Greece Travel Secrets picks some of the best things to do on Naxos in the Cyclades, including discovering the beaches, villages, and ancient ruins.
Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands in Greece, offers plenty of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From stunning beaches and ancient ruins to charming villages and delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone on this beautiful island. Here are some of the best things to do on the Greek island of Naxos:
1. Explore Chora: Start your visit by exploring the island's capital, Chora. Wander through its narrow streets, lined with whitewashed houses and vibrant bougainvillea. Visit the Venetian Castle, also known as the Kastro, which offers panoramic views of the town and the Aegean Sea.
2. Visit the Portara: One of the most iconic landmarks on Naxos is the Portara, a massive marble gate that stands on a small islet near Chora. Dating back to the 6th century BC, it is the entrance to an unfinished temple dedicated to Apollo. Watching the sunset from this spot is a must-do experience.
3. Relax on the Beaches: Naxos boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Cyclades. Agios Prokopios, Plaka, and Agia Anna are popular choices with their crystal-clear waters and golden sands. Whether you prefer a lively beach with beach bars and water sports or a secluded cove for tranquility, Naxos has it all.
4. Explore the Villages: Take the time to explore the charming villages scattered across the island. Visit Apiranthos, a picturesque mountain village known for its marble-paved streets and traditional architecture. Halki, with its Venetian mansions and olive groves, is another village worth visiting. Don't forget to sample the local products, such as the famous Naxian cheese.
5. Discover Ancient Ruins: Naxos has a rich history, and there are several ancient ruins to explore. The Temple of Demeter, dedicated to the goddess of agriculture, is a well-preserved archaeological site. The ancient city of Naxos, known as the Portara Archaeological Site, offers a glimpse into the island's past.
6. Hike Mount Zas: For outdoor enthusiasts, a hike up Mount Zas is a must. At 1,004 meters (3,294ft), it is the highest peak in the Cyclades and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding islands. The trail is well-marked and takes you through beautiful landscapes and wildflowers.
7. Taste the Local Cuisine: Naxos is known for its delicious food and local specialties. Try the famous Naxian potatoes, grown in the fertile soil of the island, or sample fresh seafood at one of the waterfront tavernas. Don't forget to try the local cheeses, such as graviera and arseniko, and pair them with a glass of local wine.
8. Visit the Kouros Statues: Naxos is home to several impressive Kouros statues, ancient marble sculptures of young men. The most famous is the Kouros of Apollonas, located in the village of Apollonas. These statues provide a fascinating glimpse into the island's ancient history.
9. Take a Boat Trip: Explore the surrounding islands and hidden coves by taking a boat trip from Naxos. Visit the neighboring islands of Paros and Mykonos, or take a day trip to the small uninhabited island of Delos, an important archaeological site.
10. Enjoy Water Sports: Naxos is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing at the famous beaches of Mikri Vigla and Plaka. The island's strong winds and calm waters make it an ideal destination for these activities.
These are just a few of the best things to do on Naxos. Whether you're seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration, Naxos has something to offer every traveler.