Your Complete Travel Guide For Naxos Greece

2 Traveling Lovers

Naxos is the largest Greek island in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. It’s a relatively undiscovered tourist destination which we found to have the most picturesque awe-inspiring views we’ve ever seen. Naxos is a fantastic place for a romantic getaway or honeymoon. Here’s Your Complete Travel Guide For Naxos Greece.

Naxos is an island which boasts the “greenest island of the Cyclades,” with its beautiful beaches (some remote), enchanting villages, Venetian castles, temples, churches, a labyrinth, vibrant shops, and restaurants. What more could you possibly ask for in a vacation destination? It’s not as well known as the neighboring islands of Mykonos or Santorini, but that was a lot of the appeal for us when we choose Naxos as our next stop. We stayed in the small port town of Chora, which is the main town in Naxos or simply referred to as Naxos Town.

Table of Contents
A Brief History of Naxos
Where To Stay In Naxos?
Where To Eat While In Naxos?
How Do I Get Around In Naxos?
What Is There To Do In Naxos?
What Do We Regret Not Seeing/Doing In Naxos?

In this article, we give you a complete travel guide to have an excellent vacation when visiting Naxos. We will provide you with suggestions of where to stay, good places to eat, what to do, and even transportation options.

Naxos Town (Chora)

Naxos Town is the main port town of Naxos. If you arrive by ferry one the first things you will see is the Portara, which in Greek means “big door.” According to Greek mythology, this is where Dionysus met Ariadne. The unfinished temple was dedicated to Apollo. The unfinished temple of Apollo was built in 522 BC by the tyrant Lygdamis. Had the temple been finished they say it would have been one of the most important archaeological destinations in Greece. The legend is if you stand in the doorway and make a wish, you can feel the force of energy as Apollo begins working to make your wish come true.

Here’s a little backstory on Zeus and the island of Naxos which I found interesting.

Interesting Tidbit on Naxos Greek Mythology

Zeus, the father of all Gods, was born in Crete but he grew up on the island of Naxos. He was abducted from the island of Crete and raised in the caves of Mt. Zas (named after Zeus). According to ancient myth, Zeus fell in love with Semele, the daughter of King Cadmus of Thebes. Zeus and Semele had an illicit affair which resulted in a pregnancy. Upon hearing of this Hera, wife to Zeus, and she was the Goddess of the Woman and Marriage urged Semele to ask Zeus to appear before her all of his divine majesty. Because Semele was mortal, she was unable the withstand the thunderbolts and was thunderstruck and died before giving birth to her child. Zeus seized the fetus and placed it in his thigh until his son was ready to be born at which time Dionysus emerged from his father’s thigh on the island of Naxos. Dionysus is known as the God of wine and ecstasy.

 “The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores.”  – Henry Miller



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Where To Stay In Naxos

Where To Stay In Naxos?

We recommend staying in Naxos Town (Chora) or the Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, and Plaka beach area. Both areas are relatively close to each other. If you want to be close to the downtown area, with shops, bars and restaurants stay in Naxos Town. If you are looking for a slow paced beach experience, we suggest staying in Agios Prokopios.

Naxos Town has all the amenities you may need within walking distance. There are many restaurant choices, cafes, tour companies, taverns, shops, and car/scooter rental stores all within walking distance of the port.  There are many restaurants with outdoor patios where you can enjoy a drink while gazing at the beautiful Aegean Sea.

Agios Prokopios is considered one of the best beaches in Greece, ranking as Greece’s 3rd top beach and in Europe’s top ten. The water is turquoise near the shoreline and turns to a deep blue as it moves to the sea.  You will find long stretches of golden sand beaches with crystal clear water. Doesn’t that sound relaxing?

Accommodations

We stayed in a studio apartment Airbnb with ocean views from the patio, a kitchenette, bathroom and that’s about it. I will be honest; it was a bit small. The location was just down the street from Naxos Town, which was fantastic but it was small for a week stay.  If you are interested in checking out Airbnb deals click here.  By using our link you will get $40 off after your 1st stay.

Where To Stay In Naxos Town

Here’s a list of 3 top rated properties in Naxos Town. Click on the links to check them out.

Santa Katerina Apartments & Studios has a 4-star accommodation rating with a prior guest rating of 9.9. Rates start at $91 per night.

Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Polis Boutique Hotel has a 4-star accommodations rating with a prior guest rating of 9.4. Rates start at $174 per night.

Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Venetian Suites has a 4-star accommodations rating with a prior guest rating of 9.9. Rates start at $269 per night.

Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Where To Stay In The Agios Prokopios Area

Agios Prokopios Hotel has a 3-star accommodation rating with a prior guest rating of 9.0. Rates start at $69 per night.

Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Ampelos Inn has a 3-star accommodation rating with a prior guest rating of 9.1 .  Rates start at $128 per night.

Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

Naxos Island Hotel has a 5-star accommodation rating with a prior guest rating of 9.0. Rates start at $229 per night.

Click here to see the latest price on Booking.com.

“Greece is a good place for rebirths.”  –  Judith Martin

Where To Eat In Naxos

We’ve compiled a list of restaurants that came highly recommended to us from many locals which we had the opportunity to get to know while on the island.

We found the residents of Naxos to be kind, welcoming, helpful and laid back during our stay. For instance, we mentioned to the girl where we rented our moped about how we needed an additional universal outlet converter, not only did she tell us where to buy it, she called the owner while we were standing there to make sure it was in stock, and then offered to pick it up for us on her lunch break!!

Another example was the host of our Airbnb sat with us for over an hour telling us about the history of Naxos along with the best things to do and where to eat. It seemed everyone we met who is a resident of Naxos could not be more willing to help or give needed advice. They go out of their way to welcome tourists in Naxos.

There wasn’t enough time to try every restaurant (we tried most) on the list; however, after hearing the great recommendations from the locals (one having lived in Naxos 30 years), we felt we should pass on the information.

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Bikini Cafe
Great coffee, cappuccinos, and bakery items. Also, if you’re looking for a good internet connection while enjoying a cup of coffee, you will find it here.

Meltemi Restaurant – Greek Food
Extensive menu & bar, great calamari, and greek salad.

Kozi – Authentic Greek Food
This restaurant has some of the best Gyros, Ya Souvlaki, and Greek salad on the island!

Aktaion – Best Bakery for Sweets

No Name Bakery in the Labrinth – Best Bakery for homemade bread

Naxos Grill – Greek grill & Meditteranean, good portions and inexpensive prices

Nostimon Hellas – Local cuisine, Mediterranean, Greek, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options. This restaurant has options for many types of diets, and the food is fantastic. There is something for everyone’s taste at Nostimon Hellas.

Restaurant O Vasilis in Melanes – Mediterranean, Greek, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options. Vasilis is a family run business, and everything we tried here was fabulous!! You can’t go wrong with whatever you order. The baked eggplant is terrific!

Matina & Stavros in Koronos – Greek & Mediterranean
We stumbled upon this restaurant during our inland exploring itinerary, and we loved it!! It’s a great place to stop for lunch while exploring other parts of the island. There’s really no menu; you eat whatever she has prepared for the day.

Koronida Villiage – Best wine on the island

Taverna Faros – Seafood & Mediterranean, Vegetarian & Vegan options.
Taverna Faros is in Agia Anna Beach, and some say Taverna Faros has the best food on Naxos. Their food is organic, and much of it comes from their personal garden!

Picasso – Mexican food on Plaka Beach
If you have a craving for Mexican food, Picasso is the place to go!! Coming from California, we love Mexican food, and it’s not easy to find in Greece. We always eat the local cuisine, but I’ll be honest I’m addicted to chips and salsa, and we haven’t been able to find that in Greece (even in the grocery stores). 🙁 Picasso’s was fantastic for my Mexican food “fix.”

Scirocco – Seafood, Mediterranean & Greek
Sciroccos is a family run business with excellent service and food.

Su & Giu – Italian, Mediterranean, European, Vegetarian & Vegan Options
Su & Giu has phenomenal pizzas!! They have an expansive menu, and it’s located right on the waterfront.

Daily Boutique Deals

Transportation

You have many options for transportation while on the island of Naxos, they include; buses, taxis, car rental, quad, or scooter rental. We chose to rent a scooter for 2-days so we would have the freedom to explore the island on our time table. Although it seemed quite safe to rent a scooter because the roads aren’t busy, I would NOT recommend it if the weather is below 70 F or 21C.

Naxos weather is wacky!! The day can start out sunny and calm, then without warning the clouds and winds pick up and it’s darn right cold! There is a microclimate in the Cyclades which causes the weather to be more unpredictable than in years past. We visited Naxos in May, so if you’re there in the summer, it’s probably fine. A few locals commented to us the weather has been extremely unpredictable over the last few years. I’m mentioning this because it’s downright freezing when on the back of the scooter when the wind picks up and the clouds roll in. So if you’re visiting during off or shoulder season, you may want to rent a car or take the bus.

We chose specific things to do after hours of research and talking with a few locals in the community (one having lived in Naxos for 30 years). Also, we rented a scooter for both of these sample itinerary days. As I stated earlier, you may want to rent a car if it’s expected to rain or if you visit during a cooler time of year. Our itineraries start in the main town of Chora.

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Beaches & Southern Towns

Day 1 Itinerary
Beaches & Southern Towns of Naxos Exploration Day

This was a really fun day, we were able to see eight beaches.  A word of advice, make sure you pack a cooler backpack because there are no restaurants or amenities on the southernmost beaches. We use our Primocean backpack cooler on our excursion days because it has lots of room and there’s a portion for keeping food cold.  It’s fabulous and we use it almost daily.

1. Alyko Beach

After leaving Chora, we chose to start at the southernmost remote beach of Alyko and work our way back to Chora through the day. Alyko Beach is one of the most extensive white beaches on Naxos. It’s a beautiful white sand beach with a forest of cedar trees in the background.

Make sure you visit the ruined unfinished hotel at the southernmost tip of Alyko. The Swedes started construction on the hotel and never finished because the Greek’s stopped the construction after reports of strange activity. People on Naxos noticed the builders of the hotel leaving with more items than they were bringing onto the island for its development. It turns out, the Swedes had uncovered ancient ruins, and they were removing those items from the island. Once the Greek government found out, they stopped construction. The Greek government and the Swedes had been in a court battle for 30 – 40 years over this piece of land until seven years ago when the Greeks won back the rights to the land.

When we visited this uncompleted abandoned hotel, we were the only people there which was kind of eerie and cool at the same time. This area is now a place where graphic artists have unorganized festivals to show off their work and hang out. Most of the buildings have unique displays of artwork like nothing I’ve ever seen. We really enjoyed freely walking through the old concrete buildings admiring the artwork displayed throughout the structures.  Seeing this abandoned hotel was one of the highlights of our day!!

2. Glyfada Beach

On Glyfada beach, you will find a long white sand beach with many sand dunes and cedar trees. There no amenities on either Alyko or Glyfada beach, so make sure you bring food and water. We had a picnic while watching the kitesurfers on Glyfada beach. Also, this is a clothing optional beach.

3. Mikra Vigia Beach

Mikra Vigia is another clothing optional and remote beach which has very few tourists. It’s worth a stop for its natural raw beauty. There’s a small tavern where you can stop called Taverna Mikri Vigla.

4. Orkos Beach

Orkos beach is located in the small town of Mikra Vigia. Orkos is an area of small beaches with a Scandinavian influence. If you are looking for an area where it’s not too touristy, lots of untouched landscapes, and water activities such as kitesurfing, windsurfing, and sunbathing you may love Orkos Beach. We stopped by the newly renovated Orkos Beach Hotel, and it’s gorgeous. If you want to check it out on booking.com, click here. They have rooms and suites that can hold up to 6 people.

5. Plaka Beach

Plaka Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Naxos. There are many umbrellas and beach chairs for rent, and lots of water activities like scuba diving, kite surfing, and windsurfing. You will find a long white sand beach and crystal clear turquoise water. There are many restaurants and shops where you can browse when you’re tired of the sun. Tortuga Beach Bar is a great place to stop for lunch and a drink.

6. Agia Anna

Agia Anna is another gorgeous long white sand beach with crystal blue water. If you visit during Autumn, you may be lucky enough to see the turtles who come near the shoreline in September and October. If you’re ready for a drink or a bite to eat, a great place to stop is Santana’s Beach Bar on the beach, they have beach chairs you can sit in a while enjoying your lunch. If you are there in the evening, this is a great place to enjoy the sunset.

7. Agios Prokopios

Agios Prokopios is the islands most acclaimed beach, ranking as Greece’s 3rd top beach and in Europe’s top ten. The water is turquoise near the shoreline and turns to a deep blue as it moves to the sea. Most of the restaurants, shops and touristy areas are on the eastern section of the beach. If you are looking for a quieter area, head toward the chapel on the western part of the beach. You can walk or bike to Naxos Town from this beach. Our recommendation when visiting Naxos would be to stay in Agios Prokopios or Naxos Town.

8. Saint George Beach

Saint George Beach is located the closest to Naxos Town, and it’s considered their main beach. The beach is known for it’s calm, shallow waters and it’s frequented by locals and tourists alike. There are many cafes, restaurants, and taverns close to the beach. During the summer Saint George Beach is the most crowded on the island. If you are looking for a place to rent water activities equipment, Flisvos Sports Club came highly recommended.  

Travel Guide Video for Naxos Greece

This video shows a full day of things to do and see in Naxos Greece. Restaurants, bakeries, markets, directions it has a little bit of everything. For 2 more videos on beaches Click Here  and the mountain, towns click here

Exploring The Island

Day 2 Itinerary – 
Exploring the Interior, Northern & Western Coastline of Naxos

This is a day of exploring the Inland region, northern, and western coastline. We traveled through quaint villages, saw churches, temples, visited wineries, toured a local distillery, and we finished the day sitting along the western shoreline sipping a cocktail.

This itinerary took us approximately 10 hours to complete as it’s written (although we did stop a lot for video and pictures). I will include a map showing our exact trip with the locations of the stops. You can add to or amend this suggested itinerary according to your preferences. That being said, this was one of our best days while staying in Naxos. It’s somewhat of a mountainous journey, and the views are spectacular and awe-inspiring to say the least.

1. Temple of Demeter – Demeter Sanctuary

After leaving Chora, our first stop was the Church of Ayios Nikolaos and then Demeter’s Sanctuary. This temple dates back to the 6th century BC and its made of the most beautiful marble in classic architectural style. Demeter was known as the ancient Goddess of Grain; therefore, many people would build temples to her in hopes of a good harvest. The remains of the temple of Demeter were only recently discovered in 1949 by the archaeologist Nikolaos Kontoleon. This first stop is approximately 10 km from Naxos Town.

TIP: We found GPS to be spotty during a lot of this itinerary. I would suggest adding these destinations to google maps and emailing a copy of the route to yourself for use offline. This is something we have started doing, and it helps a lot when we can’t get online. Also, the museum is only open through the summer. If you are there during off or shoulder season, you can still walk around the temple, so it’s worth a visit.

2. Chalki

Our next stop was Chalki, which was the capital of Naxos before the occupation of the Venetians. It was named after a family of bronzesmiths. Chalki boasts the most significant olive cultivation is of the Cyclades. Make sure you visit the Central Square area, where you will find art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and shops with items made by the local villagers.

Visit Vallindra Kitron Distillery in the heart of the village for a free tour and tasting. After the distillery tour, we headed around the corner to try authentic greek coffee at Cafe Grecco. We highly recommend you try greek coffee while in Greece. It is very different than what we are used to in the states. Cafe Grecco is a cute neighborhood cafe which serves brunch, lunch, coffees, and alcohol.

3. Filoti

Our next stop was Filoti, the largest village of Naxos with all its cafes, restaurants, and beautiful mountain views. Filoti is known for their olive groves, Byzantine churches, and their perfect climate. The town hosts the islands biggest 3-day event which is a traditional feast that honors the assumptions of the virgin.

Filoti is known for its excellent quality of lamb and goat meat along with their quality cheeses. There are hundreds of herbs growing wild on Naxos, which means the meat of goats and lambs are intensely flavored because of what they eat. The entire island of Naxos has high-quality meat, cheese, olive oil, honey, and potatoes. Many mainlanders come to Naxos to purchase their meat and cheese in large quantities to take back to the mainland because of the high quality and excellent prices. This is true throughout Naxos.

4. Apeiranthos

Apeiranthos is considered the crown jewel of Naxos because it has retained its unique authenticity over the centuries as a truly Greek town. The restaurants in this town serve mostly local produce so you will be able to enjoy fresh, healthy food.  There are many things to see in this town such as; the Geological Museum (only open in the summer), Apeiranthos Archeological Museum, Museum of Natural History, Visual Arts Museum, and the Folklore Museum.

We thought this town had the most impressive architecture of all the Naxos towns we visited. Apeiranthos is the only town on Naxos where you feel like you’re on the mainland because you cannot see the ocean. There are extraordinary views from Apeiranthos, so be ready to take many pictures.

5. Koronos

Koronos is known for its vineyards along with its excellent quality of local wine. You will be traveling past many vineyards between Koronos and Apollonas, so be sure to stop for a glass of wine at one of the cafes or bars. Matina & Stavros is a great place to stop if your hungry or want a drink.

6. Apollonas

Apollonas is a tranquil fishing village on the northeast coast of Naxos. There are hotels, taverns, shops, restaurants, and cafes lining the beach, and it’s known for its fresh fish. Apollonas used to be the main port for exporting Naxonoan marble. You will see picturesque whitewashed buildings with a genuinely Greek look. There is a statue of Kouros just outside the entrance of the village which dates back to the 6th century BC. Beaches in this area tend to be more protected from the winds.

Rather than go home the way we started this trip, we decided to make a circle back to Chora by going along the main road to the western coast of Naxos. We have included a map in this post so you can see our trip for the day. Make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks because if you follow this itinerary, it will be a long day, especially if you allow plenty of time in each town.

TIP:

Firstly, if you want you can add the town of Moutsouna to the inland exploring itinerary. This town came highly recommended; however, for our purposes with all the videos, etc. we didn’t have time to stop. If you add this town, the best option would be to go between stops 4 & 5.

What To Do Outside Of The Itinerary Days?

1. See the 3 Temples
Temple of Apollo, Portara
Temple of Demeter
Dyonisos D’Iria

2. Old Town Naxos
Visit Kastro (the castle) and the Labyrinth along with all the shops and restaurants. Old Town Naxos is a magical place which takes you back in time while you wander around the Labyrinth until you’re lost within its maze of corridors. Lots of fun and really cool!!

3. Visit the Temple of Apollo, Portara
The Portara is an excellent place to take photos and make a wish to Apollo.

4. Archaeological Museum of Naxos
The Archaeological Museum of Naxos is located in Chora near the castle area. It’s in an old Venetian school building. It houses works of art and everyday objects dating back to 5300 BC and 5th century AD. It’s inexpensive to see and worth a visit.

What Do We Regret Not Seeing In Naxos?

1. Visit the Venetian Museum of Kastro
The Museum of Kastro was closed the day we visited and we ran out of time to return.

2. Hike to the cave of Zas
Another place we missed was Zas Cave and hike, which is east of Demeter’s Sanctuary and just south of Filoti. This cave was named after Zeus because it’s believed this is the area he grew up. If you are able to add a Day 3 to your itinerary, this would be our recommendation along with visiting Keramoti to see the waterfall.   

TIP:

The are many ancient hikes on the island. If you are looking for an excellent hiking map which shows everything you need to know about the ancient hikes, go to Zoom in Naxos Town, it’ right next to a Vodaphone store and a bank.  

3. Visit The Town of Keramoti
If you want to see, a waterfall visit the town of Keramoti to see the Routsouna Waterfall. The trail begins at the old Keramoti bridge and leads to a 65-foot waterfall. We didn’t have time to see the waterfall, but from what we’ve heard, it’s a great experience.

VIEW MORE IMAGES FROM THIS TRIP

Closing Words

I hope you found “Your Complete Travel Guide For Naxos Greece” to be useful and you are excited to visit Naxos.   After Naxos, we took a ferry to Santorini for a couple of nights.  I have to say, although, the sunsets in Santorini were absolutely spectacular we preferred Naxos for it’s slower paced relaxing vibe and beauty.  Naxos was green everywhere we looked, there’s so much to do; honestly, we could probably spend a few months there, and not get bored or lose the awestruck feeling we had throughout our stay.  

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Travel Resources

If you are interested in checking hotel prices we have found booking.com to have the most competitive prices.  Click here to check out hotels.  

All of our video footage is taken with GoPro HERO6.  It’s a waterproof digital action camera for travel with a touchscreen.  We use this camera daily, and we love it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.

The drone we use is the DJ Spark with Remote Control Combo.  We like this drone because it’s compact, it’s effortless to take on trips, it’s easy to fly, and it shoots 1080p.  All of our drone footage on our blog posts and youtube videos are taken with this drone. We highly recommend it. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link:  Click here.             

Another item we use daily is our Primocean Backpack with an insulated cooler bag.  We use this as Christie’s carry on bag on the plane and as our cooler at our final destination.  We used to use a different backpack and we switched to this one because it’s better made of durable material with quality zippers.  We love this backpack!!  The cooler section is smaller; however, all the compartments and the quality of the backpack make it a much better choice for basically the same cost.  We wish we would have thought of this item a long time ago. If you are interested in checking it out here is the Amazon link: Click Here.   

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