Greece and its islands are famous destinations for a relaxing Mediterranean holiday. Naxos island is simply the perfect Greek island when you want to relax and have a great vacation.
If you are visiting Greece, make sure to visit this small but iconic island that is in the Aegean Sea covered with olive gardens, beautiful beaches, delicious food, and friendly people. Naxos island is known to be loved by all and is enjoyable by all.
Naxos island might not be as famous as its neighbouring Greek islands like Santorini, Paros, and Mykonos, but it is no less than them in beauty and elegance.
This Greek Island also has a lot of history related to it. This island is considered a hidden gem.
1. Introduction and History of Naxos Greece
1.1 Introduction to Naxos Greece
This Greek Island is the biggest one in the Group of Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. It is almost in the middle of the cluster with 430 square km.
They have almost 20,000 citizens. The capital of the island, Chora or Naxos town accommodates half of this population.
Naxos is one of the interesting places in the region. The history is spread across the island with many monuments.
Naxos also boasts of being the greenest island in the archipelago. Naxos island also has 4 islets to it too, namely, Koufonissia, Irakila, Donoussa, and Schinoussa.
One of the things the Greek island is known for, other than the pristine beaches like Mikri Vigla and greenery, is their traditional food that is grown locally.
There are also various adventure sports there for adventure junkies.
1.2. History of Naxos Greece
If you are someone who loves Greek history and mythology, then you are in for a great treat.
The history of Naxos Greece goes as to the time of Zeus, the King of Gods, childhood. He stayed here away from his father, Kronos, all his childhood. He was hidden in a cave in Mount Zas.
According to the mythology, Zeus, also the protector of Naxians, had his son, Dionysus, God of revelry and wine, who was later cared for by the local Nymphs of Naxos.
The god loved the island and blessed it with fertile land and rich vineyards and wine. The people there even built a temple for Dionysus.
The land was later evaded and ruled by the Athenians, Spartans, Macedonians, Romans, Egyptians, and many more groups. The arrival of Venetian rule is an important time in the island’s history.
They arrived in the year 120. These rulers made the marvellous castle at the top hill of Naxos Town, which still exists. There were almost 56 provinces at that time. Their rule lasted till 1564 which was later was later taken by the Ottomans.
Naxos eventually became a free Greek state in 1832.
2. How to Reach Naxos Greece?
Now, this is a tricky part. Reaching Naxos is as elaborate as the island.
One thing to remember is there is no direct flight to Naxos. You can take a flight to the Island as there is an airport on the island. Most of the flight is from Athens.
You can also take a Ferry service from Athens or other Greek islands as they are efficient, and reliable and can give you time to enjoy the beautiful view.
It can almost take 3 to 5 hours. This is also very affordable.
You can also take a trip by boat to get around the Cyclades archipelago i.e., Santorini, Mykonos, Ios, Milos, Crete, Paros, etc.
You can also take a trip by ferry from Paros, and it only takes about 40 minutes. You’ll reach the Port of Chora town.
Once you get to Naxos Greece, it is easy to go Island hopping. There are buses across the island. These buses connect all towns and villages. You can also rent out a scooter, motorbike, car, or cycle in Naxos town. You can also walk around to have that extra feel of the place.
As for the accommodation, there are a lot of affordable options as well as luxury ones.
3. To-Do Things in Naxos Greece
While it might be a lesser-known island, there are tons of activities to do here.
There is everything from kitesurfing, windsurfing, and sunbathing to cooking classes and snorkelling. There is almost something for everyone here.
Below given are some of the things you can do to explore Naxos Greece.
3.1. Go Sailing
Like most Greek islands, sailing is one of the loved activities in Naxos.
Have a trip on a boat to the silent and hidden coves of the small neighbouring islands.
You can get many sailing boats in the port area, or you can book a boat.
These trips can go from half-day trips to 3-4 days trips. The most popular ones are the half-day and 1- or 2-days trip.
But a few days on the Mediterranean waters is nothing less of a magical experience.
You can go swimming, cliff jumping or snorkelling around Naxos Greece.
3.2. Take a Cooking Class
Want to learn how to prepare Mediterranean traditional food? You can get this chance in Naxos. You can learn to make the Naxian traditional food.
You can take classes in taverns and even in some homes.
While you study this, you get to cook the dishes and learn more about the history and culture of Naxos. You get to learn how to make food on an open fire on an organic farm.
These farms have more olive trees that are more than 2,000 years old. These classes can be an interesting experience.
3.3. Hiking in Naxos
The mountains in Naxos are great for hiking and have many trails. The Region of Apollonas has a great scene.
There is also the steep trail in the village of Filoti to Mount Zeus or Mt. Zas.
Most trails cross many ancient ruins, churches, and monasteries. You can also see farms, olive gardens that give olive oil, and vineyards.
These trails are on different levels of length, difficulty, and experience. Just make sure to enjoy and carry essentials.
3.4. Go Sunbathing, Kite, Windsurfing and Snorkeling.
The beaches in Naxos, like most beaches in Greece, have that Mediterranean charm to them.
You can find pristine turquoise waters with people enjoying them. You can sunbathe here as long as you want.
Some of the famous sandy beaches include Mikri Vigla, Agia Anna beach, Agio Georgios, Magia, Aliko, Orkos, Plaka beach, and Agio Prokopis.
You can also rent out a boat and go snorkelling in the Rina cave which is accessible by water. It is a great activity for tourists.
Kite or Windsurfing is a very popular activity in Naxos Greece. The island is windy, and the beaches are the prime spot for this activity.
3.5. Go Partying at Night
The main city, Chora or Naxos Town has some great cafes, lounge bars, and nightclubs.
While some of these places work only in the summer, people still love it. These places do complement the salient atmosphere of the island.
For the more mature crowd, Jazz and Blues Bar is the best choice and Prime Bar is the best for younger people. This bar is also a beachfront cafe.
For a romantic setup, you can visit the Miami-style Like Home Bar.
4. Places to Visit in Naxos
Naxos Greece is a great place with a variety of landmarks. There are ruins, beaches, mountains, Venetian towers, farms, and much more.
Below given are the places one should visit in Naxos at least once.
4.1. Naxos Town (Kastro)
Chora is the main city of the Greek island. It is also Island’s capital. It is also called the old town.
You can find the Glezos Towers. Castle on the top hill by Sanoudos with Krispi tower which stays above sea level over the ruins of an old Acropolis. The castle’s wall is the best feature.
There is also a museum with byzantine history and an archaeological museum. The museum exhibits archaeological goods going back to the Neolithic era.
Some other exhibits include marble figurines, Mycenaean and roman vases, and glassware.
Small alleys go to the church, mansions, and monasteries. The famous 18th-century cathedral Mitropoli Zoodochou Pigis stands famously here.
4.2. Greek Temples
In older times, the Naxian people used to worship Greek gods. Some temples were erected for the gods and there are still many temples found here.
The iconic temple of Demeter was built in the 6th Century BC. Demeter was the Greek goddess of Fertility and agriculture. It is also in Sangri, Chora.
The ruins can still be seen. It was ruined by Christians in the 6th Century.
It is a famous place as the sunset here is very beautiful and many flocks here to see it. The whole temple is built of Naxian marble. There is a museum at the site that is free for all.
4.3. Cave in The Mount Zas
The cave in Mount Zas is a famous site for tourists. It is also a place of historic importance.
It was where Zeus, God of gods grew up while hiding from his father, the Titan Kronos. It was also here where he became the ruler.
To honour him, the people of Naxos Greece named the cave and mountain after him.
Various historical remains can be found which include Neolithic, Roman, and much more by the archaeological team in 1962.
Two paths lead to the cave, one from the village of Danakos and the other from Filoti. There is also a fountain of Aries which still has water.
The mountain is the tallest peak in the whole Cyclades group. The altitude of the range is about 1000 m. it is very famous among hikers and mountain climbers.
You get to see the marvellous sight of the Aegean Seas and the islands of the Cyclades archipelago.
4.4. Naxos Portara
This is one popular destination in Naxos Greece, the great door or The Portara is a big doorway made of marble from the 6th BCE.
It is near the port of the tiny island of Palatia. This doorway is almost 20ft high and 11ft wide.
The doorway is part of a supposed temple for Apollo. Some people say it was meant to be a temple for Dionysus or Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
It was begun by a tyrant ruler. But when he fell from the throne, the work remained unfinished. Later when Venetians came, they used the marble to make the castle of Naxos.
If you are coming to the Island via ferry at the port, this is the first site you’ll be seeing.
This is one of the busiest places on the island as the sunset here is just magical. You can walk along the stone path with waves on both sides.
4.5. Panagia Drossiani Church
This iconic and historic church is situated in the middle of the Island. Church Panagia Drossiani means Dewy Virgin, which might be small but not any less beautiful.
During the Ottoman reign, monks and nuns used to teach Greek children, which was by the way forbidden. The church is decorated with frescoes that go back to the 6 or 7th century.
There is a certain schedule when the church is open, and admission is by donation. If you visit the church during Good Friday, there is a celebration along with the village.
5. Naxos Beaches
There are some exceptional beaches in Naxos Greece. Some of them are given below, but there are some others like Mikri Vigla and much more.
5.1. Agios Prokopios Beach
The most famous beach in Naxos is Agios Prokopios. It is a few miles away from Naxos Town. This beach is considered one pristine beach in Europe.
This was the main port of the Island in the Middle Ages. There is an iconic old shipwreck too. While one side of the beach is a resort, the other side is a natural, peaceful paradise, with a church.
Water sports also take place here. These include windsurfing, beach volleyball, snorkelling, bicycling, and much more.
There are also shops, cafes, beach bars, taverns, bike, and car rentals, and much more.
5.2. Agia Anna Beach
This beach is almost 4 miles long! Agia Anna was once a fishing village in Hora. It can be also said as an extension of Agios Prokopios beach.
It also has a harbour for the area’s fishermen. This beach is also organized and clean on the Greek island.
You can see and use umbrellas and sunbeds on the Agia Anna beach. The whole area has beachfront hotels which is a great accommodation option.
There are also beach bars, taverns, cafes, and great restaurants. This is a very windy beach in Naxos.
It is also one of the family-friendly beaches as it is very calm and quieter as compared to Agios Prokopis and Agios Georgios beaches.
5.3. Agios Georgios Beach
This beautiful beach is the busiest in Naxos. It is just 15 minutes walk from Naxos Downtown or Chora. It is considered the main beach on the island.
The north side of this beach is sheltered.
This is just the perfect site for a quick swim or to just lay on the sunbed under the umbrellas. But make sure to schedule properly, as it can get really busy.
5.4. Plaka Beach
This beach is one of a kind. Set 6 miles away from Chora, this beach is almost 2 miles long.
This is a nude beach, but when it is the season, it gets pushed to the southern part of the beach.
The Plaka beach is good for families with kids and swimmers. It is a preferred beach by most tourists. The turquoise waters and golden sand shore are very inviting.
The beach also is an area prone to water sports.
5.5. Aliko Beach
This is a small and exotic beach. The beach is surrounded by cedar forests and the crumbling hotel remains.
The beach and its surroundings have a different vibe from the rest of the island. There are also a few coves there.
Go towards the hotel that remains next to the cedars, you’ll get to see the art of the well-known street artist, WD (Wild Drawing). This street art is worth visiting as these drawings have a background to them.
The street art known as Faces in the Sea is a way to remember the Syrian refugees who drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1. What Is Naxos Greece Known For?
Ans- Naxos Greece is known for its pristine beaches, high-quality organic agricultural products, history, and windsurfing.
Q.2. Is Naxos Really Tourist Friendly?
Ans- Naxos is like its neighbouring islands, Santorini and Mykonos, minus the crowd. It is liked by most tourists who visit the island.
Q.3. Which Is Better Crete or Naxos?
Ans- While Crete and Naxos are pretty similar, the only difference between them is their area. Crete is the biggest Greek island. But Naxos Greece is much more beautiful than Crete.
Q.4. Is Naxos Greece a Party Island?
Ans- Naxos Greece has great nightlife. There is a huge number of nightclubs, bars, and cafes that is very active at the night. So, it can be concluded that it is a party island.
Q.5. What Is the Better way to Reach Naxos Greece?
Ans- there are many modes of transport to Naxos. While the most enjoyable way to Naxos is to take the ferry from the nearby islands, it can be time-consuming. So, many visitors like to fly in from Athens.
Naxos Greece might be the lesser-known island in the Cyclades. But it is very much diverse and authentic like the other neighbouring island.
The rich culture, food, and friendly people can give you the best experience there.
There is something for everyone, be it hiking in the mountains, or just going island hopping. This island is just a perfect family and romantic destination.
There are much more things to do here.
Make sure to visit these places when you visit the Cycladic islands.