The island of Naxos is a popular option for travelers who love to spend their days at the beach and nights at the local tavernas. That’s certainly how we spent most of our time on Naxos! However, if you’re looking for a little adventure and want to experience a different side of the island, spending a day exploring the mountain towns and less visited areas might be right for you! We share our one day Naxos itinerary and tips we have for visiting this amazing island in Greece.
One Day Naxos Island Itinerary
Below is our experience exploring the island of Naxos Greece. Honestly, we visited in early June and didn’t plan much in advance. We knew the areas we were interested in but wanted to spend the day exploring freely outside of the more popular spots.
Quick Tips for Naxos Island
- Pre-book your car or ATV as they sell out fast. This is especially true if you need an automatic vehicle.
- This Naxos itinerary is more of a road trip with different stops. The island of Naxos is massive and if you want to see a lot of it in one day know that you’re going to be doing a ton of driving!
- There are limited gas stations on Naxos Island in Greece. Make sure you fill up before leaving the main towns.
- If you don’t have a SIM card download an offline app like maps.me while traveling.
Island of Naxos Map
While the map below says the drive is three hours we spent a full day exploring this loop. There are many small villages, cute seaside towns, and fun areas to discover.
We left at 8am in the morning and didn’t get back to our hotel in Agios Prokopios till almost 7pm! Of course, you can do it faster without as many stops. Still, the point of this route is to experience as much as possible of what to do in Naxos in one day!
Renting a Vehicle on Naxos Island in Greece
Walking down to the closest rental shop, we scanned the lot for cars. Since we were traveling in early June we didn’t think we had to pre-book a vehicle, but we were a bit off on that assumption!
Before arriving we knew that Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades. For that reason, we thought it’d be great to have a car. The only problem was they didn’t have an automatic!
However, they did have an ATV for us. And while it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, we had been looking forward to riding one of these adventure vehicles at some point in Greece.
Below are the prices we were quoted in Euros at a rental shop in one of the popular Naxos Island beach towns. Keep in mind these are in June before the busy summer months!
- €25 Small ATV
- €30 Large ATV
- €35 Small Car
Early Morning Start on the Island of Naxos
As we said, we had wanted a car for our journey around Naxos. That was not only because of the island’s size but also to shield ourselves from the sun!
The only saving grace was that we started our day early so we would at least see plenty before it got sizzling hot in the afternoon. So with that, we filled up our ATV with 15 Euros of gas and we were off.
Cruising up into the mountains from the Western coast, we immediately were in awe of how large Naxos island actually is. The first thing we noticed was there is a completely separate mountain range that we didn’t even see from the beaches! The peaks tower over you pointing high in the sky and were completely unique to other islands we have seen in Greece.
Coffee and Cake in Chalki
To start our Naxos itinerary we headed towards Chalki which is considered one of the most beautiful towns on the island of Naxos. If you get here early it shouldn’t be a problem finding parking on the main road. Ditch your car or ATV and head into the cute backstreets on foot!
This town is known for its local crafts, herbs, oil, and ouzo. We stopped into several shops and bought some spices and infused sea salts. At some stores, we tasted the ouzo liquor which is made locally on Naxos. If you’re going to buy some we highly recommend going with the one made with fresh honey!
After doing some exploring on foot, this was the perfect time to sit down for a morning pastry and coffee. Be sure to try the local orange pie which is traditional from the mountains of Naxos.
Also, if you happen to be in Chalki later in the day stop into Giannis Tavern. This is known as one of the best local restaurants on Naxos Island in Greece! Small tables fill the square and it is a beautiful spot to grab lunch or dinner.
More Amazing Mountain Towns of Naxos Island
After Chalki is the town of Filoti where inviting cafes and restaurants line the Main Street. The village is small but very charming. We didn’t stop here but you certainly can spend some time exploring Filoti!
Upon leaving Filoti, you’ll pass the turn off for Zeus’s Cave which of course is of great importance to the island. Do you know the history of Naxos?
This island is the legendary home of Zeus and up on the mountain is where he got his lightning bolt! You can visit the cave from Filoti by taking the 20 minute hiking trail.
Apeiranthos Village on Naxos
On the way to the next town of Apeiranthos, there is a famous restaurant that opens later in the afternoon called Rotonda. The view here is insane and looks out over the entire island of Naxos!
Apeiranthos town is special for a few different reasons. First, the Venetian architecture is truly stunning and people have inhabited this mountainside for centuries.
Aside from the building style being different from other villages on the island, they even speak a different dialect from the rest of Naxos. How cool is that!
Return or Complete the Naxos Island Loop?
Once you’ve visited Apeiranthos you’ll be at a literal fork in the road. If you choose to continue on from here, there is really no reason to backtrack so you’re committing to exploring the Northwest part of the island.
We should point out that what we’ve shown you already is a perfect half-day for travelers. So there is no shame in turning around! Also, depending on if you did the hike to Zeus’s cave you might have had more than enough adventure for your schedule.
For us, we wanted to see more and an area of Naxos island in Greece that isn’t largely explored. These less-visited mountain roads that we took on next were a completely unique experience!
Continuing On With Our Naxos Itinerary
As we drove through the Naxos mountains we continued to be in awe of the local life. It seemed as if around every corner there was another traditional village more interesting than the next.
Through the handful of houses, we saw groups of older men and women sitting in the sun and enjoying a lazy afternoon as they sipped on ouzo. They smiled and waved as we drove past and took in the scenic views.
There is a road that continues from Apeiranthos and cuts through the villages of Koronos and Koronida, before taking you down to the small seaside village of Apollonas. This is a stunning ride and on a clear day, you can see the islands of Donousa and Amorgos in the distance.
Lunch in Apollonas Naxos
One of the highlights of our day was getting lunch in the cute beach town of Apollonas. For being in such a remote area of the island we were surprised to see how full of life the small town was! It was also nice to include this in our Naxos itinerary as most of the best beaches are located in one area on the Western Coast.
Lunch at all the restaurants looked good but after checking out the menus we decided to go with Kalimera Grill. When talking with the server (who was the daughter of the owner) she explained how everything was freshly cooked and came from her family farm.
We ordered a Greek salad, grilled lamb chops, and one of our absolute favorite Greek dishes, Moussaka. The portions were large, the view was amazing, and it was super affordable compared to the restaurants in the more popular parts of the island.
We paid 22 Euros for everything and were absolutely stuffed! Thankfully, we strolled right down to throw ourselves in the sea for a post-lunch swim.
Cruising the Winding Coastal Road
From Apollonas it’s about an hour back to the main town of Naxos. This is another long and crazy road to end your journey! Honestly, the end of the drive was the part we most would’ve preferred a rental car for.
The ATVs are fun but obviously a little bit slower, especially on the narrow turns. That mixed with the beaming afternoon sun really took its toll.
The remote northwest road that runs along the coast of the island is gorgeous. It makes you feel as if you’re on a completely different island than Naxos. There are also several cut-downs to secluded beaches where you can stop and take a dip!
The road will eventually take you to Naxos Town. Also known as Chora, you can stop and see it quickly to end your day. However, there is so much to see and do in the capital of Naxos! If possible, visit the town and the iconic gate of the Temple of Apollo when you have time to fully experience it.
Don’t Forget the Naxos Island Beaches!
You may be wondering… Where are all the beaches in this guide?? Well, we purposely left that out of this one day Naxos itinerary. As we mentioned earlier, almost all of the beautiful Naxos beaches are on the Western Coast.
You’ll most likely be staying over in this area so you can easily see them at any point or dedicate your own day to swimming in the crystal clear sea or jump on a Naxos boat tour. We stayed in Agios Prokopios and it was the perfect home base on the beach!
Explore all our Greece articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from general travel tips to amazing destinations such as Santorini, Paros, Rhodes, Karpathos, Crete, Milos & more beautiful islands!
Have any questions about what to do in Naxos or want to share more tips for Naxos Island in Greece? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay on Naxos Greece
Luxury – Melidron Hotel & Suites – Beautiful boutique hotel with ocean view rooms, balconies, and swimming pool. Located in Agios Prokopios the hotel is walking distance to the beach and the small main area.
Fun Vacation – Ariadne Hotel – Complete with a gorgeous swimming pool and located just 50 meters from the Agios Prokopios beach, Ariadne will be a fun and elegant beachside stay.
Budget – Studios Kahlua – These studios are just around the corner from the beach, and surrounded by fun restaurants and markets.
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Greece Travel Planning
For island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. The fast ferries like Sea Jets will cost more but often takes half the time of slower ferries like Blue Star.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for as little as $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Tours: Go to Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities in Santorini. You can find everything from group sailing tours to private catamaran cruises. Go wine tasting around the island, horseback riding down the beach, or even jump on an ATV tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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