COME SEE Mount Zas, Naxos. Greece.

Mount Zas: THE EXPERIENCE

REGION: South Aegean

ACCESSIBILITY: Car, bike/scooter or ATV

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Early morning til brunch

LOCATION:  Two starting points – Agia Marina – Open in Google Maps |Aria Springs – Open in Google Maps

WALKING DISTANCE: 7 km return from Agia Marina | 12.8 km return from Aria Springs

TIME REQUIRED:  3 – 5 hours

TOURIST RATING: 4/10

OUR TIPS: Start hike in the early AM. Bring food for the top + lots of water!

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Mount Zas: THE GUIDE

Explore where Zeus was partly raised whilst climbing the tallest mountain in the Cyclades… We. Think. Yas. If you know us, you’ll know Jackie loves Greek mythology and we do love a good 360 view point. Esssspecially when it’s the highest peak at 1,004 meters!!

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There are two routes you can start from. The first one allows you to visit the Cave Of Zas (Zeus) along the way, starting at Aria Springs. This route is 12.8 km round trip with 500 m elevation gain. The second starts from a small church by the name of Agia Marina and reduces the length of the hike by 4km. This route is a 7km round trip with 300 m elevation gain.

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We chose the second route! Although we would’ve loved the see the bottom part, we also wanted to make it to the top without passing out. Now as I mentioned before, you don’t have to be a superhero to do this hike, but you DO have to be relatively fit.

Our initial hope was to get up super early and start the hike just after sunrise but we slept in and by the time we stopped for coffee, we ended up starting at 9:15am and finishing at 2:45pm which included stopping for photos. But the walk down only took 1 hour. Some people can do the whole thing in under 3 hours!

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Getting there was easy! Agia marina is about 30 minutes from Naxos city by car and google maps took us straight to the church. Parking is limited so people also park on the side of the road. About 5 minutes in, we passed a little house on the left then a little sneak peak lookout passed the gully to the sea. Even the hardest hikes can reward you along the way with view points like this 

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From this point the leveled path came to what seemed like a dead end. We came to a closed gate and wandered which way to go, we ended up taking a gamble and going through the gate, within a few minutes we notice the track start to form again. We realised it was probably to stop the mountain goats from coming down, so when you reach that gate, remember to shut it. From here onward is where the sort of zig zag trail begins to climb. The terrain is very rocky and gets more difficult along the way so make sure you wear well gripped shoes or even hiking boots. To be honest there were times that I wanted to throw in the towel.. but like any other hike I’ve done, I know the feeling at the top always outweighs any doubts. 

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The trail is fairly well market along the way but at times you do have to use your imagination as to which way/rock path will get you to the next sign. After you reach the rock wall and head right up there will be a short section where you walk on a bare rock face until you reach a giant slope of rubble and boulders.

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Eventually you will see a bunch of teeny tiny ant sized humans all standing (or laying) on the tip top of Mount Zas. Also lotttts of smart people with hiking sticks and maybe even a few mountain goats! The views already from this point were amazing! It was here that we met two French men that now spend 6 months of the year in Naxos. They even adopted a pooch that literally follows them everywhere. Even up a gigantic ass mountains!! We were so amazed by her efforts

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About another 20 minutes uphill climbing the most jaggedy rock surface we fiiiiiiinally made it to the top!!!! This last part is the steepest and most challenging. Due to the multiple small slippery rocks you must always be really aware of where and how you step.

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We were now standing at 1004 meters (3291 feet). The 360 views were honestly phenomenal. Seriously one of the best things we’ve ever done. Although exhausted, we felt SO accomplished. One thing we did regret was not packing lunch with us. Everyone was eating their baguettes and juicy fruits and we were sitting there considering what the shrubs might taste like hahah. So yes bring lots of water and a delicious treat for the top!

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If you’re like us and enjoy the views, this hike is totally worth it. You won’t regret it, we promise!



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