Attractions and Things to Do on Naxos

Whitewashed buildings with blue shutters give the Chora of Naxos its distinctive look
Whitewashed buildings with blue shutters give the Chora of Naxos its distinctive look | © Joana Kruse / Alamy Stock Photo
Kathryn Beeson

If you’re looking to strike a balance between sightseeing and some seriously restorative R&R, Naxos is the perfect Greek island for you. We’ve asked our local insiders for recommendations to fill the gaps between sunbathing and lazy evenings by the pool.


Explore unspoilt Greek villages and gorgeous Greek island scenery on Amorgos. You can reach the island by ferry from Naxos – though, at a 3-hour one-way trip, you might want to consider stopping off overnight to get the most out of your visit. The stunning whitewashed Monastery of Hozoviotissa is a must-visit while you’re here, as is the island capital of Chora with its 13th-century Venetian castle. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

Castle of Naxos

Naxos town’s 13th-century Venetian fortress has become intertwined with everyday life in the island capital. As you make your way past bistros and boutiques to the top of the hill, take some time to explore the adjoining churches, monasteries and museums before enjoying the views from the fortifications. Incredibly, there’s no entry charge for this attraction, but do bring a map – it’s far too easy to get lost among the narrow alleyways of the Old Town on your way up. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

Abandoned Hotel Complex in Alyko

An eery abandoned hotel site from the 1960s certainly provides an atmospheric backdrop for an open-air art exhibition. Balinese street artist Wild Drawing (aka WD) saw this potential back in 2015, and, since then, the complex has been the home to striking large-scale murals. Backed by a cedar forest, the location has a rural, uninterrupted feel to it and creates a brilliant subject for keen photographers and an intriguing scenery for a beachside stroll. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

Portara Gate

The Portara Gate (or the ‘Great Door’ as it’s often called) standing imposingly against the sea is Naxos’ trademark postcard view. Take a trip out to the nearby islet of Palatia on Naxos to explore the foundations of the temple dating back to around 530 BCE the Portara Gate was supposed to be a part of. It’s a steep climb up to the gate, but the photo opportunities and the sheer impressiveness of the marble structure make it all worthwhile. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

Naxos Melanes Kouros Statue

Kouros statues were archaic Greek depictions of youth, used as both dedications to the gods and as grave markers. At about 6 metres (20ft) in length and dating back to the seventh century BCE, the Naxos Melanes Kouros Statue is an intriguing example of this phenomenon. Combine your visit with a day of hiking and sightseeing – there are plenty of trails around the area, and a second Kouros statue about 200 metres (656ft) away from the first. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

Naxos Old Town

Explore whitewashed buildings trimmed with vibrant blue shutters, cobbled alleyways and uneven, narrow staircases in this particularly picturesque part of Naxos Town (or ‘Chora’ as it’s also known). Offering a good range of Greek restaurants, independent boutiques and low-key bars, a wander round is a fantastically relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Find that tucked-away cafe-bar you’ve always dreamed of, order a chilled beer or glass of white wine, and enjoy the authentic Greek surroundings. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

Mount Zas

Hiking to the top of the legendary birthplace of Zeus offers breathtaking views over the rest of Naxos and across the Aegean Sea. The path up is strenuous in places (be sure to bring plenty of water), but the dramatic mountain scenery you pass through makes the effort absolutely worthwhile. Allow four hours to complete the hike, and ideally plan your trip for early summer – you won’t want to be scrambling up the summit paths in the midday sun. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

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