Naxos

Naxos Island –  Lots of Choices to Consider

Sun and fun all at once is what Naxos Island is about. As the largest and the greenest Greek island of the Cyclades, you’re always surrounded by the most breathtaking scenery. 

As for the beaches, they’re romantic, uncrowded and have the brightest sun for that glowing tan.  In fact, there is so much to see and do throughout the island that your one week stay could easily turn into a wonder-filled 2 weeks or 3. 

What can I say about Naxos except how much I adore the island and its people. Naxos stole my heart and I will forever love to return to this destination.

They say ancient Greeks revered this island due to the fantastic energy it exudes. So if you really love it, like me, you really do.

One of my favorite archaeological sights in Greece is the Portara, a huge ancient marbled door frame “to nowhere.” It is a relaxing and rejuvenating place to be at sunset.

Naxos – Still Wonderfully under the Mainstream Radar

You can easily say that Naxos Island is your passport to the island of many colors, and it is indeed a fascinating port of call. Naxos is just a short ferry ride away from the renowned Mykonos island, while it is still fairly unknown itself. 

But that’s just it – there are some places like Naxos that are so under the mainstream radar and yet so awesome, you feel inclined not to tell everyone about it. You love it just the way it is. 

Naxos is without a doubt a fabulous place in which to enjoy a spectacular and action-packed holiday, especially since it has a well-established tourist infrastructure. 

Every traveler needs to remember that no destination will have everything that suits everyone. There are a few bars and clubs on the island, but if you’re an ardent party animal who loves the nightlife, you might want to try nearby Paros. 

Be Armed with Knowledge

To make the most of this awesome travel destination, it pays to be armed with knowledge so that you can maximize your time and truly enjoy everything that the island offers. 

When you browse through this Naxos travel guide, you will begin to realize how rewarding travel will be on this leisure island. 

Best time to Visit Naxos – in terms of the weather

Average temperatures on the island can vary quite a bit. Nonetheless temperatures are comfortable nearly all year with a low chance of precipitation most of the year. 

Most holidaymakers are looking for warm weather and the hottest months on Naxos are June, July and August. Temperatures at this time are generally around 29.1°C or 84.4°F. Those looking for true holiday weather will be thrilled that temperatures don’t often drop lower than 23.6°C or 74.5°F at night.

How to Get to Naxos

International travelers fly into Athens first, then connect to Naxos via ferry or a short flight.

Aegean and Olympic Air fly to Naxos from Athens International Airport.  The travel time is one hour.

Naxos is easily reached via ferry from the Athens port of Piraeus. You can book your ferry tickets online here.

You can also reach Naxos from many of the neighboring Cycladic islands including Mykonos, Paros and Tinos. It is a fantastic island to “island hop” to and from.

During the summer season, there are more ferries and flights scheduled.

Capital City of Naxos

The capital of Naxos is Chora or Naxos Town. It is located on the west coast of Naxos. It is also the main harbor of the island. It has fascinating architecture and it has kept its traditional character. 

There is a long paved road that takes you to the islet of Palatia and the famous Portara or ‘Big Door’ which is the gate of the temple. Along the waterfront are cafes, bars and restaurants and the beach of Agios Georgios is closest to the town. 

Getting Around in Naxos

There are a few ways to get around Naxos –

Buses

There are quite a few buses leaving from Chora. Using a bus is one of the cheapest ways to get around the island. If you want to see a bus schedule for Naxos, you can check online. Tickets must be bought in advance at the ticket office. ‘

The main bus station is on the waterfront of Chora. The KTEL is Greece’s city-to-city public transport bus and depot network. On Naxos during the peak season, KTEL provides a bus tour around the island.

Taxis and Taxi Boats

Taxis are found waiting around the airport, the port and other spots of Chora.

Scooter and car rentals

Tourists will find it convenient to hire a scooter or rent a car as you have more freedom as you stop whenever you want for photos. An international driver’s license and a credit card will be necessary. 

You can find car- and motorbike hire in Naxos Town and Agios Prokopios. Car rental agencies provide plenty of convenience for tourists. They can deliver the car to your hotel if you like or you can choose to pick up the car at the airport on the day you arrive.  You’ll recognize some of the car rental company names – Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz Car hire as well as Naxos Fun Car Rental as well as others. 

 

 Best Beaches in Naxos

Plaka Beach

This is a magnificent beach with its white sand and clear blue water. For those wanting to avoid the crowds, they’ll love Plaka Beach – calm and uncrowded. There are umbrellas and sunbeds and cafes and restaurants close by to get eats and drinks throughout the day. 

Agios Prokopios Beach

This beach is just 5km away from the center of Naxos. Those who know the beaches of Naxos say that this one is the most beautiful beach and it is great to visit if you have children. Maybe a bit crowded for many but there are plenty of umbrellas and sun-beds. Beach hawkers make sure you don’t go hungry or thirsty and the road behind the beach has plenty of cafe bars. 

In fact, Naxos has 3 Blue Flag beaches – Agios Giorgos, Plaka beach and Agios Prokopios beach.

These blue flag beaches mean the beach shows excellence in water quality, life-saving facilities, and accessibility.

Hiking in Naxos

Naxos has many ‘green spaces’ to explore, mostly mountainous. But don’t let that deter you from enjoying the awesome landscapes of Naxos. A hike will take you through picturesque villages and countryside to experience the amazing flora and fauna. 

Do you see your way clear to tackle Mount Zas, home of Zeus and where there is also a cave? There are many treks and hikes in and around Naxos. There are hiking and trekking tours that have different levels of fitness. You stipulate which you’d prefer. Some hikes are suited for children, others not. 

Currency of Naxos and ATMs

Everything has to be paid for in Euros. Money can be exchanged at any bank or private exchange offices. In the cities, debit and credit cards are accepted, otherwise cash is always handy to have. 

Most towns have ATMs and in some of the smaller villages, you are likely to find the yellow and blue Euronet ATM. Fees are however higher at these when compared with the bank ATMs. 

It is wise to always have small change with you when shopping as sometimes shopkeepers don’t have small change. A good tip when traveling in Naxos is to simply always have cash with you.

The Busiest Time in Naxos 

Many people just want to get away from the crowds and there are many areas of Naxos that are still uncrowded. The busiest month for tourism on the island is July and August, but May through to October is looked upon as the high season.

Prices for flights and hotels are at their highest during these busier months, though there are savings if you book well in advance. 

Where to Stay in Naxos

I can recommend the following mid-range accommodation options in Naxos Town.

Chateau Zevgoli for its traditional setting and atmospheric location tucked in the heart of Naxos Town’s castle walls.

The Apollon Hotel is within walking distance of the harbor and the Naxos Town.

Hotel Grotta is a family-run establishment and has a magnificent sea-front setting with spectacular views. Its hillside setting provides splendid views of Chora and the sea. 

The stylishly decorated rooms are lovely and comfy and spotlessly clean. Each room comes with a balcony or terrace. You get important features such as airconditioning and private bathroom, satellite TV and refrigerator.  The beauty of this hotel is that it is affordable and yet it comes with all the facilities that ensure tourists have an awesome stay in Naxos. 

Other good value tourist hotels are Hotel Palatia and Nastasia Village Hotel.

I can recommend the following mid-range beach hotels:

Medusa Beach Resort is at the very end of Plaka beach. It’s a beautiful, efficient and “hidden” beach resort run by a local family. Service is hospitable and excellent.

Santana Beach Resort is part of the Santana Bar and Restaurant. Stylish, contemporary suites with beautiful balconies and right on Agia Anna beach. Lovely family runs this gem as well.

Galaxy Hotel is a 10-minute walk south of Naxos Town and steps away from St. George beach and its’ little beach town.

For a complete list check Where to Stay in Naxos.

What Food can you Expect in Naxos?

Naxos produces some good wines and olive oil and you’ll find some wonderful cheeses – feta, kefalotyri, mizithra and graviera being produced. You’ll definitely want to become familiar with Greek fast food – pork, onions, tomatoes, fries and  tzatziki wrapped in pita bread. 

Check out our guide to the Naxos restaurants.

Hospitals and Medical Care in case you get Sick

The last thing on your mind when you’re visiting Naxos is getting sick. There are quite a few pharmacies in Naxos recognizable by their green-cross sign.  To actually have access to health care, tourists from the European Union (EU) must be holders of the European Health Card (EHIC). Tourists from other countries should check with their health insurances about medical care in Naxos before traveling.

Important numbers to know:

SOS Doctors – 1016
Ambulance service – 166
Duty Hospital and Pharmacy – 1434

Special Festivals and Events to attend on Naxos

Naxos is a boredom-free playground. Apart from the beaches, open-air theatres and museums, there are festivals to attend as well. One of these is the Prokopios Arts Festival – a live music venue, an art gallery and open-air cinema. Events range from jazz concerts to piano recitals to traditional bouzouki with plenty of talented musicians and artists. 

Also, the Greek Orthodox Easter is a huge event with fireworks, dancing and music. People arrive from all over to enjoy the traditional meal of Easter Sunday which is roast lamb, rice and herbs and roasted over charcoals. During this period you won’t find much accommodation in Naxos.  

Cultural Sights to See in Naxos

You could say the most visited cultural venue in Naxos is the Archaeological Museum in Chora. There are artifacts dating back thousands of years to the  Neolithic and early-Christian periods. 

The monastery of Panagia Drosiani with one of the oldest churches is another worthwhile visit. It is located to the south of the Moni village. You can almost sense the ancient times with the church having been built way back in the 4th or 6th century. With excavations, the entire monastery only emerged after 1970 as most of it was buried. 

Is Naxos a Wedding Destination?

Absolutely. It is wonderful for couples looking for a romantic destination where they can avoid the crowds. There are wedding planners who will organize your wedding in the venue that appeals to you.  They will make this special day unforgettable for you and they undertake all the planning for the ceremony and reception. Whether beach wedding, resort wedding, chapel or church – the experienced wedding planning teams in Naxos are waiting to delight.

An All Season, All Reason Destination

Naxos is a destination for all seasons and all reasons – a place to be footloose and fancy-free. As you can see there is a perfect option for you for a relaxed, unforgettable getaway on Naxos – a unique travel destination.

Where to Stay in Naxos: Naxos Town and Beyond

In the 21st century with its hordes of people clamoring to get to beautiful tourist spots, mountainous Naxos is like a jealously-guarded secret. Tourism has been fairly slow to develop on this Greek island offering exquisite green valleys and wide, open sandy beaches.  The weather on Naxos is perfect from May until October, and you […]

Best Restaurants: Where to Eat on Naxos

Wondering where to eat on Naxos? The best restaurants have a tables waiting right on a beach, by the seaside, along the quaint harbor and down the charming streets of the island’s historic old town.

Hiking on Naxos: Seven Villages Trail

While hiking on Naxos, you’ll traverse marbled paths, gorgeous hills and fragrant olive groves while admiring ancient sites tucked between quaint little villages. Here, nature is the show and Stella knows where every trail leads.

Enchanting Chalki Village

Chalki village in Naxos is one of my favorite island villages in Greece so far.  I visited for one afternoon and left impressed by its beauty, the kindness of the residents and the great stories behind the small businesses that make up the charming historic town.

Popi’s Grill: A Traditional Naxos Restaurant

Popi’s Grill, a traditional Naxos restaurant is the oldest family tavern on the island.  I loved the setting of the restaurant, the delicious Greek specialties and the wonderful family that runs it with love and care.

The Portara of Naxos

The Portara of Naxos is a fantastic landmark, a colossal 2,500-year-old marble doorway that leads to nowhere.