Exploring Naxos: A Traveler's Guide to Greece's Hidden Gem

Exploring Naxos: A Traveler's Guide to Greece's Hidden Gem


Introduction to Naxos

Welcome to Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades group nestled in the Aegean Sea. Known for its sprawling landscapes, rich history, vibrant culture, and stunningly beautiful beaches, Naxos is a destination that offers something for every traveler. Whether you're an adventurer seeking outdoor activities, a history buff exploring ancient ruins, or simply looking to relax on pristine beaches, Naxos has it all.

Getting to Naxos

Reaching Naxos Island is relatively straightforward. Travelers can fly into Athens International Airport, followed by a scenic ferry ride from the port of Piraeus or Rafina. Ferries operate regularly and offer an opportunity to take in the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. Alternatively, there are direct flights from Athens to Naxos Airport, operated by Olympic Airways or Sky Express.

Top Attractions in Naxos

Naxos boasts an array of attractions that cater to diverse interests. Here are some top destinations you shouldn't miss:

  • Portara: The iconic marble gateway situated on the islet of Palatia, believed to be the entrance to a temple dedicated to Apollo. It offers panoramic views of the sea and sunset.
  • Naxos Castle (Kastro): A medieval castle located in Naxos Town (Chora). Wander through narrow, winding streets, and discover historical buildings and museums.
  • Temple of Demeter: An ancient sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Demeter, located in Sangri village. Its ruins are a testament to the island’s rich historical past.
  • Apeiranthos: A picturesque mountain village noted for its marble-paved streets, traditional houses, and vibrant local culture.
  • Agios Prokopios Beach: One of the best beaches in Naxos, featuring golden sands and crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Outdoor Activities

Naxos offers a wealth of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers:

  • Hiking: Naxos boasts numerous hiking trails that traverse mountainous terrains, fertile valleys, and scenic coastal paths. The Mount Zas trail is popular among trekkers.
  • Windsurfing and Kiteboarding: The island is famed for windsurfing hotspots like Mikri Vigla Beach, thanks to its favorable winds and conditions.
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: Dive centers on the island offer opportunities to explore underwater caves, shipwrecks, and vibrant marine life.
  • Horse Riding: Experience the beauty of Naxos from horseback, with guided tours available through the countryside and along the beaches.

Local Cuisine

Your visit to Naxos wouldn't be complete without indulging in the island’s delectable culinary offerings. The local cuisine is a delightful blend of traditional Greek flavors and island-specific specialties:

  • Kitron: A locally produced liqueur made from citron fruit, available in three varieties—green, gold, and clear.
  • Grilled Octopus: Freshly caught octopus grilled to perfection, typically served with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Naxian Cheeses: Sample a range of local cheeses like Graviera, Xynotyro, and Arseniko, known for their unique flavors.
  • Vegetable Dishes: Dishes like revithokeftedes (chickpea fritters) and kolokythokeftedes (zucchini fritters) are popular vegetarian options.
  • Moussaka: A classic Greek dish consisting of layers of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce, baked to perfection.


Naxos Island offers a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences:

  • Luxury Resorts: For a lavish experience, consider staying in high-end resorts like the Naxian Collection or Nissaki Beach Hotel, offering premium amenities and stunning views.
  • Traditional Guesthouses: Immerse yourself in local culture by staying in charming guesthouses and boutique hotels in villages like Apeiranthos and Chalki.
  • Budget-Friendly Options: Affordable accommodations, such as hostels and budget hotels, are available in Naxos Town (Chora) and around the island.

Exploring the Villages

The villages of Naxos are a treasure trove of traditional architecture, local crafts, and authentic experiences:

  • Halki: Known for its venetian architecture and the Byzantine church of Panagia Protothroni. It's also home to the famed Vallindras Distillery, where you can sample Kitron liqueur.
  • Apeiranthos: A traditional village built from marble, featuring narrow alleys, local museums, and vibrant squares.
  • Filoti: Located on the slopes of Mount Zas, this village is characterized by its picturesque lanes and the 17th-century church of Panagia Filotitissa.
  • Komiaki: A peaceful village offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and a glimpse into rural Naxian life.

Travel Tips

Maximize your experience on Naxos with these helpful tips:

  • Rent a car or scooter to explore the island at your own pace, as public transport may not reach all attractions.
  • Visit during the shoulder seasons (May-June and September-October) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring villages and hiking trails.
  • Sample local products and delicacies by visiting local markets and tavernas.
  • Respect local customs and traditions, especially in rural areas and religious sites.