Updated on 21/01/2023. The recent years Naxos island gets more and more attention, and there is a reason for that. Actually, there are many reasons!! Naxos is famous for its beaches, the traditional villages, the beautiful castle and the local products. Moreover, as it is the largest island in the Aegean, you will find there various activities, tours and things to do!
- Personally, I book all my hotels through Booking.com, as nowadays it includes many apartments, just like Airbnb, and it’s easier and more reliable and I think it has a better cancellation policy.
- Best Hotel in Naxos: Nissaki Beach Hotel – Chora
- Best Value hotel for money in Naxos: The Saint Vlassis
- You can find our complete list of the best hotels in Naxos here!
- If you go to Naxos by ferry, I always use Ferryscanner to book the ferry tickets! Also, if you are thinking of the island hoping this is the best platform that I have seen! If you are thinking about island hopping, then Koufonisia and Paros islands are amazing with their style. You will find our dedicated post about Koufonisia here and our Paros travel guide here!
- Alternatively, you can fly to the Naxos airport through Athens. You can also book a trusted local driver to pick you up from the airport and introduce you to the destination! You will get all your questions answered before or during the trip using Welcome Pickups, a fantastic Greek startup. More information here!
- If you have a limited time to spend in Naxos, you select the tour “From Naxos: All Inclusive Cruise on a Luxurious Catamaran”, where you will visit beautiful beaches and coves on a luxurious Catamaran! It is a nice and very relaxing experience!
- The best time to visit Naxos Island is from May until early October. The high season, of course, is July and August, which make September (my favourite month) and June the best months.
- 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 is located just a few metres from the main port, where you can pick up a copy of the daily scheduled timetable of service.
- Naxos has many restaurants and great bars and nightlife!
See also our dedicated travel guides about Naxos!
So, let’s have a closer look at the best things that you have to do on this beautiful Greek island in the Cyclades.
What to do in Naxos island
#Take a photo from Portara, the Apollo Temple
If you go by ferry to Naxos island, this will be the first thing that you will see! Especially during sunset when the colours 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
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! Here on this post, we will highlight the top 5, but there are many more!! We wrote a dedicated post about the best beaches on naxos island, where you can find them here! Agios Prokopios – Agia Anna and Plaka. These are 3 different beaches, but on the same coastline!!! They have really soft sand and marvellous crystal waters. Especially the first two have many beach bars and note that Island beach bar stays till late!
Alyko Beach. It is a small, exotic and windless beach surrounded by cedars, which makes a unique and picturesque setting to explore. This beach is not organised so bring your own umbrella, water and snacks. Note that from the point where you leave the car you have to walk a little bit and then there are different paths that take you down to the beach through dunes. As soon as you go down you realize that there are small coves, separated by rocks. 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! Τhere are some taverns in the area, in case you get hungry after swimming, which I always do!
Mikri Vigla is another great 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, but also there are nice taverns around for lunch or dinner!
Tip: You can go to the far right of the beach to enjoy the best part of it, with the least amount of wind!
#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 harbour, Halki will be the 1st that you will meet. Walk around, don’t forget to buy something from the Fish & Olive art and jewellery 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!!
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 Chora Naxos. 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 favourite 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, a local delicious ham!)
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. Quite close is the Kouros Statue. It is signposted, so you cannot miss it. It takes no more than five minutes to see, and it is a rough sculpture of the god of Dionysus, so it must have been in the initial stages. The view from next to the kouros is nice too.
#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, which makes a big difference to the conditions. In August, the wind blew force 6-7 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!
You can select the below route and find even more details and GPS information here! Filoti – Aria Spring – Zas Cave – Zas Summit – Agia Marina – Danakos – Back to Agia Marina – Agia Irene – Filoti
#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:
Mykonos (find our dedicated post here!) 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 civilisation. This tour covers both islands in one day and gives you a taste of these special Greek islands. More Information here!
#Try Local Products
Potatoes Dairy: In the Naxos mountains thousands of goats and sheep are raised, and also there is also a large number of cattle that give the precious milk from which the famous Naxian cheeses are made! Cheese: You should definetely 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% cows 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! If you have any question or want to add anything, just leave us a comment below!