Nestled in the South Aegean Sea, beautiful Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands. It is famous for its lush and fertile lands along with its picturesque, whitewashed villages and towns. Its mountainous landscape is also famous for its marble, which has been used to make statues for centuries. You can even visit a marble quarry!
A guided walking tour is a great way to get a feel for the Chora (town) and a full day bus tour of the island is a great way to spend a day. There are numerous day trips you can do and the stunning Small Cyclades islands are just offshore including the lovely island of Donousa.
Although it has a modest permanent population, Naxos’ beauty makes it a popular place for tourists. Its a big island, there’s some fantastic accommodation and there are a lot of great things to do on Naxos.
Beaches in Naxos
Naxos is famous for its long, sandy beaches, in fact some of the longest beaches anywhere on the Greek Islands can be found here. If you’re looking for something to do in Naxos, visiting one of the beautiful beaches is a great choice.
For decades, it was a nudists’ beach, and they can still be found on the beach in low season. In high season, however, the popularity of the beach means that only a small section is clothing-optional. The rest is popular with visitors of all types, from families enjoying the crystal clear water to young revellers drinking at the nearby bars and cafes.
With so much sand to go around, there is plenty of room to enjoy its beauty.
In fact, Agios Prokopios is often called one of the most beautiful beaches on all of the Greek Islands, with its swathes of soft sand and glistening clear water.
As it is located just five kilometres away from Naxos Town, it is also one of the most popular beaches on the island. As a result, there is a good selection of bars, restaurants and shops to enjoy not far from the water.
You can also rent snorkels and banana boats from the shore.
That said, it is still a busy beach that is well organised, with plenty of sun umbrellas and amenities nearby. In addition, as the cove is quite secluded, it is generally quite calm, making it suitable for swimmers of all ages.
Paralia Mikri Viglia
In particular, the beach is well-known for its excellent windsurfing and kitesurfing. It’s also popular amongst divers and snorkellers, thanks to the many fish that can be spotted just off the shore.
There are a couple of buses per day from Naxos Town in high season, although it is easiest to reach with your own car.
Although it is only 20 kilometres from Naxos Town, it is much quieter than the closer beaches – although it still has a fair bit going on in peak season. The beach itself is picturesque, with sparkling blue sea and views of Mykonos way off in the distance.
If you’re looking for a quiet beach in Naxos not too far from town, this is a great option.
St George beach
It is a calm, shallow beach which is usually protected from any wind and therefore is very popular with families. It is well serviced with many sunbeds, cafes and tavernas and at night it transforms into a quiet beachfront resort with some excellent toes-in-the-and dining venues.
Its easy to walk to St George from the town and there are several small hotels right on the beachfront as well.
more outdoor things to do on Naxos
The cave is nestled near the right side of the beach, with its entrance surrounded by beautiful green-blue waters. The postcard-perfect look of the cave makes visiting it one of the most popular things to do in Naxos.
In order to reach it, you’ll need to take a water taxi to the secluded beach, where you can then swim in the beautiful blue waters. The beach nearby is also lovely for relaxing upon.
Aliko Juniper Forest
In the 80s, there were plans to build a mega resort here, however luckily it never came to fruition and it remains largely unspoiled. Today, the trees come nearly up to the water’s edge, just leaving behind a slither of soft sand to enjoy.
As well as relaxing on the beach in the shade of the forest, you can also take a walk along the many walking paths. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy one of the most unique landscapes in Greece.
Historical sites on Naxos
For the Ancient Greeks, Naxos was one of the most important part of the Cyclades. As a result, there are many remnants of the past left behind, making it a paradise for history lovers.
While it may not be quite as developed as some of the other cities on larger islands like Mykonos, many visitors fall in love with its undeniable charm. It is well-known for its hodge podge of narrow laneways and its white-washed cube houses and buildings.
Simply walking around it is a delight, while there are many great cafes and tavernas to enjoy.
While much of the ancient temple has been reclaimed by the earth, an impressive door-like rectangle remains, faced towards Dellos, Apollo’s birthplace.
This impressive sight also frames the incredible views over the island, making it a particular favourite for photographers at sunrise and sunset. (free entry, always open).
This dramatic location in Kythira gave the castle the nickname “the Eye of Crete” as it allowed for watchmen to keep an eye on the Aegean, Ionian and Cretan seas all at once. No doubt this is why it was built by the Venetians in the 13th century.
Today, the castle is almost completely ruined, but hints of its former grandeur still remain. It is undoubtedly romantic, perched on the hilltop overlooking the island.
free entry, open from 8am to 8pm in summer, 8:30am to 3:30pm in winter
Temple of Demeter
The impressive ruins are thought to date back more than 2,500 years to around the 6th Century BC. Although there are still many mysteries surrounding the temple, we do know that it was built in honour of Demeter, the Goddess of grain.
The temple was likely built near fertile farmlands, in the hope that she’d bless the crops. Today, it is one of the most interesting sights on the island.
Entrance to the temple is free, €4 for the museum. Open 8:30am to 3pm
Explore the small villages of Melanes, Halki and Filoti
Some of the most beautiful include Melanes, with the white-washed stone houses clinging to the cliff-face, the former capital of Halki with remnants of its former fame and fortune, and picturesque Filoti.
While these places are fairly small and can be explored easily, it is best to soak in their unique and charming atmosphere. There’s no need to rush!
Day trips from Naxos
Just south of Naxos are a group of little islands called The Small Cyclades which are very quaint and very beautiful. Whether you are staying on Paros or Naxos we strongly recommend you do a sailing trip around The Small Cyclades which I guarantee you will be talking about for the rest of your lives.
It’s even possible to do day trips from Naxos to Mykonos and Delos as well as to Santorini.
Naxonians are known for their exceptional food and in particularly the famous Naxos potatoes. This is a great place to do a food experience and/or a cooking class – one of the best places to do this in Greece!
Other great day trips from Naxos are: Here are a few more great day trips from Naxos.
A day trip over to Paros is a particularly good idea during the summer, when the island enjoys a bustling calendar of events including traditional Greek cultural performances as well as open air music festivals.
There are four ferry companies that operate between the two islands, with several ferries each day so it is fairly easy to get between the two.
At just over five square kilometres, its immense natural beauty makes up for its modest size. In particular, the island is famous for its jaw-droppingly perfect beaches, such as Pori Beach.
There are also numerous classic tavernas which offer traditional meals and friendly service. It’s certainly one of the most unmissable day trips from Naxos.
One of the best ways to see Koufanisi is to do a sailing trip around it.
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