The Best Bars in Naxos, Greece

Sit back and enjoy the view with a drink at these incredible bars on Naxos
Sit back and enjoy the view with a drink at these incredible bars on Naxos | © AegeanPhoto / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Anna Kaminski
Writer29 September 2021

The sound of splashing surf and local live bands set the soundtrack to these venerable wine and cocktail spots, where you can sample the island’s kitrón liqueur on Naxos.

The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos makes frequent appearances in Greek mythology. Zeus was brought up on the island, according to legend, and Naxos’ tallest mountain is named after him – plus the countryside is dotted with ruined temples to other Greek gods, including Dionysus, Demeter and Artemis. Historical monuments aside, Naxos features some of the Cyclades’ best nightlife, concentrated mostly in Naxos Town – the capital – and the southwestern beaches. Here are the best bars to live it up like the gods.

La Vigne

Wine Bar, Restaurant, Wine, $$$
Map View

Tucked away down an alleyway near the Agios Spyridon church in the maze of tiny pedestrian lanes of Naxos Town, this is the only true wine bar on the island. Grab a seat at the handful of outdoor tables and consult the two French proprietresses about their constantly changing selection of wine by the glass from all over Greece and France, hand-picked by them during their travels.

Vallindras Distillery

Wine Seller, Wine
Map View
The Vallindras Distillery is in the main square of the small historic village of Halki. The Distillery produces Kitron, a local
| © Mikko Mattila - Travel, Greece, Cyclades Islands / Alamy Stock Photo
It’s well worth detouring to the arty village of Chalkio, in the mountainous heart of Naxos, to try the locally renowned kitrón liqueur that’s still produced here – as it was back in 1896 – from the lumpy, lemon-like citrus fruit. Wander among the antique distillery, sample the three different varieties of kitrón or head around the corner to the eponymous distillery-owned bar to try their Ketrópolitan, Caipikitró and other original takes on classic cocktails.

Rum Bar

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

From the dangling Panama hats above the open-air terrace overlooking Naxos Town’s yacht-filled harbour, to the dark leather, polished wood and bulb-lit interior, this bar has great visual appeal – and, true to its name, is serious about its extensive rum selection, sourced from all over the world. Try an original cocktail, such as the kitrón-heavy Isla Tropical, or get it neat on the rocks to the accompaniment of ‘80s and ‘90s rock, or an appearance by a local live band.

Yazoo Summer Bliss

Cafe, Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Greek, $$$
Map View

This simple scattering of tables overlooking the white-sand Plaka Beach, south of Naxos Town, serves single-origin coffees and Greek and Mediterranean dishes by day. Come sundown, it morphs into a buzzy bar, attracting a good mix of young locals and visitors with its original twists on classic cocktails, made with fresh fruit juices. Once a month, Yazoo holds full-moon parties out on the sand, with pounding dance beats mixing with the sound of splashing surf.

Like Home Bar

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

If your house features wooden carvings from southeast Asia, excellent sushi and crowds of young Greeks dancing to mainstream club tunes by guest DJs into the wee hours beneath the stone arches of the open-air terrace, then yes, this bar feels exactly like home. Besides excellent views of Naxos Town’s harbour and castle, the classic and original cocktails are expertly mixed and the mojitos stand out.

Notos Art Club

Cafe, Bar, Coffee
Map View

Just below the Castro (castle), on a tiny lane in Naxos Town, this arty, gay-friendly cafe-bar is a mellow background-jazz-and-coffee spot during the day, with views of the marina and Naxos’ medieval fortifications from its outdoor terrace, encircled by a centuries-old stone wall. After dark, a potent mix of Afro-Latin beats and classic cocktails keeps the mixed crowd of locals and visitors on their feet.

Island Bar

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
Overlooking Agia Anna Beach, Island Bar was established in 1987, pre-dating Naxos’ reputation as a massive holiday magnet, and still enjoys a loyal local following. Aiming for beachside sophistication, it’s all covered terraces and contemporary furnishings, and the impressive cocktail list distinguishes itself with its extensive use of fresh ingredients. In the evenings, club tunes and a younger clientele take over until the wee hours.

Naxos on the Rocks

Bar, Cocktails
Map View

A block from the waterfront in Naxos Town, one of Naxos’ most popular bars wears many hats. Come here for coffee during the day, watch football on the big screen over a pint whenever a match is on, or join the night owls over shisha, cocktails featuring locally produced tipples – nameless village wines, kitrón and raki – and a wide selection of top-shelf spirits for a themed music night.

520 Naxos

Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Greek, $$$
Map View

Mellow lounge music wafts from the whitewashed balcony-raised terrace of this sophisticated restaurant-bar, found on the main pedestrian drag in Naxos Town. Apart from the signature 520 Spritz, made with spiced oleo saccharum (a citrus-peel syrup), it’s the signature cocktails, made with fresh fruit, that are the big draw here: Salty Lips (tequila, Aegina-island pistachios, pink grapefruit, orange juice) and Tonga (vodka, mandarin, mango, vanilla) are top-notch choices. It’s worth booking ahead, since it’s popular with locals and visitors of all ages.

Swing Cocktail Bar

Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View

On the seafront in Naxos Town, near the Old Market, Swing is the only molecular-mixology bar in the Cyclades. You could go solely for the experimental Jelly Mojito or Melon Bubble, served on spoons, or check out the sunset views from the outdoor terrace with a more conventional cocktail in hand, while listening to swing tunes. Bear in mind that seating is limited, so come early or sidle up to stand.

These recommendations were updated on September 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Anna Kaminski

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