Introduction to Naxos

Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades islands group. This large fertile island was, according to Greek mythology, where Zeus was raised in a cave on a mountain now known as Mount Zas. It’s most notable landmark is the Portara, an unfinished temple dedicated to Apollo, can be seen as you sail into the Port.

Naxos Town is the main village and features a traditional white washed buildings. In the center of this area is the Kastro. The castle was built by Venetian Marco Sanudo in 1207. The castle now houses a museum, a Catholic Church and many homes.

Due to the size of Naxos, the island features some of the best beaches in Greece and plenty of villages to explore. Keep reading to find out how to experience all of Naxos, including our 1 day and 3 day itinerary.

Naxos Greece

Experiences

Naxos is reachable by ferry or airplane. The ferry provides an opportunity to see a few islands and the Mediterranean Sea before arriving in Naxos. Arriving by plane means you will get to Naxos in about 25 minutes from the Athens airport.

Naxos is full of experiences that will form lasting memories. Here are 5 recommended experiences:

1. Watch the sunset from the Portara. If you arrive by ferry, you might notice the large frame looking relic at the port. This is known as the Portara. It is the unfinished temple dedicated to the god Apollo. It is the only known temple dedicated to him. This is the top spot to watch the sunset in Naxos. Get there around 20 minutes before sunset to find the best spot to watch the sun sink behind the island of Paros.

2. Get lost in the Chora. The Chora is the Greek term for village. Almost every island has a main Chora. In Naxos, this is the village you see when you arrive by ferry. Some also call it Naxos Old Town. The winding streets of houses, shops and restaurants are a great place to get lost in. It also is a great place for a classic Greek photo.

3. Visit the village of Halki. Halki used to be the capital of Naxos but is now a sleepy village with stunning scenery. Visit the Gratzia Tower, which is a Venetian tower built in the 17th century. You should also walk to Agios Georgios Diasoritis church. It is a small but beautiful church dedicated to Saint George.

4. See some street art at Alyko Beach.  In an abandoned unfinished hotel on Alyko Beach is some amazing street art. This is definitely an unusual find on a Greek beach. The artist, Wild Drawing, frequently returns to Naxos to do new pieces so you can return to see new ones every few years.

5. Take a day sail to the Small Cyclades.  There are three small islands south of Naxos that are worth visiting. Several sailing companies go to these in sailboats. You can pick a boat on the main Naxos promenade in Naxos Town.

1 Day and 3 Day Naxos Itinerary

1 Day Itinerary

08:00-11:00 – Explore Naxos Old Town. Get lost in the winding streets and take photos. Make your way up to the Kastro area of the Old Town. Stop at 1739 Terrasse Cafe for a coffee and excellent views of the island.

11:00-16:00 – Take the bus to Agios Prokopios. Agios Prokopios beach is one of the nicest beaches in Naxos. Relax the afternoon away under a rented umbrella and swim. You can also see the ferries coming and going from here.

16:00-19:00 – Shop in Plaka.  The next beach down from Agios Prokopios is Plaka and there are some lovely shops to explore as well as restaurants for a snack. After this head back to your hotel and take a rest in the afternoons as the Greeks do.

19:00-20:00 – See the sunset at Portara. It is a perfect way start your evening in Naxos.

20:00-22:00 – Eat dinner Greek style. The Greeks eat dinner late. Have dinner on the promenade or in Naxos Old Town. After dinner do some people watching on the promenade.

3 Day Itinerary

After your first day on the island, add-on these two days of fun to your itinerary…

DAY 2

Morning and Afternoon – Take the bus to the village of Halki.  This quiant village is located about 30 minutes south east of the Port and is a wonderful village to explore. There is a traditional distillery of Kitron in the town to take a tour. Kitron is a locally made liqueur from the citron fruit. There are also several historic sites to see including the Venetian tower and several churches.

Evening – Eat dinner on the Promenade.  You should not miss eating while the sun goes down. There are plenty of restaurants to sit and watch the sunset while you eat on the main promenade in Naxos Town.

DAY 3

Morning and Afternoon – Take a day sail. There are several boats offering day sails to the smaller islands close by and some places in Naxos not reachable by car. You will spend the day on the boat and they serve you lunch as well.

Evening – Explore Old Town at night. Naxos Old Town takes on a different feel at night and many places only open for the evening.

Greek Islands