Naxos is a large island with many sights, villages, and beaches. We recommend 3 to 5 days in Naxos to visit as many places as possible. Naxos is a multifaceted island, so you need days to understand it.
You can also pay a visit to the musts that will last no more than 24 hours. It all depends on your priorities.
You will find our suggestions if you stay for 1, 2, or 3 days on the island of Naxos below. Want to stay longer? Have a look at all things to do.
One day: Chora and the beaches
Although Naxos has become a popular Greek destination, it has managed to keep its beauty and calm ambiance intact from massive tourism.
The first thing to see in Naxos as the ferry approaches the port is Portara, a huge marble doorway on top of an islet, the only remainder from an ancient temple that used to stand there.
The capital of Naxos is Chora, a beautiful village that stands out for its Cycladic architecture. Kastro is the most picturesque neighborhood in Chora. An old 17th-century mansion in Kastro hosts the Archaeological Museum 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 on the waterfront.
In the afternoon, head off for the charming 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 with crystal waters and soft sand on the shore. If you enjoy windsurfing and kitesurfing, you should head to Mikri Vigla beach. It is the best windsurfing spot in Naxos and many water sports clubs are open if you want to rent equipment.
After a long day, get dressed to see the nightlife of Naxos. You can find all kinds of nightlife there, from lounge cafeterias to loud clubs. Several bars and clubs are situated in Chora, Plaka, and Agia Anna. View on map
Two days: 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 to start early, because there is so much to do. Along your way, you will find many Venetian Towers and remains of Venetian rule in Medieval times. Some towers have been turned into museums, others into hotels, and the rest are just standing in the place they were built. For that trip, we recommend renting 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, built in the 6th century BC and recently restored. Then, continue to Halki, the old capital of the island. It is a small, traditional village with interesting architecture. There you will find Vallindras Distillery which works as a museum. This distillery opened in 1896 and produced the famous kitron liqueur of Naxos.
A couple of km from Halki lies Filoti, one of the biggest and most beautiful villages of Naxos, with views of Mount Zas, the highest peak on the island, and the whole region of the Cyclades. Sip a coffee at the lovely square under the plane tree and enjoy the beautiful scenery. In a 5 km distance is Apiranthos, probably the most picturesque village on the island. Apart from interesting Venetian architecture, Apiranthos also has four museums to visit: archaeological, geological, folklore, and a museum of natural history.
After a quick pass from Koronos, about 8 km from Apiranthos, head off to 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 admire Kouros, a giant statue representing a young man. The statue lies on the site where it was found. Chora is about 8 km from Melanes. View on map
Three days: Discover the northwestern side
1st and 2nd day as described above. As you have done most of the sightseeing in Naxos, devote the third day to relaxation. From Chora, head to the north to discover some 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 features excellent architecture. Then, head off to Apollonas, a cute village about 30 km from Ipsilotera Tower.
On your way, you can pay a visit to Abram, a completely isolated, small beach to enjoy some privacy. Apollonas also has a great sandy beach and many taverns around to savor a traditional Greek meal. Close to Apollonas is the second Kouros statue of Naxos, also left intact on site. View on map