Naxos is a rich site of historical and cultural artifacts, like the Venetian castle (Kastro) and mansions overlooking the Chora, and the Portara, the doorway to the ancient Temple of Apollo.
Beach-bound visitors head to some of the island's most beautiful beaches, like Agios Prokopios and Aliko Agios Georgios, while hiking enthusiasts can climb Mount Zas or Mount Zeus, the highest point of the Cyclades, believed to be the home of the Greek god, Zeus.
You can reach Naxos by ferry or plane. Ferry schedules can be more limited in the low season (mid-October through mid-June), while flights tend to run year-round. The airport on Naxos is a national one, so all flights must go through Athens.
If you're heading to Naxos to explore its rich cultural and historical heritage, consider this week-long itinerary, which will take you to some of the most amazing archaeological sites on the Greek mainland and Naxos.
From Athens by Ferry
Duration: 3.5 hours or longer, depending on the ferry you choose
Piraeus, the main port of Athens, and Rafina, the smaller port of Athens, both have fast and slow ferry options to Naxos.
Piraeus is about 25 minutes driving from the city center and you can take a taxi, private transfer, bus or metro to get there. Rafina is closer to the airport (about a 20 minute drive) and can be reached by taxi, private transfer or bus.
Fast ferries are high-speed hydrofoils, which skim the waves and can get quite bumpy in windy conditions, so take note if you tend to get seasick. They can also get full in the summer, so be sure to book your ticket in advance if traveling at that time.
Slow ferries are large, with expansive outdoor space, and can be less rocky on the waves than the high-speed ferries. This can be a great option if you have time to spare and the desire to slow down and get on the Mediterranean clock.
It's recommended that you book a numbered seat for slow ferries as the cheaper "deck-lounge" option offers seats on a first come, first served basis, so you may find yourself struggling to find a seat or stuck in a plastic deck chair for hours.
For all ferries, economy and business class seats are available and some slow ferries have cabins as well. You can bring a vehicle on board, which will increase your ticket price.
From Athens by Plane
Duration: 1 hour, plus travel to/from airports
There are direct flights from the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH) to the Naxos National Airport (JNX). The Athens airport is about 30 minutes from the city center and can be easily reached by taxi, private transfer, bus or metro.
Sky Express and Olympic Air are two of the airlines that operate these flights operate year-round. This can be a good option for travelers looking to cut down their travel time. Flights can get full in the high summer season, so be sure to book your ticket in advance.
If you are traveling from an international location outside of Greece and want to fly to Naxos, it is possible to do so but note that you will have a connecting flight in Athens.
For these short flights from Athens to Naxos, only economy tickets are available.
From Other Greek Islands, By Ferry
Duration: 30 minutes or longer, depending on your starting location
If you are on another Greek island and want to reach Naxos, it may be possible to do so via fast or slow ferry. You can easily reach Naxos from any of the other Cycladic Islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini or Paros.
Other islands, like Crete, have direct ferries to Naxos. If there is no direct ferry available, you can also look into taking an "indirect" ferry. These ferries stop at other islands along the way and while they take longer than a direct trip, they do give the opportunity to see other Greek islands as you travel to Naxos.
In some cases, if you are unable to find a direct or indirect ferry route to Naxos, you will have to travel back to Athens first and then get a ferry to Naxos from there.
From Other Greek Islands, By Plane
Duration: 3.5 hours or longer, depending on your starting location
Although not all Greek islands have airports, if you do find yourself on an island that does, like Lesvos or Corfu, you have the option of flying to Naxos.
There are no direct flights between the Greek islands, so you will have to fly to Athens first. However, since all flights between the Greek islands and Athens take an hour or less, this can be an efficient way to get to Naxos if you're in an island group that's farther away, like the Ionian Islands.