About Naxos

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About Naxos | General information | Need help? | Where it is? | Why visit | When to go? | What to do? | Tips for first-timers | More

About Naxos

Located nearly in the center of the Cyclades group, Naxos island is the biggest island of the Cyclades. The capital of Naxos is Chora and half of the 20,000 inhabitants of the entire island live there. The island is located at 103 nautical miles from the harbor of Piraeus and has frequent ferry connections with Athens and most of the other islands of the Cyclades. It has also an Airport and can be reached by plane too.

Naxos is an island that has a vast variety of things to offer to its visitor such as: beautiful beaches, traditional villages, delicious food, important Archaeological Sites, numerous hiking paths and windsurfing / kitesurfing spots. Naxos is considered a destination that can satisfy any taste.

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While entering the port of Naxos by ferry, the view is really amazing. On the one hand you see the Castle of Naxos with its traditional white houses and on the other hand the emblematic “Portara” which is the landmark of the island. It is a huge marble door built during the 6th century B.C. for a Temple that was never finished. Centuries later, the door still remains and welcomes all the travelers arriving to the island.

Naxos has the highest mountain peak in the Cyclades: Mount Zas, rising at an altitude of 1004 meters. It is also the Cycladic Island with the longest beaches of the entire group that are extending to over 92 km. The most popular beaches are located at the western side of the island and are considered amongst the most beautiful of the Aegean sea. Pure white soft sand and clear turquoise waters are the main characteristics. Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Mikri Vigla, Plaka and Aliko are only a few to mention. There are organized and unorganised parts, beach bars and hidden creeks. Once again, it is safe to say that there are types of beaches for every taste and mood! On the western side, the beaches are less touristic and unspoiled and definitely worth your visit. Moutsouna, Psili Ammos and Panermos are some of them.

Because of its many plains and valleys, Naxos is famous, since ancient times, for being fertile and for producing various agricultural products like potatoes, olives, and wine of great quality. Furthermore, fresh fish, meat and cheese are exquisite! One thing is for sure: vacation on Naxos will be full of tastes and delicious meals. The richness and fertility of the land permitted the inhabitants of the island to be financially independent from the rest of Greece. This explains why Naxos was one of the last islands of the Cyclades to open its gates to the tourism industry. This is also the reason why Naxos is one of the few Cycladic islands that has kept its natural beauty unspoiled by mass tourism. Traditional villages such as Halki, Apiranthos and Filoti have managed to preserve their Cycladic architecture and authenticity and are a real gem.

Finally, Naxos offers interesting archaeological sites such as temples, many beautiful Byzantine churches scattered around the island and Venetian towers, that testify about the prosperous antiquity on the island. There is a big organized network of hiking trails passing through fields of olive trees, traditional villages and abandoned settlements making Naxos a popular hiking destinations in Greece.

Overall, the beaches, the gastronomy, the architecture and the activities make Naxos a great example of an island that has preserved its natural beauty and traditional character while maintaining a good tourism development over the years. It is not a secret that most travelers visiting Naxos come back again.

 

General information

Naxos photos

Photos

Discover more than 6.000 photos of Naxos island. Photos of beautiful beaches (Plaka, Orkos, Mikri Vigla, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna) famous sightseeing (the temple of Dimitra in Sangri, the Venetian towers, the Kouros Statues), traditional villages (Naxos Town, Halki, Apiranthos, Filoti) and more. For your daily dose of Greek beauty, you can follow our community feed or follow our page on Instagram!
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Things to do in Naxos

Things to do

Naxos is considered a family destination, but also has to offer a variety of things to do. First of all, windsurfing and kitesurfing are very popular in Naxos and especially in the beaches of Mikri Vigla, Saint George and Laguna where many windsurfing centers are located. Furthermore, diving centers, cooking workshops, horseback riding, hiking, cycling, waterparks, tennis and cinema are also some of the activities you will find at the island.

Things to see in Naxos

Things to see

Apart from villages, beaches, museums, Naxos offers a vast variety of things and places to see. The Castle of Chora, interesting archaeological sites (the Temple of Dimitra in Sangri, the emblematic Portara of the unfinished temple of Apollo), impressive statues (the “Kouros” in Apollonas village, the “Kouros” of Melanes village), many beautiful Byzantine churches scattered around the island (Panagia Drosianni, Agios Georgios Diasoritis), museums and Venetian towers (Bazeos tower), testify about the prosperous antiquity on the island. One thing is for sure, holidays in Naxos is also a great history lesson for everyone!

How to get to Naxos

How to get there

It is very easy to travel to Naxos. The island is connected by plane and by ferry. Naxos has an Airport with domestic flights. Of course, you can travel to Naxos by ferry from Athens and from many islands in the Aegean sea. Ferries depart for Naxos on a daily basis from the port of Piraeus in Athens and from the port of Rafina during summertime.

How to move around Naxos

How to move around

Naxos has a good public bus network. The central station is located in Naxos town and more specifically in front of the Port of Naxos and offers routes to many places around the island and certainly to the most touristy villages and beaches. Buses is the cheapest way to discover the island but they do not cover all the island and have strict timetables. For Naxos it is strongly recommended to rent a car in order to explore the island at ease and see its real charm.

History of Naxos

History

Historically, Naxos was the most important center of civilization of all the Cyclades during the ancient period, 4000-1000 BC. The Venetians also marked an important period in the history of Naxos. In 1207, Marco Sanudo took the Cyclades and established a duchy, called the Duchy of the Aegean where Naxos was the headquarters and the new ruler was installed creating the beginning of a long line of Dukes in Naxos. Last but not least, Naxos has also a mythological background.

Geography of Naxos

Geography

Naxos island is the largest among the Cycladic group of Islands. Located to the southeast of Athens, the history of the island is strongly connected to its special geography. The shape of Naxos is almost round, while its total area is 440 sq km. The coastline is 150 km long and beaches can be both sandy and rocky. The island generally has extremely moderate temperatures but its proximity to the sea creates humid conditions as well. Summers and winters are typically mild on Naxos Greece. The popular wind Meltemi blows across the island from the north during the summer months and its strength increases from the middle of July to the middle of August.

Architecture of Naxos

Architecture

The architecture of Naxos is highly appreciated for its Venetians style. In contrast to the rest of the Greek islands, Naxos has one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Cyclades, Kastro, renowned for its defensive character and noble atmosphere. At first sight, anyone can notice that the island's sights are strongly influenced by the Venetian culture that was enforced for many years and by other civilizations who occupied the island throughout the centuries. The abundance of architectural monuments and the picturesque features compose the magical scene of Chora of Naxos along with the towers and the whitewashed two-storey houses built one next to the other.

Festivals & events in Naxos

Festivals & Events

Naxos has many festivals and Cultural events during the year. From the famous Carnival, to more local religious festivities. During summer season, the Naxos Summer Festival is hosted in Bazeos Tower and features excellent performers from all art fields, from Greece and other countries.

Products of Naxos

Local products

The island of Naxos Greece has a wide variety of local products being the largest and most fertile island of the Cyclades and therefore has an important agricultural production. Some products of Naxos which are famous for their excellent quality are potatoes, tomatoes, olives, olive oil, fruits, honey, cheese, wine and the famous liqueur of Naxos called Kitron.

Nightlife in Naxos

Nightlife

Nightlife in Naxos is active mostly with bars. It is not a party island. Most night bars are concentrated in the capital along the seafront and the picturesque streets and in Agia Anna. Naxos offers a wide variety of places to enjoy all kinds of music, from jazz to modern trance and live Greek music.

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How can we help?

✔ Discover Naxos with us!
Want to discover Naxos with ease and totally carefree? Take an organized island hopping tour!
Want to make your own island-hopping trip? Book your ferries online and view more services that can help you organize your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Naxos?

Naxos belongs to the Cyclades and is located almost in the middle of this island complex. It is in very close distance to Paros and the Small Cyclades Islands (Koufonisia, Iraklia, Schinousa and Donoussa). View an interactive map of Naxos.

Why visit Naxos?

There are a series of good reasons to visit Naxos, namely: exotic endless beaches, amazing gastronomy, beautiful mountains, traditional villages.

  • Exotic beaches: Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Mikri Vigla, Plaka, Alyko, Panermos. Naxos has a huge coastline with different types of beaches. There are organised beaches with sunbeds and unorganised secluded small creeks. There are windsurfing spots and calm, easy-going family beaches. Naxos offers a variety of beach types for every taste. The only thing that remains in common among them, is the pure white sand and the crystal clear blue waters.
  • Amazing gastronomy: Naxian products are famous for their high quality and flavours. Naxos is a very fertile island thus, produces some of the most delicious greek products. Local cheeses, honey, olive oil and Kitron liqueur are just a few. In addition to that, the traditional recipes are exquisite! Be prepared when visiting Naxos: a dinner at a local taverna can turn into a gastronomic experience that you will never forget!
  • Always sunny: The weather is warm and sunny from May to October and the winter is pretty mild.
  • Beautiful mountains: Although an island, Naxos has an amazing mountainous scenery as well. Imagine rock formations, traditional villages and abandoned settlements hidden away to protect the local population from pirates, organised hiking trails for all levels, majestic Venetian towers and Byzantine churches. Last but not least, the view from the mountains is breathtaking. There are many viewpoints where you can even see other neighbouring islands (Donoussa, Scinousa, Iraklia, Paros, Ios and more).
  • Traditional villages: Chora, Halki, Apiranthos, Filoti, Potamia are just some of the villages of Naxos that managed to preserve their strong traditional character and Cycladic architecture. Strolling around the whitewashed alleys of Chora or drinking your coffee at the “kafeneio” in Halki will definitely make you feel like a local.
  • Island-hopping: Naxos is located in a relatively close distance to other Greek islands that are all well connected by ferry. The most popular island-hopping routes from Naxos are to Paros, Amorgos, Santorini, Mykonos as there are frequent ferry connections.
  • Easy to get there: Naxos has a National Airport and can also be reached by ferry from Athens and other islands of the Aegean.

When to visit Naxos?

The tourist season in Naxos is from June to September. April, May and October is also a great time to visit the island if you want to avoid the crowds and for hiking.

What to do for 1, 2 or 3 days?

Discover our suggestions if you stay for 1, 2 or 3 days on the island of Naxos Greece. You can also see all things to do in Naxos.

One day in Naxos: Chora and the beaches

Although Naxos has become a popular Greek destinations, it has managed to keep its beauty and calm ambience intact from massive tourism.
The first thing to see in Naxos as the ferry approaches the port is Portara, a big marble door on top of an islet, the only remain from an ancient temple that used to stand there.
The capital of Naxos is Chora, a beautiful village that distinguishes for its Cycladic architecture. Kastro is the most picturesque neighborhood in Chora. In an old 17th century mansion in Kastro, you will find the Archaeological Museum of Naxos with many exhibits from excavations all over the island. Stroll around the narrow paths of Chora, check out the gift shops and have a coffee in the waterfront.
In the afternoon, head off for the wonderful beaches on the western side of Naxos. There are frequent buses from Chora to the most popular beaches on the island. Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Maragas and Agia Anna are the most popular beaches and they all have crystal water and soft sand on the shore. If you enjoy windsurfing and kitesurfing, go to Mikri Vigla beach. This is the best windsurfing spot in Naxos and many water sports clubs are found there if you want to rent equipment.
After a long day, in the evening you get dressed to see the nightlife of Naxos. You can find all kinds of nightlife there, from lounge cafeterias to loud clubs. Some bars and clubs can be found in Chora, Plaka and Agia Anna.

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Two days in Naxos: Mountainous villages

1st day as described above.
After an early morning swim, on the second day, you head off to see the mountainous villages of the island. Make sure you start early because there is so much to do today. Along your way, you will find many Venetian Towers, interesting remains of the Venetian rule in the Medieval times. Some of these towers have been turned in museums, some other in hotels and the rest are just standing on the place they were built. For this trip, you'd better rent a car because public transport is quite insufficient.
Starting from Chora, the first stop would be Sangri, about 12 km away, and the temple of Demeter, originally built in the 6th century BC and recently restored. Then, continue to Halki, the old capital of the island. This is a small, traditional village with interesting architecture. There you will find Vallindras Distillery that works as a museum. This distillery opened in 1896 and it produced the famous "kitron" liqueur of Naxos.
A couple of km away from Halki, there is Filoti, one of the biggest and most beautiful villages of Naxos with views to Mount Zas, the highest peak on the island. Have a coffee at the lovely square under the plane tree and enjoy the beautiful scenery around. About 5 km away, there is Aperanthos, a picturesque village whose name means plenty of flowers. Apart from interesting Venetian architecture, Aperanthos also has four museums to visit: an archaeological museum, a geological, folklore and a museum of natural history.
After a quick pass from Koronos, about 8 km from Apiranthos, head off the Moni village to see the church of Panagia Drossiani, one of the oldest Christian churches in Europe. Your last stop is Melanes, about 10 km from Moni. There, you can see Kouros, a giant statue representing a young man. This statue lies exactly on the site where it was found. Chora is about 8 km from Melanes.

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Three days in Naxos: Discover the northwestern side

1st and 2nd days as described above.
As you have done most of the sightseeing in Naxos, devote the third day to relax. From Chora, head to the north side of the island to discover some really quiet spots. About 8 km from Chora, there is the Monastery Tower of Ipsilotera. It was built in the early 17th century by a nobleman and has excellent architecture. Then, head off to Apollonas, a nice village about 30 km away from Ipsilotera Tower.
On your way, you can pay a visit to Abram beach to swim. This is a completely isolated, small beach to enjoy some privacy. Apollonas has a great sandy beach and lots of delicious taverns around to have a traditional Greek meal. Close to Apollonas, there is the second Kouros statue of Naxos, also left on the site it was originally found.

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Naxos for first-timers

Our impressions

Be sure to explore Naxos away from the tourist strip of the West. Most of the island is rural and still very unaffected by tourism. You will see farmers on donkeys, people picking potatoes or pressing grapes to make wine. Venetian towers still reside on the hilltops and seemingly every 100 meters there is another beautiful church.
The downside to this lack of development is the state of the road network. As soon as you get a few km away from Chora, the deterioration in the asphalt is dramatic. In fact, after Agia Anna towards the southern side, the road is a track.

The beaches in Naxos are marvellous and very clean. Beware though that some are very windy, which is why windsurfing and kitesurfing in Naxos are very popular, particularly in Mikri Vigla and Orkos.

Nightlife on the island is concentrated in Chora. Nice restaurants and tavernas can be found everywhere, but bars are found in Chora, Plaka, Agia Anna and Agios Prokopios.

Practical advice and tips

Arriving at the port

The port is located in Naxos Town. There is an accommodation desk just on the port but there are also some people who will try to sell you a room. A few years ago, there would be hundreds of people harassing you. Today this practice is abandoned but there are always a few that will still try to talk to you.

There is a travel agency along with car rentals just in front of the port and many in the Town. The central bus station and a taxi rank are to be found at the port.

Arriving at the airport

The airport of Naxos is located 2 km away from Naxos Town. There is a taxi rank outside the airport.

Cost

Naxos is considered an authentic island and prices are normal.

Road network

The roads are in good condition only around Town and in few parts of the island. The other roads are not asphalt but the track. Also, beware of scooters and other motorbikes. There are many accidents!

More

Mosquitos are a bit of a problem in Naxos, so do not forget the mosquito lotion. Or you can buy a lotion on the island. Some hotels have mosquito nets.
If you have your own mode of transport, be careful on the roads, potholes can turn up at any moment.
Most beaches on the island are undeveloped and if you want shade you will have to bring your own umbrellas to create it.

More about Naxos

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