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Naxos island. A complete Travel Guide!

Naxos island travel guide

The recent years Naxos island gets more and more attention, and there is a reason for that. To be frank, there is more than one reason!!

Naxos is the biggest island in the Aegean and very famous for its beaches, the traditional villages, the nightlife, the delicious food, and the local products!

  • When should you visit Naxos?
  • How to get to Naxos?
  • What to do?
  • Best beaches in Naxos
  • Where to stay?
  • How to move around Naxos!

See also our dedicated travel guides about Naxos

When should you visit Naxos

Like most of the Greek islands, the busiest period is July and August. The island is quite large, so it doesn’t feel so crowded as you might feel in some other smaller islands, but still, it can be quite packed on the main Chora town.

Regarding the weather, from May to middle October it is quite pleasant to visit Naxos. Of course, the hottest months are June- August.

Source: Holiday weather

Personally, I find September -preferably – and June the best months to visit the island and any island, to be frank!

Now in terms of the duration of your holidays, I would say that it depends. In theory, you could go around to the most beautiful beaches closer to Chora (like Agios Prokopios – Agia Anna, Plaka) and some 1-2 villages in two days. I stayed 10 days some years ago, and still, I haven’t discovered quite a few things! But, on average I would say that 3-4 days, I think it would be ok!

How to get to Naxos

You can visit Naxos by ferry from Piraeus or Rafina port, where there is a choice between a slow ferry and a fast (which is more expensive). The journey lasts 3-5 hours, depending on the port and the ferry type.

Alternatively, you can fly to Naxos airport through Athens (the flight lasts around 40′!).

Personally, when I have enough time, I prefer the ferry. Of course, it might take longer, but I am on holiday, so I am not in a hurry! Also, I like enjoying the view from the ship’s deck and feel the air by the sea!

The best platform for ferry tickets is the Ferryscanner. It is straightforward and user-friendly to check prices and book online tickets!

Best things to do!

#Take a photo from Portara, the Apollo Temple

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you go by ferry to Naxos island, this will be the first thing that you will see!

Especially during sunset when the colors get mixed with the blue of the sea is amazing.

The only drawback? It can become quite crowded!

#Get lost in the old town and visit Kastro
Naxos chora kastro castle
Kastro ©Secretgreece

Chora is the capital of Naxos and is one of the most picturesque old towns of the Cyclades!

Visit the Venetian Castle, the Mycenaean City of Grotta, and various museums.

Within the Chora and the main square, you will find the Catholic Church and the Central Tower.

Take a stroll through the narrow alleys, discover the Venetian mansions with the archers, search for the Commercial School that Kazantzakis attended and where the Naxos Archaeological Museum is today housed!

#Go to the beautiful beaches and stay as much as you like!

Naxos has wonderful sandy beaches that invite you to stay there the whole day!

If you are keep reading, you will find below our top 6 beaches on the island. Also, we have written a dedicated post about the best 11 beaches on Naxos island, where you can find them here!

 

#Visit mainland villages Halki, Filoti and Apeiranthos and much more!

One of the differences between Naxos and other islands in the Cyclades is that you will find beautiful and quite original mountainous villages!

Coming from the harbor, Halki will be the 1st that you will meet.

Walk around, and don’t forget to buy something from the Fish & Olive art and jewelry shop.

You will find unique products and not the usual touristic souvenirs!

Aaaa, I almost forgot it! Try the galaktoboureko dessert from the “Galani” coffee shop. Ask around! Everybody knows it!!

Halki vilages in Naxos greek island
Halki village

2nd stop Filoti village, which largest village of Naxos, which worth a stopover. Also, enjoy a coffee or drink at the Platanos cafe The Puressence Cafe (location here)

Filoti is the largest village of Naxos and the second-most densely inhabited settlement of the island, after Chor

The landmark of Filoti is its large square with the old plane tree that generously offers natural shade to the visitor in need of a place to relax, far from the crowds.

3rd stop Apeiranthos village. This is my favorite village as it keeps its authenticity and originality. It has 4 different museums, which are worth a visit and your support! You can have ouzo at ” Stou Giorgou” or dinner at Amorginos Tavern (try Zamboni!!)

Apeiranthos village Naxos island
Apeiranthos village

4rth stop Koronos; It is located on the northeast of the island, and a beautiful vineyard valley surrounds it. Koronos is famous for its tasty wine that is very high in quality. You will find houses of traditional architecture, a picturesque square with vines and flowers, cobblestone streets, and numerous arches, which create a romantic atmosphere!

If you are road tripping to the north part of the island, you can stop in Apollon. It is a quite remote village, which makes it is quieter and has a different feel to the beach resorts nearer Naxos town. It has a small beach with many restaurants and cafes.

#Windsurfing in one of the locations in the world!

Naxos is served by the Meltemi wind, which blows all summer from May to September. The wind occurs when high-pressure forms over the Balkans and low pressure forms over Turkey. If the system is working, the wind will always come from the north, often with a bit of west or east, making a big difference to the conditions.  In August, the wind blew force 6-7 Beaufort over 90% of the time.

#Hike at mountain Zas

If you like hiking, then Naxos can also offer this alternative!

Mount Zas, which extends southeast from the village of Filoti, is the highest peak of both Naxos and the Cyclades (1,004 m). According to Greek Mythology, Zeus grew up here, while his son Dionysus, the god of wine and entertainment, was raised in the same mountain and even in a cave called Za’s Cave!

Hiking in Naxos island zas mountain
Hiking in Naxos!

#Daily trips to Mykonos, Archaeological site of Delos and Koufonissia

If you want to take an idea of some of the best islands, then you can select any of the below tours:

From Naxos: Delos and Mykonos Full-Day Boat Trip

Mykonos is one of the most famous islands globally, and Delos is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in Greece ( you check our dedicated related post here!)with ruins that tell the story of a 3,000-year-old civilization. This tour covers both islands in one day and gives you a taste of these special Greek islands. More Information here!

If you prefer something quieter, you visit the Koufonisia islands, one of the most upcoming Greek Islands.

#Try Local Products

Cheese: You should definitely try the local Kopanisti and the Naxian Gruyere cheese, which has been protected since 1988 and carries a Protected Designation of Origin (PDI) since 1996! The Gruyere is made with a minimum of 80% cow’s milk, 20% goat’s and cheep’s milk at most and traditional rennet. It is a hard table cheese with a pleasant flavor and fragrance!

Zamponi. This is a local ham from pork leg, and its technique and taste are quite similar to prosciutto!  

Kitro is a traditional and local liqueur, and it is made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree, which is quite similar to the lemon tree but stronger and slightly different in taste. You can visit the Vallindras Kitron Distillery in Halki (location here) as a shortstop if you want to taste this unique drink or buy some presents!

You can even try to cook some of your favorite Greek recipes using local Naxian products!

A nice activity is the “Greek Cooking Class & Dinner at a Village House”, where you will cook and eat in a traditional house in Kaloxylos a typical Naxian menu with local wine together with local Greeks!

Best beaches

Naxos has wonderful sandy beaches that invite you to stay there the whole day!

We will present the 6 best beaches in Naxos in this post, but we have written a dedicated post with more beaches, more photos, and more information that you can find here!

1. Agios Georgios
Agios Georgios beach
Agios Georgios beach

The list starts from the closest beach to the main village (that is called Chora), and it is just a 10-minute walk from the port!

So, it makes perfect for a quick swim if you arrive at the island late or just stay at Chora and you prefer an easy-access beach!

It is a sandy beach with shallow water, and it is organized with umbrellas for rest, cafes, bars, and restaurants!

Also, you can do there different water sports like windsurfing or kitesurfing.

Note that as it is very close to Chora, it can get quite crowded!

2-4. Agios Prokopios – Agia Anna and Plaka.

These are three different beaches, but on the same coastline, and it looks like a very long one!!!

They have soft sand, marvelous crystal waters, and many stylish beach bars!

Agios Prokopios: It is the most accessible beach to reach by bus (every 30′ during the high season from Naxos town), and it is well organized and trendy.

Across the beach (it has 1 km in length!), you will find many cafes, restaurants, cafes, and tavernas to choose from!

Note: The winds quite protect it!

Agios Prokopios beach Naxos greece
Agios Prokopios beach

Agia Anna: After Agios Prokopios starts Agia Anna, a long sandy beach with a picturesque little port at the end!

This is a beach excellent for families! The part close to the port is relatively calm, and it offers a slightly quieter alternative to Agios Georgios beach and Agios Prokopios. The northern side can be windier.

Agia Anna beach Naxos
Agia Anna Beach ©secretgreece

Plaka: Further down from Agia, Anna is located Plaka, which is another fabulous, long, and sandy beach. Some parts are organized, with beach bars and taverns, but some others are not. Pick up your spot and enjoy!

Plaka beach Naxos
Plaka beach ©secretgreece
5. Alyko Beach

It is a small, exotic, and windless beach surrounded by cedars, making it a unique and picturesque setting to explore. This beach is not organized, so bring your own umbrella, water, and snacks.

Note that you have to walk a little bit from where you leave the car, and then different paths take you down to the beach through dunes. As soon as you go down, you realize that rocks separate small coves. You have to be careful about where you choose to sit, on a rocky or sandy spot.

Also, note that the beach is nudist-friendly!

 

Alyko Beach, Naxos Island
Alyko Beach, Naxos Island
6. Mikri Vigla
best beaches in naxos island mikri vigla
Mikri Vigla beach

Miki Vigla is another excellent sandy beach and an ideal spot for kitesurfing and surf lovers, as it can get very windy!

Note that there is a small place for food at the edge of the coast.

Tip: You can go to the far right of the beach to enjoy the best part of it, with the least amount of wind!

Where to stay in Naxos

Naxos has wonderful villas and boutique hotels, but also some nice affordable studios and apartments.

 

Here you will find the best areas to stay in Naxos, but we have written a dedicated post with a detailed list of the best hotels in Naxos that you can find here!

Chora town

The first and obvious choice is Chora, which is the main town on Naxos. It has everything!

Plenty of restaurants and cafes, little shops for souvenirs, amazing bars with magnificent views.

And all these are inside picturesque alleys and whitewashed houses!

Here begin all the buses to the whole island and note that Naxos has one of the best bus networks in the Cyclades in case that you want to avoid renting a car!

Agios Georgios

This area is like an extension of Chora town, with a sandy and lovely blue flag beach. It is not one of the best in the world, but still, it is an easy solution very close to Chora.

Agios Prokopios – Agia Anna – Plaka

These three beaches are one next to others, and there are really beautiful!

The 1st one is Agios Prokopios, which is located between 4 lakes with a national park behind and it is considered one of the best beaches in Greece!

Then, it is Agia Anna with plenty of tavernas, bars, and coffee shops.

Plaka is quieter with beach bars and many windsurfing activities.

All three beaches are pretty close to Chora, but you will need a car or take the bus service.

Note that these places do not have a village feel, but the gorgeous beaches offset this!

We have written a dedicated post with a detailed list of the best hotels in Naxos that you can find here!

How to move around Naxos island

Naxos is a large island, and you might need to rent a car.

But if you want to avoid this extra cost, Naxos has a quite good Bus Network (KTEL) (More information here, but the page is only Greek!).

The main bus station in Chora is located just a few meters from the main port, where you can pick up a copy of the daily scheduled timetable of service.

 

If you have any question about Naxos island or you want to share your experience, just leave a comment below!

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