Naxos Island is the one that really surprised us while island hopping in Greece. It’s the biggest island of the Cyclades and a very diverse place to explore. We felt that Naxos is a very cultural island, culinary, and authentic. It quickly became one of our favorite islands to visit, and in this blog post, we share why and what the 10 must-do things are when on Naxos Island.
Best time to visit Naxos Island
The best time to visit the greek islands is from May to October. July and August are the hottest months and also high season, which means most visitors to the island.
We recommend visiting either May/June or September/October for better prices, fewer people, and great weather. We prefer the shoulder months and visited Naxos Island in September, which was perfect. Typical sunny weather but not too busy.
How to get to Naxos Island
Naxos Island can either be reached by ferry or airplane, depending on where you come from. The airport of Naxos is small and does not serve any international flights. If you want to fly to Naxos, you can fly from your home to Athens and change there on a flight to the island.
If you are island hopping between the Cyclades, you can easily do so with the local ferries. We used the website and app of ferryhopper and found it very convenient. We recommend pre-booking your ferry tickets in advance, especially in the high season.
10 most amazing things to do in Naxos
What we love about Naxos Island is how diverse it is and that there is so much to do. These are some of the most amazing things you can do in Naxos Greece.
Spend a relaxing day at Plaka Beach Naxos
Plaka Beach is the main beach on Naxos Island and where most visitors spend their beach time, and that’s for a good reason. It’s a long, golden stretch of sand with turquoise water and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. If you are looking for a place to spend your day with beach beds and umbrellas to rent, restaurants, and bars, this is where you should go.
Rent a beach bed for the day at Tortuga
Tortuga Naxos is a boho-style restaurant and beach club at Plaka beach and one of our favorite places on the island. We loved spending the afternoon on a beach bed here and soaking up the sun with the best vibes.
Make a wood-fire cooking class with Naxian Experiences
Our favorite thing to do in Naxos is the wood-fire cooking class with Naxian Experiences, and that’s why. First of all, you learn to cook traditional greek dishes, spend time with amazing people, and learn about the culture and history of Naxos. But in addition to that, you are spending the day outside cooking in very traditional ways in the open fire, surrounded by the family’s organic farm. On this farm are olive trees growing up to 2000 years old, which is mindblowing. The food we cooked was so delicious, and we enjoyed it even more with these beautiful surroundings. This cooking class is a very authentic and fun experience and one of our favorite things we did in one month we spent in Greece.
Explore the wild Beaches in the south of Naxos Island
This beach is next to Hawaii Beach, and they can easily be visited together. Alyko Beach is a great choice, especially on windy days, as this bay is very well protected from the wind. The water is crystal clear and blue, and it’s a very relaxing place to spend beach time on Naxos Island.
Try windsurfing or kite surfing.
Naxos Island, just like all the Cyclades, gets a good amount of wind, which is a great thing for sports that need the wind. That is why Naxos is a popular place for windsurfers and kite surfers. If you are new to these sports but want an adventure, you can take a windsurfing/kite surfing class during your visit. A kite surfing class for beginners costs around 80.00 Euros for one hour.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to try it, but we watched the kite surfers for a bit and were impressed. It looked like a very epic thing to do.
Watch the Sunset at Portara Gate – Temple of Apollo
The most popular sunset spot is at the harbor of Naxos Chora, the main town. It’s called Portara, which means door, as there is a massive stone gate. It is said that this is the gate Apollo built for his castle, but after the gate, he never finished the rest.
This spot is so popular because it offers a stunning panoramic view of the Chora and the mountains of Naxos behind. You can’t miss watching a sunset here while on Naxos Island.
Have dinner in the bustling center of Naxos Chora
After the sunset at Portara, head over to the Naxos Chora and have dinner there. The bustling town awakens at night. There are many bars, restaurants, and shops, and you can get lost in the picturesque streets.
Explore the charming mountain towns
Chalkio is the cutest of Naxos mountain towns, and you can’t miss coming here for a visit when visiting the island. The best is to go to Chalkio for lunch. This little town has several cute taverns and some small souvenir shops. You can combine your visit with Aperianthos town or a fantastic mountain hike.
A little higher than Halki, you find another picturesque greek town called Aperianthos. The views up here are just amazing. We came here in the afternoon, and the city wasn’t bustling. We imagine it could be an excellent place for dinner as many restaurants look lovely.
Hike in the beautiful mountains of Naxos Island
You can do several beautiful hikes on Naxos Island if you want to spend time in nature and explore the island on foot. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do the hike we had planned during our time in Naxos. But you can even find a waterfall called “Routsouna’s Waterfall” on this unique Cycladic island. We were told that the waterfall area is lovely to hike.
Enjoy the sunset and dinner at Tortuga
As we mentioned, Tortuga at Plaka Beach was our favorite place on Naxos Island. Besides relaxing here during the day, we recommend visiting again to enjoy the sunset and exceptional food at the restaurant.
We had one of our best meals in Greece here. We took our cocktails to the beach for sunset and later enjoyed the most fantastic dinner. Tipp for the vegans, there are not as many dishes on the menu, but when you ask, they will not hesitate to change plates for you.
Where to stay on Naxos Island
We had an exceptional stay at Naxian Collection while on Naxos Island, and we highly recommend staying here. It contains several holiday homes with beautiful greek architecture. Each unit has its own terrace and pool. The location was perfect, the design of the house was very beautiful, and the staff at Naxian Collection was just incredible. We felt very much at home during our stay.
If you prefer staying closer to the beach, check out their sister property Naxian on the Beach.
How to get around the Island
The best and easiest way to explore Naxos Island is by renting a car or ATV/Scooter. The freedom that comes with riding your own vehicle is priceless. As Naxos is pretty big compared to other Cycladic islands, it’s worth having a car to see most of the Island. We rented our car from Motonaxos and had a great experience with them. They dropped the car at our accommodation and picked it up on the last day. We had a cute Fiat 500 Cabrio, and it was so fun to explore Naxos Island with it.
The roads on the Island are very good, and it’s easy to drive here. If you don’t feel comfortable driving or want to spend that money, you can explore the Island by bus alternatively.
Budget for traveling in Greece
The following budget helps you to plan your trip to Naxos and island hopping the Cyclades islands. Of course, the costs can vary depending on the accommodation, for example.
- Price per night for accommodation: 60.00 – 150.00 Euro per night (budget to midrange)
- Cost for two meals per day for two people: 60.00 – 80.00 Euro per day (for lunch and dinner)
- Cost of car rental in Naxos: 45 Euro per day
- Ferry Ticket to get to Naxos: around 50 Euro per person (depending on which island you are coming from)
Naxos is a very diverse and authentic Island. Even though there is tourism, it’s still possible to explore off the beaten path very easily. The busiest parts of the Island are only Naxos town and Plaka Beach. We love how cultural and culinary the Island is and how many wild beaches there are to explore without sunbeds. The Island has everything from hiking in the mountains to stunning golden beaches. We think Naxos Island is suitable for couples and families and young people who want to explore. There is a nightlife in the Chora, but we didn’t get to see much of it. Overall we think there is something for everyone in Naxos, and we fell in love with the Island.