Naxos is a special destination in Greece that no traveler should miss out on! This island is full of mountains, beautiful beaches, and all the adventure you can handle. Here are a few tips to know, things to do on Naxos, and a quick history of the island. We guarantee after reading this you’ll be ready to add it to your Greek Cyclades route!
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10 Amazing Things to Know About Naxos Greece
1. Getting to Naxos in Greece is Easy
Naxos is located in the center of the Cyclades which makes it simple to get to from many popular islands. First off, you should know that there’s a small airport on Naxos in Greece! That means you can take the 40-minute flight from Athens straight here.
However, the most common way to get to Naxos is by ferry. Boats come into the port in town all day, especially from the nearby Paros island and Mykonos. For this reason, it’s super easy to include Naxos in a larger Cyclades itinerary.
→ The Ultimate Greek Cyclades Island Hopping Itinerary
2. Best time to Visit Naxos Greece
One thing to keep in mind is that Naxos does get very busy in the peak summer months of July and August. It’s nowhere near as crazy as Santorini, yet you can expect plenty of tourists and the prices that go with that.
With that said, we LOVE to visit Naxos Greece from May to June or after the summer in September and October. The weather is still warm and all the shops and restaurants are open.
Obviously, the water may be a little chillier this time of year. Yet, a dip in the crystal clear Aegean Sea feels amazing on a hot day!
3. Fun Ways to Get Around the Largest Island in the Cyclades
If you didn’t know, Naxos is the biggest of the Greek Cyclades island chain. This may be hard to believe if you’ve been to other islands in this region… But it’s true!
For this reason, it’s essential that you know how to get around Naxos Greece. Scan through the options below and see what suits you best.
Naxos Bus: The public bus is a great option for getting between Naxos Town and some of the nearby beaches. We regularly used it for transport between the port and our accommodations in Agios Prokopios. However, to see more of the island we actually wouldn’t recommend it!
ATV: For adventure lovers, an ATV is a fun choice to explore Naxos. Specifically, this is an awesome idea to see the beaches of the West Coast we mentioned above. The only downside to the ATV is that it’s not covered! So for long distances, it’s not ideal in the hot island sun.
Car in Naxos: A car rental is the best way to see Naxos in Greece! While we loved our own ATV adventures through the mountain villages and coastline, we kind of wish we had a car in the heat of the day. You’ll also be able to get to the island’s best attractions faster which are spread out with it being such a large island.
4. Naxos Has an Incredible History
From the moment you step off the ferry in Naxos Town, you’ll see spectacular history all around you. The gate of the unfinished Temple of Apollo welcomes travelers from all over the world into the port and was built in 523 BC. That’s over 2,500 years ago for those counting at home!
Believe it or not, Naxos has been the center of life in the Cyclades since 4000 BC. From the Thracians to the Ionians and the great Roman empire, this island saw many different kingdoms and cultures of the Mediterranean.
If you’d like to learn more about Naxos history there are several museums that will capture your imagination. The Archeological Museum is our favorite but you can check out the Venetian and Folklore museums as well!
5. Exploring Naxos Town
Speaking of history… Naxos Town is a storybook in itself. The castle atop Naxos Town is from the Venetian era in the 15th century with buildings and shops flowing down around the hillside around it.
Looking out from the top of town, you will see ferry boats coming in from other islands. This is also a great view of the gate of the Temple of Apollo where it jets out into the sea.
Naxos Town is a great place to base yourself from if you are visiting for a short amount of time or you don’t need to be within walking distance of the beach. There are some great restaurants right on the water and nightlife to be had in Naxos Town, too!
6. Beautiful Naxos Beaches
Although much of the island is spread out, that is not so much the case with the beaches. That’s because the best Naxos beaches can be found between Agios Prokopios and Mikri Vigla!
While they have different names, you will notice from these two points is basically one long stretch of stunning sand. You can find nice accommodations, fun beach bars, and fun water sports here.
Aside from the West Coast, there are so many more secluded beaches scattered around Naxos Greece! One of our personal favorite beach towns is actually located on the Northern tip. The small village of Apollon has a gorgeous beach front with local restaurants overlooking the water.
7. Mountain Villages of Naxos Greece
While many travelers to Naxos never leave the stunning West Coast, the mountain villages are a true gem of the island. To be honest, driving up into the high cliff faces was intimidating on our ATV on a windy day. That’s another reason why we recommend renting a car in Naxos Greece!
Nevertheless, once you see the colorful buildings appear out of nowhere it will leave you speechless! We couldn’t believe it as we drove through towns like Chalki to witness local Greek life in its truest form.
Our route took us from Naxos Town up through many traditional villages. We list some of the best mountain towns below but there are plenty of other small ones to see on your journey on Naxos in Greece.
8. Mount Zeus and His Cave
While it was important historically for its strategic position, Naxos also played a big part in Greek Mythology. According to legend, Zeus, the god of the sky called this island home! The story goes that Zeus came to Naxos to hide from his father Kronus.
He found shelter on the tallest mountain on the island in a massive cave. It was after that he was given his infamous lightning which made him the ruler of Olympus. The locals would then name the mountain and cave after him!
One of the best things to do on Naxos Greece is to visit this very cave. Take the hiking trail from either Filoti or Danakos village on your day trip into the mountains.
9. Traditional Food of Naxos Greece
If you’ve traveled around Greece before then you know how many have unique island specialties. Still, the food on Naxos will truly blow you away!
Once you get outside the main tourist areas you’ll find traditional tavernas that serve amazing food. This can especially be seen in the mountain villages we mentioned above!
We especially loved the delicious grilled lamb and moussaka. Also, be sure to try the olives, sour cheese, wine, and ouzo made on Naxos in Greece. One of the best ways to spend the afternoon is by taking a local Naxos cooking class and leaning how to make the classic specialties.
10. Sailing Trip From Naxos
With so many amazing things to do on Naxos, you might be overwhelmed. Still, there is one more trip that is totally worth experiencing! Many companies from Naxos Town and the beaches close by offer full-day boat excursions.
These will take you around the nearby islands for some snorkeling, a BBQ lunch, and much more. This can make for the best day ever out on the water!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own favorite things to do on Naxos Greece? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Greece Travel Planning
Information: Explore all our articles on Greece and the many different islands we cover such as Rhodes, Karpathos, Crete & Milos!
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.
Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Athens to Santorini for under $50 USD!
Accommodation: Always compare multiple sites to get the best deal. We search both Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
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.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!