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Naxos: the must stop during Greek Island Hopping

Cyclades ● Naxos ● 16 July 2018
 
Naxos - Reading time: 5 minutes




Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, located in the middle of the Aegean Sea. It is a lovely island with great variety: exotic sandy beaches, majestic mainland and seaside villages, long and rich history as well as delicious cuisine in its numerous taverns and restaurants. Don't think about it so much! Naxos is a must to visit during your Greek Island Hopping. Book now the Greek Island Hopping Ferry Pass and go from one Cycladic island to another at unbeatable prices!

Beaches

The beaches of Naxos have three characteristics: long sandy coast, turquoise waters and top touristic facilities. Explore them!

Agios Prokopios beach (Naxos) is considered one of the most famous beaches in Greece. It is a long sandy beach of 1,5 km length, and it has two sides. One side is organised, with umbrellas, sunbeds, taverns, beach bars and other touristic facilities, while the other side is calm, untouched and secluded. Thus, in Agios Prokopios, you can do whatever you want, relax or enjoy top services.



Agios Georgios Naxos is the closest beach to the Chora of Naxos. Long and sandy, with all touristic facilities you may need, this bay is family-friendly thanks to its shallow waters. The landscape is very beautiful and relaxing.

Plaka beach (Naxos) is a long strip of white sand, with sand dunes behind the coastline. From there, you have a stunning view of the neighboring island of Paros. The largest part of the beach is unorganised and unspoiled, but if you prefer some facilities, you can rent an umbrella at the start of the coast.

Mikri Vigla Beach (Naxos) is the most popular wind- and kitesurfing spot on the island and in whole Greece. The wind is ideal for these sports, and the water sports centres and schools there are fully organised. The place consists of two sandy bays, separated by an imposing hill. The northern part is the perfect, internationally famous, spot for wind sports due to the meltemi, the constantly blowing wind in the Cyclades during July and August. The southern part is protected, and thus, it is calmer and more private. Near Mikri Vigla, which is actually the same beach, you can find the beach Sahara, which took its name after the sandy hills in the scenery.



Agia Anna Beach (Naxos) is located in a district that is developed as a wonderful tourist resort. Seaside taverns and lovely accommodation options make this bay the perfect place with great touristic services. A small fishing port and some rocky formations are combined nicely with the long sandy shore.

Pyrgaki is a golden, calm beach that reflects the peaceful and off-the-beaten-track of the island. It has shallow waters, some sunbeds and umbrellas as well as a restaurant in a close distance that serves coffee, cocktails and snacks. Therefore, Pyrgaki is family-friendly for an unforgettable day with your children by the sea. It can also offer you some moments of relaxation and contact with nature.



Historical sites

Naxos has long and rich history, as it was one of the most influential city-states in ancient Greece. Thus, in Naxos, you can also enjoy cultural vacation and spend some truly interesting moments discovering the Cycladic civilisation.

Portara is the trademark of Naxos and the first thing you will see on the cliff above the port, on the islet of Palatia, as the boat approaches the island. Portara (or Great Gate) is a gate, which is the only remain of the ancient Temple of Apollo that was constructed on the island in the 6th century B.C. The myth says that the islet of Palatia is the place, where the Minoan princess Ariadne was abandoned by her lover, Theseus, when he killed the Minotaur in Crete. Portara is a true jewel, which can be seen from everywhere in Naxos reminding its glorious past. You will be impressed by the fact that this lovely remnant of history imposes the whole island offering a really magnificent aura on the port.



Don't miss also the statues of Kouros, which are located not inside a museum but outside, in the place where tehy were found! Outside the village of Melanes, in the countryside of Naxos, can be seen a remarkable statue of Kouros. It lies on the ground, at the exact position, where it was found by the archaeologists decades ago. It is 6 meters long and dates back to the 7th century B.C. Historians believe that this huge statue represents either a god or a local hero. Another Kouros statue is located 200 meters from the first, and there is also a third statue in the village of Apollonas. It is truly captivating to see the statues in their natural environment and not in a cold and distant museum...

Very impressive is also the ancient temple of Demeter, the goddess of grain and agriculture. In the 6th century B.C., it was constructed this temple, which is located in a short walking distance from the village of Ano Sangri, and it is an ideal place to explore the ancient architecture of Naxos. You walk through a hiking path admiring the nature of Naxos, and then you reach the temple, which impresses with its unique architecture and the beautiful location. Nearby, you can also see a Byzantine church, which emphatically shows the multicultural character of Naxos.

In the Chora of Naxos, we recommend you to spend some hours to visit the Archaeological Museum of the island. Housed in a superb Venetian mansion of the 17th century, the museum is located in the area of the Castle. In the museum, you will admire findings from the excavations on the island that cover the time from Neolithic period until early Christian times. The most impressive findings belong to the collection of Cycladic statues, gold jewellery, vessels and clay pots that represent the Cycladic civilisation, one of the most ancient and influential civilisations in Europe.

Villages

Naxos is famous all over Greece for its lovely villages, which you can see in an amazing road trip. In addition to the Chora of Naxos, we suggest you to spend some days in order to explore these little villages and get familiar with the authentic side of Naxos.

Of course, Naxos Chora is a must-see. Like most Cycladic islands, Naxos has an astonishing Chora with whitewashed houses and labyrinth-like paved streets, where you can walk and buy local products, clothes, jewellery and souvenirs from the traditional shops or just relax, eat in a traditional tavern or drink cocktail with sea view. The oldest area in the Chora is the Venetian Castle. It was constructed by the Venetians in the Medieval Times, and today, the most buildings in this area are boutique hotels, romantic restaurants, mansions and cultural venues.

Another beautiful settlement is Apiranthos, a mountainous village, which is located 26 km from the port. Apiranthos has kept its character and its traditional architecture with impressive houses made from marble. At the top of the hill, Apiranthos offers majestic view of the Aegean Sea, and it is surrounded by verdant nature. In Apiranthos, you will see the ruins of a windmill, a Venetian tower and an old stone-built church, while you can also visit its interesting museums, the Archaeological Museum, the Geological Museum and the Museum of Folk Art.



Halki, in the centre of the island, is another unspoiled mainland villages that has kept its Venetian well-preserved style. Halki used to be the capital of the island as well as the main administrative and trade centre in the past decades. Neoclassical buildings, Venetian towers and Byzantine churches testify the past wealth and prosperity of Halki. Ideal for a stroll in the afternoon!



Koronos is a romantic place, built amphitheatrically on the slopes of the hill with impeccable architecture, paved streets and many arches. Filoti has a picturesque street with cafés and restaurants as well as gorgeous surrounding natural landscape, while Potamia is famous for its production of fruits, being close to old mills and running water.

Food

The cuisine of Naxos is famous all over Greece, making the island must stop for foodie travellers. It is not a coincidence that the great chef Anthony Bourdain loved the island and stayed there for many days. The fertile earth provides the island with local goods that are unique for their taste and texture. The traditional local food will impress you and travel you in a culinary heaven, where the only think you can do is to enjoy the traditional cuisine. In Greek taverns by the sea, inside the cobblestone paths of the Chora or in the mainland villages, you can eat good and cheap food. Welcome to a gastronomic paradise!

Among the best local products you can try and buy to take back home are the Naxian potatoes, the sweet tomato, the dairy products, such as graviera or xinotyro cheese, and the citron liqueur. But you will have the best culinary experience of your life when you taste the savoury dishes that will please your stomach in a way that cannot be described by words. Patoudo is lamb stuffed with chard, fennel, aromatic herbs and garlic, and it is the main course on Easter Sunaday, although you can find it on the island every day. Pig rosto is pork leg stuffed with wine and praised with wine, but in the traditional taverns, you will also find many other signature dishes, such as goat with Naxian potatoes or pasta, pork fricassee, rabbit braised in wine and veal stew with eggplant. Koukoulomaeria is a soup with white beans, wheat, corn and olive oil, while sefoukloti is a sweet-savoury pie with chards or wild greens, parsley, fennel, onion, mint and rice.

From the fish dishes, the most famous recipes are salachtouri, which is rays salad with lemon dressing, marinated anchovies, lobster pasta and grilled octopus.

Among the delicious sweets in Naxos, melachrino is one of a kind. It is a local recipe of karydopita (= walnut cake) made from a small quantity of citron liqueur and served with kaimaki ice cream, which is the ice cream made from mastic resin and sheep's milk.



How to get there and Greek Island Hopping

Naxos is located close to Athens and has the great advantage that it can be combined with the visit of other Cycladic islands in a super cool island hopping in the Cyclades.

From Athens (Piraeus port), you can go to Naxos  by boat in about 5-6 hours or by ferry in less than 3 hours. It is a convenient journey through the Aegean Sea, and what is impressive is that the boat or the ferry stops on several islands before arriving in Naxos. From the boat, you can see their ports and admire their Cycladic Choras, waiting impatiently to get to Naxos. Have you ever thought to make a stop on these islands? Stay a couple of days or more before going to your final destination? Do you wonder that this suggestion is impossible? That you have to pay a fortune in the ferry tickets and organise everything strictly? Well, the answer is that this scenario is achievable easily and on a budget. How? With Greek Island Pass of Hostelbay! You just book it online, choose if you want to visit 5 or 7 islands, pay the price of only one ticket and get ready for an amazing Greek Island Hopping experience. You can stop whenever you want, anytime you want and then take the ferry to go to another island with great flexibility. And all of these at the price of only one ticket. Cool?

Thus, with this great Greek island hopping ferry pass, you can visit- in addition to Naxos, also Mykonos, Paros, Ios, Amorgos, Koufonisia and Santorini. Meaning, you pay only one ferry ticket, but you visit all the wonderful Cycladic islands, offering yourself a once in a lifetime experience. Can you imagine something better for thus summer?

Where to Stay

Villa in Naxos, Greece Naxian Utopia | Luxury Villas & Suites
9.9 10
Naxian Utopia | Luxury Villas & Suites
Stelida, Agios Prokopios, 84300 Naxos, Greece

Luxury villas located on a rocky hill 2 km from the popular beach of Agios Prokopios, 5 km from the capital, Naxos Chora, and 2,5 km from the Naxos airport.

Studio in Naxos, Greece Depis Place Economy
Depis Place Economy
Chora, 84300 Naxos, Greece

Depis Place Economy is located in Naxos Chora, just a 5-minute walk from Agios Georgios beach. Port of Naxos is 1.2 km away and Naxos National airport is 2.5 km away.

Appartment in Naxos, Greece Depis Apartments
Depis Apartments
Geor. Vallindra, Naxos Town, 84300 Naxos, Greece

Depis Apartments are located in Naxos Town, just an 8-minute walk from Agios Georgios beach and a 10-minute walk from the main port. Naxos Castle is at 600 m. Naxos Airport can be reached within a 5-minute drive.


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