If you're dreaming of the quintessential Greek island with whitewashed architecture, amazing beaches, incredible food and culture, and rich history, then Naxos is for you. Especially if you want to avoid the crowds seen on some of its neighboring islands. The largest Cycladic island is just a hop, skip, and a jump from hotspots like Santorini and Mykonos, but feels a world apart.

Getting Oriented

The Portara and Chora

Authentic local experiences abound on Naxos. The main town, Chora (which simply means "town"), is the heart of Naxian life and culture. Its whitewashed buildings and narrow car-free lanes amble up the hillside lined by quaint shops and restaurants, all crowned by the Venetian Castle. Don't miss the Portara, the massive doorway to what was once the Temple of Apollo, located on an islet reachable by a causeway a short walk from the town center. Sunsets are unforgettable.

Outside of Chora, a string of nearby beach-oriented villages extends to the southwest from Agios Prokopios to Mikri Vigla. At the same time, the interior of the island is dotted with small, charming villages, including slow-paced Apiranthos built into the mountainside and Chalki, famous for kitron, a local liqueur. If you really want to get away from it all, head to the island's rugged east coast, where the village of Apollonas feels forgotten by time, or to Alyko's stunning, undeveloped beaches in the southwest. From ancient ruins to relaxed coastline to glimpses into traditional Greek life, Naxos offers a diversity of experiences unrivaled by many of its peers. Read more about what Naxos has to offer.

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Things to Do

Cooking Class in a Traditional Village

Enjoy the fruits of your labor with your hosts (photo from Vioma)

Head to the tiny village of Kaloxylos deep in the island's interior, home to only 30 residents. Here, you'll be greeted warmly by a local family and invited into their home, where you'll work together to prepare a locally sourced 3-course meal using traditional recipes. Then, sit down to enjoy the resulting feast with your new friends. Throughout, the family will share stories about life on Naxos and explain the secrets of Naxian cuisine, renowned throughout Greece. Read more

Sailing Day Cruise around Naxos

Set sail around Naxos (photo from Naxos Yachting)

Hop aboard a catamaran and set sail for some of Naxos's most beautiful corners. Due to the island's rugged topography, some of its most pristine beaches and coves are best reached by boat. Your experienced captain will bring you to the best stops based on the day's conditions, where the crystal clear blue waters of the Aegean will beckon you to swim or snorkel. To top it off, your crew will prepare a traditional Greek lunch to savor as you enjoy the sun and sea. Read more

Naxos Yesterday & Today Island Tour

Traditional pottery in Apiranthos

Naxos is incredibly rich in culture and history, and this experience will offer you greater insights into the island's traditions and how they continue to shape life for modern residents. In the village of Damalas, you'll pay a visit to a traditional pottery workshop, as well as an olive press used to create olive oil. From there, you'll have a chance to learn all about the production of local kitron liqueur in Chalki and even try some for yourself. After a stop at a 4th-century church, you'll explore the narrow lanes of the mountainside whitewashed village of Apiranthos and wrap it all up by admiring the skill of ancient Naxian sculptors as you visit the 7th-century-BCE unfinished marble statue of Kouros. Read more

Beach Day & Watersports

Alyko Beach on Naxos

Naxos is one of the best places in the Cyclades to enjoy time on the beach, with everything from "organized" beaches (with umbrellas and sunbeds for rent and tavernas readily available) to unspoiled stretches of sand and sea far from the crowds. Aside from lounging in the sun and cooling off in the Aegean waters, watersports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and snorkeling are also popular, with great options available within a short striking distance of Chora. From family-friendly Agios Georgios near Chora to isolated Panormos, Psili Ammos, & Moutsouna in the island's east, you'll undoubtedly be able to find a spot that's right for you with the help of your local specialist. Read more

Discover Naxos on a Bike

Enjoy the views

One of the best ways to explore Naxos is via two wheels. Opt to take a spin along the beaches of the island's west coast from Agios Prokopios to Mikri Vigla, or venture inland to visit the Temple of Demeter and the Byzantine Church of Agios Mamas. Regardless of your initial route, you'll have the opportunity to visit several traditional villages on the way back, including Vivlos, Agios Arsenios, and Glinado, and pay a visit to a local-favorite taverna in the village of Mesi Potamia. Read more

How Does Naxos Fit in a Greece Itinerary?

Organized beach on Naxos

We recommend spending at least 2 to 3 days on Naxos, but given the diversity of experiences on offer, you could certainly spend longer if you have more time. Read more about how many days to spend on Naxos.

Here are a few popular trips, including Naxos, that past kimkim travelers have enjoyed:

Relaxed Athens, Santorini, Naxos & Mykonos - 8 Days

Discover Food, Wine, and Culture in Greece - 12 Days

Culture & Adventure in Athens, Naxos & Santorini - 14 Days