Naxos, in the Cyclades, is often forgotten as a top destination in Greece because of its popular neighbors Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. But there is more to Naxos that meets the eye. This charming island includes a blend of family resorts, decent nightlife, plenty of beaches, many cultural events and activities and a full-range of outdoor activities. Here is your condensed travel guide to the beautiful island of Naxos.
Where to stay
Glykeria, Agia Anna
Conveniently located 60 meters from Agia Anna Beach and only 4 kilometers from the airport, Glykeria Studios offers spacious accommodation equipped with a fridge, coffee machine and a bathroom with all amenities. The rooms are bright and decorated tastefully, and the establishment is the perfect base for exploring the whole island.
Glykeria Studios, Agia Anna, Naxos, Greece. +30 22850 41018
Hotel Grotta, Naxos Town
If you’d prefer to stay in Naxos town and enjoy everything it has to offer, your best bet is Hotel Grotta, both simple and chic. With impeccable rooms, welcoming staff and a generous breakfast buffet, it has acquired a serious reputation among visitors. You will love the indoor swimming pool and sauna but also its convenient location, making it a top choice for accommodation in the town of Hora.
Hotel Grotta, I.Kampanelli 7, Naxos Town, Naxos, Greece. +30 2285 022001
Aegean White Home, Old Town, Naxos Town
For families or bigger groups, Aegean White Home is an adorable choice. With room for up to four people, this Airbnb-listed home is a perfect home away from home. Located near the Venetian Castle and the archaeological museum, it is your gateway to the island with its stunning beaches, picturesque little villages and relaxed Cycladic vibe. We predict you won’t want to leave this little haven.
Where to eat and drink
Naxos is one of the few agricultural islands in the Cyclades, meaning it has delicious cuisine you should definitely take advantage of while you are there. Here are some of the best addresses to visit on Naxos.
A top-ranking restaurant throughout the island, Axiotissa is known for putting its own spin on culinary classics and the delicious and fresh, locally grown ingredients. Don’t expect the usual taverna menu here; instead, explore new flavors with a rich variety of dishes, such as Naxian cheese platters, spicy sausages, locally-sourced vegetables and delicious meat recipes. You may be lucky enough to visit on a day when they ave fresh fish and seafood, but even if not, you are in for a treat. The wine menu is equally compelling, and we highly suggest you try the desserts.
Axiotissa, Kastraki, Naxos, Greece. +30 2285 075107
Located in the town of Hora, Antamoma (pronounced ‘Andamoma’) is a point of reference on the island. There’s an extensive menu of grilled meat and innovative mains, all cooked with locally sourced ingredients. The risotto, the Naxian cheese or the fresh catch of the day are all must-tries. And if you really enjoy a specific ingredient or food, you can even buy fresh produce and other goodies in the on-site grocery store.
Antamoma, Ariadnis, Naxos, Greece. +30 22850 24324
Matina and Stavros Tavern
For those looking for homey cooking, forget the beach-side tavernas and head straight inland to the little village of Koronos. There on the main (read, only) square, you will find Matina and Stavros Tavern, where you can sample a delicious variety of dishes. We are particularly fond of the baked lamb cooked in a succulent lemony sauce, but the kokkinisto (goat meat cooked in a red sauce) is equally delicious. Sit down at one of the tables under hanging vines and get ready to taste the delicious produce grown over the island and the joyful chatter of owner Matina.
Matina & Stavros Tavern, Koronos, Naxos, Greece. +30 2285 051243
You will find countless bars and cafés in Naxos. But, if you are looking for a casual yet tasteful place to sample delicious drinks and cocktails, make sure to pop by Swing Bar, a relaxing joint with views over the port and the Aegean Sea. The bar also welcomes top-class DJs and is known for its varied playlists, with include eclectic genres such as indie music, chill and lounge tunes, funk, soul, house and electro-swing music.
What to do
There are plenty of things to do in Naxos, one of the largest islands of the Cyclades archipelago. Here are some of the best.
Hora and the Old Town
Naxos has a beautiful main town called Hora or Naxos Town, with whitewashed houses, narrow streets and a picturesque vibe. But its highlight is undeniably the Old Town, called Kastro, as it served as the headquarters of the Venetian Duchy of the island. With its blend of Venetian, Byzantine and Cycladic influences, it is truly a little gem. Don’t forget to drop by the Archaeological Museum, too.
The most iconic sight of Naxos is the Portara, a gate that was part of the Temple of Delian Apollo located on an islet north of town, now connected to the mainland via a causeway. If you are looking for other ancient attractions, the reconstruction of the temple of Demeter at Gyroula is definitely a must.
Beach and water fun
There are plenty of beaches in Naxos. The most famous are Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna, which as easily reachable by bus or car. But you will also find splendid beaches such as Psili Ammos, Mikri Vigla (perfect for kite- and windsurfing), Pirgaki, Abram, Kalados, Panormos and many more. Many have watersports facilities and diving centers, so make sure to pack your equipment with you (though most offer rental services as well).
Naxos is also a great island for hiking and trekking, as it features a network of paths and trails offering views inland and over the sea. Explore hidden villages, forgotten churches and expansive fields and land stretching towards the sea.