Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades group but yet it has managed to preserve its authentic spirit with a pleasant mixture of Venetian presence and Cycladic style. Favored for the vast sandy beaches, the impressive Chora with its castle and the traditional mountainous villages, it is a great choice for all holidaymakers.
Naxos is also known for its excellent cuisine as plenty of vegetables, potatoes and olives are cultivated there and supplied fresh to tavernas and hotels, along with the island-specific milk products. One of the Naxian specialties is Kitron, liqueur made of a local lemon variety.
General information about Naxos
Naxos is predominantly mountainous and major part of it is not inhabited. All popular resorts, including the island capital, are located on the southwest coast which is an endless and almost uninterrupted beach strip.
The main settlement of Naxos is also the port where ferries arrive and depart, called Naxos Town or just Chora. It is a vivid place with a lively promenade, well preserved Venetian castle and cubical whitewashed houses with elements of the Neoclassical style. Here you can see some of the most important historical sights of the island, like the castle built by Marco Sanudo, the Old Town of Naxos with its labyrinth of alleys and Portara, the ancient temple dedicated to Apollo.
A few kilometers south of Chora are spread the most popular seaside resorts of Naxos - Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka, followed by calmer villages and long sandy beaches. The inner part of Naxos hides the mountainous villages among which special attention deserve Apeiranthos (known as "the marble village"), Filoti, Koronos and Chalkio, the former capital of the island with its Neoclassical architecture.
The unspoilt east coast is completely different from the west because it has numerous wild beaches and just two small hamlets - Moutsouna and Lionas.
Where to stay in Naxos
Most people who come to Naxos, especially first-timers, prefer to stay in the resorts of Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka because they have gorgeous beaches and they are very close to Chora. Also, it would be easier to explore the island from these locations. The inner villages of Naxos are lively and authentic, with preserved houses and lovely alleys for walks but they are quite away from the seaside and not an option for everyday traveling to the beach.
Those who want accommodation away from the tourist flow should check out the farthest south beaches, or the settlements on the east and north coast.
Beaches of Naxos
Most beaches of Naxos are large and sandy, with transparent blue water and claimed to be some of the prettiest in the Cyclades group. Since nearly all resorts are located on the west coast of island, the organized beaches can be found there, although the farther south you go, the wilder they get. The most popular are Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka and Agios Georgios.
Naxos is one of the best Aegean islands to practice kitesurfing and windsurfing. The small peninsula of Mikri Vigla has a couple of gorgeous beaches, along with the neighbor Kastraki, which attract surfers from all over the world.
How to get to Naxos
By plane: The airport of Naxos is located close to Naxos Town.
By ferry: Ferry connections are quite regular, with the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and the other islands of the Cyclades group, and in the summer a local ferry company from Amorgos connects Naxos with the Small Cyclades on a daily basis. Ferries from Rafina and Piraeus travel from 3 to 5.30 hours until they reach Naxos, depending on the vehicle type.
There are also ferries to Astypalea from the Dodecanese group and to Heraklion city, Crete.