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 a vibrant nightlife. In this travel guide, you will 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 an 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 Lavrion) 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 high season.
Find out more about ferry schedules and tickets to Naxos here.
What to do in Naxos?
As soon as the ferry reaches Naxos, you will be stunned by the beauty of the island and the famous Portara, the magnificent gate of the ancient temple of Apollo that stands right next to the port.
An all-year-round destination for families, couples and vacation with friends, Naxos has something for everyone. The island’s rich history and tradition will impress you, while its beautiful landscapes will 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 lovers paradise, well-known for its exquisite cuisine and local delicacies.
Beaches in Naxos
During your holidays in Naxos, you will have the opportunity to 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 will 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 local 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 with all travelers. 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 their shade to visitors. Definitely a must-check!
- 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. It is easily accessible by car and although there is no shade on the beach, you can relax under the trees of the cedar forest located just above.
- 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 and archaeological sites. During your stay, make sure you visit the impressive attractions of Naxos to discover its long history and cultural richness. The beautiful island with the stunning landscapes is also ideal for outdoor activities.
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. Findings date 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.
Food in Naxos
If there is something that you will always remember about 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. You can try traditional dishes at the restaurants and tavernas across the island, while there are also plenty of shops where you can buy local products to bring back home.
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 (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
Nightlife in Naxos
It’s not only the amazing food and spectacular beaches that make the island a top holiday destination. Nightlife in Naxos is also 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 will also find popular nightlife spots in various villages of the island. And that’s not all! Throughout the year, and especially during the summer, Naxos hosts many music gigs and theater performances as well as cultural and food festivals.
Mountain 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, ATM machines, pharmacies, post office, hospital and numerous shops. As for accommodation, there are plenty of hotels and rooms in Chora and other villages of the island. You will also find some campsites close to the port, but bear in mind that fees apply.
Important 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, but the ride can be quite expensive.
Naxos is a big island, so we suggest that you bring your own vehicle or rent one there if you want to explore it. You will find gas stations in and around Chora, but also on some of the main roads of the island. Naxos has an airport, which is located 3km from the port and can be reached by taxi or local bus (KTEL). Buses depart every 30 minutes in the summer.
Ports in Naxos
The island has one ferry port in Chora. The port of Naxos is famous for its picturesque beauty and its view to the awe-inspiring Portara. Ferry routes from Athens to Naxos and to nearby islands as 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. From Naxos, you can travel to Crete, the Dodecanese and the North Aegean islands.
There are ferry crossings from Naxos to the following ports:
- Crete (Heraklion, Rethymno)
On our Map of ferries you will 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
Naxos is an ideal destination both for winter getaways and summer holidays. 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 Lavrion and Rafina, both located close to Athens.
During the summer, there are about 4 daily ferry departures from Piraeus and 4 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 3-6 hours, while the trip Rafina - Naxos lasts from about 3-7 hours, depending on the ferry.
On Ferryhopper, you can find information about all ferry connections from Piraeus, Lavrion and Rafina to Naxos. Compare departure times, ticket prices and ferry companies at a glance! Also, check our updated guide on how to get to Naxos in 2021!
Where to book ferry tickets online to Naxos
With Ferryhopper, booking your ferry tickets to Naxos, Greece has become simpler 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!