Top 20 Amazing Things to Do in Naxos, Greece
Naxos Island is certainly one of the most beautiful places of the Cyclades and a fabulous choice for an unforgettable vacation in Greece. There are so many wonderful things to do in Naxos. This island pearl is especially famous for its paradisiacal snow-white sandy beaches, but there are also many beautiful attractions and unique places to discover on Naxos. Probably the most important landmark is snow-white Naxo-Town with the famous Great Door. But also the high mountains, the romantic villages in the hinterland and the ancient temples as well as the excavation sites make the island of Naxos absolutely unique. Whether sightseeing, culture, nature, sports or just relaxing on the beach, there is a lot to experience on a visit to Naxos and so everyone is guaranteed to have a fantastic time on this amazing island.
In this travel guide you will find all the important information and tips about Naxos in Greece. We show you great pictures, the best things to do in Naxos, stunning beaches, reveal exclusive insider tips and show where you can find great accommodations!
General Information about Naxos
Naxos Island in Greece is located in the heart of the Cyclades, and also the well-known neighboring islands such as Mykonos, Paros and Ios are not far away by ferry from here. Naxos is a popular stop when island hopping, and also a desirable choice for a longer vacation due to its many attractions and beaches. A real gem is the charming capital, where you can find the temple gate Portara, the landmark of the island. Fascinating on top are the picturesque landscapes of Naxos! One marvels at a magnificent mix of high mountains, green valleys and incredibly gorgeous beaches, with connoisseurs counting them among the absolute best in the Cyclades.
With a size of almost 389.43 km², Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades. The highest mountain is Mount Zas, the so-called Zeus Mountain, which is also the highest of the Cyclades with 1,004 meters. The tourist center is located in the southeast of the island, although you can also explore the rest of Naxos relatively easily with a rental car or quad. The green, mountainous hinterland with its romantic mountain villages is especially worth a visit, and the lonely east coast also has its charm. Moreover, Naxos is historically important and you can find several ancient temple ruins on the island.
The Best Things to Do in Naxos
On a visit to Naxos you can expect beautiful places, numerous activities and fantastic attractions. Here we have summarized all the highlights and the best things to do in Naxos Island at a glance.
The Chora of Naxos
The capital Chora is definitely one of the most impressive places to visit in Naxos. Absolutely picturesque are the whitewashed houses of the old town, which conjure up with the blue sea and the harbor promenade a true picture book backdrop. During a walk through the romantic center you will discover numerous attractions, there is an archaeological museum, several churches and shopping streets for strolling. One of the best things to do is a visit the Kastro, the Venetian fortress from the 13th century, which is enthroned on the top of the city. Right next to the old town is the famous ancient Portara on the Palátia peninsula. Unbeatable is also the culinary offer in Naxos town. So you enjoy there numerous fabulous taverns, many great bars and also a lively nightlife.
Tip: The pretty Galini Hotel is ideally located near the beach and the beautiful Chora of Naxos is not far away. Also the price is unbeatable.
Portara of Naxos
The most important landmark of Naxos is the Portara, also known as the Great Door of Naxos. This landmark dates back to as early as the 6th century BC and is today the only preserved component of the temple of Apollo at that time. With a height of 5.95 meters and a width of 3.65 meters, this mighty marble doorway is absolutely imposing and makes it a true icon of the island. A special feature is also the location of this historical attraction because it is situated on a tiny peninsula, directly opposite Naxos town and the port. Thus, during a visit, you will not only be amazed by the ancient gate, you will also enjoy probably the most stunning view of the snow-white capital of the island of Naxos.
Tip: Many come towards evening to marvel at the spectacular sunsets from the Portara. A wonderful experience that is guaranteed to last forever.
Old Market Street
The Old Market Street is a wonderful promenade right in the center of Naxos Town, and can best be reached from the waterfront. A true shopper’s paradise awaits vacationers here. There are numerous chic boutiques with Greek fashion, beautiful stores with jewelry, typical souvenir stores for bits and pieces and also art as well as antiques are offered here. In addition, a tour of the city reveals numerous romantic squares adorned with flowers, which prove to be popular photo opportunities. The bars and small taverns on Old Market Street are also fantastic. Relatively quiet during the day, they fill up in the evening and are the perfect location for a romantic dinner in Naxos.
Agios Prokopios is definitely one of the most popular yet beautiful resorts on Naxos. It is located about 5 kilometers south of the capital and can also be reached by bus from there. Really impressive is the approximately 2 kilometers long, picture-perfect sandy beach, which delights with crystal clear sea and the most spectacular water colors. The paradisiacal setting is almost reminiscent of the Caribbean while swimming! In the resort of Agios Prokopios you will also find a perfect tourist offer! There are fabulous hotels and guesthouses in every price range, sunbeds with umbrellas are available for rent on the beach, and numerous good taverns provide for culinary well-being. Probably the best place for a vacation on Naxos!
Tip: The Hotel Katerina is a perfect choice for a trip to Naxos. Guests love the cute little complex, the wonderful hospitality and also the proximity to the beach is brilliant!
Temple of Demeter
One of the most stunning attractions on Naxos is the Temple of Demeter, sometimes known as the Temple of Sangri. This site is one of the most important excavation sites on the island and is also a popular stop on excursions and island tours. Absolutely magical is also the location of this ancient ruin, on a hill inland, surrounded by a picturesque landscape. Built as early as 530 BC, the temple was rebuilt into a church in the 6th century. The temple of Demeter is made of the famous Naxos marble, and during a visit you will be amazed by the white-grey columns of the temple complex. Worth seeing is also the small museum, which gives an interesting insight into the history.
A visit to the 500-inhabitant village of Chalki, also spelled Halki, Halkio or Chalkio, is one of the best things to do in Naxos. It is located in the hilly Tragea valley and an excursion is almost a must on every trip. Nestled in a picturesque landscape, surrounded by olive trees and mountains, you will discover a quaint Greek mountain village at its best. The small alleys are decorated with flowers and wonderful taverns serve local delicacies. There are also historically important churches in the area, which can be reached via a short walk. One of the best attractions in town is the Kitron Naxos Distillery Museum, where the traditional Kitron liqueur is made and sold.
Tip: Halki is the perfect place to taste the famous Kitron liqueur in the charming taverns and also try the traditional dishes of Naxos island.
Church of St. George Diasoritis
The Byzantine Church of St. George Diasoritis is one of the most beautiful historical attractions of the island of Naxos. It is located a few hundred meters from Halki and can be reached via the charming “Byzantine walk” past olive groves. This historic place of worship was built as early as the 11th century, on the remains of an ancient temple. Not only a real gem from the outside, the inside is also worth seeing. If you are lucky, the church is open and you can admire the ancient frescoes in the church vault. It usually opens in the summer months, from mid-July to mid-September, on Tuesday, and Thursday to Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.
Plaka Beach is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches on Naxos and a fabulous choice if you’re looking for a particularly relaxing place for a beach vacation. This snow-white dream beach stretches for about 4 kilometers and delights with the most stunning turquoise blue water colors. The sea slopes gently, which is also appreciated by families with children. Due to its length, this stretch of coast is never crowded, and thus a guarantee for a quiet vacation on Naxos. Directly behind the beach there are some fabulous hotels and accommodations, and charming taverns overlooking the turquoise sea provide a wonderful vacation feeling.
The village of Filoti is a true pearl on Naxos. This charming, traditional mountain village is located inland, not far from the village of Halki and Zeus Mountain. Most beautiful is the village square, where you can enjoy several cozy restaurants and cafés. The ambience of the village is absolutely idyllic and invites guests to linger. A jewel are also the small stone alleys that lead through the village and provide an insight into the authentic island life. The most important attraction in Filoti is the beautiful, snow-white church of the Holy Mother of Filiotissa, which was built in the 18th century. Moreover, right next to it, you can visit an interesting folklore museum.
Fishing Village Apollonas
At the northernmost tip of Naxos is the romantic fishing village of Apollonas, one of the most popular destinations. Even the journey by bus, rental car or quad bike along the coastal road is an experience that should not be missed on any Naxos vacation. On the way you can enjoy spectacular viewpoints of the sea, you can visit an olive oil museum and also the Kouros of Apollonas is on the road. The highlight, however, is the authentic atmosphere with the pretty fishing harbor, where you can find good tavernas with a beautiful view of the beach of Apollonas. A real insider tip on Naxos for an unforgettable trip to the wild and romantic north of the island!
Tip: If you don’t want to explore Apollonas and the surrounding area on your own, there are also online guided bus tours offered!
Eggares Olive Oil Museum
One of the best things to do in Naxos is to visit the Eggares Olive Oil Museum. The Eggares olive press is the oldest olive mill on the island. It dates back to 1800 and at that time was the press for the entire village community. Today it and the estate have been lovingly restored and can be visited. Especially if you are on your way to the north of Naxos, you should plan a stop. In the exhibition area you will also find an olive store where tastings are held. A good selection of olive oils as well as cosmetics are also available on site. The outdoor terrace is also wonderfully pretty, where you can enjoy the picturesque ambience with a drink.
Tip: You can also find really educational and at the same time exciting guided tours for the whole family including a tasting online at GetYourGuide.
Kouros of Apollonas
The Kouros of Apollonas is one of the most extraordinary attractions on Naxos and a popular photo motif during island exploration tours. This imposing stone figure, almost 11 meters high and weighing around 80 tons, is also known as the Colossus of Dionysus. It is located in the quiet north of the island, in one of the oldest quarries of Naxos and can be reached by a short walk from the main road in the direction of Apollonas. The statue is said to date back to as early as the 7th century BC. This mighty Kouros was made of light gray Naxos marble, which is still quarried on the island today.
Cedar Forest of Alyko & Hawaii Beach
The Cedar Forest of Alyko is a small nature reserve and certainly one of the most scenic places on the island of Naxos. This picturesque area is located in the south of the island, in the middle of a cedar forest, and inspires with lush vegetation, as well as paradisiacal beaches. One of the most beautiful is the legendary Hawaii Beach, which together with the dunes conjure up a true picture book ambience. Many vacationers visit this area via an excursion, walk the coast there and enjoy the wonderful bays for swimming and sunbathing. An insider tip is also the hotel ruin of Alyko. It is probably the most famous lost place on Naxos and also the colorful graffiti art on the walls is absolutely worth seeing.
Mount Zas (Zeus Mountain)
The highest mountain of the island is Mount Zas, the so-called Zeus Mountain of Naxos. With a height of 1.004 meters, it is a landmark of the island because it is also the highest mountain of the Cyclades. Many people come to Naxos especially for hiking, and a walk to the top of Zeus Mountain is high on any bucket list. No less than 2 different, well-marked routes lead to the top of Mount Zas. The easiest trail starts from the chapel of Agía Marína just above Filoti, where you’ll be at the summit in just under an hour. However, proper shoes, enough to drink and sun protection are a must for any hike. Interesting is also the second route, which is actually steeper and starts at the Aria Spring and where you also pass by the famous Zeus Cave.
Marble Village Apiranthos
The picturesque village of Apiranthos, usually known as the marble village of Naxos, is a true jewel of the popular vacation island. It is located in the mountainous hinterland and is a popular destination for excursions. Apiranthos is called the marble village because of the white marble that can be found in every corner of this authentic village. Beautiful are the white stone alleys with the marble houses, which together with the flowers and the bougainvilleas provide an extraordinary scenery. A visit to this village is definitely worth it because in addition to the pretty alleys, there are also numerous excellent taverns and restaurants that serve fabulous island dishes with a fantastic view.
Tip: You should try the orange cake Portokalopita and the lemon cake Lemonopita, which are especially well-prepared in this village of Naxos.
Kouros of Flerio
The Kouros of Flerio are special places to see on Naxos and a famous destination for history and nature lovers. These unfinished statues made of Naxos marble are located a bit off the typical tourist paths and can be reached via an easy walk through a public garden. Of real interest is the Kouros in the garden of Flerio, which has been in the shade of a peasant garden since the 7th to 6th centuries BC. Another stone statue is located about 20 minutes’ walk away, in a beautiful landscape on a hill in the quarry near Flerio. The short hike is worth it because at the top you also have a magnificent view.
On the island of Naxos, the important Naxos marble has been quarried since ancient times and so you can still find several marble quarries that are still in operation today. Especially during the archaic period from the 7th to the 6th century BC, this stone played an important role in the construction of the impressive temples and statues. During a tour of the island, visitors can still discover some of these quarries and also buy souvenirs made of marble. Interesting is the panoramic road from Naxos town to Kinidaros, where you can experience a fabulous view of the mighty marble blocks.
Yria Sanctuary of Dionysus
The Sanctuary of Yria, also known as the Temple of Dionysus of Iria, is one of the most famous historical sites of Naxos. The origin of this sacred site is said to date back already to the 14th century BC. This ancient ruin is located a bit in the inland, in a pretty complex of olive trees and vines, only about 3 kilometers from the capital. During a tour of the area, one can see the remains of the former temple and its annexes. There is also a small museum where you can learn more about the history of the sanctuary of Yria.
Bay of Panermos
The bay of Panermos is an insider tip in Naxos. It is located at the most southeastern tip of the island and its beautiful sandy beach is one of the most fascinating beaches on the island. Although the journey from Naxos town is quite long, but you enjoy an absolutely enchanting landscape when driving there, you pass traditional fishing villages, wonderful viewpoints and many secluded beaches of the east coast. Arriving in Panermos, one experiences Naxos from one of its most special sides. The sandy beach is lined with palm trees and the sea shines in the most stunning water colors. A bit above the bay there is also an interesting excavation site.
Tip: At the port of Panermos, 2-hour boat trips are offered daily during the summer months to visit more stunning natural sites in the south of Naxos.
Church Panagia Drosiani
The church Panagia Drosiani, also known as Naos Panagias Drosianis, is considered one of the most worth seeing places on Naxos and a visit is highly recommended. This Byzantine church is located near the small village of Moni and already the journey over the mountains with a view of the Tragea plain is a highlight in itself. Interesting is the architecture of this church, which actually consists of 4 different church buildings. Built as early as the 6th century AD, the Panagia Drosiani was renovated only about 60 years ago. It is also interesting to visit the interior, where you will be amazed by the ancient frescoes.
Tip: The church Panagia Drosiani can be visited for a small donation. It opens daily from 11:00 am to 18:00.
Village Koronos & the Emery Mines
Located in the center of the island of Naxos at 500 meters above sea level, Koronos is a small village actually known for its emery mining. During a tour of the rustic mountain village, one experiences the island from one of its most pristine sides. A hundred stairs lead through the small town like a labyrinth. Interesting is also the surrounding area, where are still find many of these former mines. Some of the mines can even be visited, others are located right on the roadside. A fascinating area for a road trip on the island of Naxos.
Fishing Village Lionas
On the east coast of Naxos is the dreamy fishing village of Lionas, an insider’s tip for a road trip around the island. Already the journey over the mountains is an adventure. Once there, you will also experience a beautiful natural bay, surrounded by imposing cliffs, high mountains and green vegetation. The sea is turquoise blue and the pebbles are unusually dark for Naxos. Especially stunning are also the small white fishermen’s houses, which provide a romantic idyll. Many visit this fishing village as part of a day trip and combine it to taste the local delicacies in the traditional fish taverns.
Where to Stay in Naxos
Naxos offers its visitors a wide range of fantastic accommodations. From beautiful beach hotels, gorgeous boutique hotels, cute guesthouses, top-equipped apartments and even camping, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the most stunning accommodations on the island of Naxos in Greece…It’s worth a look!
- 3-Star Hotel with Pool: The Hotel Katerina is a wonderfull pretty 3-star hotel. Guests love the cute little complex, the hospitality and also the proximity to the beach is top!
- Aparthotel with a View: The Phoenicia Naxos is a dream! It is very quiet, has a beautiful pool and also a fascinating swimming beach is not far from the hotel.
- Villa with Pool: The Cocopalm Villas Naxos are a great choice for a special vacation on Naxos. The villas are to fall in love with and also the view is magnificent.
- Vacation Rentals: The Seanfinity Beachfront Suites especially beautiful suites overlooking the sea with either a Jacuzzi or pool.
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