SuperbGreece.com

  • Region: Cyclades
  • Population : ~ 19000

Naxos, the greenest island in the Cyclades, is probably the only Cycladic island that could survive if all the tourists stayed away.

Its often more workaday atmosphere comes as a refreshing change from some of the other islands with impressively high mountains and fertile valleys, beautiful old churches, monasteries, small traditional villages and Venetian castles and homes

Maybe this is the main reason why Naxos Island attracts a rather different clientele than neighbouring Paros or Mykonos: folk willing to accept the occasional rough-and-ready-ness of the island, and able to look after themselves.

While the main town’s medieval Bourgos and Kastro districts have ample interest, the real point of interest is the Naxian backcountry, especially its mountain villages whrere they still wear traditional dresses, weave on old looms, hidden monuments and southwest coast beaches.

Naxos has almost everything... you could start visiting the the main town, a charming and lively place with whitewashed houses, narrow alleyways, a Venetian castle, a few museums and art galleries, plenty of shops, cafés and restaurants, and an archaeological site even.

Naxos has been continuously inhabited since the 4th Milennium BC and excavations around the island bring to light ancient artifacts and buildings almost daily.

Absolutely you would like to visit some beaches too. Here you will find some of the best in Greece! The best and largest are on the south west coast of Naxos – Agios Prokopies, Plaka, Kastraki

There are a few organised stretches, with sun beds and umbrellas, but most beaches are natural (not organized), with fine or coarse sand, here and there some trees giving shade, and a crystal clear sea. Adn the good thing is, that even in August, it is always possible to find somewhere quiet.

Naxos is absolutely still the authentic Greece  The island has some great, small villages, and as it has plenty of water and small-scale farms, it produces its own fruits, vegetables and milk products (local cheeses are excellent and maybe some of them the best in Greece), and olives of course. You should definitely spend a day going around the island, strolling through some of the villages and stop for lunch or some mezedes on a village square, to get a taste of Greece in its purest form.

Naxos is the greenest island in the Cyclades with impressively high mountains and fertile valleys.  Yes! Naxos is a mountainous island with peaks reaching over 900 metres. The inland of Naxos is totally unspoiled (as is most of the coastline) and the opportunities for walking are countless. Old paths and marked trails will take you through mountains and valleys with beautiful wildflowers, streams, small waterfalls, forests, olive groves and vineyards.

 

How to get there

The best way to approach Naxos Town is from the sea, where you will be drawn towards the remains of the Temple of Apollo that seems to act as a gateway into the island, and then the old Venetian castle that looms above the old town.

By Air: 
Fly to Athens or Naxos (5km - restricted flights). Tickets can be bought in advance for almost all flights via our partner website.

By Boat
"The journey is the thing".  A superb way of enjoying the journey to Naxos is to fly to Athens and take the ferry from Piraeus (Pireas) - the port serving Athens.  Most boats and hydrofoils to Naxos go from Piraeus, to the west of Athens, connected to the airport by a regular bus in 40-60 mins. There are several sailings every day. Some vessels go from the port of Rafina, a short taxi ride from Athens airport.  Ferry tickets can be bought in advance for all ferries via our partner website.

By Car
If you want to explore the island, we recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent. We suggest our partner website, which offers competitive prices and you can collect your car at either airport or port.

By Taxi
Book your transfer online easily and safely from the airport or port to any location via our website.

 

Where to stay

Valea Villa Naxos, a modern style residence, with 3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms, stunning views to the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring island of Paros, sits within beautiful location just 150 meters from the beach at the west part of Naxos Island of Cyclades group.

 

What to see and do

Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands also, a place of exceptional beauty and remarkable tradition, which has some of its loveliest beaches (windsurfers' hot spot) and its most dramatic scenery: rocky mountains, lush terraced valleys and, perched in between, some of the Cyclades' least spoiled white-washed villages.

A few things to do in Naxos

1. Visit the numerous archaeological sites. For history lovers Naxos is a cultural paradise. The long presence of the island on the history and the development of the Aegan’s Sea civilization was significant. The Portara, the trademark of the island, part of a temple dedicated to the God of Light, Apollo, the ancient temple of Demeter (6th century BC) in the village of Sangri, the big statues of Kouros are just some of the main archaeological sites of Naxos.

2. Discover the towers and the mansions since Naxos was considered to be a very important place during the Byzantine era. The old part of town in the capital of Naxos along with many tower buildings and mansions scattered throughout the island are parts of a very interesting historic period.

3. Discover and swim in amazing sandy beaches of the island. To the south, the sandy beaches of Ayios Prokopios, Ayia Anna and Kastraki have soft dunes, shallow warm waters, great winds for kite- and windsurfing.

4. Hiking especially in May, June and October since it is less hot.  Naxos is great island for hiking providing a large number of designated routes in order to discover the diversity of the island’s landscape and small picturesque villages. The dramatic mountains of Fanari and Zas dominate the interior, both offering fabulous hiking. On the far slopes of Fanari is the delightful village of Apirathos, tumbling pueblo-like down the hillside. It boasts 4 tiny, sporadically open museums of folklore, archaeology, natural history and geology - the latter exhibiting crystals from the island's rich seams (emery was mined here until recently).  At the centre of the island lies a plateau of ancient olive groves, with the white-washed villages of Chalki (Halki), Moni and Filoti tucked higgledy-piggledy among them. Follow flower-lined paths and you'll stumble upon Byzantine chapels (some with notable frescoes, if you can find the keyholder), as well as 3000-year-old grave circles, kouros statues and a crumbling hilltop castle built by the island's 13th-century Venetian ruler. Tiny Ano Potamia is a real oasis, with a lovely taverna for lunch. In Moni you can watch ladies weaving, and buy their lace doilies and woollen rucksacks if you like that sort of thing. 

5. Food and drink. Visit a traditional distillery and cheese factory. The Citrus that grows on the island of Naxos is unique. There are distilleries on the island making the famous liquor along with creameries that make the delicious Naxian cheeses. Naxos competitive advantage in gastronomy products is its variety of cheese. Try the savoury "arseniko kefalotiri" (hard white cheese), "ladotiro" definitely accompanied by raki (an oily cheese made after putting arseniko kefalotiri in a container with oil for more than three months), sweet mizithra (cheese without salt with very low fat), "anthotiro" (similar to mizithra but slightly salted), "ksinomizithra" (sour mizithra) with an added pinch of pepper for a special savoury ending and, the most popular, the graviera of Naxos with its delicate & exceptional taste.

6. Enjoy the delicious traditional products. Apart from Citrus liquor and cheese Naxos has a large number of traditional tastes like the local meat, fresh fish, vegetables and fruits, potatoes and many more. Pies (sefoukloti or tourtes), lamp on the oven (patoudo) and a range of desserts are among the tastes you should try once being on Naxos island.

7. Indulge in water sport activities. Naxos is windsurfers' hot spot. Naxos island’s beaches are ideal for water sports such as ski, kite surfing, wind surfing and diving. 

8. Visit the Chora of Naxos, which is one of the most picturesque island towns in the Aegean and combines ancient ruins with a medieval parts and a lively day and night life. Naxos Town (Hora) is deservedly popular, a photogenic seafront town capped by a well-preserved Venetian castro. In the old town it is easy to get lost among delightful, labyrinthine alleys winding between white-washed houses, clothes boutiques and seasonal bars.

9. Discover the inland small picturesque villages, more than 40.  Follow the serpentine road down to the isolated fishing village of Apollonas for a swim, a fish lunch and a gawp at the island's largest kouros statue, before returning to Naxos Town via the long but scenic northwest coast road. You'll probably want a hire car to explore the island - it's 2 winding hour's drive from tip to tip - though the bus service is good if you're patient.

10. Island Hopping. Naxos has a frequent connection with many Cycladic islands. Do not miss the islands of Small Cyclades, aka the islands of Koufonisia, Schinousa and Donousa. Santorini and Ios are also close and have daily ferry connection throughout the year.

11. Don't miss the two cultural festivals of Naxos. The "Naxos Festival" (Mid-July – early Sept, typically 10–12 events ) with concerts, theatrical presentations, film screenings and art exhibits, staged at the 17th-century Bazeos Tower, just beyond the two Sangrí villages, 12km southwest of Hóra on the road to Halkí. And the second one is the "Domus Cultural Festival" (
June–October) with evening chamber concerts (Greek, jazz, classical) or film screenings in the atmospheric courtyard of the Della Rocca Barozzi mansion in the Kástro of Naxos Chora.

12. Visit the remote monastery of St John Fotodoti, perched on a small spur in the lee of Mt. Zeus and shaded by a huge oak tree. The monastery built defenses around in the Middle Ages to look more like a Crusader castle, but the Orthodox church (which is usually open) is all incense and icons.  Stuning views over the rocky hillsides to the east coast. To find it, head from Filoti towards Apirathos, turn right towards Danakos and at the ridge-top chapel of Ayia Marina, fork (or walk) left for 2km.

13. Discover the Kouros statues a really amazing experience, since is not common meet a 5-metre long, 2500-year-old statue in the middle of the field where it was quarried.  Two of the statues are near Melanes, just head towards Kinidaros, turn right where signed and walk the last 100m through citrus groves. A further 20 mins' walk brings you to the second and a third - larger but cruder - lies just above Apollonas, at the island's northern tip.

 

Where to swim

Naxos is truly blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece, a few of them with fine, golden sand and the most amazing color of blue sea you will ever see.

Psili Ammos Beach, a wide sandy tropical beach named after its thin ans white sand,  is situated at the east side of Naxos, between Moutsouna and Panormos. Setting from Moutsouna to Panormos you will meet Kanaki, a small village, where you will find a small sign directing you to Psili Ammos. The beach is not organized, therefore is very quiet and with "virgin" nature around.

Agios Prokopis is maybe the most famous beach on the island at about 5km distance from Hora. Its most distinctive characteristic is the fine, thin white sand which forms sand dunes near the ending of the beach and its deep turquoise waters. Sometimes, herons reach the shore and refuge at a special spot on the beach, called "aliki" or the "red lake". Due to its position, Agios Prokopis is protected from the winds especially towards its northern end, where a great rock blocks the waves from the upper side of the islands' coast, offering its visitors a serene swim on windy days. The Chapel of Agios Prokopis is situated at the entrance of the beach with a magnificent view of the open sea. In special spots of the beach, nudism is also allowed. 

Plaka Beach, next to Agia Anna beach, is a long sandy beach extending for 4 km. Plaka was the hippie spot during the '70s with crystal blue Aegean waters. Right at the opposite of Plaka beach there is a small island called "Glaronisi" (seagull island"), the unique spot where cormorants gather. Plaka is still a favourite beach for nudists, who flock mostly off season but it also gathers families and couples.

Agia Anna is situated at 5km from Naxos Hora and is connected with it by public transport. It is, in reality, the continuation of Aghios Prokopis Beach. The small port is full of picturesques caiques and small boats but in the past it was the central commercial port of the island. The large sandy beach offers the best spot for wind surfing and other water sports. There are umbrellas and sunbeds, but the unique cedar trees will also provide an efficient protection from the sun for free. In addition, there are plenty of fish-restaurants and bars are waiting for you to dive into a pool of tastes after your swim. 

 

Where to eat & drink

The Island of Naxos is widely known for its tradition in gastronomy producing the famous Naxian potatoes, wine & Kitron liquor production and the popular Naxian cheese, graviera.

Healthy and delicious food options in Naxos, since is na agricultural island and most of the restaurants feature locally grown vegetables, fruits and meats, and of course fish. The specialties of the island are their delicious cheeses and sausages which should be tasted everywhere because in each restaurant they are a little bit different. The local wines are very good and the local ouzo one of the best in Greece. But the traditional drink of Nacos is the Citrus, an alcoholic drink made from the tree which belongs in the orange family and is more for desert than dinner. 

There are plenty of great restaurants in Naxos town and island and believe us you will not be dissapointed.

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