The Best Day Trips You Can Take from Naxos

Mykonos is known for its fantastic nightlife and cosmopolitan atmosphere
Mykonos is known for its fantastic nightlife and cosmopolitan atmosphere | © Roman Sigaev / Alamy Stock Photo
Elena Alston

Naxos, a rugged Greek island in the South Aegean, is the greenest of the Cyclades archipelago. The fertile landscape spans mountain villages, Roman ruins and long, sandy stretches of coastline. But there’s always more to see, so we asked our local insiders for the lowdown on the best day trips from Naxos.

1. Paros Island

Natural Feature

Sandy beach with amazing tranquil water in Naoussa on Paros island, Cyclades, Greece.
© Aliaksandr Mazurkevich / Alamy Stock Photo

Featuring mountainside villages, whitewashed villas and 120km (75mi) of coastline, Paros Island is a Greek paradise. It’s most famous for its watersports, sandy beaches and snorkelling. Less than an hour boat ride from Naxos, visitors are dropped off in Parikia, the main capital. It’s here you can stop off at Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a beautiful church that supposedly has 100 doors (the 100th being a secret entrance that, it’s said, will only reveal itself when the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul becomes Orthodox once more). Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

2. Santorini

Natural Feature

Santorini – know for its pretty white buildings and magnificent caldera – was built on myth. According to the legend, Euphemus (son of Poseidon) dreamt of making love to a nymph, who told him she needed a safe nursery to give birth. After throwing a clod of earth into the sea, a fully-formed island – named Santorini – emerged. It’s here that bougainvillea-clad cottages and seafood restaurants sit clustered together in squares. It’s the perfect setting to sink your teeth into the island’s specialties: moussaka, sea bass filet and lemon-drizzled octopus. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

3. Amorgos

Natural Feature

Hozoviotissa monastery, Amorgos, Cyclades, Greek Islands, Greece, Europe
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

Known as the fairest of all Greek islands, Amorgos is a spot where there’s no sign of cruise ships or wild nightlife. Dozens of subterranean caves have been carved into cliff sides, and there are plenty of important archaeological ruins – dating back to the Early Cycladic era – to sink your teeth into, none more impressive than the monastery of Hozoviotissa, built in 1017. All that fresh air is bound to build up an appetite, so try the courgette croquettes and delicate pastries served in the town’s many cafés. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

4. Koufonisia

Natural Feature

Aerial drone view of Koufonisia island and the sandy Megali Ammos beach in Greece
© Rawf8 / Alamy Stock Photo

Known as the Mykonos of the Cyclades, Koufonisia is growing in popularity thanks to its astounding six beaches. Rather than squeezing yourself onto a packed bus to tour the island, your best bet is to hire a bike and see it on two wheels. Rural villages with flocks of sheep, goats and cows beckon, as well as clumps of woodland and rocky coastal walks. Recommended by local insider Ellie Dumper

5. Mykonos

Natural Feature

Greece, Cyclades, Mykonos, Mykonos Town, Outdoor Cafe in Little Venice Area
© Michele Falzone / Alamy Stock Photo

Mykonos is known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and world-class nightlife. During the summer months thousands flock here to party and explore the island’s illustrious history and culture. The iconic whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches, particularly in the capital of Chora, are a particular highlight, but don’t forget to make time to soak up the sun on the sandy shores of Paralia Megali Ammos, then stop off at NOA Greek restaurant for the best breadcrumbed steak and grilled calamari you’re ever likely to have. Recommended by local insider Charlie Bush

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