Things to do in Naxos
Naxos is the gem of Greece, a happy and delightful jewel shining on the waters of Aegean Sea. Being the biggest and greenest island in the Cyclades, Naxos is infused with lively villages, proud historical monuments and sandy beaches. Therefore, there are so many things to do in Naxos, from exploring the characteristic villages to trying out invigorating sports, Naxos has got you covered. Here are 5 things to do in Naxos that you would not want to miss.
1. Visit Portara
If you are visiting Naxos, a trip to Portara is necessary to soak in the gorgeous view and absorb the vibrant energy. Portara (the great door) is a name that the residents have allocated to a marvellous marble doorway. This monument is a short walk from the Naxos town harbour, standing proudly on a small island.
This ramrod landmark, which is 2,500 years old, marks a doorway that “leads nowhere” and was once a temple devoted to the god Apollo. The temple was constructed when Lygdamis was reigning, and Naxos was a prominent cultural centre.
The vivacity of this monument is mostly because of the palpable spiritual energy around it, often described as “magical”, especially at sunset.
2. Visit Chora and the Castle
The Chora Castle, a medieval monument, is another essential stop during your visit to Naxos. The two entrances of the castle are Trani Porta (Great Gate) and Paraporti (wicket), to the north and left respectively. The interiors of the castle house many astonishing historical monuments such as the Boarding School of Ursulines, School of Commerce founded by Jesuit monks, the KapelaKazatza, a chapel of the Duke, the Catholic Cathedral and the Tower of Krispi or Glezos.
You can also pay a visit to the surrounding cute shops, cafes, restaurants, art spaces and museums and walk the winding alleyways.
3. Surf the Wind
If after the cultural and spiritual exploration of the historical monuments a strong craving for adrenaline kicks in, windsurfing is the ultimate solution.
Naxos is ideal for windsurfing because of the shallow lagoons, gentle blue waves and great wind conditions that will move you towards excitement. In fact, Naxos is among the most popular windsurfing spots in Greece, especially during the summer when the northern winds hit the blue waves that engulf the island. To be specific, the best places to windsurf in Naxos are Laguna, Agios Georgios, AgiosProkopios and Plaka.
For the strongest winds, hit the waters in the early afternoon.
4. Explore the Beaches
Naxos has an abundance of scenic beaches, perfect for unwinding under the warm rays of sunshine. There are various beaches outlining the alluring island of Naxos, so the diversity of choices always impress visitors. Here are three of the best beaches in Naxos for sandy toes and sun-kissed skins:
AgiosProkopios; located on the west of Naxos, AgiosProkopios is the most desired and beautiful beach on the island- and one of the best in Europe. The soft sand stretches for 1.2 km, with golden streams of sun and gentle winds.
Agia Anna; this beach joins AgiosProkopios on the south-west. On this velvety beach, you can lounge on provided sunbeds under the shadow of umbrellas and sip on refreshing cocktails at the nearby bars.
Palaka; this sandy paradise is in the south-west of the island, and a prime area for sea sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing.
5. Do a day trip to the island of Mykonos and the archaeological site of Delos
Naxos is very close to the popular island of Mykonos and the island of Delos with the famous archaeological site. There are a couple of tours that start from Naxos, take you by boat to Delos island where you will have 3 hours to see the ancient sanctuary-island and birthplace of God Apollo. Then you will visit the island of Mykonos where you will have another 3 hours to explore Mykonos town with its beautiful windmills, cobbletone alleyways and the picture perfect Little Venice.
6. A day trip to Ano Koufonissi
It takes 2 hours to get there by boat and you will have around 6 to 8 hours to explore the small island, visit the Sea Caves and the Pisina or go to Kato Koufonissi.
7. A day trip to Santorini
Always wanted to visit the famous island of Santorini but didn’t have enough time? There are a couple of tours from Naxos that take you by boat to Santorini. There you will get a guided tour of the island by bus, visit the beautiful Oia and also have free time to explore Fira too.
8. Discover the Mountainous Villages
Naxos is blessed with 41 splendid villages, each of them possessing unique beauty and charm. These villages glow with ancient tradition and spectacular architecture. Here are three of the many villages that are worth paying a visit:
Naxos town; Naxos is the main village of the island and should be the main event of your visit. There is plenty to explore in this lovely village, from the authentic structure to beautiful landscape and stroll-worthy waterfront, with countless bars, cafes and restaurants.
Halki; this picture-perfect village is in the north of the island, with Venetian towers and Byzantine churches that exhibit its rich history.
Koronos; nested on the northeast of the island, Koronos is surrounded by an astonishing vineyard valley. Koronos is famous for its tasty wine that is very high in quality. Most parts of the village are built facing a green valley that only adds to its beauty and charm.
There are some great hiking paths in Naxos.
How to get to Naxos, Greece
Naxos has an international airport with direct flights from Athens (35 mins) and charter flights from many European cities.
Ferries to Naxos run daily both from Rafina port and Piraeus port in Athens. There are two option available the regular ferry that takes 5 hours and 30 minutes to get to Naxos (prices are around 20 € one way) and the speed boats that need 3 hours and 15 minutes to get to Naxos ( around 60 € one way). Prices and journey times depend on the ferry company.
Naxos is also connected with other islands like Paros, Santorini, Syros, Amorgos, Donousa, Shinoussa, Koufonisi, Iraklia, Astypalea etc.
If you are seeking a travel destination to experience fun, excitement, relaxation mingled with cultural activities and historical sites, then Naxos is the right choice. Here you will skip the crowds and high prices of nearby Mykonos and Santorini and you will have a more authentic Greek experience. There are various things to do in Naxos because this one-of-a-kind island embraces amazing ancient monuments, lively beaches, exciting sea sports and scenic views.
Another great option from Naxos is the small island of Donousa.