10 Amazing Pictures of Naxos
Beautiful Naxos is the largest of the Cycladic Islands, situated about halfway between Santorini and Mykonos. While it’s home to some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the Greek Islands, along with mountains to hike, charming villages with cobblestone streets. A thriving foodie scene and more, it tends to be less visited than its better-known neighbors.
One look at these pictures and you’ll understand why Naxos should be on your bucket list.
Agia Anna is a continuation of Agios Prokopios, one of the islands busiest beaches, but it’s less-crowded here, making it easier to find the perfect spot for tranquility. The sand is powdery soft while the water is crystal-clear, ideal for snorkeling and swimming. Beach bars and restaurants, umbrellas and loungers are available too providing al you need to enjoy an entire day of fun in the sun.
Cobbled Streets of Naxos Chora
Just getting lost in the cobbled streets of the Chora can make for a good time, with something interesting around every corner, not to mention all the pops of vibrant color that beautifully contrasts with the glistening white stone for postcard-perfect photos. There are a maze of stairways, passages and alleys to explore among the Cycladic structures, with shops selling handmade items like jewelry, works of art and replicas of prehistoric Cycladic figurines. Take a break occasionally to enjoy coffee or another beverage in one of the enticing cafes, soaking up the magical atmosphere.
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Naxos After Dark
While Naxos is quieter than other islands, not only can you enjoy an incredibly scenic view like this one as the night falls, but you’ll find plenty to do after dark. There are some great venues hosting live music like Jazz and Blues, a backstreet bar with tables both outside and in, and The Ocean Club which offers special events in the off season like DJ-hosted parties and concerts, and mainstream dance music during the summer months. Cine Naxos provides open-air screenings from May through September.
Naxos has a fortified castle which looms above the Chora, still partially guarded by medieval walls. A must-visit, it features lovely squares that are linked by narrow alleyways lined with churches, monasteries and grand mansions. By entering at the northern gate, you’ll see where the official measure for Venetian merchants selling fabrics was etched into the marble pilaster. The Della Rocca Barozzi Tower is one of the oldest mansions here and hosts the Venetian and Folk History Museum which showcases the mansion’s old furniture and heirlooms from the Venetian era. The Tower of Crispi, next to the museum, is the only surviving one of the original 12 towers in the Kastro that were built to protect Naxos from invaders.
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Sunset Through the Portara
The Greek Islands are famous for their jaw-dropping sunsets, and Naxos is no exception. You can enjoy one of the best views of the brilliant orange glow as it illuminates the sea from the Portara. It serves as the remaining part of the unfinished Temple of Apollo that dates back to 530 B.C. The island’s emblem, the gate is its most visible ancient site, coming into view as you sail into port. The massive doorway made of marble directly faces the mythological birthplace of Apollo, Delos, rising 26 feet high with its four blocks of marble weighing 20 tons each.
Climbing Mount Zeus
Naxos is home to the Cyclades’ tallest mountain. Mount Zeus, or Mount Zas – 3,294 feet high, it’s a popular spot for hiking on the island. A path winding from Danakos village will lead you to the small chapel of Saint Marina, the Cave of Zeus and an ancient marble inscription. Along the way, you’ll likely encounter many goats while enjoying the silence that’s only interrupted by the ringing of the bells around their necks. The reward at the top is a glorious, 360-degree view over Naxos, the Aegean Sea and neighboring islands.
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Only a few miles from Chora is Pkata Beach, a two-and-a-half-mile long stretch of soft golden sands. Framed by clear aquamarine waters, it’s ideal for a refreshing swim along with other water sports like paddle boarding. Gear can be rented at Plaka Water Sports right on the beach. The northern end is busier with beach bars and tavernas lining the sands along with plenty of umbrellas and loungers. The southern end is more secluded and popular for nude sunbathing.
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One of the most beautiful sea caves in Greece, Rina Cave is renowned for its surreal, calm blue-green water that’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling, protected from the wind and the waves. It can be reached by one of a number of sailing tours available on the island that will bring you here for an unforgettable dip between the rooftop of the cave. The more adventurous can climb up the rocks of the entrance and leap into the sea.
Naxos has become famous for its farm-fresh cuisine which often includes cheese (paired with local wine, of course). The island’s rich agricultural landscape has resulted in a cheese culture with experts handing down their skills down from generation to generation. You’ll find white, yellow, salty, soft, hard, you name it. When it comes to cheese variety and tastes, this island is hard to beat. Enjoy it on restaurant menus or visit a cheese farm by taking a day tour to learn about the traditional cheesemaking process and perhaps join in to help too. You’ll be able to chat with the owners about what they do while indulging in samples served hot from the cauldron.
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Donkeys have long-been used in the Greek Islands and elsewhere to help farmers move farm implements, produce and even entire families around. There are still many subsistence farmers on Naxos, which means while traveling the rural roads there’s a good chance that you’ll happen upon a farmer atop a donkey carrying milk to the creamery in cannisters. Or, you might get a close encounter with one of the animals as you take a stroll through the countryside, curiously looking to see who the newcomer is.
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