Jul 19, 2023
Naxos island is the largest and most fertile island in the Cyclades island group located in the Aegean Sea. It sits roughly in the middle of the Cyclades cluster, with Mykonos to the north and Santorini to the south.
The island of Naxos is known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, ancient history, and lively nightlife. It's an incredibly diverse island that offers a mix of relaxation, adventure, culture and activities to suit different tastes.
How to get to Naxos
The most common ways to reach Naxos are by ferry from Athens or by plane.
By ferry: There are daily ferry connections between Athens (the port of Piraeus) and Naxos. The journey takes between 5-6 hours depending on the ferry type.
Some companies that operate this route include Blue Star Ferries, Seajets, and Hellenic Seaways. Tickets can be purchased online or directly at the port. Ferries arrive at the main port in Naxos town.
By plane: You can fly directly to Naxos Airport from Athens with airlines like Aegean Airlines or Sky Express. Flights take around 45 minutes and operate daily during high season.
The airport is located 3.5km from Naxos town, so you'll need to arrange transportation onwards. Taxis are available or many hotels offer airport shuttle services.
Getting around the island of Naxos
Naxos is a fairly large island, so getting around requires some mode of transportation. Here are the main options for getting around Naxos:
Rent a car: Hiring a car is one of the most popular and convenient ways to explore the island of Naxos. It allows you to visit even the most remote beaches and villages at your own pace. There are several rental agencies scattered around Naxos town and the main resort areas. Expect to pay around 40-60 EUR per day for a small car during high season.
Public bus: Naxos has a reliable bus network that connects Naxos town with the main villages and beaches. The buses run frequently during high season, with reduced schedules in the shoulder seasons. Fares are generally 2-5 EUR depending on distance. The bus is an affordable option but can be limiting if you want flexibility.
Taxi: Taxis are readily available, especially in and around Naxos town. They are more expensive than buses but provide door-to-door service. Agree on the fare beforehand to avoid any surprises. Taxis can be booked in advance to arrange island tours or transfers too.
Motorbike/ATV rental: For adventurous travellers, renting a motorbike or ATV is another way to explore Naxos' winding roads and inland villages. Prices are around 15-30 EUR per day. Keep in mind that a valid motorcycle license is required.
Boat tours: Taking a boat tour is a wonderful way to see Naxos' rugged and secluded coastline. There are half-day and full-day tours, some including stops for swimming, snorkelling and lunch. Most tours depart from Naxos town harbour.
Best beaches in Naxos
Naxos is blessed with over 150 km of coastline and dozens of stunning beaches. Here are some of the most beautiful and popular:
One of the most famous beaches, with its 1km long stretch of soft white sand and shallow turquoise waters, perfect for families. It gets quite busy in peak season. Located 5km from Naxos town. This is an organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas available to rent and cafes/bars nearby.
A long sandy beach known for its fine white sand that stretches over 2.5km. It remains relatively tranquil even in August. Located on the west coast, 6km from town. This is an organized beach with sunbed and umbrella rentals and a couple of tavernas for food and drinks.
Picturesque beach with sand dunes and shallow waters. Excellent for windsurfing given the blustery winds. Just 6km south of Naxos town. A well organized beach with sunbed rentals and a small beach bar.
A more remote southwest-facing beach surrounded by cedar trees. The sea floor slopes gradually, making it good for inexperienced swimmers. This is not an organized beach.
On the west coast, this exposed beach is popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders due to the strong winds. Expect big waves in summer. Partly organized beach.
Stunning wide beach lined with distinctive white pebbles and seaside tavernas. Located on the northwest tip of the island. A partly organized beach with some sunbed rentals and cafes.
Best bars and restaurants
After a day at the beach, Naxos comes alive at night with its vibrant restaurant and bar scene. Here are some top choices on the island:
Lucullus Bar Restaurant (Naxos Town): Trendy and romantic rooftop bar/lounge with amazing views over Naxos town and harbor. Cocktails are excellent, as is the Greek and Mediterranean small plates menu. Open from 6pm late.
Scirocco Cafe Bar (Agios Prokopios Beach): Laidback beachfront cocktail bar playing ambient music. The perfect place to unwind while watching the sunset with a unique Scirocco rum cocktail in hand. Open all day and night.
Sto Stefano (Naxos Town): Charming family-run taverna located down a small alley in the old town. Serves delicious authentic Greek cuisine like moussaka, kleftiko, seafood and fresh salads in a cozy setting. Open for dinner daily.
Gorgona Restaurant (Plaka Beach): Bohemian beach restaurant set right on the sand at tranquil Plaka Beach. Known for its fresh seafood, inventive Greek fusion dishes and signature cocktails. Open for lunch and dinner with beach service.
Taverna Paradiso (Halki Village): Quaint tavern in the scenic mountain village of Halki. Enjoy local Naxian specialities on the vine-covered terrace with a view over the valley. Friendly traditional service too. Dinner only.
Picasso Mexican Bistro (Agia Anna Beach): Lively Mexican restaurant and bar near Agia Anna Beach. Tacos, fajitas, margaritas and more among rooftop ocean views. The place for something different on Naxos. Open lunch through late.
Best Naxos Hotels
Naxos offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and styles. Here are some top picks:
Nissaki Boutique Hotel (Naxos Town): Chic adults-only boutique hotel in a quiet area of town. Stylishly designed rooms, an outdoor pool, and excellent breakfast. Rates from 200 EUR/night.
Hotel Grotta (Chora Village): Traditional Cycladic hotel with cave-style rooms, stunning views from its infinity pool, and warm hospitality. Located in peaceful Chora village. Rates from 150 EUR/night.
Villa Marandi (Agios Prokopios): Luxurious beachfront villa steps from Agios Prokopios Beach. Features a private pool, tropical gardens, full kitchen, and spacious bedrooms. Rates from 300 EUR/night.
Ananda Resort (Plaka Beach): Beachfront resort on Plaka Beach offering villas, suites and rooms surrounding lush gardens and a pool. Two restaurants, tennis court, spa and water sports available. Rates from 180 EUR/night.
Pireaus Gaia Villas (Agia Anna): Collection of airy, whitewashed villas with modern interiors located in Agia Anna. Private patios, kitchens, and a sparkling pool. Rates from 125 EUR/night.
Pension Irene 2 (Naxos Town): Simple, central guesthouse in Naxos old town with clean, basic rooms starting at 70 EUR/night in high season. Run by a friendly local family.
Naxos has accommodation options for all styles and budgets. Book well in advance for the high summer season.
Best Things to do in Naxos
Explore the Old Town of Naxos - Wander the winding alleys and whitewashed houses in the old town (Chora) of Naxos. Admire historic Venetian mansions and medieval architecture as you stroll. Stop at cute shops and galleries along the way.
Visit the Portara - This massive marble gate once belonged to an ancient Greek temple dedicated to Apollo. The gate overlooks the sea just outside Naxos town and makes for an iconic photo spot.
Hike up to Zeus Cave - Located in the interior of Naxos, this intriguing cave is set within the slopes of Mount Zeus. There are stalactites and stalagmites to see inside. The hike offers great views across the island.
Archaeological Museum - Housed in a 17th century mansion, this museum contains artifacts spanning the Cycladic period to the Venetian era. Highlights include the famous Naxos kouros statue.
Day trip to Delos Island - This UNESCO-protected archaeological site was an important mythological, political and commercial center in ancient Greece. The boat trip from Naxos takes just a couple hours.
Wander through Chalki Village - This picturesque mountain village is known for its ancient pathways, neoclassical houses and historic churches. Browse the shops and tavernas.
Windsurfing or kitesurfing - The strong summer winds create excellent conditions around beaches like Mikri Vigla. Rent equipment and try surfing for yourself.
- Take a cycling tour - Bike through small villages, fertile valleys, olive groves and more. Tours can be guided or self-guided. E-bikes make it easier to tackle the hills.