Walking on the Greek Island of Naxos
Guide for the ascent up to Mount Zas, Naxos
From the central square in Filoti head south along the road heading for Apiranthos. On the road to your right is a tiny little chapel coloured red & white (pictured right). Take the road to the right and follow it around until you can see a windmill. Take the path just before this up into the scrub and around the mill. From here the path heads south with good views down the valley as it slowly climbs. After a while the path goes around to the left where you maybe tempted to take to the field, don't. Keep to the path where parts are seriously deteriorated whilst you see good views of the summit and your ordeal to come. After a while the path divides and you take the left hand fork through a gate and on upwards until you meet the road and the end of the line at a car park.
There is a pleasant picnic spot and fresh water before a well laid path which soon becomes a goat track leads you towards the cave. The last 20 minutes or so is quite strenuous. Caution should be observed within the cave as the floor is slippery and drops off sharply to the left with another cave entrance in the floor to your right. To explore the caves you will need a high powered torch. From the cave you need to continue upwards until you see very loose rock fall that would obvously be difficult to climb. There is an arrow pointing left & right, short for 'I'll go around the easier route or double hard bastard, it's straight up for me'. Left is your best bet though still not easy. The perseverance is worth it though as you look back from the fence you will reach and the views over the west coast that really start showing their potential. Don't cross the fence but follow it up to the right where it will squeeze you through some rocks and then levels off. Follow the rock piles to your right heading up hill for 20 challenging minutes over a brow and your ultimate destination comes into sight for added encouragement. Reaching the summit you are rewarded with views over almost the whole of Naxos along with Donoussa, Amorgos, Koufounissi, Schinoussa, Iraklia, Ios & Paros (see the Photo book for pic`s). The summit is approximately 2.5 hours from Filoti.
For the descent you need to back-track to the north-east but stay on the spine of the hill until you see a valley to the right. This will take you
steadily east gradually stepping down
until you reach a stone wall. Keep left of the wall until it turns to the south where you need to follow the piles of rocks due north.
A picturesque valley
with a hill to the right marks
the fairly obvious route along a pleasant path passing a watering spot and leads north again eventually reaching the road. Left at the road
to Filoti for 100m there is the opportunity to short-cut the bends and after the junction for Apiranthos you will see a
on your right which is considerably shorter & more pleasant than
following the road taking you back to the central square you started at. By now 5-6 hours will have elapsed in total.
For this walk we used Christian Ucke & Dieter Graf`s 'Walking the Greek Islands'.