Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades, located in the center of the Aegean Sea. It’s a top holiday destination that has something for everyone, combining stunning beaches, picturesque mountain villages, delicious food and vibrant nightlife.
In our travel guide, you can find tips for your vacation in Naxos: sights you shouldn’t miss, activities and ferry schedules to the island. Book your ferry tickets to Naxos easily and at the best price on Ferryhopper.
Holidays in Naxos
Naxos is a gorgeous island, ideal for those looking for a relaxing vacation combined with adventure and exciting nightlife. The Cycladic island is famous for its amazing beaches, beautiful villages, impressive archaeological monuments and delicious local products. No wonder it is one of the most popular Greek destinations!
Sounds exciting? Read on to discover our best tips for your trip to Naxos.
The beautiful Chora of Naxos
How to get to Naxos
Located right in the center of the Cyclades, Naxos can be easily reached. You can travel to Naxos by ferry from Athens (port of Piraeus, Rafina or Lavrio), as well as from most nearby islands.
While there are frequent crossings operated by numerous ferry companies, tickets can sell out quickly due to the popularity of the island, especially during the high season.
What to do in Naxos?
As soon as the ferry reaches Naxos, the beauty of the island unfolds in front of you, along with the famous Portara, the magnificent gate of the ancient temple of Apollo.
An all-year-round destination for families, couples and friends, Naxos has something for everyone. The island’s rich history and tradition are unmatched, while its beautiful landscapes amaze both mountain and sea lovers. Naxos is full of heavenly beaches that are ideal for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. The island is also a food lover's paradise, well-known for its exquisite cuisine and local delicacies.
Beaches in Naxos
During your holidays in Naxos, you can enjoy the island’s many beautiful beaches. Some are very popular with umbrellas and sunbeds, others are more quiet and secluded, while many are ideal for families and kids. You can also find nude-friendly beaches as well as beaches that are perfect for water sports.
These are some of the best beaches in Naxos:
- Agios Prokopios: this is a beautiful beach with white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s located very close to Chora (about 5km) and can be easily reached by bus. Agios Prokopios is ideal for diving and other water sports. Plus, you can try traditional dishes and delicacies at the tavernas of the village.
- Agios Georgios: this wide sandy beach is only a short walk from Chora and its easy access makes it very popular. It is also ideal for families with children due to its shallow waters.
- Agia Anna: it is located right next to the beach of Agios Prokopios and has fine sand, umbrellas and cedars that offer shade to visitors.
- Panormos: located on the southeastern tip of the island, this small cove is a true paradise on earth. The stunning beach is sheltered from the wind and has amazing turquoise waters and white sand.
- Plaka: it is located right after the beach of Agia Anna and is famous for its fine white sand and high dunes that form a truly magnificent landscape. The beach is ideal for all-day relaxation, as it offers umbrellas and tavernas, where you can try delicious local dishes.
- Mikri Vigla: these are actually two beaches, Parthenos and Limanaki, separated by a rock. Parthenos is ideal for windsurfing and kitesurfing due to the strong winds, while Limanaki is sheltered from the wind and perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
- Alyko: this is a relatively small, secluded beach with white sand and crystal blue waters. Although there is no shade on the beach, you can relax under the trees of the cedar forest located just above. It is easily accessible by car.
- Agiassos: this is a quiet sandy beach with crystal shallow waters, located on the southwestern tip of the island.
- Kastraki: this is a large peaceful beach with white sand, ideal for relaxation and walking.
Boats in the crystal clear waters of Naxos
Sightseeing in Naxos
Naxos has been inhabited since ancient times and it’s full of unique monuments, archaeological sites and natural wonders. Our suggestions for activities and sightseeing in Naxos are:
- Portara ("great door"): located right next to the port of Naxos, the huge marble gate of the ancient temple of Apollo is hard to miss. Portara dates back to the 6th century BCE.
- Castle of Naxos: travel back in time with a visit to the Venetian castle of Chora. Stroll down the picturesque paved streets and marvel at the medieval architecture and beautiful mansions of the old noble families.
- Archaeological Museum of Naxos: explore the museum’s impressive collection and immerse yourself in the history of the island. You can admire findings dating from the Neolithic to the Byzantine era.
- Water sports: the large beaches of the island are perfect for water sports, such as canoeing, kayaking and jet skiing. Naxos also has windsurfing, kitesurfing and diving centers.
- Hiking: follow the island’s beautiful hiking trails and discover the hidden secrets of Naxos.
Nightlife in Naxos
Nightlife in Naxos is unforgettable, with options to suit all tastes. Chora, the lively capital of the island, is full of bars, cafés, clubs and jazz bars, where you can have a drink, enjoy great music and dance till dawn.
You can also find popular nightlife spots in various villages on the island. And that’s not all! Throughout the year, and especially during the summer, Naxos hosts many music gigs, theater performances and cultural and food festivals.
Food in Naxos
If there is something that you will always remember from your trip to Naxos, it’s the delicious cuisine. Naxos is renowned for its exquisite food, always made with fresh local ingredients. What is unique about Naxian cuisine is the balanced combination of Cretan and Cycladic elements.
During your vacation in Naxos, we recommend that you try the following:
- delicious Naxian potatoes (the island’s most famous product!)
- arseniko (local cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk)
- graviera (a type of local cheese made from cow’s milk)
- kitron (citron liqueur)
- gouna (sun-dried fish)
- zamboni (locally produced salt-cured ham, similar to prosciutto)
- jams and glyka tou koutaliou (“spoon sweets”), traditional desserts made from fruit preserved in syrup
Villages in Naxos
During your stay on the island, you should definitely visit the picturesque mountain villages of Naxos. Contrary to most islands of the Aegean, Naxos has high mountains. There, you will find some of the most beautiful villages in Greece, most of them located on Mount Zas, the highest mountain in the Cyclades (about 1,000m). According to mythology, the ancient Greek god Zeus grew up on the mountain, which was named after him.
A visit to the stunning mountain villages of Naxos, with their unique architecture, little squares and narrow paved alleys, will offer you a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the island’s inhabitants.
These are some of the most beautiful mountain villages of Naxos:
A picturesque mountain village in Naxos
Useful information about Naxos
Chora, the capital and port of Naxos, offers all the amenities of a modern city: supermarkets, banks, ATMs, pharmacies, a post office, a hospital and numerous shops.
As for accommodation, there are plenty of hotels and rooms in Chora and other villages on the island. You can also find some campsites close to the port.
Useful phone numbers for your stay in Naxos
Here are some useful contacts to keep handy during your vacation in Naxos:
- Municipality of Naxos and Lesser Cyclades: +302285360100
- Naxos citizen service center (KEP): +302285024303, +302285360401
- Naxos General Hospital - Health Center: +302285360500
- Naxos Port Authority: +302285022300
- Naxos Police Department: +302285022100
- Naxos Apollon Airport: +302285023969
- Naxos intercity bus station (KTEL): +302285022291
- Taxis: +302285024331, +302285022444
Transportation in Naxos
Naxos has an intercity bus (KTEL) that runs many daily services from Chora to the island’s villages and beaches. There are also taxis, though rides can be quite expensive.
Naxos is a big island, so we suggest that you bring your vehicle or rent one there if you want to explore it. You can find gas stations in and around Chora, but also on some of the main roads of the island.
Ports in Naxos
The island has one ferry port, located in Chora. The port of Naxos is famous for its picturesque beauty and its view of the awe-inspiring Portara. Ferry routes from Athens to Naxos and nearby islands are served daily.
Island hopping from Naxos
Naxos is located in the center of the Cyclades, so it’s ideal for island hopping in the Small Cyclades and other popular destinations in the Aegean, such as Mykonos and Santorini.
There are ferry crossings from Naxos to the following ports:
- Crete (Heraklion, Rethymno)
On our Map of ferries, you can find all available ferry connections so that you can easily organize your ferry trip from island to island!
Magnificent sunset at Portara in Naxos
Naxos ferry: schedules and tickets
You can easily travel to Naxos by ferry from Athens throughout the year. Naxos ferries depart frequently from the port of Piraeus, while there are also ferry routes to Naxos from Lavrio and Rafina, both located close to Athens.
During the summer, there are about 5 daily ferry departures from Piraeus and 3 from Rafina. In the winter, the frequency decreases, but there is always at least 1 crossing per day from Piraeus. The duration of the ferry trip from Piraeus (Athens) to Naxos ranges from about 3 to 5.5 hours. The duration of the trip is roughly the same for the Rafina - Naxos route, depending on the ferry.
Find information about all ferry connections from Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina to Naxos on Ferryhopper. Compare departure times, ticket prices and ferry companies at a glance!
Where to book ferry tickets to Naxos online
On Ferryhopper, booking your ferry tickets to Naxos is easier than ever. Find ferry schedules to Naxos, compare all the available direct and indirect routes, and organize the best island-hopping adventure in the Cyclades!