Naxos: Where it is? When to go? & more

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Located nearly in the center of the Cyclades group, Naxos island is the largest of the Cyclades (429.8 km²) and has a population of 20.000 people. The capital of Naxos (main town) is Chora and half of the 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.

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 on 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 of 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 destination 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.

Why visit Naxos

Naxos is a very good island to visit and here are a series of good reasons to visit it, namely: exotic endless beaches, amazing gastronomy, beautiful mountains, traditional villages.
Discover the reasons why you should visit Naxos.

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.

When to visit Naxos and for how many days?

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.
Naxos is a large island with many things to see, villages and beaches. We recommend 3 to 5 days on the island. Discover our suggestions for 1,2,3 days.

Discover Naxos

You will find below information that will help you understand why a visit in Naxos is a must.

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!
Do you want to contribute? Join the Greeka community or tag us @greekacom.

Things to do in Naxos

Best 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 on 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 on 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 are 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 in 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 Venetian 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 the 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.

More: Weather | Map | Useful Phones

Naxos for first-timers

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 marvelous 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.

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 Things to know
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.

How can we help?

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

Find the answers to some of the most popular questions about Naxos.

What is naxos?

Naxos is an island of Greece and the largest of the Cyclades islands group. It is a great place for your holiday and you can combine it with other islands like Paros, Santorini, Mykonos and more.

What is Naxos like?

Naxos is a beautiful island. When you approach the island by ferry, you are welcomed by the imposing castle of the main town (Chora) and behind it, all you see is mountains.
The island is surrounded by many sandy beaches (mostly on the West part). If you get to the center of the island, the atmosphere reminds a lot of the one in Crete, with many verdant valleys full of olive trees and scattered villages. you can understand the feeling of the island based on our photo gallery.

What is Naxos known for?

Naxos is well known for its long white sandy beaches (Agios Prokopios, Plaka), for its ideal wind conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing (Mikri Vigla, Laguna), for the wonderful quality of the local agricultural products (potatoes and the cheese like arseniko, anthotiro), the impressive Portara (trademark of the island which is the remaining door of the temple of Apollo), the fertile valleys of the mainland, the many mountainous villages and its rich Venetian and Byzantine history.

Is Naxos expensive?

Naxos is not expensive at all and by far less expensive than Santorini or Mykonos. You can find accommodation and food for a very decent price. As the island is rich in water, it produces its own meat and vegetables and does not need to import much.
Read what our members think about this question.

Is there an airport in Naxos?

There is a domestic airport, meaning that it mostly receives flights from Athens. The airport is located in a very short distance from the main town, Chora.

What to do in Naxos when it rains?

First of all, note that during summer it rarely rains in Naxos. You might find rain mostly from October to April. If it rains, you can visit the many museums located in town, you can have a coffee in the many cafes and just get romantic at home. Usually, the rains are for a short duration. When it stops, it is a good opportunity to head to the mainland and take a hiking route. There are many of them!

Is Naxos a touristy place?

Naxos was under tha radar for many years and was under the shadow of Paros, the neighboring island. In recent years, the island became quite popular. But the island is very large and therefore you never feel it is too busy. The main town, Chora, get very busy for dinner time.

Is Naxos a party place?

Naxos is NOT a party place. It is a more family oriented island. You can party in some places though. "Island" bar in Agia Anna is very active with dancing all night long. Yazoo organizes some full moon parties. There are also some night clubs in town but the mostly propose Greek music (Ocean).

Is Naxos good for families?

Naxos is a perfect island for families. There are many beaches with shallow waters (security for kids). The island has a very rich history and many things to do and see with kids.

What islands are located near Naxos?

The closest islands to Naxos are Paros, Koufonisia, Iraklia, Schinoussa and Dononoussa. Paros is the most easily accessible as there many daily ferries making the route (from/to)

Where is the port of Naxos?

The port is located in Chora, the main town, on the northern side, on a walking distance from any part of the town.

More about Naxos

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