"Adorned with stunning beaches, traditional villages and exceptional gastronomy, Naxos is the Cyclades’ hidden gem."
An underrated and stunning treasure of island, Naxos, charms with its Byzantine history, picturesque hilltop villages, divine gastronomy and idyllic sandy beaches. In Chora you will find the vibrant sea front promenade with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. The island of Naxos is the largest and the greenest of the Cyclades islands. With high mountains, beautiful coastlines and adorned by old churches and Venetian castles dotted around, you will feel like you are in an idyllic place. Upon arriving at the port, you will be greeted by the charming and whitewashed Chora, coming across the Palatia, with its grand marble gate, the temple of Apollo ‘Portara’, that exists since 6th century BC. Some of the most fascinating experiences includes visiting the Archaeological Museum, with artefacts from the Early Neolithic period and a collection of stunning Cycladic figurines. Furthermore, explore the villages around the island, traditional and steeped in culture and heritage, there is much to learn and appreciate from the locals and their incredibly charming cube shaped homes and Byzantine churches. Naxos is also surrounded by wonderful beaches, such as Agia Anna, Agios Georgious and Plaka, most located near the capital Chora, perfect for families who wish to be close to amenities and restaurants. There are also plenty of summer activities to keep you entertained from windsurfing, to kite-surfing, as well as hiking and mountain biking.
Naxos Travel Guide
At A Glance:
The island is located in the Aegean Sea and is the largest of the Cyclades island group. It has an area of 489 square kilometres and a population of around 19,000. It is famous for its mountains, beautiful beaches and rustic villages, making it an excellent holiday destination. The capital of Naxos is known as Chora, a harbour town, crammed with whitewashed houses and Venetian architecture.
The weather in Naxos is pleasant, with a hot dry climate, which is slightly cooler than many of the surrounding islands thanks to the cool Aegean breeze that blows across it. The summer lasts from May to September and is warm, with an average temperature of 22 degrees each day. The hottest month of the year is August, where temperatures can average an impressive 30 degrees, perfect for enjoying a relaxing beach holiday.
History and Culture
In mythology Naxos was the island where Zeus grew up, hidden away from his murderous father Cronus. It was also supposed to be favoured by Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, who blessed it with fertile valleys that produced some of the best wine in the Hellenic world. In antiquity, Naxos was initially occupied by the Thracians, before becoming an important part of the Ionian empire in the 7th century BC. Following that it became one of the many Greek islands that partook in the Persian war. As city-states gave way to large empires, Naxos was a part of the Ptolemy’s empire, before being subsumed by the Romans in 41 BC. More recently it was dominated by the Venetians and the Ottomans, becoming a part of the newly formed Greek state in 1831.
Naxos’ traditional specialities tend to focus on meat and potatoes, with ‘rosto’ (meat in red sauce), ‘karfa’ (a kind of omelette), ‘kakavia’ (fish soup), ‘pentarates’ (a potato dish) and stuffed lamb all very popular. The island is also famous for the quality of its wine and was considered to be favoured by Dionysus in ancient times, meaning that traditional local wines are a must for any visitor. Naxos is also a modern tourist destination, where you can find a wide selection of international restaurants.
For families who love to relax on the beach, discover Agios Georgios, Agios Prokopios and Aggia Anna, all with excellent family-friendly beaches, with shallow waters and soft golden sands. Stelida and the Aqua Fun Water Park, are the perfect place to have some aquatic fun, which combines waterslides, refreshing swimming pools and a whole host more for a family holiday. There are also a large number of stables, offering the opportunity to explore the beauty of the island from the back of a horse.
Tours and Attractions
Enjoy exploring the island’s excellent beaches, including Plaka, Aggia Anna, Agios Georgios and Agios Prokopios, all abounding with golden sands, azure waters and unique twists, making them stand out from the crowd. While Mount Zas, one of the places that Zeus is supposed to have grown up in Greek mythology, is also both fascinating and beautiful. Finally, anyone interested in history should visit, Kastro, the 13th century Venetian castle famous for its impregnability.
Visitors looking for a vibrant and eccentric nightlife can look forward to relaxing bars to livelier night spots. The island is famous for its live music and the Chora castle often organizes live music, along with a spattering of local acts, which perform in the many bars of the capital. There are also a large number of beachside bars and two large nightclubs, called Ocean and Abyss.