I’m continuing my guides to the Cyclades, bringing you tips about things to see and do in Naxos, which is the largest island of the Cyclades archipelago. The island has a lot to offer: beaches, archaeological sites, picturesque villages and of course delicious food! So, here we go!
Beaches in Naxos
What I loved in Naxos was the long sandy beaches. The water was crystal clear and inviting, albeit cold. In a nutshell the ones I liked the most are the following:
Plaka – long beach with sand dunes, not very crowded
Pyrgaki – this beach is on the South West part of the island, it is long too and it is not crowded at all
Agia Anna + Agios Prokopios – these beaches are side by side. Beautiful water, but they are a bit crowded (Ag. Prokopios is better in my opinion)
All these are located in the west and south west coast of the island. The east coast has smaller, lesser known and more “raw” beaches like Moutsouna.
Sightseeing in Naxos
Naxos is rich in marble, so from the ancient times, people used it to make temples, statues etc. The first thing you’ll see as the ship approaches Naxos, is a big marble door, which is called Portara, on the north side of the port. It was the entrance of a temple dedicated to God Apollo.
Apart from the door, there are many archaeological sites throughout the island. You can visit the temple dedicated to Goddess Dimitra (the Goddess of earth) and check out two sites where large scale male statue (called Kouroi) were found. You can see a Kouros near the village Apollon in the Northeastern part of the island and a couple of them in the site of Flerio, which is near the village of Melanes.
On the road from Koronos (a very picturesque village) to Moutsouna (one of the beaches I mentioned above) you will come across an abandoned emery mine and the cable cars (more like baskets) that people used to transfer emery from the mine down to Moutsouna port.
Villages to visit in Naxos
Next to the beaches and the archaeological sites, the island has many picturesque villages you can visit in Naxos. First off, there is the main town (and port), also known as Chora. Next up is the fishing village of Apollonas in the north east.
Koronos and Apeiranthos are two mainland villages, which are very beautiful and unique. The latter is my favorite one in the island and the one I’ve photographed the most!
Where to Eat in Naxos
Maro tavern is located in the town of Naxos and is ideal for meat lovers.
Meze2 or Meze Meze in two locations: Naxos town (Chora) and Plaka beach. This restaurant is ideal for both fish and meat lovers (I tried fish mainly).
Platanos tavern is located in the village of Apeiranthos (or Aperathos) and has very tasty food.
Platsa tavern (Matina+Stavros) is located in the village of Koronos. It is a family run tavern, which I totally recommend.
Waffle House, which is my favorite place in the whole wide world! You will find it both in Naxos town and Plaka Beach.
Practical information about Naxos
Naxos has a daily flight and ferry connection to Athens (Piraeus). Ferry trip time ranges from 3 to 6 hours depending on the type of ferry you are going to choose. You will find more information about ferry trips in the website Open Seas.
Related: The Essential Info Guide to getting around the Greek Islands
Naxos is ideal for island hopping as well: Amorgos and Paros are nearby as are the Small Cyclades (Schinousa, Donousa, Iraklia, Koufonisia). It has also ferry connections to Mykonos and Santorini.
Accomodation wise, Agia Anna and Agios Prokopios are your best bets. You will find hotels and rooms to let in the beach of Agios Georgios which is next to Naxos town (Chora) and Plaka beach.
Have you visited Naxos? If not, here’s another island for your list!