Welcome to JetSetting Fools, here you will find our best travel tips for destinations worldwide. Some of the links on this site are Affiliate Links and if you use them to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. For more information, read our Disclosure Policy.
Naxos, Greece features lush landscapes, mountain villages and a sublime coastline. The island has a rugged appeal that is in stark contrast to other nearby Greek islands – like Mykonos and Santorini. A favorite island destination for travelers seeking ‘authentic’ Greece, the top things to do in Naxos are exploring the mountainous countryside, soaking up the sun at the sandy beaches and indulging in the local cuisine.
Things To Do in Naxos, Greece FAQs
Before we get to our list of what to do in Naxos, Greece, we want to answer of a few of the most frequently asked questions.
Where is Naxos Island, Greece?
Before you can make your Naxos To Do list, it’s best to know where Naxos is located. The Greek Island of Naxos is part of the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea. The island group sits southeast of the Greece mainland and north of Crete. Within the Cyclades, Naxos is located between Mykonos and Santorini.
We discuss how to get to Naxos Island later in the article, under our Naxos Travel Tips section.
How To Pronounce Naxos?
The Greek language is complicated and can be difficult for many foreigners. That said, the pronunciation of Naxos is one of the easy ones! Naxos Island is pronounced Nak-Sos.
How Big is Naxos?
Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades – measuring 170 square miles. The main town is Chora (or Naxos City) and there are several mountain villages that dot the island.
The best things to do on Naxos are spread across the entire island. We discuss how to get around in Naxos later, in the Travel Tips for Naxos section.
What is Naxos Known For?
The Greek Island of Naxos is well known for many things, including ancient ruins, charming villages and a delectable cuisine. The long sandy beaches in Naxos have long attracted tourists to the island – and spending time at the beaches still ranks as one of the top Naxos, Greece things to do.
In the ancient mythology of Greece, Naxos Island is known as the childhood home of Zeus, the King of Gods. In fact, visiting the cave where he resided is one of the top things to see in Naxos – but you have to hike to get to it!
Do You Need a Car for Visiting Naxos?
While a vehicle is not necessary for Naxos sightseeing, independent travelers will likely want to rent a car. For our trip, we decided to get a car rental in Naxos – so we could explore at our own pace and make detours when we were inspired.
However, the top things to do in Naxos Island can be reached by public bus or on a guided tour. We will highlight the best tours in Naxos on our list.
We also share our thoughts on driving in Naxos – and the pros and cons of renting a car in Greece.
Are Naxos Things To Do Expensive?
Many of the Naxos attractions – like beaches and villages – are completely free to visit. Some sights in Naxos charge a fee to enter, but it is typically just a few euros.
Dining in Naxos is also incredibly affordable – and insanely delicious. Later, you will find an entire section of this article dedicated to eating and where to find the best food in Naxos, Greece!
Are There Things To Do on Naxos, Greece with Kids?
Of course! While our list of Things To Do Naxos is not designed specifically for family travel, we include many kid-friendly Naxos activities in our list.
Are There Non-Touristy Things To Do in Naxos, Greece?
Absolutely! In fact, while Naxos is a tourist destination, it still feels slightly off the beaten path (especially in comparison to the neighboring islands of Mykonos and Santorini).
In the peak summer season, some of the Naxos must-see sights will get crowded, but it is easy to find fun things to do in Naxos away from the crowds.
How Many Days in Naxos?
Determining how long to stay in Naxos, Greece is one of the biggest dilemmas that travelers face. In our opinion, travelers need at least 3 days in Naxos. Spending three days allows enough time to get to most of the Naxos top things to do.
However, we understand that some travelers will be limited to a single day, while others plan to stay for at least 5 days. Therefore, we share a sample Naxos Itinerary later in the article for 1 to 5 days in Naxos to help fellow travelers plan their time on the island.
Planning a Trip to Naxos, Greece
In addition to figuring out what to see and do on Naxos, travelers also need to determine how to get there, where to stay and what to pack. Don’t fret! In addition to listing the Best Things To Do on Naxos Island, we also share pertinent travel details that will help to make trip planning a breeze.
Visitors traveling to Greece from abroad will find our Guide to Planning a European Vacation helpful for general travel information. Furthermore, travelers visiting other Greek destinations can use our 2-Week Greece Itinerary for trip planning advice.
As you begin to make your travel plans for Naxos, staying organized is key. We recommend using a travel planner – like our Trip Planning Printables – to make sure you stay on top of all the details!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN NAXOS, GREECE
Now that we have covered the basics, it’s time to dive into our list of Best Things To Do Naxos, Greece.
To make the list as user-friendly as possible, we have segmented the attractions into categories: Things To Do in Chora Old Town, the Best Beaches of Naxos, Attractions around Naxos Island and Day Trips and Boat Trips from Naxos. As we already mentioned, we also share a robust list of the Best Food in Naxos.
Additionally, we feature a useful Map of Naxos that is marked with all of the sights and attractions on our list.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Naxos Travel Guide to plan your Greece Vacation!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN NAXOS CHORA
We are kicking off our list with the Best Things To Do Naxos Town. As the capital of the island – and the island’s hub of transportation – there are many things to do in Chora, Naxos and we are highlighting the best of the best!
#1 Explore Chora Naxos Town
Chora, the main town in Naxos, is a fabulous place to explore. Narrow, twisting lanes weave through neighborhoods and open onto small squares. Classic Cyclades white-cubed houses are stacked on the hill. Shops line the streets and cafes are tucked into quiet corners.
Like many Greek Islands, Naxos has a long, convoluted history – and remains of the past are found throughout the Old Town. We think it is best to wander and get a little lost – just to see what you might find!
That said, travelers who don’t want to miss a single sight can create their own Self-Guided Free Walking Tour Naxos using our list of things to see and do in Naxos Old Town.
#2 See the Remains of the Venetian Castle of Naxos
Dating to the year 1207, the Venetian Castle – or the Kastro – is a must-see Naxos sight. Built atop the hill in the center of town by Venetian Marco Sanudos, the Castle of Chora was not only used to fortify the city, but was also the center of government, education and religion.
Acting as more of a fortress than a castle, the medieval stronghold originally had 12 defensive towers and three gates. Within the fortifications, there were schools, churches, homes and offices – and many of these buildings are preserved to this day; in fact, some of the residences are still inhabited.
Only one tower still stands – called the Tower of Krispi or the Glezos Tower – and it houses the Byzantine Museum. It is one of the historical attractions in Naxos, but it was closed for renovations during our visit.
The Kastro is certainly one of the most interesting places to visit in Naxos, but there are only a few signs with information. Travelers interested in learning more about the history of the castle can join a local tour guide on a Naxos Castle Tour. Learn more here!
#3 Step Inside the Catholic Cathedral of Naxos
Officially called the Catholic Cathedral of the Presentation of the Lord, the Naxos Cathedral is located within the Kastro walls. Visiting the all-white church with its ornate bell tower and dome is one of the best things to do in Naxos Town.
The medieval church has a long history, but there have been few alterations since the 17th century. If the church is open, go inside to see the detailed Baroque altar, golden icons and carved family crests in the marble floor.
#4 Stand in Awe of the Zoodochos Pigi Holy Orthodox Church
Built in the 1870s, the Zoodochos PIgi Church is the Naxos Orthodox Cathedral. The church was built using stones from previous temples – and it is believed that the pillars came from the sacred island of Delos.
It is worth stepping inside – especially if you have yet to visit a Greek Orthodox church. That said, even if the church is closed, it is still one of the things to see in Naxos Town. The white church sits on a spacious square and boasts a façade of arches, along with a 4-bell tower.
While on the square, peer down into the Mitropolis On Site Museum. The excavated archaeological site shows unearthed buildings and tombs and ranks as one of the intriguing ancient Naxos things to see.
#5 Visit the Archaeological Museum in Naxos
Learning about the ancient past is one of the interesting Naxos Town things to do – and the Naxos Archaeological Museum offers a quick history lesson.
The museum exhibits a small collection of historic artifacts – including Cycladic carved figurines, sculptures and local ceramics. While not necessarily one of the Must Do Naxos attractions, it is quite interesting (especially for Greek history buffs).
#6 Stroll down Old Market Street
The Naxos Old Market Street is one of the most atmospheric places to go in town. The slender passageway is lined with boutique shops, jewelry stores and tourist trinkets. For shoppers searching for the perfect souvenir, there are quite a few hidden gems in the Old Market district.
Looking for Naxos things to do and see at night? The Old Market Street is particularly beautiful after dark, plus there are several fun cafes, bars and restaurants in the area!
#7 Walk along the Port Promenade
Walking along the wide, pedestrian-only Port Promenade is one of the top things to do in Naxos City. The path is lined with restaurants, where patrons can dine on fresh seafood right on the water’s edge.
As you amble along the Port of Naxos Promenade, don’t miss the islet in the harbor that houses the Church of Panagia Myrtidiotisa. The small island is occupied by the whitewashed chapel, which is a Naxos landmark, and it is only accessible by boat.
#8 Get a Taste of Naxos Cheese
Here’s a fun fact about Naxos: The island is one of the leading cheese producers in Greece! Thus, it’s not surprising that sampling the island’s special cheeses makes our list of Best Things To Do Naxos.
Naxos Graviera (made with cow, sheep and goat milk), Kefalotyri (from 100% sheep milk) and Mitzithra (a soft cow milk cheese) are three of the best Naxos cheeses to try. Restaurants around the island serve dishes made with these (and other) island cheese products.
That said, turophiles (that is, cheese connoisseurs) should stop by Naxos Cheese Koufopoulos. The cheese shop sells local dairy products – and many other locally sourced food items. Want an in-depth introduction to the cheese from Naxos, Greece? Join their 1-hour cheese tasting experience.
Kiriakos Tziblakis on Sokratous Papavasiliou Street is another shop that sells cheeses from Naxos – along with a slew of other traditional Naxos products, like spices, herbs, dried fruits and olive oils.
#9 Shop for Hand-Crafted Greek Sandals
Greek leather sandals have been in fashion for centuries – and while there are many places visitors can purchase them, Pagonis is one of the best Naxos places to visit for the handmade product.
Since 1940, Pagonis Greek Sandals has been creating Greek leather sandals. The family business opened their workshop and storefront in Naxos in 1982 – and the tradition continues today.
Visitors not in the market for a new pair of sandals might still want to pop by the Pagonis Greek Sandals Shop – as they make other leather products, too, like handbags and belts.
#10 Watch Sunset at Temple of Apollo Portara
Without a doubt, one of the cool things to do in Naxos, Greece is to watch the sunset at the Temple of Apollo.
Built in the year 530 BC, but never finished, the Apollo Temple in Naxos sits near the entrance of the Naxos Harbor on an island (connected to the mainland by a walkway). While fragments of the temple litter the ground, the Portara Gate – a symbol of the City of Naxos – still stands all on its own.
A popular Naxos photo is to capture the sun sinking into the sea through the Portara Gate – but watching the sunset from the temple’s island is spectacular from any angle.
That said, there are several fun places to watch a Naxos sunset in the Old Town. Visitors can take in the view with a cocktail in hand at Swing Bar, gaze across the rooftops at the Naxos Castle or watch the setting sun from the abandoned Altes Restaurant.
BEST BEACHES IN NAXOS
When creating your Naxos: What To Do List, visiting a few of the island’s beaches is a must! We spent a full day discovering the beaches on Naxos. We walked along the shoreline, dipped our toes into the turquoise water, dined on a picnic lunch with sea views and savored the dazzling landscapes.
We are highlighting a few of the best beaches in Naxos that you might want to include in your trip itinerary.
#11 Sink your Feet into the Sand at Plaka Beach
Perhaps the most stunning stretch of white sand on Naxos Island, Plaka Beach is regularly touted as the Best Beach in Naxos. The coast is lined with beach bars – and sun loungers and umbrellas can be rented in the summer season.
Visitors without a car can catch a bus to Plaka Beach Naxos. Find schedules and buy tickets at the Naxos Bus Office (KTEL of Naxos), which is located near the harbor at the end of the ferry pier.
#12 Find a Secluded Spot at Hawaii Naxos Beach
Spending a day at Hawaii Beach is one of the Naxos best things to do. Without services or beach beds, it is one of the best places along the shoreline for complete solitude.
The striking crescent-shaped, sandy beach is isolated at the base of a red rock cliff. With deep crevices in the towering rock, there are plenty of places for privacy at this Naxos beach. Unsurprisingly, naturists often use Hawaii Beach as a place to swim and sunbathe sans swimsuit.
Hawaii Beach is located within the Aliko Nature Reserve – which features a cedar forest (more like shrubs), sand dunes and a maze of trails.
Just north of Hawaii Beach is Kedros Beach – another rugged and remote beach in Naxos without services. The two beaches are separated by a small rocky outcrop, and it is relatively easy to get from one to the other.
#13 Ponder the Street Art Murals at Mikrolimano Beach
The shallow cove at Mirkolimano Beach (or Alyko Beach) is a favorite for families – and attracts tourists and locals alike for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.
However, the real reason many travelers make their way to Mirkolimano Beach is to see the street art murals at the abandoned hotel. The concrete structure was built in the 1960s with grand plans for a posh beach resort, but it was never finished. Artists have since used the bare walls as a canvas for their expressive artworks – and it’s a fascinating place to visit in Naxos, Greece!
#14 Swim in the Crystal-Clear Water at Agios Prokopios Naxos
The brilliantly blue water at Agios Prokopios Beach is a must see in Naxos, Greece. Even though the water tends to be chilly, the azure color lures in swimmers – and we encourage you to at least dip your toes in the sea at this spectacular beach.
Located near the Naxos airport, Agios Prokopios Beach is a fairly long beach. Visitors can opt to rent beach loungers under an umbrella for a fee (expect to pay 20 euros or more) or simply spread out their towel on the pebbly sand.
#15 Relax on a Sun Chair at Agia Anna Naxos Beach
The flat, sandy Agia Anna Beach is the perfect place to kick back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Grab a beach chair or find your own place in the sand to stretch out – the beach attracts all types of visitors: young, old, families, friends and couples.
Feeling adventurous? Take the boardwalk to the south and climb up the rocky hill to the small St. Nikolaos Naxos Chapel. One of the beautiful places to see in Naxos, it’s a great sunset spot and the church is often used for weddings. (As you navigate your way around the headland, just be aware that the beach directly south is a nudist beach.)
#16 Ease into the Water at Agios Georgios Beach
The closest beach to Naxos Old Town, Agios Georgios Beach is just a 15-minute walk and is a popular Naxos tourist attraction and beach-lover destination.
The water is shallow and the cove is usually protected from wind – both of which make it one of the best family-friendly beaches in Naxos, Greece. Sun beds are available, but there’s plenty of space along the shoreline, too.
Agios Georgios Beach is also popular with active travelers – as it is an ideal spot for windsurfing, paddleboarding and even surfing.
#17 Stroll the Sandy Shore at Mikri Vigla Beach
Typically not as crowded as other Naxos beaches, Mikri Vigla Beach has small pebbly sand, a long shoreline and a rocky promontory that is fun to clamber around on. The secluded setting has just a few companies offering sunbeds and a single traditional taverna on the water.
We think it is the best beach in Naxos for travelers who like nature and walking.
WHAT TO DO NAXOS ISLAND
As the biggest of the Cyclades Islands, there is much to see beyond Old Town Naxos and beaches. With that in mind, we are sharing some of the other best things to do in Naxos Island.
#18 Discover Naxos on a Road Trip
One of the top Naxos Island things to do is to set off on a journey to visit ancient sites, wander through whitewashed villages and feast on local fare.
We spent a full day driving around the island, visiting many of the sites listed below. Visitors can create a self-drive route to the best towns in Naxos – like Chalkio, Filoti and Apeiranthos – or use this Naxos Map for a sample driving route.
Travelers without a car can still discover some of the best places on Naxos Island. Buses depart from Naxos Town to many of the villages. Alternatively, there is an organized Naxos Island Highlights tour that is an excellent value. Get the details!
#19 Taste Greek Products at Eggares Olive Oil Museum
One of the interesting things to do Naxos Island is to learn about olive oil – and the best place to get an introduction to the production of olive oil is at the Eggares Olive Oil Museum.
Housed in a small building next to an old church, the museum is somewhat of a hidden gem in Naxos. The small Eggares Museum displays historic equipment and a guide explains the process on a short and informative tour. Afterwards, visitors are welcome to taste an array of samples – from oil infused with lime to an olive marmalade to tasty olive spreads.
There is no charge for the tour and tastings – it’s one of the best free things to do in Naxos!
Families traveling in Naxos can upgrade their experience to a paid tour that is aimed at family fun. In addition to the tour and tasting, participants plant seeds, play traditional games and create crafts. Find out more!
#20 Size up the Tower of Agia
While not a must-see Naxos Island attraction, the tower of Agia is difficult to miss for travelers taking a road trip. Situated right along the main road on the northern tip of the island, the Agia Tower Naxos is the ruins of an old, abandoned olive mill.
Travelers can walk the short dirt trail and enter the tower (at their own risk) to see old olive oil presses – however, we thought it was more beautiful from afar.
#21 See a Famous Kouros Statue in Apollonas
Seeking out the Apollonas Kouros Statue is one of the top things to do on Naxos Island. Full of mystery and intrigue, the Naxian marble statue is believed to have been sculpted in the 7th century BC – and it sits, unfinished, in the ancient quarry from which it was carved.
The Kouros of Apollonas measures 35-feet-long and weighs 80 tons. Some of the features have been clearly chiseled – like the feet, head and beard – while the arms are just rough blocks.
There are some theories that it is not a kouros (a statue of young, naked male), but rather a sculpture of Dionysus, a Greek god.
#22 Feast at a Tavern in Koronos
Situated on a steep mountain slope, Koronos Village is an enchanting place to visit. The traditional houses sit dramatically on the hillside among lush greenery and terraced vineyards. Long staircases and narrow pedestrian lanes constitute streets and local tavernas dish out homecooked specialties.
In fact, eating lunch at Matina and Stavros Tavern, which pleasantly spills out into the cobblestoned square, is one of the best things to do on Naxos Island. The menu varies by day, but all of Matina’s cooking gets rave reviews
We devoured tender chicken in a divine lemon sauce, goat in an exceptional wine sauce and wild rabbit in tomato sauce – a Naxos specialty.
#23 Wander in Wonder at Apeiranthos
An atmospheric Naxos mountain town, Apeiranthos Village is one of the best things to see in Naxos, Greece. The village abides by tradition and feels distinctly different from other Naxos Island towns. The local inhabitants (just over 1,000 of them) speak their own dialect and the architecture has remained relatively untouched since Venetian times.
Nestled at the foot of Fanari Mountain and surrounded by hilly terrain, Apeiranthos offers incredible vantage points. Wandering through the village on the marble paved lanes is a top activity. Other Apeiranthos things to do are to visit one of the many museums and churches.
#24 Feel the Tradition in Filoti
A quiet village full of charm, Filoti is found at the base of Mount Zas. Although Filoti has a population of 1,800 residents, it feels very remote and rural.
Filoti may only have a handful of attractions, yet it remains one of the top things to see in Naxos, Greece. We think it is best to approach the town as an experience, rather than a place to check off.
All that said, there are a few points of interest that travelers might want to seek out while wandering the labyrinth of lanes. The 18th century Panagia Filotitissa Holy Mary of Filoti Church is a beautiful church with three separate bell towers and a clock tower. Next to the church is a tree-shaded courtyard – and facing the church is a fabulous little Folklore Museum.
Other things to see are the Tower of Barozzi that has been standing since the year 1650 and the pretty main square, Gefira, that is shaded by a 100-year-old plane tree.
#25 Sample the Local Products in Chalkio, Naxos
Characterized by flower-lined lanes and olive tree groves, Chalkio (also Halki or Halkio, Naxos) has long attracted Naxos tourists. Spending a half day in Halki is regularly touted as one of the top things to do in Naxos Island.
There are quite a few things to do in Halki, Naxos – and we are sharing a sample itinerary of how you can spend your time in the town.
Chalkio, Naxos Things To Do
Start your visit at the local hangout, Tradizionale Caffe Ristorante Galanis, for coffee or lunch – and definitely order the galaktoboureko (a Greek phyllo and custard dessert). Then, set off to explore Chalkio on foot. Pop into the shops selling local products – like the Fish and Olive Gallery (for handmade ceramics) and Naxia Gi (for spices, herbs, honey and jam).
Next, follow the path through a grove of olive trees to the 11th century Church of Saint George Diasoritis. If time allows, explore the other trails that lead to dusty villages and old stone Byzantine churches.
Back in Chalkio, go to the Vallindras Kitron Distillery, which was established in the village in 1896. First tour the small exhibits that shed light on the traditional distilling methods, then sample the product!
#26 Marvel at the Ancient Holy Paleochristian Church of Panagia Drosiani
An ancient 6th century stone church, the Panagia Drosiani Church is the oldest Christian church on Naxos. The extraordinary Byzantine church is one of the best places to visit in Naxos – not just for the history, but for it’s beauty, as well.
Original frescoes still decorate the walls and local women sell handmade products in the courtyard.
#27 Go Hiking on Naxos, Greece
Hiking in Naxos, Greece is a fun way to explore the natural landscapes. A network of trails connects villages – and there are routes that climb up Mount Zas, too.
One of the top things to do in Naxos, Greece is to hike to the top of Mount Zas, which ranks as the tallest mountain in the Cyclades, standing at 3,290 feet. In Greek mythology, the mountain marks the place where Zeus was raised – and hikers can visit the cave he called his home.
Hiking Mount Zas Naxos is moderately challenging, but trekkers who make it to the summit are rewarded with 360-degree views that stretch across the Aegean Sea.
#28 Learn about the Kouros at Melanes and Flerio
Travelers seeking historic things to do at Naxos will not want to miss the Flerio Melanes Kouros archaeological site. Near an ancient quarry, visitors can see two Kouros statues that lie where they were deserted thousands of years ago.
Made of Naxos marble, the statues date to the 5th century BC. Much smaller than the Apollonas Kouros and closer to a finished product, it is believed that these statues likely broke during transport and were simply discarded.
#29 Visit the Ruins of the Temple of Demeter
Dedicated to Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, the white marble temple sits on a hillside, well positioned to overlook the countryside and fields of crops below.
The temple, which was structured as a square and featured Ionic columns, dates to the 6th century BC – and has been partially reconstructed. The small museum offers details about the history of the site.
There is a small fee to enter the site and visitors should bring along water – as there is a bit of a hike to reach the ruins and no shade or services.
NAXOS BOAT TOURS
During the hot summer season, a boat tour is a must-do in Naxos, Greece! There are quite a few different Naxos boat tours – all with varying offerings in a range of prices. We are highlighting a few of the top-rated boat trips that you might want to add to your Naxos itinerary.
#30 Sail Away on a Catamaran Cruise Boat Tour Naxos
Embarking on a full day boat trip is one of the best things to do in Naxos Greek Islands! On this highly-rated catamaran cruise, passengers get to swim, snorkel and soak in the sunshine on an epic adventure along the coastline.
This tour features three gorgeous swim stops, an on-board traditional Greek lunch and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Fellow travelers give rave reviews regarding the crew and cleanliness of the boat. Reserve your spot!
#31 Take the Helm of a Luxury Yacht
Spend a day at sea on a luxury yacht as you sail around the Island of Naxos. The winds will dictate your direction – and there are plenty of coves to tuck into for a swim or snorkel.
Participants can join the captain for an informal sailing lesson – and may even have the chance to take the wheel. Learn more here!
MORE NAXOS ACTIVITIES
Naxos offers plenty of opportunities for memorable experiences. We are sharing a few of the top picks for the best activities on Naxos Island, Greece.
#32 Enjoy Horse Riding in Naxos
One of the unique things to do on Naxos Island is to go horseback riding on the beach. While enjoying a ride on the beach, the knowledgeable guides share stories about life on Naxos.
#33 Sip and Swirl at Santa Anna Winery
Definitely one of the fun activities in Naxos Island, tastings at Santa Anna Winery offer an introduction to the wine-making process. Participants tour the beautiful property and vineyard with the owner, while learning about the history and tradition of Santa Anna wines.
During the tasting – which is highlighted by home-grown produce and snacks – participants are offered a full range of the winery’s products. Book it here!
#34 Experience Marine Life while Scuba Diving Naxos
Visitors interested in learning the basics of scuba diving in Naxos can join a trained guide for an unforgettable underwater adventure. After learning how to use the equipment, participants go into the sea for a 45-minute dive along the reef. Get the details!
#35 Partake in a Naxos Cooking Class
Greek cooking classes are an exceptional way to learn about the flavors of the traditional cuisine. During this cooking class on Naxos Island, you travel to a rural village and learn how to make a Greek feast – from farm to table! Sign up here!
BEST DAY TRIPS FROM NAXOS
We have shared our tips on the Top Things to Do Naxos, but there are day trips to consider, as well. These Naxos excursions get rave reviews from fellow travelers!
#36 Embark on a Mykonos Day Trip
World-famous Mykonos Island is a top Greece destination – and visitors can plan an easy day trip to Mykonos from Naxos Island. With a day in Mykonos, visitors can see the iconic windmills, shop on Matoyianni Street and sip a cocktail in Little Venice.
When getting from Mykonos to Naxos by boat, you can opt to take the fast ferry or join a tour – like this one! – that provides round-trip transport and 6 hours of free time on the island.
#37 Double Down on a Mykonos and Delos Full Day Trip
Travelers who want to pack as much sightseeing into one day as possible can sail from Naxos to two of the most fascinating places to see in the Aegean Sea: Mykonos and Delos.
First, sail to Delos, where you have 3 hours to discover the revered ancient island, visit the ruins and see artifacts in the museum. The voyage continues to cosmopolitan Mykonos, where you can spend your 3 hours freely climbing up to see the windmills and shopping in the Matoyianni district. Find out more!
#38 Set Off on a Day Trip to Santorini from Naxos
Santorini is another one of the islands close to Naxos that is well worth a visit! On an organized tour, visitors can see the best of Santorini in a relatively short amount of time.
The tour includes an English-speaking guide and bus transport around Santorini – including stops in stunning Oia and bustling Fira. Book the tour!
#39 Spend a Day in Koufonissi Islands via Boat
One of the lesser-known islands near Naxos, Koufonissi sits off the southeastern tip of Naxos and offers travelers a range of entertainment. Visitors can take a full day boat trip to explore on bikes, relax at the beach or hop over to an uninhabited island. Reserve your spot!
Known for fertile lands and abundant water, the Greek Island of Naxos has long produced exceptionally delicious food. In fact, this would not be a complete Best of Naxos Guide unless we talked about the epic Naxos food scene!
#40 Eat the Best Food on Naxos
Naxos is well-known for its local cuisine – and has an array of specialties! We are recommending a few of the best things to eat in Naxos on your trip.
After our top tips on the best food in Naxos, we also share our advice for the best places to eat in Naxos.
That said, travelers short on time who want to get a taste of the best food Naxos has to offer should join a guided Naxos Food Tour. On this fun tour, the guide shares the history of the island and its cuisine – and no one leaves hungry!
Superb spuds in terms of quality and taste, Naxos Potatoes have been a thriving crop on the island since the 1800s. In 1953, however, the village of Glinados was selected as the distinguished center of cultivation and production…and those potatoes are labeled as a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) product.
Potatoes from Naxos appear in various forms on menus around Greece – but we think they taste best fried.
It might be surprising to learn, but there is a good reason why Naxos is known for both potatoes and cheese. Apparently, cow dung does wonders for growing potatoes…so they went ahead and learned how to make really good cheese from cow milk, too. (Naturally, beef is often found as a main ingredient in Naxos dishes, as well).
Some of the Naxos cheese varieties to try are: Xinotiro, Kefalotyri, Xinomizithira, Graviera, Mizithra, Arseniko and Gruyere.
Cheese is used in many local Naxos dishes and salads – and it can also be ordered all by itself. We love Naxian Graviera Saganaki – a fried cheese drizzled with honey.
Naxos is also known for seafood, and visitors have ample opportunities to order a fresh catch during their trip. Grilled octopus, shrimp, calamari and gouna (sun-dried, grilled mackerel) are top Naxos seafood dishes.
A slow-cooked Naxos specialty, Pig Rosto (or Pork Rosto) is pork that is simmered in a sauce of wine, tomatoes, garlic and herbs until it is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Kalogeros is a flavorful Naxian dish that features eggplant (aubergine), beef and tomato. It is then baked in the oven and topped with Naxos cheeses – like graviera and xinomizithra – and paprika.
Patoudo is Naxos-style Lamb that is stuffed with savory spices, chard and fennel – and an absolute delight to the taste buds!
Meat in Sauce
While not unique to Naxos, slow-simmered meat features heavily in the local Naxian cuisine. Beef, pork, lamb and goat are slow-cooked in tomato, lemon and wine sauces. Cinnamon is commonly used in meat dishes, as well, which adds a subtle and unique flavor.
Zamboni is salt cured ham, similar to prosciutto, that is spiced with garlic, cinnamon and cloves. It is often served alongside Naxos cheeses.
Kitron Naxian Liqueur
We already recommended visiting the Kitron Distillery in Chalkio – but visitors who don’t make it to the small village can still get a taste of the local beverage that is made from the leaves of a citron tree.
The drink is made three ways: Green (more sweet, less alcohol), Clear (less sweet, more alcohol) and Yellow (little sugar, lots of alcohol).
A syrupy dessert cake made with walnuts and Kitron that is typically served with ice cream made of sheep’s milk.
Best Restaurants in Naxos Town
Now that you know what to eat, let’s talk about where to eat in Naxos Town. There are a hefty number of Naxos restaurants – but these were our favorites.
To Elliniko Restaurant
Often touted as the Best Restaurant in Naxos, To Elliniko is an inviting eatery with friendly service and a spacious patio. The menu features regional products and Naxos specialties at fair prices.
The Kleftiko Goat is the signature house dish, but we ordered the Greek salad with Naxos sour soft cheese, Naxos fried potatoes, Pork Rosto with potatoes and Moussaka. Delicious!
Doukato Restaurant Naxos Town
Tucked down an inconspicuous walkway and occupying the courtyard of an old church, Doukato offers a casual and quiet ambiance. This Naxos restaurant has earned a solid reputation for their grilled meats and seafood selection – but we indulged in their traditional Naxian baked meat dishes.
We started with the Fig and Pomegranate Salad topped with Graviera Cheese – and for our mains, we feasted on Kalogeros and Lamb in Wine Sauce. Simply perfection!
At Nostimon Hellas, they excel at creative, modern Greek cuisine. With contemporary dishes, a flair of local flavor, exquisite presentation and friendly service, it could easily be your best dinner in Naxos Town.
For our meal, we ordered several dishes to share, including mushroom risotto with Naxos guyere, fresh Greek shrimp with a lemon olive oil dressing and the chef’s special stuffed chicken dish served with a Kitron liqueur sauce.
More of the Best Places to Eat Naxos Town
We shared our top picks for the best restaurants on Naxos, but there were a few more places recommended to us that we simply did not have time to try! That said, we want to pass along the suggestions to you.
Café Ouzerie Barabbas: Best Seafood Naxos
A quirky little restaurant that is known for serving the best seafood in Naxos, Cafe Ouzerie Barabbas is a family-run tavern that is frequented by both tourists and locals.
Maro’s Taverna: Greek Favorites
Cozy and traditional, Maro’s is another family establishment that serves huge portions of Greek home-cooked food. The moussaka, gyros platter and rosto pork are top picks.
Lithos Restaurant: Hip and Chic
Located in a quaint alley in the Naxos Old Town, Lithos Restaurant creates a range of contemporary Greek dishes with a flavorful twist.
Regularly rated as one of the best bars in Naxos, Swing Bar not only has a list of creative cocktails, but they are served with a stunning, elevated sea view.
Map of Naxos Island, Greece
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Naxos Map.
How Many Days to Stay in Naxos
Now that you know about all of the fun and fabulous Naxos Island things to do, you are probably wondering, How many days do you need in Naxos to see it all? Personally, we think that travelers should plan to visit Naxos for 3 days – at a minimum.
However, we know travelers plan Naxos vacations with various timeframes, so we are sharing a sample itinerary for Naxos showing what travelers can see and do on a 5 day trip.
1 Day in Naxos
On a day trip to Naxos – with a full 24 hours – travelers can actually cover quite a bit of ground.
We recommend starting with the Old Town sights, stopping by churches and shopping at the stores. In the afternoon, head for one of the beaches along the western coast (Plaka for fun in the sun, Mikri Vigla for chill vibes or all the way south to Hawaii Beach and the abandoned hotel). Be back in Naxos for sunset at the Portara and eat dinner in town.
2 Days in Naxos
Visitors planning a 2-Day Naxos Itinerary can see quite a bit of the island. Use our advice for Day 1 and then on Day 2, embark on a Mountain Village Tour.
If you are comfortable driving, rent a car and start driving north. Visit the Eggares Olive Oil Museum, stop in Apollonas to see the Kouros Statue, eat lunch in Koronos at Matina and Stavros Tavern. In the afternoon, tour the mountain villages of Apeiranthos, Filoti and Chalkio.
Alternatively, if you don’t rent a car, hop on a public bus or join an organized tour.
3 Perfect Days in Naxos
To plan a 3-Day Naxos Itinerary, use our above tips for visiting Naxos in 2 days. Then, on the third day, spend the morning shopping at the traditional food shops and pick up a few different things for a picnic lunch.
Mid-morning, lace up your hiking shoes and trek to the summit of Mount Zas (either on your own or with a guide). In the afternoon, delve deeper into the gastronomy with an afternoon cooking class or wine tasting.
4 Days in Naxos
Creating a 4-Day Naxos Itinerary? Lucky you! Start with our suggestions for what to do in Naxos for 3 days – and on the last day set sail on a full-day cruise.
5 Days in Naxos
Visitors planning a 5-Day Naxos Travel Itinerary need not worry – there is still plenty to see and do! Following the advice for our 4-Day Naxos Trip, spend the final day discovering more Naxos sights – like the Melanes Kouros and Temple of Demeter…and then soak in the scenery on an afternoon horseback riding trip.
Naxos Travel Tips
Now that you know what to see and do on Naxos Island – and have an idea of how to plan your Naxos trip itinerary – we have a few more travel planning tips.
Best Time to Visit Naxos
Travelers planning a trip to Naxos often wonder, When is the best time to go to Naxos Island? It is a fair question. Most of the things to do on Naxos Island are outdoors – so travelers will want to go when the weather is best.
Summer is often thought to be the best season to visit Naxos – but there is a downside. First, it can be brutally hot (which, admittedly, can be good for swimming) – but it can also be very windy, especially in August. Additionally, crowds and prices are at their peak and it can be difficult to get into certain restaurants (reservations are a must!).
The autumn is considered the shoulder season and can be a great time to visit Naxos Island. There will be fewer crowds, better prices…and it is still usually warm enough for days on the beach and possibly swimming.
Winter, which stretches from November until March, is the off season – but not necessarily a terrible time to visit Naxos. While some restaurants will be closed and the weather can be unpredictable, the hotel prices are at their lowest and visitors can have a more local experience.
All that said, we think spring is when visitors should go to Naxos. Springtime typically has nice weather, decent prices and manageable crowds. It is ideal for exploring the island – both for trekking and discovering the archaeological sites – and it can be warm enough for beach days, too.
How To Get To Naxos, Greece
Figuring out how to travel to Naxos is one of the first steps in planning a trip. The best way to get to Naxos Island depends on where you’re coming from. For our Naxos vacation, we arrived by ferry (Santorini to Naxos) and departed on a flight (to Athens).
Getting to Naxos, Greece by Ferry Boat
Taking a ferry from Athens to Naxos is the most popular way to reach the island from mainland Greece. There are several companies that transport passengers (and cars) via ferry Athens to Naxos. The Athens to Naxos boats depart from the Athens Piraeus Port and dock at the Naxos Harbor in the town center.
Be aware that Naxos ferry schedules can get disrupted – especially by wind.
From Athens to Naxos by Ferry FAQs
If you are anything like us, you have a lot of questions regarding the ferries from Athens to Naxos!
How Long is the Athens to Naxos Ferry Ride?
The Athens to Naxos Fast Ferry can make the trip in about 3.5 hours. The slower (and often more affordable) boats can take up to 6 hours.
What is the Athens to Naxos Ferry Cost?
Prices range depending on what boat you take. The fast ferry to Naxos costs the most; it was about $75 USD when we visited Greece. The slower boats cost about $55 USD.
Do Ferries Connect Naxos with other Greek Islands?
Yes. The ferry boats can also be used for island hopping from Naxos. For example, there is a ferry from Santorini to Naxos and there is a regularly scheduled ferry from Mykonos to Naxos, too.
How Can I Book an Athens to Naxos Boat?
When researching ferries, we used Ferryhopper to find the schedules and prices – and you can book tickets directly through Ferryhopper, too.
How To Go to Naxos by Plane
Hopping on one of the Athens to Naxos flights is often the quickest way to get there. The flights from Athens to Naxos depart from the Athens International Airport (ATH) and land at the Naxos Airport Apollon (JNX), which is just 2 miles south of Naxos Old Town.
How To Get Around Naxos
The best places in Naxos to see are spread far and wide. While there is a decent network of buses in Naxos, getting a rental car can offer a lot more flexibility.
Renting a Car on Naxos Island
There are pros and cons of renting a car in Naxos. Obviously, driving around Naxos allows for the most freedom. You are on your own schedule and you can choose to make detours as you wish.
Although a car is not necessary for getting around in Naxos, buses do not go to all of the villages and sites that we feature on our list of things to do in Naxos, Greece.
On the other hand, driving in Naxos is not exactly easy. The streets in the Old Town are narrow and parking near your accommodation can be problematic. When in the Old Town, we recommend parking at the Municipal Parking Lot (map) that is free.
Drivers should also be aware that gasoline is quite expensive on Naxos Island. Furthermore, buying a paper map is highly recommended – and having Wi-Fi is essential for finding your way. We use a WiFi hotspot for the most affordable data packages. Find out more about how Pocket WiFi works.
Also, consider if you will need a car for your entire trip. It might save money and hassle to only rent a car in Naxos for the specific day(s) that you need it.
Either way, be sure to read our Top Tips for Cheap Car Rentals before making your booking!
Top Tip: Rather than a car, some travelers might be more comfortable getting a Naxos ATV rental – which can be used in town as well as the country roads.
Visitors can use the public bus in Naxos to get around to many of the top places to see.
Tickets are inexpensive (typically less than 3 euros per ride). The bus timetable in Naxos does change by season, so we recommend going to the Naxos bus station at the base of the ferry pier to confirm schedules and rates and to buy tickets in advance.
Find more information on the Naxos bus website.
Where To Stay in Naxos
The island has long attracted tourists, so there is no shortage of accommodation in Naxos. Accommodations range by type and price point – from Luxury hotels in Naxos, Greece to affordable apartments.
We didn’t find any hostels in Naxos Old Town, but there are inexpensive rooms to rent. Travelers on a budget might have luck finding an inexpensive room on Airbnb – but there are several affordable studios and apartments on Booking.com, too.
Pro Tip: Read our Advice for Booking the Best Accommodations at the best prices.
Best Place to Stay in Naxos
Travelers often wonder what the best area is to stay in Naxos. In the Old Town? By the beach? In a mountain village? Personally, we think the Old Town is one of the best areas to stay in Naxos. It is well-connected to transport and there are ample dining options.
These are a few of the best places to stay in Naxos, Greece – hotels and apartments – that are in the heart of the Old Town.
Portara Seaside Luxury Suites
The Portara Seaside Hotel in Naxos is ideally situated right on the seafront on the north end of the Old Town. The sea view rooms with private hot tubs are the most coveted, but every room in the hotel is stylishly decorated and impeccably clean. Check rates and availability for your stay!
Offering fantastic value for money, the Burgos Barrios Hotel is located in the town center near the Old Venetian Castle. Rooms are decorated with thoughtful touches and the staff is friendly and helpful. Check rates for your stay!
Travelers looking for a house to rent in Naxos for a family, group of friends or two couples should check to see if Eudaimonia is available. It is where we stayed for our trip to Naxos, Greece and we absolutely loved it! Not only is the space super clean, comfortable and spacious, but the host, Dimitris, is fabulous – he even provides a daily home-cooked breakfast. Check availability here!
What To Pack for Greece
Our final Naxos travel tips are all about packing hacks. We have a few specific tips for Naxos, but you can find all of our packing advice on our Packing Tips page. Need a checklist? Get your FREE Packing Checklist here!
The Right Shoes
It is likely that your list of To Do Naxos Activities ranges from lounging on the beach to exploring the twisting lanes of Chora to hiking Mt Zas – and you will need the right shoes for each activity.
Top Tips: Read all our advice and reviews for the Best Shoes for Travel.
The Naxos must see places on our list are undeniably beautiful. You will want to capture all that beauty – so go ahead and upgrade to a real travel camera.
Sun Protection for Greece
The sun in Naxos is strong! Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen, as it can be very expensive to buy it on the island. Travelers should also pack sun essentials – like a favorite pair of sunglasses and a wide-brimmed travel hat.
Zippered Day Bag
A good day pack is another necessity for your vacation to Greece. We use small backpacks when we travel – as they are comfortable while sightseeing, useful when trekking and great for the beach. Check out our reviews and tips for Finding the Best Day Pack for Travel.
Greece Travel Documents
Of course, don’t forget to pack your necessary travel documents – like your passport, plane tickets and travel planner! We recommend using a Travel Organizer so that you can easily find your most important documents when you arrive in Greece.
Trip Insurance for Greece
No matter how well you plan your vacation to Greece, luggage can get lost, someone could get sick…and travel insurance may help. If you haven’t already insured your trip, check the affordable rates and robust coverage at World Nomads.
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of Naxos Island, Greece Things To Do? Give us your best advice in the comments!
More Top Greece Destinations
Many travelers who visit Naxos also make plans to visit other top Greek travel destinations. Use our travel guides for Greece to plan your perfect trip!
- The Best 2-Week Greece Itinerary
- How To Spend 3 Days in Athens
- Things To Do in Chania, Crete
- What To See in Santorini in 3 Days
- How To Plan a Trip to Hydra Island
- Sightseeing in Corfu Old Town
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.