What to Do in Naxos

Naxos is different from other islands in that it’s the largest in the Cyclades with diverse and stunning nature. It boasts some of the most beautiful, powdery white sand beaches in Greece with clear, calm blue waters for swimming, but it also has a mountainous interior ideal for hiking, especially in the spring and fall. Unlike its more famous neighbors, Santorini and Mykonos, you won’t have to worry much about big crowds, although summer is the busiest time, with July and August attracting the most visitors.

If you want to enjoy idyllic weather, secluded stretches of sand and swimming, you might want to consider late September or early October as the water will still be warm following summer’s hot temperatures. As with most destinations, the best time to visit Naxos depends on your own wants and needs – this breakdown will give you an idea of what to expect based on a variety of interests and seasons.

Mount Zeus, Naxos

Best Time for Hiking

As one of the top Greek islands for hiking, if your goal is to follow those scenic winding paths, including the trail that leads to the top of dramatic Mount Zeus, it’s best to come when you don’t have to worry about summer’s searing heat. The best bet is typically between mid-April and early June, or mid-September through mid-October.

It’s unlikely to be uncomfortably hot and there won’t be many others hiking the trails. Afternoon high temperatures during either period range from 19°C/ 66°F to 26°C/ 79°F, which means the beaches are usually comfortable enough for sunbathing and if you visit later in the spring, typically by May the water should be pleasant for refreshing swims and will continue to be warm through at least early October.

Beach on Naxos

Best Time for the Beaches

If your goal is to spend most of your time enjoying the many beautiful beaches on Naxos with warm water and plenty of sunshine, plan your visit between June and September. While July and August are the busiest, they’re also the hottest months with the mercury climbing to around 29°C/ 84°F in the afternoon. Despite the higher number of visitors, it’s almost always possible to find enough space to toss down a beach towel or blanket for sunbathing.

The farther you travel from Naxos Town, the more likely you are to discover a secluded stretch to yourself, with beaches along the east coast of the island often peaceful and nearly empty. If a summer getaway isn’t what you had in mind, you can still enjoy plenty of sun and warm water in May and usually well into October.

Best Time to For Discounts

Naxos in the off-season, generally November through April, brings the biggest discounts when it comes to accommodation and often airfare. The island will be very quiet, which may be a big plus for some and a minus for others. The biggest downside may be that restaurants and hotels will be closed while ferry routes and flights run on very limited schedules.

The weather is likely to be cloudy, cool, and rainy with average highs in the upper 50s Fahrenheit (around 14-15 Celsius) in January, meaning it’s not the time to go to the beach, but you may still be able to enjoy some hiking with the right gear, such as a rain jacket and waterproof boots. For more transport, hotel, and restaurant options along with some discounts and pleasant weather, aim for May or October.

Portara, Naxos

Best Time for Sightseeing

Ideal weather for sightseeing is warm but not too hot with plenty of sunshine for enjoying the views. That makes May and October the best months for enjoying the sights without the crowds, with temperatures comfortable, in the low 70s Fahrenheit/low 20s Celsius.

The beaches will be just as gorgeous although the water may or may not be warm enough for swimming – if you’d like to swim and sightsee during this time, aim for later in May or earlier in October. Most restaurants and hotels will be open now and you’ll have plenty of transport options too.

Vineyard, Naxos

High Season

(mid-June through mid-September)

High season is the summer as it is on every Greek island. It won’t be as hot as it will on the mainland, or even as compared to many other islands as it stays fairly mild here with temperatures typically peaking in the low 80s Fahrenheit/low 20s Celsius.

Rain is rare now and those rays intense despite lower temps, so you’ll still need to slather on the sunscreen, bring those sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. The crowds will be at their peak too, although not as thick as they will be on the very popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini. It is still important to book airfare and make your accommodation reservations well in advance for the best prices and availability.

Chora

Shoulder Season

(mid-April through mid-June + mid-September and October)

Many feel the shoulder season is the best time to visit Naxos, with comfortable temperatures, the possibility for discounts on hotel rooms and airfare, and few crowds on the sand, in Chora’s charming streets, or out on the hiking trails. If you visit in April, expect average high temperatures to be in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (upper teens Celsius).

By May it’s often idyllic in the 70s Fahrenheit (low teens Celsius). Toward the end of the shoulder season, around early October, it will start to cool back down to those perfect May temperatures, getting increasingly cooler and windier as the month progresses. There will be plenty of hotels and restaurants open, while ferries run regularly now too.

Colossus of Dionysus, Apollonas, Naxos

Low Season

(November through mid-April)

The low season brings few visitors to Naxos, with transport limited, and many hotels and restaurants closed, but the accommodation options that are available usually offer some good discounts. It’s a quiet time on the island, bringing peaceful solitude for enjoying the scenery, but bring your rain gear and clothing that can be layered with high temperatures in the upper 50s Fahrenheit/mid to upper teens Celsius.