

I also highly recommend Popi’s Grill, the oldest family taverna on the island. You can see my full review here: Popi’s Grill: A Traditional Naxos Restaurant.

Also, take a look at the complete list of restaurants I reviewed for Fodor’s Greek Islands at this link.

Have you ever been to the Portara of Naxos or felt a special kind of “energy” when you visited an ancient site?


I'm a writer and journalist, originally from New York, now loving expat life in Athens. Join me on my travels as I explore Greece and Europe.

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