The recent years Naxos island gets more and more attention and there is a reason for that. To be frank, there are many!!
Naxos is the biggest island in the Aegean and very famous for its beaches, the traditional villages and the local products.
- 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.
- 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!
- In case you go to Naxos by ferry then I always use Ferryhopper to book the ferry tickets! They have done a fantastic job and it is very user-friendly. 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!
- 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 in Greek!). The headquarters are 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!
So, let’s have a closer look at the best things that you have to do in this beautiful Greek island in the Cyclades.
#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 really beautiful sandy beaches that invite you to stay there the whole day. And we don’t exaggerate. Really. We will highlight the top 5 but there are many more!!
Agios Prokopios – Agia Anna and Plaka. These are 3 different beaches but on the same coastline and it looks like one!!! They have really soft sand is marvellous and the crystal waters Especially the first two have many beach bars and note that Island beach bar stays till very very late!
Alyko Beach. It is a small, exotic and windless beach surrounded by cedars! Access is easy and in the area, there are some taverns if you get hungry after swimming. I know that I get!!
Mikri Vigla – Parthena beach is on the north side and it is an ideal place for extreme water sports!!
#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 island is culturally developed and caters to tourists with several restaurants, cafeterias and folk culture shops. 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 worth a visit and your support! You can have ouzo at ” Stou Giorgou” or dinner at Amorginos Tavern (try Zamboni! I will not say more!)
4rth stop Koronos; It is located on the northeast of the island and it is surrounded by a beautiful vineyard valley. 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, then you can have a 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. Close is the Kouros Statue. It is signposted so cannot be missed. It takes no more than five minutes to see and it is a rough sculpture of the god of Dionysus so must have been in the initial stages. The view from next to the kouros is good 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 then the wind will always come from the north, often with a bit of west or east in it 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 is one of the most famous islands in the world 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!
#Taste Kitro drink
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 shortstop if you want to taste this unique drink or buy some presents!
If you have any question or do you want to add anything, just leave us a comment below!