A Local’s Guide to Naxos Island

Naxos is the largest island of Cyclades. It is famous for its long sandy beaches, the delicious local food scene, the unique culture and authenticity and the wonderful, traditional mountain villages. Naxos is an ideal choice for families, active travellers, as well as honeymooners who love food, sailing and amazing day travel experiences.

We asked one of our favourite local guides in Naxos to give us her favourite list of what to see and do in Naxos island. This list of the best travel experiences in Naxos island will help you take the best of what this beautiful Greek island has to offer.

According to Eleni “If paradise was a place on earth, it would be Naxos island“. Read more to discover why Naxos should be on your bucket list!




Naxos beach

Where do you go to recharge?

With various beaches, mountains, gorges, rivers and waterfalls, Naxos offers so many natural hideaways that it takes some serious thought to answer this question.

I guess that growing up so close to the sea, inevitably turns you into more of a beach than a mountain person, so my quiet place is most often some beach setting. It’s not a specific one, though. Depending on how far I wish to drive and most importantly on where the wind is blowing from, I’ll find my safe haven for the day.

Naxos is blessed with a beautiful coastline. One can find beautiful, golden sand beaches that stretch for kilometers, just 10 minutes away from Town while if you’re willing to drive a little longer, you’ll find some hidden gems to make you richer in experience, awe and gratitude. Secluded bays are waiting to be discovered on every corner and provide the perfect hideaway every now and then.

And when I don’t have much time to spare, my childhood’s memories setting or my “neighborhood beach” as I like to call it (aka St. George Beach) will always be a great choice for a recharge.

Naxos cheese

If Naxos had a taste, what would it be?

It would be impossible to choose just one! Being a lush, farming island, Naxos boasts a variety of flavors and quality products in so many different categories.

Kitron, the local liqueur made from the leaves of the kitron trees, is one of the Naxian trademarks for almost two centuries now.

Wine making is a long-standing tradition, dating back to the ancient times when, according to the myth, god Dionysus taught Naxians all the secrets of vine growing and wine making, thus making their wine so delicious. Olive trees, some young and some of thousands of years of age, are found virtually all over the island and produce many different kinds of olives and olive oil of exceptional quality. Our fertile soils and the farmers’ mastery are responsible for some of the tastiest fruits and vegetables I’ve ever had. But I guess that if I had to choose one representative taste, it would be cheese. Be it arseniko, xinotiro, anthotiro, or even the now famous graviera of Naxos, I can never say no to a slice or two of some homemade, artisanal cheese.

We are so spoiled by the quality of produce that I had to leave Naxos after finishing school to realize how well we actually eat back home.
In fact, long before Naxos attracted international interest in such a large scale, it was always famous among Greek tourists for two things: the beaches and the food. And you know you can trust the Greeks when they talk about good food.

Naxos donkey

You haven't seen the real Naxos if you haven't...?

You haven’t met the real Naxos, if you haven’t visited one of the hidden villages in the mainland, wandered around its narrow streets, randomly running into a local, that will wish you a heartfelt “Kalimera” and will most probably offer you something delicious to eat or drink!

You haven’t met the real side of Naxos, if you haven’t seen people dance to the upbeat music of violins!Nisiotika (music of the islands) is a category of Cycladic folk music, very well-known within Greece. Many famous Cycladic folk artists come from Naxos, with every village having its own songs and dancing style, it’s no wonder why Naxians seem to be born with an innate talent for music and dance. And, for a next level experience, by all means, join in and dance with them! No need to worry if you don’t know the steps, the locals will be happy to teach you.

Naxos local

What is your favourite time of year in Naxos?

Naxos is a staggering beauty all year round, with different things to show for in every season. But if I had to pick, I would say it is both Spring and Autumn. Spring because you can see, smell and feel Nature slowly waking up again after the long winter.

The landscape is turning green and everything is brightly coloured, bringing the promise of a fresh beginning. The island is not packed yet, so you can enjoy your favourite spots all to yourself – what a treat! Autumn has this calmness in the atmosphere and somehow makes for the most beautiful sunsets. It also means that winter will arrive shortly and us working in the tourism industry will finally be able to enjoy our loved ones, our homes and a few more hours of sleep!

Naxos vineyard

What is the stereotype you wish you could change about Greece?

Oh, this is a no brainer. It’s definitely the said “laziness”!
There is a rumor that Greeks just sip ouzo or coffee and play tavli (backgammon) all day long while basking in the sun but we are actually among the hardest working people in Europe and in the world! Don’t just take my word for it, you can look it up in various studies conducted by the OECD.

This stereotype is actually quite strong and it hit me back in 2011 when I spent a year abroad, studying in a European country (right when the Eurozone crisis was off the roof). I will never forget how many times my professors tried to embarrass me in the classroom for being Greek, insinuating that our laziness will cause the whole EU structure to fall to its demise. As if a country of 11 million people would even have that power! The truth is far from it, though. We do work long hours and we work hard. And I don’t see anything wrong in enjoying our beautifully sunny country on every occasion possible!

Naxos wine

Why should someone visit Naxos? 

Due to its diversity, for me, Naxos is the whole of Greece on a micro scale. Simply put, it has everything! And, in the words of the famous Greek author, Nikos Kazantzakis, when he visited Naxos: “If paradise were a place on earth, it would be here”.


Experiences in Greece