The journey from Athens to the large island of Naxos in the center of the Cyclades, is 109 miles (176 km), with both by-air and by-sea options.
The fastest way to travel from Athens to Naxos is by plane. The Athens International Airport offers daily domestic flights and is located just about 12 miles (20 km) outside the city center. The entire journey from Athens International Airport to the Naxos Apollo Airport takes approximately 40 minutes.
A cheaper (and arguably more beautiful) way to travel is by ferry. Ferries run every day from the Athens ports of Piraeus and Rafina, lasting between three and a half to and six hours, depending on which vessel you choose. Naxos is not one of the larger ports in the Cyclades, meaning that, if you choose a slower ferry, you will stop several times prior to arrival. Your ferry may arrive later than listed.
If you happen to purchase a ferry ticket online without a barcode, you may be required to pick up your paper ticket once you arrive at either the Piraeus or Rafina ports. You can do this approximately 30 or 45 minutes before the ferry embarks.
The dreamiest, most expensive way to travel from Athens to Naxos is to hire your own private yacht. Several companies feature various-sized catamaran options, allowing you to roam the Aegean however you please en route to Naxos.
Consider this 8-day itinerary that combines the best of Athens and Naxos. If you’re up for it, use our guide to the Cyclades for further exploration across Paros, Mykonos, Ios, Syros, and Santorini, all within quick ferry trips from Naxos.
Duration: 40 minutes
If you want to whip over the Aegean, a more expensive, yet fastest option to travel from Athens to Naxos is via airplane. The Athens International Airport (AIA) is located about 12 miles (20 km) east of the central part of Athens, and the flight takes you to the Naxos Apollo Airport, located about a mile and a quarter (2 km) from Naxos Town and the Naxos port (where you can embark via ferry to nearby islands). Various airlines operate this route, including Aegean Air and Olympic. All flights are non-stop.
By Fast Ferry
Duration: 3-4 hours
Golden Star, Sea Jet, and Blue Star ferry companies offer high-speed ferries from the Athens Piraeus and Rafina ports, with prices comparable to flights (plus stunning views of the sea around you). Seats offered include economy, economy with a table, and a VIP seat with your own table. All boats come with an on-board café, and some are passenger-only, while others allow vehicles.
Ferries leave up to five times in the high season, with times varying come late September. Note that Golden Star Ferries operate relatively infrequently in the autumn, winter, and spring, so check your dates prior to booking.
By Slow Ferry
Duration: 5-6 hours
Golden Star, Sea Jet, and Blue Star ferry companies also offer cheaper, yet slower ferries, with stopping points at various islands along the way. Seat options range from deck seats, to airplane-like assigned seats, to room in the business class lounge, to even private cabins (both with and without a view of the sea). The cabins come with a bathroom and shower. All boats come with an on-board café, and some are passenger-only, while others allow vehicles.
Remember that Golden Star Ferries operate infrequently outside of the high season, so make sure you check accordingly.
By Private Yacht
Duration: Multiple days, or more
For the height of luxury, opt to charter your own yacht. Boats range from suiting eight to 12 guests and ordinarily come with their own crew of two or three people for safe passage. Companies frequently offer other amenities, such as airport pick-ups and guided tours of the islands, so you can create your own adventure based on your wishes. For more, see this article on yacht trips in Greece.