Everything you need to know for a perfect island getaway on Naxos, Greece

by | Aug 1, 2021 | Europe, Greece, Travel Guides | 14 comments

Naxos Travel Guide
Naxos Travel Guide

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Due to its famous neighbors, Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros, Naxos is often overlooked by visitors. But the biggest island of the Cyclades can definitely keep up with its well-known competitors.

Naxos is not only the biggest but also the greenest island of the Cyclades. The green hills and rocky mountains are dotted with charming, white-washed villages and olive orchards. And the many golden beaches along the coastline are fringed by the turquoise Aegean Sea.

Naxos is the perfect, off-the-beaten-path, island paradise, to live out all your Mamma Mia dreams.

In this Naxos Travel Guide, I’ve put together everything you need to know for a perfect island getaway. From how to get there and where to stay, to the best things to do in Naxos, and of course restaurant recommendations, to sample as much delicious Greek food as possible.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Things to know before visiting Naxos

Let’s talk money

The currency of Greece is the Euro. You can find ATMS in Naxos town and some of the villages, and cards are widely accepted. I would recommend always carrying some cash, especially for smaller purchases, too.

If you avoid peak seasons and the main tourist destinations, Greece is a pretty budget friendly destination. Especially the food is pretty inexpensive, compared to many other European countries.

Visiting Naxos in October, we spent about USD 130 per day between the two of us. This included staying at an Airbnb in Agios Prokopios, renting a small car from Naxos Akrogiali Rent A Car & Moto (more on that later), and eating all our meals at restaurants.

When to visit naxos

The best months to visit Naxos are between May and October. The summer months, especially July and August are the hottest, but also the busiest months. If you want that summer heat with smaller crowds, try visiting in early June or late September.

If you’re traveling on a budget, looking to escape the crowds, and for activities like hiking and sightseeing, visit Naxos in spring or autumn. Thanks to Naxos’ Mediterranean climate, the temperatures are still pleasantly warm and sunny throughout these months, but you might need a jacket after sunset.

How to get to Naxos

If you are travelling to Naxos from Athens, you can either catch a domestic flight from Athens International Airport or take the ferry from Piraeus.

If you’re short on time I’d recommend flying, since this will get you to from Athens to Naxos in less than an hour. Naxos Airport is located near Agios Prokopios, about 3 km from the island’s main town. The airport is very small and with domestic flights only. Check Aegean Airlines for the best flight connections from Athens to Naxos.

If you have a little more time, however, I would recommend taking the ferry. With the fast ferry, we reached Naxos in 3.5 hours, and the great views made more than up for the longer journey.

As Naxos is located right in the center of the islands of the Cyclades, you can also get there easily from some of the neighboring islands. There are ferry connections from islands like Paros, Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete. This makes Naxos a great stop for island hopping itineraries too. Hop over to ferryscanner for the best ferry connections in Greece. 

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Where to stay on Naxos

Hora/Naxos Town

Hora, or Naxos Town, is just what I always envisioned a typical Greek village to be: narrow cobblestone streets, white and blue houses with flowers growing along their walls, traditional little taverns, and cats strolling around the streets.

Naxos Town is a great base if you want to explore the island and surroundings, as car rental and tour companies are located in Naxos. And if you want to enjoy your nights out (and Greek wine) without having to worry about how you’ll get home later.

Halki/Chalki

If you’re looking for a base to explore the inland of Naxos, consider staying in Halki. This cute little village was once the island’s capital.

Agios Prokopios

Agios Prokopios, about 3 km from Naxos Town, is one of the best places to stay for beach lovers, as it is deemed the best beach in Naxos. When we visited Naxos, we spent 2 nights in Agios Prokopios and stayed at this Airbnb. These cute studios are located 30 m from Agios Prokopios beach, and Heike is a very welcoming host.

The best things to do on Naxos

We spent 3 full days in Naxos. While you could surely spend a week or more exploring this stunning island, I found 3 days a good amount of time to see a lot, without feeling pressed for time. Here’s a list of some of the best things to do in Naxos:

Go on a roadtrip across the island

I love road trips! I always enjoy visiting and exploring new places on my own terms, so guided tours aren’t really for me. That’s why I found renting a car the best way to get around Naxos. (More on renting a car in Naxos later.)

Being the biggest island of the Cyclades, there is a whole lot to see and do in Naxos. You can explore some of the traditional villages in the inland, find hidden beaches along the coast or visit some of the historical sites scattered across the island.

Enjoy the best views of Naxos

As I previously mentioned in this post, the rocky hill at the northern end of Kastraki Beach offers an amazing view over Naxos’ coastline. There is no path to the top, or at least we didn’t see one, but you can just climb up between the rocks. It’s a steep, but short uphill climb and once you’re at the top, you can see the coastline, the inland, Naxos Town, and out on the Aegean Sea and across the neighboring islands.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Watch the sunset at the Portara

The Portara is essentially a great marble doorway and the only remaining part of the unfinished temple of Apollo. It stands on the islet of Palatia, at the entrance to Naxos Harbor. The islet is connected with the main island by a causeway. It’s one of the best spots to watch the sunset in Naxos – and a perfect photo spot for photos of Naxos Town.

Visit the Temple of Demeter

The Temple of Demeter is one thing we skipped due to time reasons, but especially if you love archaeology and history, this might just be for you. The temple is located in the village of Sangri and is believed to date back to the 6th century BC. The remains of the temple were restored in the 1990s.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Discover the hotel ruins of Alyko

Yes, you read that right! I have to admit that when our Airbnb host told us to go visit the hotel ruins, I was a little skeptical at first. The hotel was abandoned before it was even completed, and it was never torn down. This is a shame, in my opinion, because the landscapes on the Alyko peninsula are very pristine and untouched.

But at the same time, the ruins also hide some very cool sights. Different street artists, like “Wild Drawing” from Indonesia, or “Skitsofrenis” from Greece have create cool and unique graffitis on the remaining walls and ceilings.

Hit Naxos picture-perfect beaches

Soft, sandy beaches and clear turquoise water – Naxos is the perfect beach getaway, with a beach for everyone.

Agios Prokopios

Agios Prokopios is where you’ll find 1.5 km of soft golden sand and clear, turquoise water right on your doorstep. There are some bars, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a dive school in the village too.

Mikro Alyko Beach

Maybe my personal favorite, Mikro Alyko Beach is located behind the hotel ruins on the Alyko Peninsula. Chances are, you might have this small and secluded beach all to yourself.

Agios Giorgios

If you’re staying in Naxos Town, you’ll definitely head down to Agios Giorgios, the town’s main beach at some point. The further away from town, the bigger the waves get. The southern end of the beach is one of the island’s most famous spots for windsurfing.

Kastraki Beach

Kastraki Beach is located around 16 km from Naxos Town. It’s accessible by road, with the last 1 km being a dirt road and the easiest way to get there is by car or scooter. There is a rocky hill with many secluded beaches at the northern end of the beach, and the hill itself is an amazing viewpoint.

Stop at the windmills in Vivlos/Tripodes

I’m sure most of you have seen pictures of the famous windmills at Mykonos before? I was very excited when I learned that Naxos has its own windmills. They are maybe not as impressive as the ones in Mykonos, or at least not as well maintained. Unfortunately, the mills have pretty much broken off from all three of them. But I found them a cool photo stop on our island road trip either way.

If you drive into Vivlos from the inland, stop just at the beginning of town for the view over the white houses and the windmills in the background.

Go Hiking

I wish we had had one more day in Naxos so that we could have gone on a hike. However, this is another thing we skipped for time reasons, and because we just really wanted to soak up the beach and the ocean after spending our whole summer at home in the Swiss mountains.

But if you like to be active, and if you have time, there are many great hikes in Naxos. You can read about the best hiking routes on the islands, including monasteries, olive groves, waterfalls, and the island’s highest peak, Mount Zas, here.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Explore some charming Greek villages

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Greece, besides Mamma Mia, are cute little villages with white houses and churches with blue roofs. You can find many of them scattered along Naxos’ coast and inland.

Halki (or Chalki) has a long history and used to be the island’s capital. The village is located roughly 16 km from Naxos Town, in the center of the biggest olive cultivating area of the Cyclades. The town center is car-free, and the streets are lined by cafes, restaurants, shops, and galleries. Halki is a great stop for lunch and to shop for souvenirs.

Indulge in (a lot) of Greek food

I’m almost sure I have gained some weight in the few days I spent in Greece. But the Greek food (and wine) was just too delicious to say no to full meals of starters, main courses and deserts every day. Greek food is mostly rich and fragrant comfort food, just what you need after a long day of exploring Naxos.

Naxos Travel Guide
Naxos Travel Guide

Where to eat & drink in Naxos

Το κάτι Άλλο

To Kati Allo was hands down my favorite restaurant in Naxos. It’s a family-run, traditional Greek tavern, serving local dishes like Moussaka and Souvlaki. Don’t miss out on the crispy feta in filo pastry with honey and sesame, if you eat here.

Cafe Restaurant Flamingo

For a dinner with a harbor view, head to harbour. It is located right on the seafront promenade, the big rooftop bar is also a great spot for sundowners before dinner.

Oniro Wine Bar Restaurant

Oniro Wine Bar and Restaurant is another favorite for dinner with a view. It’s located in the old town, and its rooftop terrace has a stunning view over the roofs of Naxos and out on the Aegean Sea.

Swing Cocktail Bar

For a unique drink with a view, head to Swing Cocktail Bar. They specialise in Molecular Mixology, and each one of their cocktails has a really unique and individual look.

Akataion Pastry Boutique

This guide wouldn’t be complete without a place for dessert. Akataion Pastry Boutique sells delicious gelatos and pastries.

Naxos Travel Guide
Naxos Travel Guide

How to get around Naxos

Travelling around Naxos by bus

The bus station is by the harbor and there is a regular bus service through the island twice or three times a day. In summer, buses run even more frequently to bigger destinations like Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna. In addition, you can book day trips across the island (and by boat) in one of the various ticket offices and travel agencies right by Naxos harbor.

If you would like to know more about the bus routes, schedules, and destinations, head over to this page.

Travelling around Naxos by car

Personally, I’d say the best way to get around in Naxos is by car. You’ll spot multiple car rental companies in Naxos Town right as you get off the ferry and renting a car is super easy and cheap.

We rented our car from Naxos Akrogiali Rent A Car & Moto. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website, but they’re located right by the harbor and easy to spot. The employees were really friendly and helpful, and let us keep the car for two extra hours on our last day at no extra cost.

We paid 25 euros per day for our little Fiat Panda and didn’t have to pay a deposit for it, just leave our credit card details as a guarantee. Finding parking spots was always easy. And since you can’t drive faster than 50 km/h anywhere on the island, driving around Naxos was pretty relaxed.

Travelling around Naxos on a scooter

If you don’t want or can’t rent a car, you could also rent a scooter or quad instead. You can find rental companies for both in Naxos Town too. Just bear in mind that the inland of Naxos is quite hilly, so if you intend to go on a road trip, make sure you get a vehicle with a strong motor and good brakes.

Are you dreaming about visiting Naxos? Pin this post on Pinterest to save it for a future trip!
Naxos Travel Guide
Naxos Travel Guide

14 Comments

  1. Sue

    I love Naxos! It’s one of my favourite islands in the Cyclades & has some of the best beaches too. I’ve been a number of times but not seen everywhere you mention here (get sidetracked by those beaches ;).

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Oh, it’s so easy to get sidetracked with all these gorgeous beaches – I feel you! I could definitely have spent all my days on the beach too 🙂

      Reply
  2. Elina

    Beautiful photos of Naxos! I would love to visit and walk around the picturesque streets

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Thank you sooo much, Elina! I’m sure you would love Naxos as much as I did 😀

      Reply
  3. Simona

    This usmmer I soooo wanted to return to the greek islands, but I didn’t have the balls to fly because of this f*** virus :/ Let’s hope I’ll visit Naxos next year, your post convincd me even more 🙂

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Oh such a shame, but I can definitely relate. It was a very last-minute decision for us, and I did check the news every day while we were there to make sure Switzerland hadn’t put Greece back on the quarantine list. I’m really hoping you’ll get to go on your trip to Greece next year, fingers crossed! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Alexandra

    We LOOOVEEEE Naxos! I’ve been there a few times and I am such a fan. Our favorite way to enjoy any of the Greek Islands is to island hop with a catamaran.

    Reply
    • sara far away

      Island hopping sounds amazing, I’d love to do that for my next trip to Greece and visit a few other islands too. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Carol G

    Naxos has been on my radar because I’ve heard it is more quiet. Now that I know they have street art, I’m in!

    Reply
  6. Taylor

    Naxos looks absolutely beautiful! I definitely need to go back to Greece and explore more islands. I’m definitely keeping this blog post handy. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lisa Shehan

    this is one of the greek islands that i havent been able to visit yet but wow after seeing your photos it is at the top of my list!! absolutely stunning! <3

    Reply
  8. Marcella

    Such a lovely article with the most inspiring photos. I have visited Greece for the first time last year and fell in love with the different neighbourhoods of Athens. I traveled to Volos which is pretty offbeat and marveled over the scenery, hospitality and food. Reading your post I want to go to Naxos now, thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  9. Emma

    I haven’t been to Greece yet and although I am of course interested in some of the popular places, I also love to discover the lesser visited places or often overlooked places like this. It looks beautiful and so quiet. Great pictures

    Reply
  10. Ophelie

    I haven’t visited this island yet and I don’t think I have heard a lot about it! It’s nice to discover it with you! Naxos looks super charming and the landscapes are also beautiful!

    Reply

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Welcome to my world!

Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.