The hub of activity in Naxos is Chora, on the northwestern side of the island. As you head down the western coast, you will find some beautiful beaches which gradually get less crowded and more isolated. If you travel inland, you will soon find yourself going up or around a hill.
On these hills, villages perch precariously along with old windmills and Venetian towers. You will also notice the production of olives, grapes and citrus fruits on the island. This is because Naxos is very fertile and agriculture has supported the island for long. Tourism in Naxos has developed only the recent years.
Villages like Filoti and Apiranthos are fine examples of inland Naxos villages, with vineyards nearby and great architecture. On your way to such villages, look out for some of the important sites on the island. In particular, the Temple of Demeter in Sangri and the two male statues (Kourous) in Melanes and Apollonas are of huge interest.
Be sure to explore Naxos away from the tourist strip of the North 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 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. If you want to windsurf, make sure you avoid beaches full of families.
Nightlife on the island is concentrated in Chora. Nice restaurants and tavernas can be found everywhere, but bars are found only in Chora.
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.
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.
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 of tourists with scooters.