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MONI village – an underrated village on the Greek island of Naxos

Moni Village

I’d love to share about Moni village, nestled atop a verdant ridge in the mountainous heart of Naxos. This charming village holds special significance as it’s my mother’s hometown, offering a unique cultural experience often missed by travelers.

Moni is a hidden gem village that stands alone, without any advertisement or promotion. It is often underrated, but offers a unique experience of raw natural beauty, privacy, sustainable tourism, and an authentic glimpse into the local way of life and cultural traditions. With only 200 inhabitants, the village is full of life, but remains non-mainstream and is not actively promoted by locals or residents.  

Moni village is a path less traveled that’s definitely worth exploring

What makes Moni village truly charming is its unspoiled authenticity, simplicity, and peacefulness. Unlike other crowded and popular tourist destinations in Naxos, Moni is not heavily marketed and remains relatively undiscovered. It offers visitors the opportunity to experience a slower-paced lifestyle, as well as the warm hospitality and the sense of connection from the locals. You can leisurely stroll through the narrow streets and alleyways, appreciate the traditional architecture, and peacefully observe the daily routines of the villagers.

Moni cobble streets

Its Views & Energy

Moni village in Naxos is a place where time appears to have come to a standstill. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and boasts various historic sites, such as the oldest Byzantine Church of Balkans – Panagia Drosiani, remnants of classical windmills and predominantly stone-crafted dwellings. Many people know Moni as the “Balcony of Naxos” since it’s located high up on the undulating hills of the island, providing awe-inspiring panoramas of the stunning surroundings. Situated on the island’s heart edge, Moni village delivers a sweeping vista as far as the eye can see, that spans from the Aegean Sea to the rugged mountains and hills of the interior, making it a sight to behold.

Houses Moni

The natural position is so wisely chosen and harmonic to an environment that constitutes, admittedly, one of the most beautiful natural “balconies” to the Aegean Sea. Α “balcony” is like a non expected, open embrace, that smiles openly to the sun and gazes into the impressive  landscape in front. This landscape, following the bubbling gurgling stream with the old stone bridge precisely next to the village, overflow as a torrent in the roots, shaping initially a green basin full of cultures, while, unexpectedly it tears in two parts the mountainous volume and leads hedonically in the sea, that is visible from Moni, even if it is situated in distance of 18 km. from Chora, Naxos town!

Inside Moni village

This incredible view, when the sky takes a clear blue color, reveals everything around, far to the Aegean Sea and allows the observer to see even the opposite at Paros. The view, therefore, this, in connection with the cultivated soil  comes down from the ridge of Moni and extends in a big distance in front, surrounded by a ring of harmonic mountainous volumes in natural shapes of pyramids with protagonist the Zas mountain, the “eagle shaped” mountain that inspired the great poetry Odysseus Elytis who described it precisely in its leading work “Axion Esti”

 …as the shades above in the mountain, with the raise of  sun, 

create the picture of  a proud eagle with open wings 

renders Moni village a unique energy place, that revives the body and the spirit in the minimum time and creates a feeling of euphoria and energy to everyone that experiences this condition.

Moni Square Platsa

Its Residents

As a result of their self-sufficiency, the residents of Moni do not rely heavily on external sources for their food and other necessities. They are autonomous and take great care in producing and preparing their own food, which includes mostly everything a home needs. Visitors to the village can sample these local products and experience the authentic flavors of Naxos.

Gathering of Local Women

The residents of Moni exhibit a strong sense of community, take pride in their self-sufficient lifestyle, and know how to have a good time, which is reflected in their frequent gatherings and year-round celebrations. These simple gatherings often involve a lot of laughter, storytelling, and good-natured teasing. Visitors passing by are welcomed with open arms and are often invited to join in the festivities and experience the local way of life. 

One of the most significant events is the annual raki-making festival in November, which attracts both locals and tourists who come to enjoy free food and drinks. These festivals offer a unique opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy traditional cuisine, beverages, music, and dancing, while also celebrating the harvest and livestock of the village.

Raki Festival Moni

Its Fertile Region and Produce

The village is known for its sustainable agriculture practices, with its inhabitants using organic and traditional methods to grow their crops and raise their own livestock. The fertile land and abundant water supply of this region coming from the spring of mountain Fanari have helped create a verdant paradise, making it one of the most agriculturally productive areas not just on the island, but in Cyclades. The region is particularly famous for its fruitier trees, gardens with green vegetables, the most delicious tomatoes you can ever eat, water mellows, its vineyards, olive groves, citrus orchards and other crops that thrive in the sunny and temperate climate. 

Moni village Naxos

The villagers of Moni produce high-quality olive oil, the best organic wine on the island, and have lived in harmony with their land for generations, preserving the traditional ways of life that have been passed down from one generation to the next. 

Two other important occupations of residents of Moni are cheese-making and vines. It deserves you to taste the pure flavor cheeses of pasturages, but also the wine that is produced by the households of the settlement, and not only the wine, but also the exceptional raki (arrack).  You can find all these in the restaurants of the village and you can accompany with their “heady” sweet or peppery flavor, and the traditional mezes (titbit) that you will be served hospitably there.

Do not forget to also order homemade spoon sweets or to buy some. These sweets are usually served as a small treat with coffee or tea or as a dessert after a meal. They’re unbeatable! Pefko, a little tavern located at the beginning of the village, is known for offering incredible spoon sweets and a variety of homemade liqueurs, which are made using local fruits and herbs. The tavern’s spoon sweets are made using traditional recipes and locally sourced fruits, resulting in a delicious and authentic flavor. These liqueurs are a great way to experience the unique flavors of the mountainous Naxos and make for a perfect souvenir or gift.

The Oldest Byzantine Monument in Balkans – Panagia Drosiani

Panagia Drosiani

This place, Moni village, even if it is “burned” by the sun and by the full Greek sky, does never “burn” humans. Ethereal dew overflows from everywhere and caresses the gardens, sending a handful of golden but invisible rain above in the thirsty ground. Perhaps for this reason, precisely in this place, from ancient years, it was the natural place of the Goddess of wisdom, that was worshiped in Antiquity as “Athens Drosos” and that later, when Christianity prevailed, became “Virgin Mary Drosiani” or Panagia Drosiani.  For this, however, remained the tradition that the icon of Virgin Mary of Drosiani (refresh = drosizo), because she diffused dew in the environment, but also she “sweat” moreover, each time that Moni and the residents  were threatened by some danger, warning them thus, in time. 

This icon is situated in a very ancient paleochristian chapel, in a small distance from the village. The church constitutes a very important monument with frescos even from the 6th century, concurrent or even more ancient from those at Ravenna. The older part of the chapel, with the primitive conical room and the three niches in the sides, is built with naked stonework and plates in the roof, while the place of manufacture leads as to the conclusion that there had been, probably, situated a  mausoleum up to a moment in the past.

Housing, Architecture & Sustainability

Besides being a natural “battery” of energy, Moni is a village that deserves to be visited by all that come to Naxos, because it is a traditional village with old quaint homes, narrow streets, cobbled streets, and a strong commitment to sustainability by preserving its natural environment and cultural heritage.

One of the most significant sustainability efforts in Moni is the promotion of eco-tourism, which encourages visitors to experience the natural beauty of the village while minimizing their impact on the environment. The village has a strong tradition of using locally sourced materials, such as stone and olive wood, for construction and crafts, reducing the need for transportation and minimizing the carbon footprint.

Moni village streets

Stone dominates everywhere in the architecture, thus the craftsmen of the stone of Moni were always famous and manufactured a lot of work and other structures that blend seamlessly into the natural environment (bridges, booms, walls, etc) all over the island. The houses are not only beautiful but also functional, with many of them having stood the test of time for hundreds of years. Visitors to the village can admire the skillful work of the stone craftsmen and appreciate the natural beauty of the stone buildings and walls that are an integral part of the landscape.

The renowned village of Apeiranthos was constructed by the talented craftsmen builders of Moni, who traversed the Fanari mountain on foot to reach their destination.

The area surrounding the village is rich in natural stone, providing an abundant and sustainable resource for the stone craftsmen. The craftsmen take great care in selecting the perfect stones for each project, ensuring that the colors and textures of the stones complement each other and create a harmonious overall effect.

Thus, after you reach the war memorial, in the beginning of the village, and after leaving your car, you can walk in the graphic alleys of the village and to see first of all the small  “platza” (square) of the village. On your walk, you will see two old olive presses and a remnant of an old Venetian Tower in the Eastern part of the village and finally, the source of Moni and the well in the other end of the village.

Loom Weaving Textiles created only by the Women of Moni

But not only the men of Moni are famous as craftsmen of stone, famous, for other reasons, are also the women of the village. They are famous all over the world for their art in loom weaving, thus they traditionally practice textile art and they teach it with pious consequences to young girls. The weavers in Moni use a pedal loom to create their fabrics, which involves using foot pedals to raise and lower the warp threads while the weft threads are woven through.

Loom Weaving Textiles

The textiles they produce are often made with natural materials such as wool, 100% cotton, and silk, and feature intricate patterns and designs. Many of the designs are inspired by the natural environment and traditional motifs, such as geometric shapes and floral patterns.

The weaving process in Moni is still done by hand, using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. This means that each textile produced is unique and has its own character and history. The weavers take great pride in their craft and are committed to preserving this important part of their cultural heritage. Over 20 women nowadays continue this tradition in the village.

Wood Carving 

Moreover, another very interesting art here is the wood carving, woodcut in olive. 

Visitors can see artisans at work creating beautiful wood carvings from olive wood. There is a workshop located a little outside the village, on the way to Halki, adjacent to Kalliope Taverna.

Olive wood is a popular material for carving in Greece due to its durability and unique grain patterns. The artisans at the workshop in Moni use traditional techniques to carve intricate designs and shapes into the wood, creating beautiful and functional objects such as bowls, utensils, and truly unique decorative items.

Visitors to the workshop can watch the artisans at work, learn about the history and techniques of olive wood carving, and even purchase some of the handmade items to take home as souvenirs. The wood carving workshop in Moni is a great way to experience the traditional arts and crafts of Naxos and Greece.

Local Taverns & Shops

Apart from the Pefko tavern located at the entrance of the village, there are three additional taverns that I cannot recommend specifically, as they are all owned by my relatives. However, I can give you a rundown of what each of them offers, and you can decide for yourself which one to try once you have a chance to visit them. Keep in mind that this is just an informal suggestion.

The Crazy Shrimp – A taverna that specializes in shrimp, crispy fried calamari, and pita souvlaki made with local meat, particularly during summer afternoons. Apart from that, they also have a daily menu board where they offer a variety of other dishes. Summer nights here are a feast. In the evenings, The Crazy Shrimp comes alive with a vibrant atmosphere of live music and locals flocking to be entertained.

*** The owner is my sister-in-law’s sister!

Taverna Panorama – The Panorama is the taverna in the middle that boasts a balcony with breathtaking views. Feast on mouthwatering traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, pastitsio, tzatziki, and a selection of other dishes that change daily, all made with the freshest ingredients produced by the owners. They also offer delectable local desserts. Their pita souvlaki made with succulent chopped meat is particularly delicious. 

*** The owners are my sister’s in-laws!

The Paradisos – During the day, The Paradisos operates as a traditional café- kafeneio, but in the evenings, it transforms into a Café Bar Grill, offering delectable pita souvlaki made with locally-sourced meat, as well as Greek salad and other regional specialties. The restaurant also features a secluded balcony on the second floor, providing stunning views over the island.

*** The owner is my mother’s cousin!

*** Everyone is related. 🙂

Marble Exhibition 

The  local sculptors’ marble exhibition is an exquisite display of artistic mastery, showcasing the talent of skilled sculptors from Moni village. Each sculpture is crafted from the finest Naxos marble, renowned for its quality and unique veining patterns that lend each piece a distinctive character. As you wander through the exhibition, you’ll be struck by the sheer beauty and variety of the sculptures on display – from intricate, lifelike figures to abstract forms that challenge your perceptions of space and form. The exhibition is a celebration of the island’s rich artistic heritage and a testament to the skill and creativity of its local sculptors. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of finely crafted objects, this exhibition is not to be missed.

Overall – Raw & Pure Life

In addition to agriculture, the local economy in Moni is supported during the summer by discerning travelers who are looking for unique experiences to forgotten spots on the map. The region’s scenic beauty, its rich history, and traditional way of life attracts visitors that are looking for that different vacation with true experiences, those who want to live the real authentic Greek way of living – raw as it is and pure!

Whether you’re exploring the local countryside, savoring the delicious local cuisine, you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply soaking up the sun, and just looking for a relaxing escape, Moni village has it all.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to discover this gem of a village, trust me, it’ll be a trip to remember!

In essence, the beauty of an unadvertised village lies in its ability to transport you to a simpler, more peaceful way of life, away from the hustle and bustle of modern society. It offers a chance to connect with nature and with the locals, to experience their culture and traditions firsthand, and to leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

So if you’re looking for a place where you can escape, slow down, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, Moni is a rare destination. This is a village where time has indeed stood still….  

ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat Hotel

ELaiolithos view from Moni

Lastly, I would like to mention that Moni is also home to the ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat, located just outside the village, which is a stunning and eclectic accommodation hotel for those who wish to immerse themselves in the tranquility and natural beauty of the region.  

On the premises, you’ll find a restaurant open to the public, that is a true culinary gem that serves up delectable healthy dishes made exclusively only from locally organic sourced ingredients. The menu is expertly crafted to showcase the unique flavors of the region, with a special focus on vegan and vegetarian options, as well as an explosion of flavors in each bite. You won’t want to miss out on the best crepe recipes you’ve ever tasted. The homemade jams are simply unbeatable. The restaurant also offers an impressive selection of craft cocktails, each one made with fresh herbs and homemade purees, adding a unique twist to your drink. With a commitment to quality and a focus on showcasing the best of the region, this restaurant is a must-visit for any foodie!

ELaiolithos is a fantastic destination to savor breathtaking scenery, indulge in mouth-watering regional dishes, relish in the pleasant atmosphere, experience sincere hospitality, connect with fellow human beings, and have fun!

We are waiting for you, and not only wish, but we are sure for your pleasant stay here, with the beautiful mountainous embrace, with the good company, but also the natural energy, the health, and the celestial dew!

Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis. All rights reserved

Farm to Table Food in Naxos – We Know the Hens that Lay Our Eggs

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

At ELaiolithos, savor farm-to-table dining in Naxos, where authentic cuisine reigns supreme. Enjoy the freshest organic ingredients sourced from local farms, promising an unparalleled dining experience. Here, taste Naxos’ essence, backed by our glowing reviews.

The island of Naxos is a hidden culinary treasure in Greece, with a rich history of high-quality food production and enviable Mediterranean beauty. Known worldwide for its potatoes, unique-smelling cheeses, and high-quality meat, Naxos is a self-sufficient island that produces everything, and exports its products throughout Greece and abroad.

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

At the heart of this wonderful island is ELaiolithos, our luxury eco-hotel that incorporates sustainable practices and a focus on local, fresh, and organic food. Here, the farm-to-table trend is more than a trend, it’s a lifestyle philosophy and a commitment to sustainability and local production.

We’re organic by default.

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

Ethical Farming Practices:

At ELaiolithos, the local food doesn’t travel far before it reaches your plate. The ingredients used in the kitchen come directly from farms located within a 5 Km distance of the hotel without intermediaries, and the food is prepared on site. This means we know the farm owners and know where the ingredients we use in each meal come from. The locals here all share the same value system: they spend many hours each day tending their fields and animals – humanely raised, sustainably, drug free, stress free, and raised with love. This falls in line with our slow food philosophy, attention to detail, and as we say in our menu: “We know the hens that lay our eggs.” 

ELaiolithos’ food is authentic and culminates in mouth-watering farm-to-table meals. Everything you order from our menu is sustainably sourced to help protect our natural resources.

The hotel is uniquely positioned in the most fertile region of Naxos, exclusively sourcing ingredients from the surrounding area. Locals employ ethical farming practices, avoiding the use of herbicides, artificial fertilizers, or preservatives. With seasonal products nurtured by fresh spring water, the natural taste is at its peak ripeness, reflecting the vibrant variety of produce in the region.

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

ELaiolithos’ Sustainable Farm-to-Table Restaurant: 

Our restaurant complements a healthy lifestyle by offering a diverse selection of nutritious organic meals and delectable homemade desserts, including a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options. Embracing the farm-to-table philosophy, sustainability is at the core of our food production. We source most of our fruits and vegetables from the owner’s brothers, esteemed farmers renowned for their quality produce. One of them is also recognized as one of the best cheese-makers on the island. Our sheep and goats are raised on pasture, ensuring they are grass-fed and pasture-raised. Treating our farm as an ecosystem, we prioritize caring for the soil, air, and water, as well as ensuring humane treatment of animals and people. Through direct relationships with our community’s farm owners, we ensure transparency, resulting in fresher and higher-quality food.

Authenticity for us is art, it’s a virtue, and it’s more than just being true to ourselves. It’s how we face life in general—with sincerity, transparency and dignity. This is what you will experience with us. 

The dining experience at ELaiolithos transcends mere meals; it’s a dynamic voyage through the rich gastronomic heritage of mountainous Naxos. Every ingredient carries its own narrative and tradition. By dining alongside locals, you’ll not only taste our culture but also forge genuine connections and create lasting memories.

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

Adventure-seeking travelers looking for immersive vacations and an authentic glimpse into rural life are invited to join us at ELaiolithos. Experience the essence of Naxos firsthand by indulging in our unique offerings, from farm-to-table dining experiences to hands-on agricultural activities. Join us during the wild cherry season in June, the potato harvest in July, grape-picking at the end of August, or the olive harvest from October to December. Become part of the traditional hand-picking process, from separating olives from branches to pressing them into the oil used in our meals, and forge unforgettable memories in the heart of Naxos.

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

Immerse yourself in the gastronomic experience at ELaiolithos, where connecting with locals and our chefs enhances your culinary journey. Feel the deep-rooted connection to the land and cultural identity through our carefully crafted dishes. Indulge in authentic flavors and real food! Joining a personalized cooking class offers a hands-on opportunity to learn Greek local cuisine, gain insights into its connection to the local economy and environment, and deepen your appreciation for the culinary traditions of Naxos.

We’re passionate about food – the tradition of it, cooking it, and  sharing it! 

At ELaiolithos, we want to invite you to experience authentic living firsthand with us. To conclude this article, I will quote Madison who came to experience our cuisine and took away much more than that. “All the food used at ELaiolithos comes from within 5 Km of the hotel. If it weren’t for the roaming goats, it would be 1 Km. This is a truly local way of eating. Many of us probably don’t even have fresh vegetables growing within 1 Km of us, let alone enough produce and animals to entirely sustain us. When living like this, you know the name of the person who is growing and making each ingredient you consume. You are closer to the producer when staying at ELaiolithos than you probably are to your local Whole Foods.”

Farm-to-fork Food in Naxos

Read Madison’s complete story  here

We look forward to meeting you here….

Oraia ELeni (Helen of Troy) – The Charming Beautiful Helen – BELLE HELENE

Oraia ELeni (Helen of Troy) The Charming Beautiful Helen

The Helen of Troy in Naxos – Luxury and History – A Mythical Stay: 

ELaiolithos’ themed suite “Oraia ELeni” – Helen of Troy – The Beautiful Helen – becomes the opportunity for us to dive into the myth, the riddles, and the reality of the Trojan War, and its heroes.

Facts and legends are surrounding one of the most enigmatic and famous figures of all times – the Oraia ELeni (Helen of Troy). A mythical and well-known person, the Beautiful Helen – the myth of the “fatal woman” has been the favorite subject of many stories from the depths of history. The first written record of Helen is in Homer’s Iliad. However, the origins of the myth that surrounds her date back to the Bronze Age. Hesiod awarded her the title of the most beautiful woman in the world: even today, the Bronze Age princess remains the epitome of flawless female beauty. The beautiful Helen of Sparta, Helen of Troy, of Theseus, of Menelaus, of Paris, of Deiphobus, of Odysseus, of Achilles. 

Helen is a name that has been associated with royalty, and with a slew of legendary people over the centuries. She is potentially the best known and most frequently painted woman in the West, aside from the Virgin Mary and Eve. Artists throughout all times have repeatedly envisaged Helen through a contemporary lens, shaping and reshaping her to suit current ideologies concerning beauty, sexuality, marriage, and feminine power.

Oraia Eleni of Troy

Meaning of Name:

According to Greek legend, Helen of Troy was supposedly born in 1214 BC. Helen of Troy, (Greek:  Helen, Helena / Ancient Greek: Ἑλένη Helénē, pronounced helénɛ), in Greek legend, is the ultimate in human beauty, the personification of ideal beauty. Even Aphrodite herself identifies Helen as the most beautiful woman in the world. The name Helen (Ἑλένη) means: The Shining Light, Torch, Sun Ray, Bright (could also come from the Greek selene, meaning “moon” or “hlios” meaning “sun”.) She represents the unknowable and mysterious quality of women, the archetype of goddess and lover. 

Helen of Troy is a character in Homer’s classic epic poem, the “Iliad,” written in the 8th century about the Trojan War, imagined by the Greeks to have occurred about 500 years earlier. Her story is one of the most dramatic love stories of all time, and is said to be one of the main reasons for a 10-year war between the Greeks and Trojans, known as the Trojan War. The English playwright, Christopher Marlowe, called Helen, “the face that launched a thousand ships” because of the vast number of warships the Greeks sailed to Troy to retrieve Helen.

Who was Eleni after all?

The public imagination of Helen of Troy has been continued virtually uninterrupted to the present day, inspiring countless books, films, television shows, and artistic pieces. She has gathered around her a multitude of praisers as well as critics. Even the modern international expression “Serce la femme” (= seek the woman – as a cause) brings the memory back to her. 

In the world of art, as in literature, Helen emerges as both the epitome of feminine beauty and enigmatic persona, and as a potent symbol of the destruction the irresistible beauty can wield

Five marriages, several children, two wars and an interesting afterlife. 99 suitors —including Odysseus—came from all parts of Greece. Helen chose as her husband the king of Sparta, Menelaus, Agamemnon’s younger brother.

An Estimate of Dates in Helen’s Life:

  • 1214 BCE – her birth to Leda
  • 1202 BCE – her intimacy with Theseus and possible birth of 1 child.
  • 1201 BCE – her marriage to Menelaus and subsequent birth of 5 children.
  • 1195 BCE – Paris abducts her against her will – she had 5 more children with Paris
  • 1186 BCE – Start of Trojan war
  • 1176 BCE – End of Trojan war – she leaves with Menelaus
  • 1168 BCE – She arrives back at Sparta after 8 years in Egypt
  • 1166 BCE – Telemachus visits her for news of Odysseus.
  • 1146 BCE – Her death at an old age.

Was she a goddess or a mere mortal? 

Homer has told in the Iliad that Oraia ELeni is an erotic goddess petitioned for romantic and domestic happiness. She is also invoked for fertility and assists conception. 

To the Greeks, she was Helen of Sparta. What is known about Spartan women is that they enjoy several freedoms: the opportunity to be economically independent, they could ride, they were trained in music and poetry recitals. Their education included racing, wrestling, throwing the discus and javelin, as well as trials of strength. The girls enjoyed the same food rations as boys and drank unwatered wine.

Did she go to Troy with Paris or not? Was she the cause of the Trojan War?

Helen the Beautiful was famous for her beauty and was the wife of the king of Sparta, Menelaus. However, when she abandoned (or abduction – there is a contradiction about either one) him and ran away with Paris, the Trojan War began, which lasted 10 whole years – until the resourceful Odysseus thought of making the Trojan Horse, a hollow wooden horse and hiding inside it. This is how the Greek army managed to win the war with this trick.

The legends of Helen during her time in Troy are contradictory. Ultimately, Paris was killed in action, and in Homer’s account, Helen was rescued and reunited with Menelaus. In classical Greece art, her abduction by Paris or escape with him was a popular motif. In medieval illustrations, this event was frequently portrayed as a seduction. In Renaissance paintings, it was usually depicted as rape and abduction by Paris.

Every self-respecting novel contains all the ingredients of human passion: love, hate, intrigue, war, uprooting, adventure, blood, scandal, mystery, punishment. And mostly heroes. Rather, the archetypal novel of this world. The Trojan War gave birth not only to the Homeric epics, but also to Greek writing and world theater (with ancient tragedy) and much more.

Homer in the Iliad does not have any kind of description of Helen the Beautiful, if she is blonde or brunette, short or tall. He lets every Greek dream of the Beautiful Helen as he wishes 

Did Troy ever rise again? 

Troy was destroyed by war about 3200 years ago – an event that may have inspired Homer to write the Iliad so many years later. But the famous city rose again, reinventing itself to fit a new political landscape.

Greek Mythology and Helen 

  1. Homer calls that the Olympian king of the Gods Zeus seduced Leda and fathered Helen thus acting according to this myth as a blood sister of the Dioscuri Castor and Polydeuces.
  2. According to another legend-version he had transformed into a goose, and seduced Nemesis, the daughter of Night.

** Whoever is the mother, in both versions, Helen is born from an egg in Sparta. 

The basic myth in which Zeus becomes the father of Dioscuri and Helen is accompanied by wonderful incidents, parts of which are also found in foreign mythologies. In particular, the main heavenly power, Zeus, in order to conquer the beautiful Leda, transforms into a white swan, directing his pursuit by an eagle transformed into the goddess Aphrodite, (anthropomorphic concept of beauty). Faced with the pursued white swan, Leda immediately took him in her arms. From this meeting, Leda gave birth to two eggs where, after nine months of hatching, one gave birth to the brilliant Dioscuri and from the other the Beautiful Helen, who would become luminous deities.

In this myth, Leda becomes the personification of the night when, at the last stage, she emerges towards the east as if chasing the white swan (the white shade of the sky at twilight) where, taking him in her arms, a little later the two stars that illuminate are born the world as well as their luminous energy (Helen) which affects nature accordingly.

Some Interpretation and Understanding:

In wars, nothing is quite as it seems, at first glance. Here we are dealing with a dominant superpower (the Bronze Age and the mighty Mycenaean civilization, around 1200 – 1250 BC of Europe which ends up threatening the dominance of Asia, which belonged to the Persians. The new – scrutinizing the ancient sources and the strategic – historical research, that’s where they end up, in two words. Thus, the Persians got the right to “retaliate” with the Persian Wars, on the land of Europe at the time at the Battle of Marathon, Battle of Salamis, Battle of Thermopylae, and the destruction of the Acropolis of Athens.

How Homer “saw”, poetically, the Trojan War? What is the essence, the message, eternal and universal of his primary novel?

That the winner shares humanity even with the most vulnerable of the vanquished.  And, above all, that pure and unadulterated victory in war does not exist.

The Iliad teaches us that in War there are no winners and losers. A war epic condemns war! A message to which the ancient tragedians came to bid, like Euripides, in the words of Poseidon in his iconic, anti-war “Troys”: “He who conquers cities is a fool. After desolating temples and sanctuaries and tombs, he himself then perishes.” 

Or Neoptolemus in Sophocles’ Philoctetes: “War prefers to kill, not the coward, but always the brave.”

The Greatness of “Beautiful Helen”

What is another version of  the above reality – the abduction of Helen the Beautiful by the Trojans, by Paris, and the reaction of the Achaeans, according to the novel? 

We’re talking about the primary novel of the civilized world (if we consider that the next one, of universal radiation, was the birth of Christ, which divided History into before and after, with the largely arbitrary year “0”). Which also had heroes. Delineating the protagonists of the Trojan War takes up almost half of the 15,693 Homeric verses of the Iliad.

The abduction of Helen by Paris reflects the ancient idea of women as trophies that can be taken from an enemy. Victorious soldiers commonly took the women of their fallen enemies as slaves, in the myth, but Paris actually provokes a war by taking Helen with him while Menelaus is away.

Commentators-agree on Helen of Troy’s powerful erotic appeal and her potential to cause havoc, but they differ wildly on questions about the nature of her character and adultery. Helen understood that words are the most important things in the world.  

She was imagined to be a direct avatar of the kalon kakon – the beautiful evil, from whom even so many thousands of years later we turn to be caught, in the difficult times. That always vibrates and moves us. From the same novel the emblematic ancient tragedies were born, which in fact stepped on the epics of Homer to describe the eternal human passions.

For millennia, Helen of Troy has been many things to many people 

Helen is a symbol. She represents honor. She represents glory. She represents valor. By owning her, one owns all those things. She is only an object to both sides of the way. Their fighting will continue until they unarguably possess Helen and any other women they demand belongs to them. The possession of a woman valued as highly as Helen is necessary meaning a man possesses valor and other masculine virtues.  Valor is why they fight. Honor is why they fight. Dignity is why they fight. They use Helen as an excuse, with some even hating her for what they believe she has done, but others see this as a fortunate opportunity. Battle separates those with valor from those that do not have it.

The beautiful Helen looks like how each of us perceives the beautiful. It is not imprisoned in any preconceived description. We, everyone, have the ability to create it in our minds as each one wishes. Helen of Troy  represents not a real woman but an idea

Beyond serving as an index of the prevailing ideals of beauty and femininity of each generation, Helen’s liminality allowed painters in every period to have interpreted, modified, and embellished her character in disparate and contradictory terms to appropriate her story and its meaning, and project onto her pervasive male anxieties and fears surrounding the threatening power of female beauty and sexuality. Though the guises Helen takes on vary widely depending on the cultural context in which she is created every time, her function has and will remain largely the same: to incarnate femininity at its most desirable and most destructive.

What is the message and spiritual meaning of Helen of Troy, the Trojan War and its heroes:

Helen, the stake of the war, belongs to the lineage of Sparta, that of the resurgence of what is new. The Trojan War represents the inner human battle with the aim of discerning the best path for reaching a greater freedom brought by the intuitive mind, and the pursuit of  the process of separation of spirit and matter  (they’re the Trojans), or that of aspiration allied to the purification of the depths (the Achaean coalition supported by Achilles’ Myrmidons).

Agamemnon is the greatest aspiration because he is the one hesitated but did not intervene at the end in favor of his brother Menelaus. He is the directing movement and he represents the search of a betterment of man towards a superior wisdom who is represented by Clytemnestra, who is not able to conceive that the new must orient itself towards a radical transformation. Agamemnon is the only one who is able to discern the best path towards freedom, who is Helen, that is the one who is an unwavering will fixed on its goal.

Helen is the most beautiful of mortals, and she represents the truest evolutionary path towards ELeutheria (liberty.) As the daughter of Leda, she belongs to the lineage of Protogenia, that of the adventurers of consciousness. She has Zeus as divine father and Tyndareus as human father, which places her within the lineage of the Pleiad Taygete which is the symbol of the plane of the intuitive mind or intuition which precedes the overmind, and that is the last plane being incarnated by the Pleiad Maia, the mother of Hermes god.

Helen represents the highest conception of evolutionary truth accessible to the spirit, a truth which remains governed by the world of the gods, that of the overmind. It is only by the light that the seeker will become the light to himself  equal to that of the gods 

Helen’s suitors therefore represent a number of paths seeking to put themselves forward as the best able to lead to this greatest freedom. This indicates and it’s obvious that the seeker and his path towards greater freedom includes a rejection of the human dimension. Given this, it is therefore of little importance whether it was Helen or Paris who was first seduced.

The Trojan side represents the most advanced state of spiritual progression in the ascension of the planes of consciousness, that of the liberated in spirit, which is near to equality and to the state of joy. This state allows a liberation of the vital to a certain degree, allowing access to non-duality in the vital or the perfection of sainthood, although this is not wholly acquired because the horses of Trojans were not immortal.

The Trojan war illustrates the rejection of a sole personal accomplishment, represented by the Trojan coalition, and a quest for a higher truth incarnated by Helen, who was married to Menelaus, a hero of the Achaean coalition. While this illustrates an inner battle, it also expresses an opposition between different currents of Greek spirituality of that period. Ulysses, is the one who strives for the union of the two currents which unite the spirit with the matter and therefore also the equilibrium between the masculine and feminine polarities.

What can you learn from Helen of Troy? Here are some invaluable lessons from the Troy War, some common morals that most people agree on:

  1. Carry out reconciliation carefully
  2. Always tell the truth.
  3. Have courage.
  4. Keep your promises.
  5. Treat others as you want to be treated.
  6. There would be opportunists everywhere.
  7. Disregarding a mistake is more dangerous than making it.
  8. Never judge a book by its cover. 
  9. To make someone do something for you, tell them how they will be benefited.
  10. Assess your opponent before getting into a fight with them. 
  11. You need to serve in order to lead.
  12. High achievers have clear vision and conviction. 
  13. Vision/Mission of glory creates fears and needs strategies.
  14. Never underestimate the power of your enemy. 
  15. Make short term and long term plans.
  16. Irrational predictions may lead you to doom.
  17.  Always leave room for the surprise element.
  18. Greed and fear plays a prominent role throughout ages.
  19. We should learn how to respect even those whom we dislike – The real Integrity!
  20. No one wins in a War.
  21. Nothing is absolute. 

ELaiolithos’ Luxury Suite:  Oraia ELeni (Helen of Troy) Suite

Oraia Eleni of Troy

Experience the seamless integration of authenticity, beauty, and novelty at ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat. Step into the legendary ambiance of the Oraia ELeni suite and embark on a journey back in time, immersing yourself in the captivating mythological atmosphere that permeates every corner of our retreat.

Oraia Eleni of Troy

Step back in time to the Mycenaean age of Greece with our luxurious Oraia ELeni suite, paying homage to the legendary Helen of Troy. Immerse yourself in the allure of Greek culture as you indulge in lavish days and nights within this opulent sanctuary. Featuring en-suite vaulted bathrooms, artistic interiors, and a spacious balcony offering panoramic views of Zeus mountain, the verdant Cycladic valley, and the Aegean Sea, your stay in the “Oraia ELeni Suite” promises an unforgettable journey into the past.

Oraia Eleni of Troy

In ELaiolithos’ Oraia Eleni suite, you’re enveloped in the essence of Helen of Troy—a space brimming with romance, intrigue, and allure. Dominating the suite is a colossal oil painting depicting the legendary face that launched a thousand ships. The oversized King bed offers unparalleled indulgence, complemented by the expansive bedroom designed to lavish you with comfort every day. Whether you seek intimacy with your loved one or simply crave spacious luxury, this meticulously crafted bed promises aristocratic comfort and unparalleled opulence.

Oraia Eleni of Troy

Prepare for the epitome of stylish relaxation. Our colossal bed seamlessly blends traditional Cycladic design with a touch of contemporary urban chic. Handcrafted from cement, the bed exudes Cycladic charm while offering modern comfort. The exquisite built-in headboard adds a local touch, featuring a depiction of the stunning scenery, including the iconic pyramid-shaped mountains of Zeus on the horizon.

This exquisite suite epitomizes the essence of its legendary namesake, Helen of Troy. Radiating romance and timeless charm, every detail within exudes an unforgettable ambiance, destined to become a cherished memory of your honeymoon, anniversary, or special Greek getaway.

Oraia Eleni of Troy

The Oraia Eleni suite is a visual delight, epitomizing the essence of a luxurious holiday experience. Its ambiance evokes a sense of timeless allure, blending mythological charm with modern elegance. Moreover, the suite upholds impressive sustainability standards. Every element is meticulously selected, ensuring traceability, ethical sourcing, and environmental responsibility.

You enter the world of “Oraia ELeni” (Helen of Troy) and sleep in her Palace.  An elegant space to enjoy your privacy. Romance is spread everywhere! 


Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis. All rights reserved

Eating Beyond Local in Greece

Eating Beyond Local in Greece

Two traditional recipes and a way of living that can’t be beat.

Before heading off on a two-week vacation to Greece, I was finalizing the details of my trip. I was going to spend the first two days in Athens, three days in Naxos, five days in Santorini, and two days in Milos.

Being that Naxos is the gastronomy capital of Greece, I wanted to take a cooking class while I was there. While I was looking for a cooking class on this island, I came across a place called ELaiolithos. I was searching for farm-to-table dining, or maybe even looking for guided hikes, and came across the hotel. I liked everything they were sharing on their website, so I decided to check out their Instagram and contact their owner.

After messaging her back and forth, I booked a cooking class for my friend and I for our second day in Naxos. When we arrived at our Airbnb, the owner even called the hotel to ensure the cooking class was still on. They were looking forward to having us!

In my tiny little rental car, I drove through the mountains of Naxos to arrive at the hotel, just outside the village of Moni. We had driven past it during our adventures the previous day, seeing it sitting upon the hillside, overlooking a valley of olive trees.

When we arrived we were greeted by the lovely Pamela who made us some delicious coffee to enjoy with the view. While sipping on my freddo cappuccino and taking lots of pictures of the mountainside view, I read ELaiolithos’s menu.

Read the complete story here.

“Art of Living” Yoga Holiday Retreat

ELaiolithos Exterior

The only word that comes to our mind to describe our retreat is: Release!!!

We invite you to join us on a 4-day journey to breathe deeply on the most energetic spot of Naxos – “the pearl of the Aegean, “among thousands of aged olive trees, divine mountains, the most vibrant lush green valley of Cyclades, and the pure clean mountainous air.

Let’s detoxify our bodies, rejuvenate, open our hearts, and connect with nature and ourselves.

Our trip will host the certified Eco and Hikers-friendly ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat located in the center of Naxos, and the center of Cyclades, in the village of Moni – or otherwise known as “The balcony of the Aegean” because of its incredible views over the island and the Aegean horizon!

The sustainable construction and building’s distinctive design, without detracting from the landscape, contribute to the feeling of absolute harmony with the natural environment. Also, ELaiolithos’ therapeutic raw natural setting at the ideal altitude of ~500 meters (1,640 ft) makes it one of the most popular relaxation destinations for thousands of cardiologists

The retreat includes yoga classes (Hatha, Iyengar, aqua, face yoga), meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness practices, aimed at paying attention to the inner self, acceptance, love, and above all – Release! 

The practices take place at the outdoor areas of the accommodation, including the serene olive groves immediately below that offer the feeling of well-being and relaxation away from the stress and obligations of everyday life.

Our days will be full of creative and beautiful activities such as:

  •  Hiking
  •  Cooking class with Naxian traditional products
  •  Learning traditional island dances
  •  Watching loom weaving textiles art
  •  Swimming in the island’s crystal clear blue waters
  •  Visiting picturesque villages, Byzantine monuments & local attractions
  •  History lessons
  •  Especially if you haven’t discovered Naxos yet, it’s a wonderful time to explore!

At the end of the retreat we will leave with the most beautiful experiences, revived, more healthy, full of energy, calm and peaceful, inspired, and ready to welcome the new we wish to implement!

Investment in Self: 1650€

Payment in advance 40% until September 1, 2022!

Τransportation costs are not included!

Room availability is limited! Small group of no more than 11 participants ensures individualized attention on this unique retreat in the Naxian mountainous side. Instructions will be offered in English and/or Greek

The dates are flexible. If you need to arrive before the official starting date or stay further after the end, just ask. We provide you with a 10% discount.

Yoga instructor: Yianna Drousia

Host: ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat (info@elaiolithos.com)

WhatsUp # +306988327674


  • Arrival at any time
  • Stunning nature surroundings
  • The beach day has yoga session
  • 2 daily yoga sessions (6 in total)
  • Daily Bio & Organic healthy breakfast & antioxidant smoothies 
  • Daily delicious vegetarian/vegan organic dinner
  • Unlimited coffee, and tea
  • 4 Days / 3 Nights accommodation

Skill level

**Τhe retreat is aimed at everyone

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat has been created as a center for sustainable, creative, eco friendly and conscious living. Spread over enchanting olive groves, pristine landscape, and organic farmland, it is a unique, energetically powerful, healing, and intensely beautiful place.  You’re welcome just as you are, whether you want to connect socially or feel more like enjoying quiet time, or a mixture of the two.

Take in the Olympian Zeus’ strength, let your soul wander, draw in inspiration, and capture it all – me time at its best!  At 500 meters above sea level, there’re 500 reasons to be here!

Extended Stay Promotion

July Offer for both Rates: July 1st until July 31st, Stay more than 9 nights and enjoy 10% discount on your room rate!

Your smile is our happiness! Take your time to explore all the wonders our destination has to offer. Come in as guests, and leave as a family. 

ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat offers this special hotel deal, a discounted rate for the summer 2024 through our website only.

Every day we’ll give you a  reason to smile. Take advantage of our amazing great hotel deal, and fully enjoy your stay with us:

Stay longer, save more!

Book a 4 – nights stay in our Luxury Suites and get an extra 5% off!  Just enter during checkout the code: ELAIOLITHOS into the Voucher box to see the discount.

In addition, those staying will also enjoy 10% off selected spa treatments, and 10% off from our restaurant bar lounge. 

Book by:  any time till October 25, 2024 

Minimum stay requirement: 4 nights
Stay period: 10 May 2024 – 25 October 2024

Offer terms: Rate includes à la carte Bed & Breakfast with Organic Local Products (+Gluten, +Vegan, +Vegetarian options), free Wi-Fi & VAT, free access to our state-of-the-art Gym.

Rates also include:

  • Use of our new heated swimming pool equipped with stimulating hydrotherapy foot spa and body massage jets, and an inspiring state-of-the-art outdoor gym with breathtaking views of the region (are free of charge to use)
  • Welcome local delicacies upon arrival,
  • A bottle of virgin olive oil and vinegar,
  • Regional wine in your suite
  • Surprise local gifts upon departure and
  • All applicable taxes & legal surcharges & are valid for all reservations booked through our official web site.

Deposit: * Depends on the Rate you have chosen

Cancellation policy: ** Depends on the Rate you have chosen.

** If you don’t show up, up to  2-nights stay will be charged to your card.

** NO refund is given in the case of earlier departure.

La localización espectacular, unas vistas increíbles

La localización espectacular, unas vistas increíbles

Al vivir en un mundo que cambia constantemente a una velocidad asombrosa, la necesidad de unas vacaciones de calidad es más importante que nunca. Teniendo en cuenta la situación en la que se encuentra el mundo, los viajeros buscan experiencias que los acompañen durante toda la vida. ¡Estas experiencias se pueden encontrar en ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat en Naxos! Grecia es el lugar ideal para que los viajeros de todo el mundo busquen la paz interior, exploren playas solitarias, vivan como un lugareño y recopilen fotografías y experiencias para llevarse a casa. Una de las islas de Grecia con una larga e importante historia es Naxos.

La isla de Naxos se encuentra en el centro del complejo Cyclades y ofrece muchas oportunidades, no solo para unas vacaciones vibrantes, sino más importante para unas vacaciones llenas de experiencias, tranquilidad y calidad que son muy necesarias hoy en día. Si busca relajación y lujo en un lugar donde el propietario se ha ocupado personalmente de cada detalle para ofrecer una experiencia única, ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat es el lugar que está buscando. El retiro está ubicado en el centro de la isla en una ubicación única y premium, entre olivos eternos, vistas impresionantes y protegido de las multitudes.

Con vistas a la montaña Zeus, Panaghia Drosiani, los pueblos de los alrededores, incluido el famoso Chalkio (la antigua capital y centro de la isla) junto con el telón de fondo azul del mar Egeo. ELaiolithos adopta el estilo de vida ecológico y la filosofía verde de la naturaleza al mismo tiempo que proporciona un oasis de alojamiento de lujo. ¡Experiencia gastronómica con el toque del propietario!

ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat tiene una filosofía única para ofrecer el desayuno mejor preparado y una experiencia gastronómica única. Usando productos de la isla y los pueblos montañosos locales, le da un valor único a los ingredientes locales donde los viajeros experimentarán los sabores de los pueblos griegos vírgenes. La cocina tradicional naxiana con énfasis en ingredientes saludables, locales y de temporada, de la granja a la mesa, es el motor del propietario, y Helen sigue eso para ofrecer excelentes sabores gastronómicos a sus invitados. Su creatividad y pasión por la comida siempre están en el menú. Ella dice con orgullo: “Conozco a la gallina que puso los huevos y ofrezco platos increíbles para una experiencia gastronómica auténtica” . Los huéspedes de ELaiolithos tendrán la oportunidad de disfrutar del desayuno, el brunch, el almuerzo, la cena, pero también varios bocadillos, bebidas exclusivas y delicias locales que no se encuentran en ningún otro lugar de la isla.

Por último, pero no menos importante, los increíbles quesos locales están disponibles del hermano de Helen, cuyo nombre está asociado con la calidad y la singularidad: sus cabras y corderos solo se alimentan de pasto y frutas de la tierra de Naxian. ¡La excelente ubicación ofrece innumerables posibilidades! Dado que ELaiolithos se encuentra en el centro de la isla ya una altitud de 500 metros, brinda a los viajeros la oportunidad de explorar el interior de la isla a gusto, dar largos paseos a los pueblos y olivares naturales; y pruebe su resistencia en el trekking hacia la montaña Zeus, el pico más alto de las islas Cícladas. Los alrededores del refugio ofrecen muchas opciones para practicar senderismo.

La localización espectacular, unas vistas increíbles

También debido a la ubicación del retiro, los viajeros disfrutarán del distanciamiento social, pero dentro de un ambiente tranquilo y apacible. Además, los viajeros tienen una vista magnífica de la llanura de Traghaia – la meseta Drymalia, única en las Cícladas por sus innumerables bellezas, la iglesia de Panaghia Drosiani, la iglesia bizantina más antigua de los Balcanes, y muchas más para explorar y descubrir. Una estadía en ELaiolithos es la mejor manera de restaurar, relajarse, revivir, reconectarse y explorar. Disfrute de sus vacaciones, pero la seguridad es lo primero. El año pasado fue muy duro para todos nosotros, por lo que este año queremos viajar, pero ELaiolithos valora la seguridad como una de las principales prioridades para su personal e invitados. La ubicación del retiro junto con su arquitectura ofrece el máximo distanciamiento social y seguridad para todos.

La localización espectacular, unas vistas increíbles

ELaiolithos cuenta con todas las certificaciones y protocolos de salud con el fin de ofrecer la mayor seguridad posible a los huéspedes y miembros del personal. Tenga la seguridad de que Helen hace todo lo posible para garantizar que sus vacaciones sean sin preocupaciones y sin complicaciones, para que pueda relajarse y disfrutar de la cultura, los lugares de interés y las personas que conoce durante su viaje. Todo lo que rodea a ELaiolithos contribuye a su tranquilidad durante su estancia.

La localización espectacular, unas vistas increíbles

Eco Turismo – Eco Stay – Senderismo Paraíso ELaiolithos es el primer hotel en Naxos en ser galardonado con el Nivel Oro por la red de senderismo griega conocida como “Hikers Friendly Hotels”. Los increíbles senderos para caminatas que comienzan justo afuera de la puerta del retiro llevarán a los huéspedes a explorar las tantas atracciones de la zona, incluidos los pueblos, sitios arqueológicos que tienen miles de años, cascadas, valles, iglesias y muchos más que están listos para ser explorado. Por otro lado, el pueblo cercano de Moni tiene una fuerte tradición de tejido y el taller de tejido de mujeres es muy recomendable para los visitantes que quieran fomentar este raro arte.

Go Green es más que un concepto, es una filosofía que Helen implementa en cada detalle de su propiedad. Helen siempre menciona que la propiedad ofrece alojamiento de lujo y subraya la importancia de la ecología y la vida ética. Materiales de construcción bioclimáticos, diseño de inspiración griega y cicládica, agentes de limpieza ecológicos, respeto por el medio ambiente circundante, materiales de construcción locales (incluida la piedra y el mármol de la propia isla), mecanismos de ahorro de agua e incluso el antiguo eco griego. -La innovación del mortero de cemento prensado es parte de la filosofía ecológica de la propiedad. ELaiolithos apoya a los artistas locales y es por eso que los viajeros pueden ver varias piezas de arte únicas que le dan un tono único al retiro.

¡Visite Grecia, visite Naxos! La historia es rica, el paisaje hermoso, las playas abundantes y los lugareños son cálidos y acogedores con todos: no sueñes con tu próximo viaje, visítanos y descúbrelo por ti mismo. Helen da la bienvenida en persona a cada huésped y se asegura de que tengan una experiencia increíble en ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat. Si viaja con intención y ganas de experimentar unas vacaciones revitalizantes, que se convierten en recuerdos notables, ELaiolithos le ofrecerá una auténtica experiencia de viaje junto con todas las comodidades de un hogar, las indulgencias de un hotel de lujo y la autenticidad de un griego. ¡destino!

¡ELaiolithos convierte viajes en experiencias!

Greek Island Hopping Santorini, Mykonos and Naxos

island near santorini and mykonos

Considering Greek island hopping exploration near Santorini and Mykonos? Opt for Naxos! Diverse and perfect for island adventures and discovery. Unlike other Cycladic islands, Naxos boasts a vast mainland, numerous picturesque villages, a lot of history, and a plethora of activities and attractions. If you love diverse experiences, incredible gastronomy, and extensive hiking opportunities, then Naxos is the ideal destination.

Looking to island-hop from Santorini or Mykonos? Consider Naxos as your next destination. While Mykonos and Santorini are undoubtedly stunning, Naxos offers a completely different experience. As the largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos boasts a diverse range of attractions and unique experiences. ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat, nestled in the heart of Naxos, serves as an ideal base for exploring the island’s wonders. With its spectacular views, healthy cuisine, hiking trails, secluded beaches, and proximity to major attractions, ELaiolithos offers a perfect getaway for your Naxos adventure.

 ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat stands for passion, authenticity, culture and tradition. Thanks to its characteristics, it becomes an enclave of great interest for guests 

Escape to an uncrowded sanctuary where your mind and spirit can roam freely. Surrender to the allure of nature and the sea, finding moments of serene rejuvenation to nurture your well-being. Discover the pristine essence of Naxos island at ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat, where the path less taken beckons. Embark on an unforgettable Greek island hopping, immersed in a unique setting where nature takes center stage, serving as your perfect companion on the journey. Here, you journey inward, embracing life’s simplest and most profound joys, luxuriating in an exclusive experience surrounded by the essential elements for harmonizing your mind, body, and soul.


Looking for another enchanting island to explore near Santorini and Mykonos? Look no further than Naxos, one of the gems of the Aegean Sea. Renowned globally for its breathtaking beauty, vibrant culture, storied history, cherished traditions, delectable cuisine, and endless stretches of pristine beaches, Naxos promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in ancient Greek history, immerse yourself in rich cultural traditions, savor mouthwatering traditional dishes, and revel in local music festivals. The warmth of the island’s hospitality and the tantalizing flavors of its traditional cuisine will capture your heart instantly. Naxos is often referred to as the “Hawaii of Greece” for its stunning natural scenery and is associated with Dionysus, the god of wine. From the moment you set foot on its shores, you’ll be captivated by the harmonious blend of natural wonders and traditional Cycladic architecture that grace the island.

Naxos boasts numerous captivating attractions waiting to be explored. Here, amidst the radiant glow of Greek culture, you’ll encounter a myriad of enchanting wonders. From its fertile lands, a rarity among Cycladic islands, to its picturesque inhabitants, rich regional customs, and diverse landscapes, Naxos offers a tapestry of delights. Upon arriving at the harbor, you’ll be greeted by the iconic Portara, a colossal marble gateway that mirrors the emblem of National Geographic, alongside the imposing medieval castle perched above the town. Wander through the charming cobblestone streets of the main town, crowned by the castle, and lose yourself in its Cycladic labyrinth.

With a rich history dating back to the Mesolithic period, Naxos beckons with its modest yet welcoming charm, surprising beauty, and tranquil atmosphere. This island, akin to a living fairy tale, extends an open invitation to all, embracing visitors with the warmth of its hospitable residents. Naxos is a place ready to capture your heart, drawing you in with its pristine beaches, crystalline waters, storied heritage, and the genuine hospitality of its people.

It’s no wonder many find themselves forever devoted to this island bathed in white light.



ELaiolithos, nestled within the mountainous terrain of Naxos island, remains a hidden treasure that captivates its visitors year after year, as attested by glowing reviews. This unspoiled gem exudes the true essence of Greek beauty, boasting an authentic Aegean character that enchants all who discover it. ELaiolithos offers a distinct experience from the bustling destinations of Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini, making it an ideal romantic getaway for honeymooners and travelers yearning for serenity amidst awe-inspiring landscapes. The panoramic views offer a feast for the eyes, showcasing the island’s abundant natural splendor. Steeped in rich history, the region surrounding ELaiolithos abounds with endless attractions, positioning it as one of Naxos’s premier holiday destinations. Moreover, the island’s most renowned landmarks are conveniently located within close proximity, promising an unforgettable experience for all who venture here.

Experience pure tranquility and warm hospitality at ELaiolithos—a haven for relaxation. Amidst an intimate setting, discover the diverse essence of the island. Enjoy days by the pool, savor genuine delights, and immerse yourself in the unspoiled environment. Plus, take advantage of our complimentary transfers and boat trip arrangements for added convenience.


A Unique Destination between Mykonos and Santorini

ELaiolithos is nestled in the heart of the island, between Halki and Moni village, in the center of the mainland, in a very convenient location that offers you the opportunity to explore this large island at ease. The particular geographical position of ELaiolithos in the island coincides in a 3-road fork, that favors heading in any direction, East, South, North or West without repeating the same road again; thus giving you the opportunity to discover the whole island easily. Here you find yourself on an island, in the mountains, with numerous beaches all around you in every direction. You can discover many secluded beaches within a 20 minute distance. The rugged beauty is a refined refreshing escape for anyone and a perfect place to spend idyllic and refreshing days.

Make your next Naxos’ getaway an adventure you’ll never forget with tailor-made experiences to help you discover Naxos’ wilderness as you bask in ELaiolithos’ remote luxury and natural tranquility.


Largely undiscovered by mass tourism, this area stands as one of Naxos’s hidden gems, brimming with surprises. Renowned as the greenest enclave in the Cyclades, it boasts towering mountains and lush valleys. The expansive and fertile hinterland promises visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Particularly noteworthy is the Drymalia valley, the most fertile region in the Cyclades, home to over 400,000 ancient olive and citrus trees, all nestled at the feet of ELaiolithos.

Experience captivating sunsets framed by the 8-pyramid shaped peaks of Mount Zeus and the Aegean Sea. Explore untouched beaches, hidden coves, waterfalls, and abandoned watermills, all within reach of well-marked hiking trails, away from the hustle of mass tourism, inviting discovery by the discerning traveler at ELaiolithos, where time seems to stand still.

The surrounding landscapes will enchant you with vibrant colors, fragrant scents of oregano and thyme, the mesmerizing sound of goat bells, and the captivating tales shared by local residents, blending legend, myth, and history—a testament to the beauty found in simplicity.


A Unique Destination between Mykonos and Santorini

Total bliss is yours in ELaiolithos, a gorgeous Naxian treasure with high aesthetics is ideal for an ultra-pampering holiday. With breathtaking beauty, luxe accommodations, and spectacular cuisine, an extraordinary vacation awaits you here. Perched in unspoiled surroundings is a highly lauded romantic paradise uniquely situated at a magic spot of Naxos’ heart. Apart from its exceptional facilities, the retreat features separate spacious and contemporary guest suites, all with uninterrupted panoramic vistas.

Live life luxuriously! You’ll encounter stirring views, remarkable amenities, and exceptionally warm, caring and curated service. An oasis of refinement and comfort enhanced by vibrant local artworks in the interior and exterior. Soothe your senses and rejuvenate your spirit with en-suite massage therapies. Outside there is an outdoor art-filled restaurant with alfresco dining on the spacious dazzling terrace with unbeatable striking views, which makes a fantastic area for lounging, dining, and spending time together. The ideal spot to relax your mind and soul while enjoying the serenity of the tranquil landscape.

ELaiolithos has an abundance of space making this the perfect retreat for honeymooners, family, solo or female solo travelers, friends looking to travel together. Completely away from all with superb exclusive facilities and in-villa staff such as chef and concierge. Private check-in, free airport/port transfers, complimentary local refreshments, GPS files for hiking, telescopes for stargazing, and pre-arrival concierge services are at your disposal for free.


Explore the richness of the Naxian core. The area offers rich flora, and stimulating trails for archetypal hikers where there are lots of secrets to discover. Nature lovers with a sweet tooth for the good life will be spoiled by the rewarding footpaths, cascades, ravines, olive groves, elm, and cedar trees. Apart from assured peace, tranquility, and lovely local restaurants in each village, Naxos island is a fantastic destination for hiking where there are plenty of pathways for hiking, trekking, and cycling adventures.

Uncover hidden treasures as you explore the entrances of emery mining tunnels, delving deep into the mountainside. Embark on adventures to scale Zeus, the tallest mountain in the Cyclades, traverse Mount Fanari, and explore countless other trails boasting pristine landscapes.


A Unique Destination between Mykonos and Santorini

Indulge in culinary delights with a focus on local produce and farm-to-table cuisine, sourcing regional ingredients within a 5 km distance for tantalizing traditional flavors. Delight in elevated epicurean dishes and immerse yourself in the melodies of local music inspired by moonlit nights. Thanks to its fertile land, the region boasts an abundance of diverse produce.

ELaiolithos is a hidden culinary gem on Naxos island, dedicated to showcasing the finest products from the island’s mountainous region. Indulge in a diverse array of mind-blowing meals, including a wide selection of Vegetarian and Vegan dishes, exquisite local cheeses, signature creations, artisanal cocktails, smoothies, and beverages. Tradition meets innovation on the plate here, with a focus on reinventing classics using super fresh ingredients cooked with traditional techniques, allowing ELaiolithos to put its own unique stamp on Naxian cuisine.


If you’re even remotely interested in antiquities and culture, then you might not want to miss a visit to the Apano Kastro (Upper Castle) which is arguably one of the islands’ iconic attractions formed millions of years ago with lots of rare geological marvels, including a church close by. The local people often refer to the scenic landscape of Upper Castle as Lunar landscape. Huge rocks are coming into amazing shapes often compared to a moonscape. Without a doubt the Upper Castle is one of the most photographed landscapes in the Aegean.

Other monuments worth visiting include Panaghia Drosiani, Moni Fotodotis, Temple of Demeter, and make sure to see the two giant Kouroi – statues of young men – lying down in the open. The Bazeos Tower, built in the 17th century, functioned as a monastery of the True Cross (Timios Stavros) for decades. Today it hosts a wide array of cultural activities, such as the Naxos Festival. The famous Naxian marble quarries and the largest folklore museum of the Aegean are within 3 Km distance. See here details for these sightseeing


A Unique Destination between Mykonos and Santorini

The timeless villages around the retreat are very romantic and charming, perfect photography spots that will take you to an old era. You can spend a few days discovering these isolated laid-back white painted villages, concealed by wild olive groves and hills. A kaleidoscope of stunningly gorgeous concealed villages: Moni, Kinidharos, Keramoti, Koronos, Lionas, Skado, Mesi, Komiaki, Apollonas, Apeiranthos, Filoti, Kaloxilos, Chalkio, Damalas, Apeirathos, Cheimaros, Chikalario, Potamia, untouched by time, all are iconic for their remarkable geology, old stone arched bridges, dazzling natural beauty, and very unique scenery.

ELaiolithos is surrounded by over 35 scenic villages that boast narrow streets of cobbled stone and porches full of flowers, interconnected with modern roads that are a must-see. Also you’ll have the chance to discover chapels emerge humbly from rocky hills and forest glades, small fish, meat taverns, and local “kafeneia”. You’ll meet spectacular inlets and little bays towards the north and east, the sprawling coastline reveals a hundred of those, coves, and caves that make the ideal hide-holes, all suitable for swimming.


A Unique Destination between Mykonos and Santorini

Naxos is one of the richest islands in Greece for its ruins from every era, and religious and historical monuments. The locale is surrounded by important sites of inestimable value that touch the visitors’ soul. It’s distinguished for its very important and interesting cultural heritage with many Byzantine monuments, such as the Panagia Drosiani (4th c.), the remarkable Demeter temple archaeological finds, over 30 venerable Byzantine churches with magnificent architecture and history, lofty towers, Venetian castles, major artifacts, and monasteries. Amazing monuments for everyone, whether a believer or non- believer.

You have the opportunity to visit them and admire their cultural significance, architectural importance, aesthetic beauty and historic value. Enjoy a stunning collage of natural scenery, spiritual exultation, tranquility, a very human touch and intimate contact with past tradition. These are the elements that comprise the rugged and attractive charm around ELaiolithos, encouraging eco-friendly and sustainable travel by remaining true to the island’s origins. Here religious, historical, cultural, and architectural interests flow together.


Unique Destination between Mykonos and Santorini

If you adore the sun, Naxos’s vast, pristine sandy beaches will delight you throughout your stay. Renowned as some of Greece’s finest, these beaches are ideal for swimming and relaxation. With ELaiolithos as your base, you can access a different beach every day, offering a unique experience each time, all within a 20-minute drive. You may even find yourself alone on the beach! Southwest Naxos is a haven for windsurfers and kite surfers, boasting perfect conditions.

WHY ELaiolithos?

  • Stringent Health Protocols: Prioritizing the safety of guests and staff.
  • Prime Central Location: Luxurious Accommodation with Aesthetic Appeal, conveniently close to vibrant villages.
  • Scenic Overlook: Enjoy cultural immersion and scenic beauty.
  • Picture-Perfect Setting: Traditional Cycladic architecture for Instagram-worthy moments.
  • Personalized Service: Indulge in organic local cuisine and tailored service.
  • Travel Safely and Stylishly: Ensuring a safe and stylish travel experience.
  • Authentic Experiences: Create cherished memories with genuine encounters.
  • Transparent Sustainable Practices: Green and eco-friendly with Gold Award certification from Zero Waste, Greece.

Come and experience it all for yourself…. Discover your moment….Connect to what matters most..

It’s impossible not to fall in love with ELaiolithos, really, as it has a beauty all of its own! It creates an experience that becomes indelibly etched in your mind!

Why settle for the ordinary when you can discover the extraordinary? Naxos Island, a hidden gem near Santorini and Mykonos, promises a journey beyond the expected, where each moment unveils a new layer of beauty and wonder!

Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis. All rights reserved


Fanari mountain

The Fanari mountain towers over ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat, on the east side along with the village of Moni. Moni village has a great tradition in the craft of handmade loom weaving, excellent stone builders, very fertile region with plenty water, famous for its quality organic vegetable produce, excellent wine varieties, olive oil, raki and cheeses. Also the oldest Byzantine church of Balkans, Panagia Drosiani, which is one of the most popular visiting monuments of the island after Portara is here.

Fanari Mountain and Fanari Suite is an ideal destination for your holidays on Naxos island, Cyclades, Greece


Fanari mountain (903 m) rises between two high mountains: Mount Zas (1004 m) in the south and Mount Koronos (992 m) in the north. While Zas (Zeus) and Koronos are big and jagged, Fanari mountain is smooth and jolly. It’s surrounded by the picturesque villages of Apirathos in the east, Kaloxilos in the west and Moni in the northwest. These villages have been lying on the slopes of Fanari mountain since the Middle Ages and piracy times. Their active and creative inhabitants raised their animals here, cultivated their land, carved their rocks, sang and danced to traditional bagpipe music, fell in love and passionately savored life.


Up until the late 1700s, among forests, lush gullies and bubbling streams, the Fanari mountain area was home to deer, roe deer and other animal species, beautiful birds, rare swarms of bees and colorful butterflies, vineyards, olive groves, fig trees, almond trees, orange trees, apple trees, pear trees and sour cherry trees.


Numerous little Byzantine and Post-Byzantine churches were built in the region, the most prominent one being Panagia Fanariotissa, the church of Virgin Mary in Fanari. Today, these churches still exist, and they’re of central attraction to our visitors.

Fanari mountain is very popular to trekkers. You can reach the mountain via several different paths but you get to admire the most magnificent views as you ascend from Moni village. One of the top must Naxos’ hiking paths is the Fanarimountainhikingtrail. 

ELaiolithos is the ideal starting point for the hiking path that takes you through Moni village, continues through forests, streams and majestic hillsides, then you climb Fanari mountain and you end up in the picturesque village of Apeirathos, one of the most famous villages of Naxos. Admire what is unfolding in front of you: This area is quite unique from a geographical viewpoint.

For those interested, here is a link for this hiking trail


The whole region of Moni village is among the most fertile area in Naxos island today, full of vegetation and water springs. ELaiolithos gets its tap water from Mountain Fanari spring above Moni village. This is our source of fresh tap water which is drinkable and 100% safe.

Fanari mountain in Naxos can guide you to ELaiolithos like a lighthouse, it can inspire you, and its views can bring the artist, poet or creator out of you. And somewhere there you end up in ELaiolithos’ Fanari Suite….

We have dedicated one of our luxury suites to honor this neighboring mountain, and named it Fanari. It’s an indoor version of the mountain with its color palettes and overall accents. Its artistic interior is decorated with natural earthly objects and organic materials that exemplify au naturel decor.

We know that nature has a profound effect on our overall well-being, both physically and emotionally, and our aim was for anyone staying in the Fanari Suite to entail its theme, embrace the earth’s simplicity, and bring the feeling of the outdoor experience into its indoor spaces. With the infusion of natural elements and colors into the suite’s interior, we make every visitor to be connected with the story of Fanari mountain even when they’re inside, and feeling calm. Upon departure we know that our guests have taken with them a piece of our region, a story, a scene, and a memory from our beautiful island!

Fanari Suite is like a local landscape-inspired wall art 

 ~ Article written by Helen Marakis

Komiaki (Koronida) – The most scenic traditional flower village & another hidden gem in Naxos – by Helen Marakis

Komiaki (Koronida) - The most scenic traditional flower village & another hidden gem in Naxos

This highest village in Naxos, at an altitude of 700 meters, is one of the most beautiful but underrated villages of Naxos. It offers timeless appeal and the feel of authentic Naxos with its picturesque landscape, and its rustic and charming vibrant village culture. This village is blissfully unspoiled.

When talking about flowers, Komiaki village in Naxos certainly comes to mind. I would definitely call it the “Garden Muse” of Naxos and it is a must visit in my opinion (along with Koronos village). Located in the northern part of Naxos, just before Apollonas, 34 km from the capital Chora (Naxos Town), is surrounded with both natural and cultivated greenery. With an estimated population of 450 inhabitants, the village is located on the ridge of Mt. Koronos, overlooking the Sea of Icarus (named from the myth of Icarus and Daedalus and their wax wings).

My visit to Komiaki was about 3 hours and it left a lasting impression. I’ve traveled to many islands and visited many villages but the minute I stepped onto this pretty village I was in love! Everywhere I looked, flowers are in bloom and full of life and color!

I headed uphill through the narrow cobblestone streets and old stone whimsical houses, to browse them and engage with the locals. The stone houses – many not been restored but you can understand their former glory – seemed to accentuate the colors of the flowers,  and I found myself  enjoying the colors and scents, and stopping every few meters to take yet another photo of this magnificent scenery.

Wandering through the village you can certainly see the role that flowers play in the lives of those that live here. The steep narrow streets with their arches that lead you uphill in the village are filled with a riot of color – flowers spill their colorful blooms from the walls, verandas, balconies, streets and houses that are etched out in a terraced manner. Here you truly connect with nature with such an abundance of colors found nowhere else in the island. This village is so colorful, that definitely is a sight every photographer should see. It’s as if someone had spilled paint instead of planting flowers, these flower streets seem like a color palette. The photo opportunities are endless here.

The village oozes character and provides a tranquil place to enjoy the colors, scents, sounds and textures of the plants. Wandering the colorful flower -filled streets, I almost felt like Alice climbing the rainbow – and no wonder. As I walked along the stone paths and interconnecting stairways I came across to so many flowers that I believe if you gather all the flower pots of the rest of Naxos’ villages will be less than the ones found here!!!

After all, Komiaki is a little pot of gold just waiting to be discovered.  

The mountain village has retained it’s home style, postcard vibe, with its Cycladic style houses, several well dispersed local cafes (kafeneio), surrounding soaring mountains and magnificent abundance of flowers and green landscape. Locals embrace their cultural heritage through folk dance and song, and commonly enjoy country life by playing simple games together like cards or tavli, and or gathering-talking outside their houses. There are a few cafes busy with locals, men and women, that tempt the passerby to sit for a while, drink in hand, talk with them and admire how they enjoy life in this laid back mountainous village.

Just when you think you’ve seen the best display you turn a corner and more color bursts into view. The pride with which the village’s residents care and respect for their living environment, the way they maintain social cohesion, their care for the visitors’ well-being, so many plants and greenery in all public spaces, and the way they have managed to maintain bio-diversity will leave you thrilled.

Once in Naxos, if you’re looking to experience the scenery of a bygone time, Komiaki is one of those places that one has to see and I highly recommend it. Get your camera ready. Reaching this Naxian beauty requires extra effort, yet the rewards are dazzling. Your eyes will thank you. A scenic narrow mountain road, an exhilarating zip line ride leading to the village, offers a splendid view of the amazingly grapevine fields and old bridges with numerous age-long plane and oak trees will connect you with nature. The region has dense vegetation and running waters. Here the feel of old traditions and local culture are apparent and thriving.

Welcome to the good life!

Why Go to Komiaki?

Life has a different pace in the mountain of Naxos. Visiting Komiaki is to immerse yourself in living local culture and tradition and enjoy amazing hiking!

 What to See and Do in Komiaki

  • Follow the signs. Leave you car at the end of the road and continue for about ten minutes in foot. It is worth to stop at the Byzantine church of Agios Georgios, while in the north side there has revealed the Dateless Vaulted Mycenae Tomp of the 15th century B.C.  In the main church an ecclesiastical museum is in operation
  • Wander the streets and browse the houses, admire the colour explosion all around you, and visit one local cafe at least
  • Visit the Frankish fort in the center of the village, the post-Byzantine Church of Theoskepasti and the nearby restored buildings of the watermill, the olive mill and the traditional wine press
  • Enjoy the beautiful natural and historical landscape by hiking old tailored footpaths and discover forgotten ones. Amazing hiking is the path Komiaki to Myrsini

Best time to visit Komiaki:

April to November

Useful websites

Visit the unspoiled Naxos and reach the true spirit of the island by booking at www.elaiolithos.com  a great base for exploration and adventure.

It’s worth the visit of this unbelievably charming village. It is a challenging hike but offer a worthwhile view.  Reconnect with nature, immerse yourself in centuries of history and learn intriguing local customs in this beautiful village in the world, all while taking in authentic rustic, romantic small village vibes first hand.

Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis . All rights reserved

A Different Experience in Cyclades – by Helen Marakis

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday

A quieter and less crowded alternative to Mykonos and Santorini is Naxos island, another Cycladic gem. This multifaceted island offers a diverse array of experiences. Join us as we uncover what sets Naxos apart from the rest of the Cycladic islands, guided by the expertise of native expat Helen Marakis. With her insider knowledge and deep roots in Naxos, Helen offers a perspective like no other, catering to travelers seeking a unique experience of barefoot luxury and experiential travel off the beaten path.

Naxos: Where Every Essence of Greece Unfolds in One Place, a Microcosm of Local Life

In this comprehensive guide here, we will take you beyond the tourist hotspots to reveal the true essence of Naxos – from the daily rhythms of local life to the vibrant tapestry of culture that defines this microcosm of Greece. Discover the secrets of the locals, immerse yourself in their lifestyle, and experience the real flavors of life that make Naxos a destination like no other.

Life balance is essential, and Naxos provides the perfect setting to achieve it. As the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus believed, true happiness comes from living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends, free from worry. Here on Naxos, you’ll find the balance you seek – between chaos and order, work and leisure, and everything in between.

Living in the Moment: Embracing Naxos’ Joyful Philosophy:

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday

Naxos is an enchanting blend of myths, history, tradition, and spirituality, where the very air seems to hum with ancient energies from the moment you set foot on its soil.

While savoring mojitos on a pristine sandy beach or luxuriating in the comforts of a five-star hotel can certainly be delightful, Naxos offers a different kind of luxury – one that transcends mere opulence. Here, luxury is found in the simple joys of connecting with each other, with new people and immersing oneself in the local way of life.

The people of Naxos live in the present moment, embracing the philosophy that life is too short not to savor every day to its fullest. Whether it’s summer or winter, day or night, the spirit of joy and celebration permeates every corner of the island.

If you’re captivated by culture, history, and society, and you immerse yourself in the authentic life of the places you visit for a genuine experience, then your journey to Naxos will reward you in countless ways.

Here are a few tips:

A self-sustained culture rare in the globalized world

Experience the Naxos destination firsthand by exploring the mainland either by car or on foot. Venture into the Naxian hinterland to uncover its hidden treasures, immersing yourself in local life, connecting with the spirit of the natural world, and delving into the island’s cultural and agricultural abundance. Here, you’ll encounter the authentic essence of Naxos – from its remarkable sights and captivating smells to its mesmerizing sounds.

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday

This self-sufficient island boasts a rich bounty, producing a wide array of goods that not only sustain its own populace but also supply neighboring Cycladic islands. Its industrious people take great pride in their work, with every household engaged in the production of essential items such as oil, meat, vegetables, fruits, poultry, cheese, raki, and wine. Visitors can partake in this unique experience by joining locals in the fields, hand-picking seasonal delights straight from the source.

Exploring the local villages offers a tantalizing journey through diverse culinary traditions, each village offering its own array of special delicacies and sweets. From farm-fresh produce to artisanal cheeses, every item on your dinner plate is locally sourced and lovingly prepared. Naxos stands out in the Cycladic archipelago for its abundance of fresh water and fertile soil, ensuring that everything served is organically grown and bursting with flavor.

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday

The Locals’ Philosophy of Life:

Naxians cherish a philosophy of embracing life’s simple pleasures with a deep reverence for family, nature, and the bonds of friendship, both old and new. With its vibrant culture and untamed landscapes teeming with diversity, Naxos is a spirited island that beckons travelers to discover their own slice of “pura vida.”

No visit to Naxos is complete without experiencing the warm hospitality of its locals, who welcome visitors with open arms and genuine warmth. Whether you’re sampling the complimentary “kerasma of raki” at a local tavern or engaging in lively conversations at a traditional kafeneio (village hangout), you’ll find yourself immersed in laughter and camaraderie. Locals delight in sharing jokes and stories, creating an atmosphere of joy and connection that leaves visitors feeling right at home.

Happiness thrives in communal spaces where individuals uplift and inspire one another in their pursuit of joy. Naxians embody this spirit wholeheartedly, with a cultural DNA that fosters unity and support among like-minded individuals. As you explore the island’s mountainous villages, you’ll encounter a diverse tapestry of local life, characterized by remarkable people whose warmth and hospitality enhance every step of your journey.

Indigineous Culture – Local Villages

Upon reaching the Drymalia/Traghea area, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking sight: over four hundred thousand olive trees, some of which are over a millennium old. This region remains steeped in the remnants of indigenous culture, infusing it with a distinct personality that sets it apart from the rest of the island.

Venturing further to Chalkio and its surrounding area, often referred to as the Byzantine Mystras of the Aegean due to its abundance of stunning churches, feels like entering a world of its own. These villages—Chalkio, Moni, Kinidaros, Filoti, Apeirathos, and Koronos—beckon nature enthusiasts with their diverse offerings. From hiking trails to marble quarries, from natural springs to emery mines, and from olive groves to citrus orchards, this region is a haven for outdoor exploration.

Chalkio village, in particular, stands out as a veritable treasure trove of history, culture, and art. Its historic district boasts striking neoclassical architecture and imposing Venetian towers, alongside numerous galleries, taverns, cafes, boutiques, local delicatessens, and loom weaving shops-cum-exhibitions. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply seeking an authentic cultural experience, Chalkio promises to captivate and enchant at every turn.

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday

The Naxian hinterland beckons visitors with the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in untamed nature, whether by foot or by car, promising a day filled with fulfillment and wonder.

As you journey along the road from Potamia to Chalkio, the imposing silhouette of the Upper Castle emerges, capturing the imagination much like the famed Sarakiniko in Milos. Here, the landscape takes on an otherworldly quality, with towering rocks sculpted into mesmerizing shapes that seem to belong to a lunar landscape.

Nestled between the villages of Ano Potamia and Melanes lies the magnificent “Kalamitsia” – The Jesuit Palace, an architectural marvel that demands exploration from every angle.

With vibrant cultural experiences, thrilling eco-adventures, and tantalizing local organic cuisine awaiting at every turn, Naxos stands as the ultimate destination for those seeking their own slice of “pura vida.” Scaling Mountain Zeus, the highest peak in the Cyclades reaching 1004 meters, offers a captivating journey with panoramic views of the entire archipelago. Standing atop its summit feels akin to conquering the world itself.

And no visit to the island would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Great Door of the Cyclades, the iconic Portara. Perched majestically overlooking the archipelago, it exudes a timeless allure, perhaps serving as a portal to another realm for those with a touch of imagination. Watching the sunset from the hill of Portara is an experience of unparalleled beauty, etching unforgettable memories in the hearts of all who witness it.

Life in Naxos goes slowly in everything. Here you don’t just see the people but you meet the people.

Naxos, with its expansive landscapes and diverse offerings, warrants at least a week’s exploration to truly grasp its essence. What sets this island apart is the remarkable variety it presents – from its breathtaking landscapes to its rich cultural tapestry, vibrant local personalities, and delectable cuisine. However, the true essence of Naxos lies in its people. Warm and hospitable, locals readily welcome visitors into their homes, inviting them to share in meals, drinks, and laughter. Embracing this invitation opens the door to an authentic village experience, steeped in beauty and tranquility, that lingers in memory long after departure.

Catering to a wide array of travelers, Naxos appeals to families, couples, honeymooners, photographers, artists, yoga enthusiasts, writers, adventurers, and solo explorers alike. While the coastline boasts stunning sandy beaches and crystalline waters, the mainland holds the true treasures for those seeking respite from the ordinary and a taste of the extraordinary. With its designation as a Natural Holiday Destination, Naxos embodies serenity and tranquility, offering solace to those who appreciate ethical living amidst nature’s embrace. Explorers are rewarded with hidden gems and untouched landscapes, waiting to be discovered by those who tread off the beaten path.

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday


Location is key when exploring Naxos, and ELaiolithos boasts an ideal position for discovering all the island has to offer. Conveniently situated, the hotel is just a 20 to 30-minute drive from even the most remote beaches, making it the perfect base for your adventures. Plus, with renowned villages like Chalkio, Filoti, Apeiranthos, Kinidharos, Damarionas, and Koronos all within close proximity – some just a short drive away – you’ll have easy access to the heart of Naxos’s cultural charm.

Major attractions are also nearby, with Panagia Drosiani just a 5-minute walk away, the marble quarries a quick 5-minute drive, and the Upper Castle and Fotodotis reachable within 20 minutes. Even the Aria Spring in Zeus Mountain is just a 10-minute drive away.

ELaiolithos serves as your gateway to authentic Naxos Island, offering a one-of-a-kind experience tailored to travelers seeking something truly extraordinary. With a blend of comfort, charm, and genuine hospitality, every guest feels at home while immersing themselves in the authentic essence of Greek island life.


In November, the raki-making process on Naxos is akin to a magical ritual, offering a unique glimpse into local culture. For an authentic experience, seek out a local gathering in Moni or Kinidharos village and immerse yourself in this centuries-old tradition. Moni village further celebrates this tradition with its annual “Raki Festival” event, featuring live music and open to all. Here, locals and visitors alike come together to partake in raki-making, indulging in freshly barbecued meats and lively dancing that lasts well into the night.

During the Apokries (Halloween) festivities, heralding the start of carnival season in Greece, Naxos truly comes alive. Spanning two weeks leading up to the 40-day Lenten period before Easter, each village boasts its own unique traditions and celebrations, offering a non-stop extravaganza of merriment. With a vibrant local music scene boasting numerous folk musicians, traditional festivals on Naxos are a spectacle unto themselves, with locals and visitors alike reveling in the joyous atmosphere that extends into the early hours of the morning.

Why it is important Not to skip Naxos Island in your next Greek holiday

Naxos truly stands out among Greek islands, boasting reliable transportation links not only to Piraeus but also to numerous other islands, ensuring daily access year-round by both boat and plane. Renowned for its safety, Naxos offers visitors a sense of complete relaxation and freedom, allowing them to explore without fear. Here, worries dissipate as you immerse yourself in the island’s serene atmosphere. Embrace the leisurely pace of life, adopt the rhythm of the locals, and experience the inner tranquility and joy that Naxos exudes, providing the perfect environment for complete enjoyment and relaxation.

Naxos – an exciting, enlightening, enriching and safe experience…..

One Inseparable Whole!

Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis . All rights reserved

Multigenerational Family Travel on Naxos with ELaiolithos


Embracing Togetherness: Multigenerational Family Travel on Naxos with ELaiolithos

Embarking on a multigenerational journey creates lasting memories that transcend generations. For families seeking immersive experiences beyond traditional tourism, ELaiolithos in Naxos offers transformative adventures that foster genuine connections within the local community and culture.

The Allure of Multigenerational Travel:

Multigenerational travel is a sought-after experience for families, bridging geographical gaps and strengthening bonds across generations. ELaiolithos provides an ideal setting for relaxation, education, and escapism, offering benefits such as improved communication and an increased sense of wellbeing for all family members.

Diverse Get-Together Options:

Understanding the dynamics of multigenerational travel, ELaiolithos offers a range of options catering to diverse family preferences. Whether seeking serenity, adventure, celebration, or culinary delights, our resort ensures an unforgettable journey for every member of the family.

Complimentary Concierge Services:

Our complimentary concierge services make planning your multigenerational trip effortless. From curated cruise packages to local guided tours, we ensure every family member finds joy in shared adventures, regardless of age or interests.

Sustainable Dining Experience:

Experience the rich culinary culture of Naxos with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients prepared in traditional techniques. Our dining experiences provide the perfect setting for family gatherings and create cherished memories around the dinner table.

Celebrating Milestone Holidays:

Celebrate life’s milestones with a multigenerational holiday, creating cherished moments and building lasting relationships. ELaiolithos offers a sanctuary for families to reconnect, relax, and celebrate special occasions together. Whether you’re planning a reunion, a bachelorette party, or a family vacation, ELaiolithos provides a private oasis for intergenerational travel or 3G holidays. Experience exclusive comfort and ease throughout your stay as you relax and reconnect with your loved ones in the beautiful surroundings of Naxos.

Learning Through Experiences:

Engage in activities tailored to every age group, from yoga and swimming to history lessons and cooking classes. Our diverse range of activities ensures every family member finds joy and connection in shared experiences. Embrace the togetherness and weave the threads of shared memories at ELaiolithos in Naxos. Our resort serves as a catalyst for creating unforgettable multigenerational learning experiences, strengthening family bonds, and fostering connections that last a lifetime. Let ELaiolithos be the canvas for your family’s masterpiece of multigenerational travel.

Appealing to Professional Aunts:

Even solo travelers find a welcoming haven at ELaiolithos, ensuring everyone feels valued and included in the multigenerational experience. We warmly welcome all family members, including professional aunts and single career women without children of their own, who seek a nurturing environment for shared experiences. Whether you’re traveling with nieces and nephews or joining in as part of a multigenerational gathering, our resort ensures that every individual feels valued and included in the enriching experience.

Exploring Roots and Connecting Across Generations:

At ELaiolithos, we believe that true enrichment goes beyond recreation. Our resort provides opportunities to connect with distant relatives and delve into family roots, infusing your multigenerational journey with depth and emotion. With our secluded premises offering privacy, guests have the chance to foster genuine connections, enabling multigenerational groups to meet family members previously known only through letters or emails. This unique experience transcends physical distance, creating lasting bonds among family members that will be cherished for years to come.

Creating Space for Every Family Member:

At ELaiolithos, we prioritize inclusivity and comfort for every guest, ensuring that each family member feels valued and accommodated. With our commitment to accessibility and mobility-friendly amenities, we strive to create a harmonious environment for all.

Helen Marakis, our founder, understands the importance of tailoring each trip to meet the individual needs of our guests. With our exclusive booking option, you can reserve the entire resort for your multigenerational family travel on Naxos. Each family member will have their own suite, complete with a kitchen and bathroom, guaranteeing privacy and comfort.

Despite having separate accommodations, you’ll still have the opportunity to share meals, activities, and breathtaking views from the terrace together. Our premises are designed to be easily accessible, with no steps to navigate, ensuring that everyone can fully enjoy their stay.

Embracing Nostalgia at ELaiolithos:

At ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat, nostalgia isn’t just a feeling—it’s the heartbeat of our establishment. Founded by Helen Marakis, a proud native of Naxos with decades of experience in New York City, ELaiolithos embodies the profound sense of homecoming known as nostos. After years abroad, Helen felt the pull of her roots and returned to Naxos to create a sanctuary where families could reconnect and create cherished memories.

Nestled amidst the island’s breathtaking beauty and cultural richness, ELaiolithos serves as a tranquil haven that seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings. With warm, genuine, and personalized hospitality, we offer unparalleled local experiences that invite guests to rediscover their roots and immerse themselves in the nostalgic essence of Naxos.

But ELaiolithos is more than just a retreat—it’s an opportunity to relive cherished memories and celebrate the joys of togetherness. Whether you’re embracing old favorites or reminiscing about the good old days, our sanctuary provides the perfect backdrop for families to create timeless memories that will last a lifetime.

Join us at ELaiolithos and embark on a journey of nostalgia, where every moment is infused with the magic of the past and the promise of cherished memories to come.

Feel free to email us for any inquiries you might have.


May Offer – Stay 5 nights and get the 6th night Free!

May Offer - Stay 4 nights and get the 5th night Free!

Seeking quiet time to lie back and watch nature bursting to life? May is a fabulous time of year to find yourself in Naxos. It is the most beautiful month and a delightful time to visit Naxos because the island’s landscapes are at their most colorful and climate is mild. The island’s hinterland is the sweet spot. May is ideal time also for pushing new boundaries, explore the blossom-covered landscape on foot, bike, or by car.

In addition, those staying on these days will also enjoy 10% off selected spa treatments.

Get the most out of your spring getaway with  this offer here when you

Book by: 25 May 2019 

Minimum stay requirement: 6 nights    (You pay for 5 nights and you stay for 6)
Stay period: 01 May 2019 – 31 May 2019

Offer terms: Rates include welcome local dish & drink, fruits & homemade sweet upon arrival, a bottle of virgin olive oil and vinegar, surprise gift upon departure and all applicable taxes & legal surcharges & are valid for all reservations booked through our official web site.

Deposit: Full payment upon booking.

Cancellation policy: Non-Refundable

Easter Offer – You stay 5 nights and you get 2 nights Free!

Easter Offer - You stay 5 nights and you get 2 nights Free!

Book your next delicious getaway by April 15th and experience life in the village in Easter. Stay 7 nights and pay for 5, this Easter with exclusive treats, local wine and breakfast included. In addition, those staying on these days will also enjoy 10% off selected spa treatments.

Book by: 15 April 2019 

Minimum stay requirement: 7 nights   (You pay for 5 nights and you stay for 7)
Stay period: 15 Apr 2019 – 30 Apr 2019

Offer terms: Rates include welcome local dish & drink, fruits & homemade sweet upon arrival, a bottle of virgin olive oil and vinegar, surprise gift upon departure and all applicable taxes & legal surcharges & are valid for all reservations booked through our official web site.

Deposit: Full time payment upon booking.

Cancellation policy: Non-Refundable

Gold-Certified Haven for Hiking Adventures on Naxos Island


Discover the uncharted hiking trails of Naxos Island with ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat, the first hotel on the island to attain the coveted Gold Certification for Hikers. Immerse yourself in an alternative adventure as you traverse hidden paths, explore untouched landscapes, and embrace authentic local life. With a strong commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices, ELaiolithos offers a one-of-a-kind experience, combining luxurious accommodation with immersive cultural encounters. Begin your hiking journey in Naxos and unlock a holiday experience brimming with warmth, character, and genuine Cycladic hospitality.

Naxos: The "ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat" - Hikers Friendly Gold Awarded Hotel. The first hotel on Naxos island officially certified as a “Hikers Friendly Hotel”

ELaiolithos epitomizes the adventurous spirit of Naxos; everything here revolves around nature and green and barren landscapes, most unknown gems of Naxos and interesting hiking paths/trails are around here. It is the only spot on the island that you can arrive from 3 different directions, making it a perfect starting point to explore the off road and road trails by Hiking, Trekking, Bicycling, Quad-Biking, You will travel back in time, witness beautiful scenery, numerous ancient temples and ruins, a medieval fortress, Cyclopean rock formations, stunning mountain quarries of marble, Byzantine churches, picturesque villages with white washed houses, dramatic coastal scenery, secluded beaches in the East and North, and a wild coastline with exotic beauty, all while enjoying the world wide known Naxian culinary delights in ELaiolithos, or in beautiful taverns in the adjacent villages with eclectic local fresh ingredients and encounter the spirit of local people.

ELaiolithos is a sanctuary for travelers who want to unwind and enjoy the simple natural beauty of Naxos’ hinterland. Marvel at the dramatic orange, grey and yellow hues in the early morning or evening sky – with a drink in hand – as the sun rises or sets over the mountains.  From breakfast, lunch, brunch time on wards, enjoy the afternoon destination to relax and detox with a smoothie, tea, coffee or share some Signature cocktail or local wine and famous Naxian cheeses on the huge terrace or Open Air Cafe-Snack-Bar. Eat Well, Fresh-Cut, Healthy, Nutritious and tasty….

Naxos: The "ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat" - Hikers Friendly Gold Awarded Hotel. The first hotel on Naxos island officially certified as a “Hikers Friendly Hotel”

Top reasons that make ELaiolithos a great choice for travelers – hikers to Naxos:

It is a Luxury Accommodation that impresses on a whole load of levels. One of the many things that really sets ELaiolithos apart from the rest is its privileged location, where authenticity in all means exists. Brilliantly nestled in the heart of hinterland, in the core of Naxos, on one of the most scenic and enchanting areas of the island between Chalkio and Moni in an altitude of 450 meters, with splendid uninterrupted magnificent ethereal views and scenery . Enjoy the amazing sunrise, the day and the night no matter which Suite you book…. A bit of a treat for you…..

The opportunity to enjoy both the vibrant mountains of the island and its wonderful beaches in a short proximity, gives to ELaiolithos a great advantage for someone who seeks a little adventure in this Cycladic island plus the deep blue of the Aegean. While you indulge in ambient luxury in any one of the generous five Concept Suites, aside from their grandest local inspired decor, you can also admire the idyllic setting: an interesting panorama of the Drimalia/Traghaia Valley with its 400,000 olive trees, the only green valley in the Cyclades region, with infinite precious Byzantine churches and imposing Venetian Towers, Moni village famous for its handmade loom weaving textiles in 1.5 K, the Zeus Mountain – tallest in Cyclades (1004 m.), Fanari Mountain, the Panagia Drosiani –the oldest Byzantine church in Balkans in 350 meters, the cosmopolitan Chalkio village in 3.5 Km – the oldest capital of the island where is the Citron Distillery Museum, many other adjacent villages, the 8-shaped pyramid mountains complex with the sea and Sikinos and Ios island seen in the horizon, all visible from every Suite and the terrace. Within 2.5 Km is also the historic Kinidharos village with its rich history, monuments, traditional music, and its quarries with the famous Naxian Crystalline marble. In a few minutes from here you will be able to reach the most beautiful monuments and landmarks of the island, or beaches, all accessible at equal time.

Naxos: The "ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat" - Hikers Friendly Gold Awarded Hotel. The first hotel on Naxos island officially certified as a “Hikers Friendly Hotel”

ELaiolithos – an imposing rebirth of the Spirit of Naxos and the ultimate getaway to a wild natural wonderland! Here time meets with history, culture, and tradition. If you want to avoid mass tourism and surrendered to oblivion and to silence of the hinterland and the wonderful local food, then ELaiolithos is the perfect destination for your Naxian holiday. A natural landscape, awaits to be discovered step by step….Follow it, hear it, smell it, live it, take it all in!!! Here the page of a special story of hospitality will be written….

Choose the best time for you and….come to meet this wonderful venue where the mere presence of nature is enough to make an impact on the human psyche. ELaiolithos is a simple step in attempting to strengthen the long forgotten bond between the Human Soul and Mother Nature. We believe that an amazing hiking experience starts with great hospitality! Enjoy your stay, explore the trails of the area and have a fantastic hiking experience.!!!

For more information see under Activities Hiking Naxos  and Hikers Friendly Hotel

 Article written by Helen Marakis

 October 2018

Naxos Island: Echoes of My Heart – by Helen Marakis


Naxos awakens the poet within me once more. After so many years, she beckons me to describe my nostalgia and love for this island and its landscapes. Nostalgia is a bittersweet emotion — primarily filled with happiness and comfort, yet tinged with a hint of sadness. It’s this very feeling that inspired my return to my native island and village, where I founded ELaiolithos.

This is my hometown, nestled in the heart of Naxos, within the Drymalia valley. These are the roads and journeys I traversed during my childhood. I hope everyone can embark on numerous journeys throughout their lives, elevating themselves, pushing beyond the boundaries of the imaginable, and savoring the beauty of each experience. Personally, I believe few things in life are as transformative as the people and places you encounter while traveling.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

Dreaming of visiting the Sahara Desert? Then head to Naxos and journey from Sagri to Agiassos. The landscape will transport you to the Sahara!

Dreaming of visiting Mexico or the Grand Canyon? Then come to Naxos and take the road from Potamia to Tsikalario. The lunar landscape will transport you, with huge rocks and stones creating a unique scenery reminiscent of the surface of the moon.

Naxos offers an abundance of experiences for its visitors. Each road presents a unique journey and inspiration to the traveler. Every path transports your mind and senses to distant lands, yet they all lead back to this wonderful island. In Naxos, simply glimpsing the surrounding countryside isn’t enough; you must immerse yourself, observe closely, and attempt to comprehend the sights before you. Only then can you truly feel the magic that surrounds you.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

The barren, rocky landscapes of Naxos embody a unique blend of wild beauty and serene tenderness, juxtaposing greatness with sweet simplicity. Nature on the island has a way of touching you deeply rather than simply astonishing. It evokes vibrations rather than thrills, offering spontaneous and intense experiences. With its abundance of mountains—wild, imposing, yet enchanting—alongside scattered plains and isolated pockets of land, complemented by ubiquitous oleanders and light filtering through diverse landscapes, Naxos imparts a simple yet profound lesson in peacefulness to all who observe its splendor.

The beauty of Naxos is simple yet profound. It cannot be taught; it is spontaneous and intrinsic. Resembling the geometric precision of Euclid’s shapes, the leafy oleanders line numerous roads symmetrically, evoking a multitude of colors and emotions.

I believe Naxos is beautiful because it skillfully blends striking contrasts with a relaxed rhythm of life. There’s a ruggedness to the scenery that you can sense rather than simply see. Massive rocks, taking on countless shapes, resonate with familiar human experiences. Mountain ranges emerge side by side like pyramids under the blue sky, exuding a sense of perfect harmony.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

Everything is interconnected. Travelers immerse themselves in sheer joy, savoring every moment they can. They delight in the island’s breathtaking vistas, admiring, analyzing, and absorbing them. Beneath Naxos’s wild natural beauty lies a captivating mystery, unraveling like a tapestry. This mystery frees the soul, infusing life with happiness. It emanates from the earth’s radiant light, resides within nature, and evokes timeless emotions that endure through the years.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

Naxos exudes both purity and excitement, boasting secluded mountains and fragrant underbrush that glisten in the sunlight like precious jewels. Occasional solitary trees resemble human shadows, swaying in the wind akin to souls in motion.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

In this island, you undergo personal growth. Its humble yet sacred nature deeply touches your soul and envelops you with its warmth. Each mountain evokes a unique emotion, transporting you to another dimension.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

Experiencing this feeling requires a profound soul and a nimble mind. Yet, those who do will sip life itself and attain a precious ideal: an awareness of the earth. They will feel compelled to protect and preserve this sacred land. Here, time slows as you immerse yourself in the hinterland’s environment with all five senses.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

That’s why travelers who visit Naxos are drawn back time and time again. These experiences inspire awe and respect in them.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

Personally, I cherish these journeys. They delicately touch the heart and awaken the soul, remaining pure magic to me. They imbue a sense of freedom, allowing you to soar like a carefree bird. You’re filled with desires, living with the innocence of a child, laughing easily, and reveling in the beauty of life and creation. You perceive the world differently—seeing, hearing, and speaking with new clarity. Each journey expands your horizons; every kilometer resonates within you entirely.

Η Νάξος της καρδιάς μου - Της Ελένης Μαράκη

And there’s even more waiting to be discovered and experienced! All you have to do is visit Naxos island.

Article written by Helen Marakis

Summer 2018- Events In Naxos Island, Greece

Summer 2018- Events In Naxos Island, Greece

Calendar of events for the Naxian Culture, History and Tradition, information about products or services, awareness about social issues,  news, themes on family, travel, food, fun, style tips, information sharing about any subject or purely passion for writing and connecting with others.

Here are the resources to see some:

Naxos Festival

European Music Day

Loom Weaving Tradition…

Loom Weaving Tradition

HANDMADE JEWELS:  Experience the Tradition of the Art of the Loom Weaving in Naxos…. Cotton artifacts made of original, environmentally friendly, Greek cotton…

An art that romanticizes the handmade….

Travel Moments to Inspire…….Discover local eco-arts and crafts on your holiday travel..… Hand-woven, beautiful, artful and sustainable…..

Simplicity and responsible consumption, especially in textiles, always has been fascinating to me. One of the first objects we came in contact with when we were born was a blanket or gauze that we were wrapped in – all hand made by our mother…..When I think about hand-woven textiles I think about source and resource. I think about sustainability. What role can I play and what you – as a traveler of the world – can do. The loom weaving tradition shows care for our environment and natural resources and maintains the integrity of our biodiversity and ecosystem.

ELaiolithos supports and promotes cultural curiosity and a sense of discovery by offering a sophisticated tour on handmade artisan crafts to the audience seeking authentic, responsibly sourced local crafts with high aesthetics. The fascinating reality of this local tradition is dating back to antiquity…Hand-loom weaving in Naxos would instantly take you with its exotic charm and high aesthetics.

A loom is a device used to weave cloth and tapestry. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same. Loom weaving is among the most sophisticated and time consuming jobs in the world.

Loom Weaving Tradition

Naxos is among the remaining islands of Greece that has a significant tradition in textile weaving and still produces organic textiles coming from the genius of its master women weavers. The world has lost the hand-weaving and loom process, along with all natural and organic processes of creating textiles. One place in Greece and specifically in Cyclades is Naxos island, that still keeps this tradition alive with the women of Moni village to play the first role now days in this artistic handmade production of the loom weaving artifacts.

The striking thing about an island as big as Naxos is the sheer, overwhelming variety that it encompasses – of landscapes, tradition, language, cuisine, Natura and natural heritage sites. Naxos is a very diverse land, full of surprises. One of the most unique experiences and a must-see for anyone visiting Naxos is a visit to a Workshop-Exhibition of the hand loom weaving – a tradition that is still alive to present day and it is of extraordinary beauty, quality and technique expertise. All of the textiles are handwoven and hand-embroidered and reflect the highest standard in artisan excellence. The structure of the weave and the visual appearance of the fibers collectively reflect the superior quality of these textiles. Each textile features individual yarns and varying patterns woven with intricate cohesion.

The origin of weaving goes back to the dawn of civilization to at least 8000 years ago. Weaving began about 5000 BC with flax. Spinning was developed first with weaving later. Weaving was an important tradition for women in ancient Greece and it is still an alive tradition in many parts of Greece with Naxos to be among the active ones in current days. In the Naxian culture, weaving textiles with the loom is considered a craft creation, an art, a commodity, a form of self-expression, and a symbol of life and tradition itself. It is a complex and difficult art that tends to disappear in most villages, but the women of Moni village continue this tradition to nowdays.

Loom Weaving Tradition

In Greece the Moirae (the “Fates”) are the three crones who control destiny, and the matter of it is the art of spinning the thread of life on the distaff. Ariadne, the wife of the god Dionysus, possessed the spun thread that led Theseus to the center of the labyrinth and safely out again. Helen is at her loom in the Iliad to illustrate her discipline, work ethic, and attention to detail. Homer dwells upon the supernatural quality of the weaving in the robes of goddesses where a composition of patterned stripes, figured bands, ornamented borders, and plain fabrics are seen.

The loom is a machine that is 100% hand curved by a local skillful wood craftsman. There are looms of many sizes, types, and degrees of complexity. Most looms are like operated with treadles or levers. Weaving with a loom is pure art.  Weaving is an extremely long repetitive process which requires a great deal of patience, and focused attention, it is creative, and it is very rewarding at the end when the creations are completed. When you weave, you bring together different yarns and fabrics and unify them in a single, unique artifact. You can make clothes, accessories, and home decor in cotton fibers from plain to fancy and elaborate. The raw material used is pure Greek cotton and also silk – all are entirely natural products and come primarily from northern Greece.

Loom Weaving Tradition

Working on a loom is a demanding and difficult task. You need to be calm to weave properly on the loom. Both mind and body must be focused on it. It requires continual counting when working, while the moves required are physically demanding for the entire body. There’s no way that you can work for more than eight hours. The proper use of throwing the shuttle, calculating the correct yardage, setting a tenterhook and maintaining an even beat needs great attention and focus as well as the proper finishing of the woven piece.   You have to know how to use different fibers and colors in one project, and a range of finishing techniques with trims and fringes. Textiles are made with different patterns, colors, textures and densities for all different purposes. All these are time consuming and they need great patience and love for it.  The most important thing is that if a thread is broken or missing, weaving is not possible with the Loom.

But it’s a magical feeling to be making something completely new on an old loom, Mrs. Maria Maraki explained – one of the oldest women from Moni village, an incredibly talented weaver, very knowledgeable in the subject that continues the loom tradition since 1960. She has been a teacher to the new generations for keeping this tradition going on over the years and she has created the Weavers Association of Women of Moni and she is the president of the Association. She maintains also her own Exhibition-Workshop in Chalkio village, Naxos, with a great variety and a wonderful selection of these unique artifacts and accessories. She says: “my reward is the thousands of tourists that pass by every day and buy my creations, and my work travels around the globe. My textiles of contemporary styles of this uniqueness, sophistication and quality travel from Alaska to South Africa and from Europe to New Zealand, and I am very proud because my creations travel the world.” For her, weaving is not just a skill; it is a ritual of love for the art itself, admiration towards the beauty of the handmade artifacts with tenacity that comes from the heart.

She started her loom journey at the age of 15 when she learned how to weave. Later, her passion was to teach the women of her village and the adjacent villages to learn the technique, help them grow and embrace new skills. Hand-loom textiles need constant innovation, new designs and styles and Maria Maraki with her long experience and skills is a master on that, able to create astonishing pieces with intricate designs and embroidery; all adapted to the modern tastes and perceptions as well.

ELaiolithos offers unique shopping experience to its guests with visits to Chalkio and the Exhibition – Art of the Loom Gallery and Shop of Maria Maraki or her daughter’s Anastasia Maraki shop named “Nature and Art” where a stunning and extensive collection of these handmade artifacts can be seen. Handbags, wallets, place mats, tablecloths, curtains, runners, coasters, towels, centerpieces, scarves, pillow cases, bracelets, sofa throws, and many more….whatever a house needs to be decorated and adorned either for every day or for special occasions. One-of-a-kind pieces with unique patterns in different colors and artistic designs – all created by fantasy and talent.  There is no way you would not find something to delight you, and you can choose the piece you like and matches your style and preference from their shops. Treat yourself to one of a kind local textile to accent your house decor, and to remember your trip to Naxos, Greece or find the perfect gift for your loved ones!

Looking at traditional textiles throughout the world is also a way to aesthetically define culture, geography, and social structure.  Here with this article I try to give you an idea about the multitude of the weaving tradition in Naxos. Weaving connects people through time and within the community. There is not an art so central, and so fully shared among the people, as the loom woven textile art. The exquisite and complex motifs of these creations have been around for thousands of years, and their power and longevity contribute substantially to the Naxian culture.

Weaving is about living in harmony with the earth because it is a man made art created from the elements available in the steppe landscape. It is an amazing craft art which utilizes beautiful wooden tools: looms, shuttles, frames and more.  These tools are works of art in themselves, and of themselves. From table clothes to runners, aprons to rugs, wedding veils to curtains, and hand towels to yoga blankets, shawls, sofa throws and place-mats, textiles surround us, continue to be in our everyday life just like housing, food, and water, and accentuate our personal spaces distinctly.

Loom Weaving Tradition

In Plato’s Republic, the three Fates (Moirae) are the female personifications of human destiny, each playing a different role in the weaving of the fabric of life:

  • Clotho spins the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle,
  • Lachesis measures the length of the thread of life with her rod, and
  • Atropos is the cutter of that thread, determining life’s end.

This art is at risk of disappearing in the shadow of urbanization and importation of cheaper commodities. That’s a reason why all of us must value and support the loom weaving craft tradition. It serves as a connection between generations, where these women are in reality artists of the loom weaving, which step on an old tradition and come up with their own interpretation of the past.

Traveling to Naxos is a joy. Naxos is rustic, historic, and full of intrigue. What more could you want from a place? Buying a loom weaving textile is something worth bringing home & something worth supporting….because these hand-made artistic creations not only romanticize the pre-industrial life, they also offer in a way, a return to our childhood.

Why buying these artifacts?

  • Hand-woven loom artifacts have an invisible stamp of uniqueness and authenticity
  • They are functional. They are usually designed with an end user in mind, who would put an object to a test by wearing it or carrying it, storing things on it, touching it. It can be put on display for others to admire, but unlike a piece of fine art, it will have an aesthetic as well as utilitarian value.
  • They are locally produced items. That means they have a smaller carbon footprint in terms of transportation and, in general, it’s good to know where the items you surround yourself with are coming from.
Loom Weaving Tradition

ELaiolithos also offers loom weaving classes for those who show an interest in the art. You can contact us for further details on the subject. Discover local eco-arts and crafts on your holiday travel..… Hand-woven, beautiful, artful and sustainable…..

Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis . All rights reserved

The Poetic World of ELaiolithos Voices of Nature – Birds and Wild Life

The Poetic World of ELaiolithos Voices of Nature – Birds and Wild Life

Escape into an intoxicating world of tranquility where the melodies of nightgales, swallows, blackbirds, sparrows, woodcocks, thrushes and other birds will fascinate you. ELaiolithos – a great destination for peace and nature lovers.

Stone by stone, a dream came true and a completely handmade settlement of authentic Naxian hospitality was born, where love for nature, art, history, tradition and culture make real sense.

ELaiolithos is a different type of accommodation, a hillside retreat, a refuge for those seeking beauty in nature. It is built in a prime location on a peaceful olive grove setting away from the crowds, in the picturesque center of Naxos Island, 3.5 Km from the vibrant village of Chalkio and 1.5 km from Moni village which is known as the “balcony of Naxos” because of its position and its panoramic views. ELaiolithos has four luxurious suites to cater for every need and all with superb views to the mountains including Zeus mountain (the tallest in Cyclades islands 1004 m ), Panagia Drosiani Church (the oldest Byzantine Church in Cyclades), the lush Drimalia/Traghaia valley, the sea and the fields extending as far as the eye can reach.

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The brand new suites are autonomous residences build with stone. They are exclusively designed and decorated by the owner Helen, and completely functional while offering the intimate warmth of a discreetly luxurious home.  ELaiolithos is an excellent starting point for hikers, for anyone who wants to visit the enchanting villages of the Naxian hinterland and a place for those wishing to experience nature at its best while having top quality facilities and sumptuous amenities available to them.

The Poetic World of ELaiolithos Voices of Nature – Birds and Wild Life

ΕLaiolithos has the added benefit of being secluded, so it is ideal for those seeking a house rental where privacy is paramount. It is a peaceful location with warm spaces and exceptional design inspired by the surrounding nature and tradition and blends beautifully with its setting. Relax in the lovely terrace, gaze the scenic views of the dense olive grove valley and the spectacular panoramic views and hear the beautiful and graceful birds’ chirping sounds that are Elaiolithos’ highly desirable visitors.

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At the feet of ELaiolithos, just in front of the establishment, starts an amazing pristine ravine with dense vegetation that goes all the way down to the charming Chalkio village. This ravine is abundantly stocked with flowering and scented shrubs, olive and fruit trees, and other deciduous trees with dense undergrowth and climbing plants. It is known as the green heart of Naxos, and the only one in Cycladic islands, and impresses every visitor with its very special light, spreading peace and relaxation. The energetic purity that surrounds you and the amazing bird songs will sooth your soul.

The Poetic World of ELaiolithos Voices of Nature – Birds and Wild Life

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A variety of birds become residents in this pristine ravine and they make your staying an amazing time. Here you enjoy the day, night and dawn chorus.  Their singing fascinates our guests who appreciate the delicate tones and melodious tunes of their songs. Imagine having a glass of wine in the evening or drink your coffee in the morning when you wake up while sitting on the terrace and listening to these amazing musical pitches and rhythms. You find yourself in a natural paradise!

By mid-April, as soon as the harsh, leafless winter is over, when temperatures become warmer, huge flocks of nightgales and swallows are arriving in this huge ravine area that becomes their courtship and territory. Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and the birds are getting louder! And this will go on until September. By gazing at this splendid view, and listen to these beautiful masters of the air that show up in mass, you stay inspired and experience the essence of a hotel like no other.

The Poetic World of ELaiolithos Voices of Nature – Birds and Wild Life

All year around you can hear also the magnificent chirping of sparrows, blackbirds, woodcocks and thrushes that would get your attention and in combination with the idyllic scenery will make you dream!

Some Facts:

  • The nightgale, known for singing in the night time, hence the name, though it sings during the day as well, is the embodiment of love and greatness. The nightgale is probably the most lyrical of all birds and may have 300 different love songs. Nightgales teach their offsprings to sing and so are often symbols of education and good teaching. This bird is also a symbol of beauty, immortality, and freedom from the world’s troubles.  Its song is loud, with an impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles, and is particularly noticeable at night because few other birds are singing. The nightgale’s song is cherished around the world and considered to be a good omen for poets, writers, and singers.
    Coleridge and Wordsworth saw the nightingale as an instance of natural poetic creation: the nightgale became a voice of nature. John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” pictures the nightgale as an idealized poet who has achieved the poetry that Keats longs to write.
  • The sparrow is a symbol of rebirth, resurrection, and the mother goddess. Sparrows were associated by the ancient Greeks with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, due to their perceived lust-fullness, an association echoed by later writers such as Chaucer and Shakespeare. Jesus’s use of “sparrows” as an example of divine providence in the Gospel of Matthew (234) also inspired later references, such as that in Shakespeare’s Hamlet(231)and the Gospel hymn His Eye Is on the Sparrow.
  • The thrush’s song is distinctive, airy and flutelike and much admired, being penetrating and musical. The hidden power of a thrush is that it brings new thoughts, new ideas, and newness of life. The thrush has been depicted in the movie, The Hobbit, described as pitch black with yellow spots on its chest.
  • The swallow represents love, care and affection towards family and friends. This bird also represents freedom and hope, good luck, everlasting love and loyalty, related to the fact that swallows mate for life. Six swallows were the first lovely visitors of ELaiolithos, where they arrived in spring of 2017 and built 3 nests. We post some pictures of their babies and their nests.
  • The blackbird’s song is a melodious and distinctive low-pitched fluted warble voice. Blackbirds are among the most beautiful summer birds with some of the sweetest songs, mellow songs that send a shiver through the body. Aristophanes’ Birds and Callimachus both evoke the bird’s song as a form of poetry.

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ELaiolithos is an ideal destination for writers, poets, authors, singers, musicians, artists, photographer lovers, birdwatchers and anyone who loves and appreciates nature and its graceful beauty.

Your stay in ELaiolithos will reward you. Here simply be and appreciate the diversity of avian life you see and hear. Cheer its solitude with sweet sounds and be entranced by the birds’ melodies.  Listen to their sounds that will offer you relaxation, read your book immersed in this serene environment, have a peaceful sleeping, do yoga or meditation and go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which the life flows; be in touch with its source. ELaiolithos and its enchanting surroundings emit a feeling of peace, comfort and tranquility that will take hold of you….

The Poetic World of ELaiolithos Voices of Nature – Birds and Wild Life

At an altitude of 500 meters:

  • Lose yourself in the wonder of nature with so many different bird species and their melodies.
  • Experience spectacular views of the lush green valley
  • Witness majestic refreshing sight of sunrise and sunset
  • Enjoy of being in the lap of nature
  • The best walking natural trails in Naxos are around ELaiolithos. You can go down in the ravine to explore, walk through groves of olive trees, and visit ancient ruins and monuments on your way. We ensure you that this would be a therapeutic long relaxing and pleasant walk through undulating narrow walkways in pristine areas with unique views, and you would love the smell of nature.

ELaiolithos – A Haven of Leisure

ELaiolithos is like a sanctuary, a sacred space where you feel safe, where you feel free, it is where people can allow themselves to trust and be guided into a truly unforgettable experience.

If ever you need a place to unwind, to enjoy friendship and fellowship, to recapture that unique and much needed sense of peace and harmony, and to experience authentic Naxian hospitality, you have come to the right place… because ELaiolithos embodies the very essence of its own destination.

A Note by the owner, Helen

“I feel blessed to be able to do what I love and be able to share my passion with others. My love for my village and its surroundings resulted in an accommodation that integrates everything in my life and I offer it to the world to visit and experience. For me, ELaiolithos is like a treasure chest of amazing gifts and wonder that is just waiting to be opened and all to be revealed. When you are willing to see yourself that way you are allowing life to unfold through you in wonderful ways. Because what happen today will become the memories you hold onto forever.”

Arrive and enjoy the vacation!

Article written by Copyright © Helen Marakis . All rights reserved

Early Spring Offer – Stay 4 nights and get the 5th night Free!

Offer: Free Night

Spring is around the corner, do you have any travel plans yet? When the clouds of winter break and the nature begins to bloom along with the promise of much smaller crowds, Naxos is at its most beautiful. As well as enjoying excellent weather with mild Mediterranean temperatures, experience the beauty of Naxos’ hinterland as it bursts into life in spring. Also in Spring you get the best of both shoulder and peak seasons: It’s lively but not crowded, warm but not scorching. The weather is best (not too hot, not too cool), and the crowds have not arrived yet, making this a perfect time to get to know a large slice of Naxos intimately and thoroughly.

In addition, those staying on these days will also enjoy 10% off selected spa treatments.

Get the most out of your spring getaway with  this offer here when you

Book by: 09 April 2019   

Minimum stay requirement: 5 nights   (You pay for 4 nights and you stay for 5)
Stay period: 01 Mar 2019 – 14 Apr 2019

Offer terms: Rates include welcome local dish & drink, fruits & homemade sweet upon arrival, a bottle of virgin olive oil and vinegar, surprise gift upon departure and all applicable taxes & legal surcharges & are valid for all reservations booked through our official web site.

Deposit: Full time payment upon booking.

Cancellation policy: Non-Refundable

Summer 2017- Events in Naxos Island, Greece

Summer 2017- Events in Naxos Island, Greece

ELaiolithos’ blog would be about various topics and calendar of events for the Naxian Culture, History and Tradition, information about our products or services, awareness about social issues,  news, themes on family, travel, food, fun, style tips, information sharing about any subject or purely passion for writing and connecting with others.

Here are the resources to see some:

Panyghyria (Folk Festivals)

All year around but mostly during the spring and summer season, Naxos island is full of cultural and religious events and fairs. The most common traditional festivals take place throughout the year, being tied in with the Greek Orthodox Church calendar, the celebration of each village’s Holy Saint and protector. Many celebrations take place out in the countryside and the atmosphere is very unique. But the most celebrations’ main spots for feasts are the taverns or the main square situated on each village. Traditional music, a lot of local food and wine is tasted  and a lot of dance takes place all night long. Visitors are welcome and may even be given priority seating. While in Naxos it’s a must visit to any of these festivals, where the Authentic side of Naxos will be witnessed. Apart from the religious festivals, various cultural events are scheduled constantly at the island’s restored Towers.

You will find below the most popular festivals-events, so be sure to update your agenda during your stay!

  • May 20th: Festival of Ag­ios Thalaleos, in Agios Thalaleos
  • June 30th: Festival of Agii Apostoli, in Melanes
  • July 7th: Festival of Agia Kyriaki, in Potamia
  • July 8th: Festival of Ag­ios Prokopios in Agios Prokopis
  • July 14th: Festival of Ag­ios Nikodimos in Hora and Glinado
  • July 17th: Festival of Agia Marina in Agidia and Koronos
  • July 25th: Festival of Agia Anna in Agia Anna
  • July 27th: Festival of Agios Panteleimon in Ag­ersani
  • August 6th: Festival of Christ the Saviour in Glinado, Damarionas and Kourounochori
  • August 15th: Festival of Panagia (Holy Virgin) all over the island and particulary in Filoti
  • August 23rd: Festival of the Holy Virgin’s no­vena in Tripodes
  • August 29th: Festival of Agios Ioannis in Apiranthos, Apollonas and Agersani
  • September 8th: Festival of Theoskepasti in Komiaki and Potamia