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The largest of the Cycladic Islands, Naxos is one of the best-kept secrets in Greece, located about halfway between Mykonos and Santorini in the Aegean Sea. While it may be less-visited than its more famous neighboring islands, it offers a wonderfully tranquil experience. Look forward to strolling uncrowded cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed homes, mouthwatering eateries and interesting shops, visiting ancient ruins, swimming in crystal-clear turquoise waters that frame soft white sand beaches and hiking through lush, towering mountains.
Naxos At A Glance
Population of Naxos 6,500
What to See in Naxos Visit the Old Town, Mikri Vigli Beach, Eggares Olive Press Museum, Acheological Museum, Gate of Apollo Temple, Explore the Castle, Hike Mount Zeus
Towns or islands to visit near Naxos Paros, Ios, Amorgos, Sifnos, Milos, Kamari, Siros, Tinos, Andros
Things to do in Naxos
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Naxos
Located in Chora inside a 17th-century Venetian building that was first used by a Jesuit school before becoming the museum in 1972, this institution showcases artifacts from the Neolithic to early-Christian periods. The civilizations that flourished can be glimpsed through its rich collection of vessels, idols, statues and ceramics. Highlights include figurines found on the island from the Early Cycladic period, stirrup jars and other items from graves and chamber tombs.
Walk to the Gate of the Apollo Temple
The island’s most visible ancient site, the Gate of the Apollo Temple is a short walk from the esplanade and a must-visit. The massive 2,500-year-old doorway made of marble leads to the entrance of the unfinished temple which faces directly to the mythological birthplace of Apollo, Delos. It stands 26 feet high, made of four blocks of marble, each weighing 20 tons. You’ll also be able to see some of the temple floor and foundations that have managed to survive the centuries. Stick around for sunset to watch a brilliant orange glow illuminate the sea.
Explore the Kastro
The fortified castle above the Old Town is known as the Kastro. It’s still partially guarded by medieval walls, made up of pretty squares connected by narrow alleys lined with grand mansions, churches and monasteries. Enter through the northern gate and you’ll be able to witness the official measure for merchants that sold fabrics etched into marble pilaster. In the southern part is a terrace with a café that offers an incredible view of the Aegean, inland hills and an endless sea of white houses.
Hike Mount Zeus
Mount Zeus is the tallest mountain in the Cyclades. It’s also a popular spot to hike, with the path that begins in Danakos village. The trek leads past the small chapel of Saint Marina, the Cave of Zeus and an ancient marble inscription translated as Mount Zeus, protector of the sheep in modern Greek, which confirms the importance of their breeding all the way back to ancient times. View all sorts of flora and fauna along the way before reaching the ultimate reward, a view of the dazzling sea and neighboring islands
Spend the Day at Plaka Beach
This postcard-perfect stretch of golden sands is two-and-a-half miles long and just a few miles from Naxos Town. It offers plenty of room for all, whether you want to bathe in the nude in the secluded southern end or take advantage of the tavernas and beach bars at the other. Float in the inviting aquamarine waters or rent gear at the water sports center to go windsurfing, paddle boarding or wakeboarding.
Trips to Naxos
Athens - Naxos - Santorini - Athens10 DAYSFrom $3,495PPCombine the best of food and wine in Greece with this 10 day private journey that will bring you to some of the most alluring destinations in Athens and the Cyclades. Explore the capital city and enjoy in-depth experiences on Naxos and Santorini.
Athens - Naxos - Santorini - Crete - Athens12 DAYSFrom $4,895PPAn enchanting 12 day culinary journey, this trip will bring you to sample and learn all about some of the best food and wine in Greece, along with many iconic ancient sights while traveling through Athens, Naxos, Santorini and Crete.
Athens - Tinos - Naxos - Ios - Athens11 DAYSFrom $4,995PPThis incredible 12-day adventure covers Athens, Tinos, Ios and Naxos and is ideal for those who want a more active vacation while still enjoying time for relaxation. You’ll get to experience the Greek capital along with some of the Cyclades best lesser-known islands, avoiding the big tourist crowds for a more off-the-beaten-path experience.
Our Favorite Restaurants & Bars
Barozzi Naxos Restaurant
Located in Naxos Town, Barozzi opened in the summer of 2017, but it’s already received numerous distinctions along with raving reviews. Offering farm-to-table fine dining using local ingredients to whip up especially creative dishes, expect an unforgettable gastronomic experience focusing on Naxian cuisine and traditional Greek foods, including local meats and fresh seafood. Perhaps start with the Seabass Ceviche marinated in watermelon juice followed by the Pork Neck cooked slowly for 24 hours and paired with Naxos sweet potato puree. Enjoy it with an elegant cocktail or one of the carefully-selected wines and then follow up your meal with Greek coffee Crème brûlée and rose ice cream for dessert.
This seaside restaurant on the soft sands of one the best beaches in Naxos, Agios Georgios, offers a menu of mouthwatering Mediterranean fare that can be enjoyed by the waves, with a gentle breeze to keep you cool on a warm summer day, or evening. Indoor dining is available too, inspired by minimalistic Cycladic elegance. Either way, look forward to seasonal salads and fresh fish for lunch or perhaps a romantic lobster spaghetti dinner under the stars, paired with one of the fine selections of perfectly curated Greek wines.
This French wine bar, set in front of the church of Panagia Kristou in Naxos town, is owned by two women from France who fell in love with the island and became inspired to open this fabulous eatery just steps from the harbor. It features both French and Greek wines, along with fusion fare. Everything is homemade, cooked with fresh island ingredients, including traditional French dishes, tapas and Caribbean curry. You’ll be able to taste the passion in every bite.
Yazoo Summer Bliss
Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of summer bliss at this seaside Naxos restaurant on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Cyclades, Plaka. Enjoy dazzling sunset views and a unique menu of Cretan-Naxian fusion fare, including fresh fish, meat from local farms and fresh island fruits and vegetables from small island farms. An excellent variety of Aegean variety wines awaits to pair with it, and guests can also enjoy beach service on the sand, complete with umbrellas, sunbeds and magnificent views.
This seaside restaurant with its attractive stone, arched architecture at the Ostria Inn Naxos Hotel, is one of the island’s most renowned restaurants, featuring dishes that utilize the island’s finest seasonal, organic ingredients, including fresh fish brought in each day from small, local boats that’s prepared anyway you like. The menu is filled with traditional homemade family recipes and Mediterranean specialties that include vegetables from the property’s very own garden. Even the olive oil is produced from its olive trees, harvested from the olive grove in the fall.
Preferred Hotels in Naxos
Location: Naxoshotel Type: BoutiqueHotel Style: ContemporaryPrice From: $1,000 Per Week
Location: Naxoshotel Type: BoutiqueHotel Style: Modern
Location: Naxoshotel Type: BoutiqueHotel Style: Modern
Location: Naxoshotel Type: BoutiqueHotel Style: Contemporary
Location: NaxosHotel Style: Contemporary
Location: Naxoshotel Type: LuxuryHotel Style: Modern
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