During my island-hopping trip in the Cyclades, I also paid a visit to Naxos: an atmospheric island with imposing mountain massifs, fertile valleys, delicious Greek food and locals who love to welcome you! It’s a beautiful island where you can easily spend a few days. In this article I’ll tell you my experience with this destination.
For the ones who don’t know the Cyclades that well: it’s an island group in the Aegean Sea which belongs to Greece. The Cyclades exist out about 56 islands, but the major ones are Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos and Paros. A big characteristic of the Cyclades are the white houses with blue doors and frames. Especially for island hopping the islands are popular. There are beautiful beaches, cosy towns, delicious local restaurants and a warm atmosphere.
How to get to Naxos
There are a few ways to get to Naxos. The island has its own airport, what makes it possible to fly directly to Naxos. There are, for example, flights from London and Paris to the island. Besides, lots of domestic flights from Athens go to Naxos. If you want to combine Athens with Naxos, this can be perfectly arranged with flights.
However, it’s also possible to take the ferry to Naxos from Athens and several islands of the Cyclades. If you decide to go island hopping in the Cyclades, this is probably the best way to get around. From Athens you’ll get to Naxos in a few hours; this is the same from Santorini. From Paros, the ferry ride is a little shorter.
You can look up the ferry schedules & fares and book your ferry ride by clicking here.
Naxos Town is the place where you’ll arrive by ferry and one of the bigger places of the island. It’s a typical Cycladic town with boutique shops, small streets, but also with a nice boulevard and lots of nice restaurants.
One of the images of Naxos will probably be the Temple of Apollo (the Portara of Naxos). You can find this frame door in Naxos Town, which is part of the unfinished Temple of Apollo. The doorway stands on a small islet called Palatia, close to the harbour of Naxos. It’s a great place where you can enjoy some beautiful views over the sea and the town.
When you walk over the boulevard and go into a small alley, you’ll find “Old Market”. You can stroll here around the small alleys, cosy shops and restaurants. It’s a beautiful area where you can wander around. When you walk more upwards, you’ll find Naxos Castle and its two remaining gates, which is a beautiful image.
If you like to visit museums, the Archaeological Museum is a recommendation. It shows more of Naxos’ history and the ancient Cycladic culture.
Other towns and beaches
Naxos is more than just the harbour place Naxos Town. There are several, traditional villages which you can find at the coastal regions, but also in the center of Naxos. These villages are more quiet and show even more the traditional, Greek culture. Located between the hills, it’s definitely worth it to discover more of the island.
Furthermore, Naxos has a diversity of beaches! There are the “organised” beaches, where it can be more crowded and where you can rent a sunbed and umbrella, but there are also some peaceful and unspoiled beaches which are also worth a visit. Especially when you have a rental car it’s easy to drive around and discover the beaches Naxos has to offer.
How to get around Naxos
The best way to get around Naxos will probably by rental car. With a rental car, you’re free to go where ever you’d like. You can explore the more remote beaches and towns of the island. However, there are also several tours you can book, like an island tour or a sailing trip. There are many possibilities!
Where to stay
Naxos Town is a perfect starting point for exploring more of the island. It has everything: restaurants, shops and all types of accommodations. It’s a centrally located place from where you can easily go to other areas of the island (also when you don’t have a rental car). If you’re looking for more quietness, you’ve a big interest for the traditional culture and you have a rental car, I would say to choose an accommodation in one of the other (beach)towns on the island.
Best time to visit Naxos
In my opinion, the best time to pay a visit to Naxos will probably in springtime (May-June) or autumn (September-October). In this time, there are great temperatures and it will be less crowded compared to summer season.