Visit Naxos Island: Greek Island With Best Beaches (2021)
Naxos Island Travel Guide:
Naxos is the largest Cyclades island of Greece. Naxos island is located over the south Aegean sea close to the Mediterranean ocean. The island is about 220 km from Athens. Tourists can travel by ferry or take a flight from Athens to Naxos island. The travel time by flight is 45 minutes and by ferry about 4 to 6 hours to reach the Naxos island from Athens. The flight costs about $ 90 to $ 140 and ferry costs are about $ 40 to $ 70. The air tickets are less expensive for a direct flight and the cost of tickets is cheaper if the flight is booked 4 to 6 weeks earlier.
The Naxos island occupies a 165 square mile area. The Naxos island population is about 18,900 people. Naxos island has several clean beaches that have soft sands. Most beaches allow water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, canoeing, jet ski, waterskiing, and sailing. The beaches are safe for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba driving. The capital town of the island is known as Naxos city or town Chora.
The people who live on the Naxos island follow the Cycladic culture. The capital town Naxos (Chora) is located on the Northwest side of the island. The island has preserved few Venetian houses in the city of Kastro also knows as Medieval Citadel. The Naxos island was a major source of granite and marble for Greece in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors can find a decent hotel in Naxos Island of 3 to 4 star for $ 110 to $ 130 per night for double occupancy. There are condo or apartment available for rent for $ 500 to $ 1000 for one to two weeks. There are choices of apartments in the city as well as near the beaches. Most of the rental properties and hotels are built in the city center or near the beaches.
History of Naxos Island-
Naxos Island and Cyclades Era (500 BC to 8th century)
The archeological artifacts of the Cyclades era were found on the island that was made from stones and copper. Few items, such as daggers and tools suggest the island was inhabited during the Neolithic period. The inhabitant of Naxos island were exchanging objects and tools during the 8th and 7th centuries with other islanders of Cyclades. Naxos island was the main center of commerce during this period. Naxos was the most prosperous island during the period around 500 BC. Island was involved in syndicating and defending Greece against Persian during the Persian war.
Naxos Island and Byzantine Era (8th to 14th Century)
During the Byzantine era, the Roman Empire had control over Naxos island. Pope Martin 1 was arrested and detained on Naxos Island for one year before the trial in Rome. Island was controlled by the Roman Empire from the 8th to 14th century. The island was the center of commerce between Cyclades island and the Roman Empire. Naxos was an integral part of “The Temes”. The theme was the military division of the Roman Empire during the Byzantine era. The people of Naxos island were farmers, fishermen, and raising cattle during this period.
Naxos Island and Ottoman Control (1566 – 1821)
From 1566 to 1821, the Ottoman Empire controlled the Naxos Island. Today very little Ottoman influence is seen on Island. During the Ottoman period, only a few Turks were left on the island.
Greek State (after 1832)
Naxos Island became a Greek state after 1832. The Naxos island is administered by the city municipality under the laws of Greece.
Geography of Naxos Island-
Naxos is one of the most fertile islands among Cyclades island of Greece. Naxos island has flat fertile land and has plenty of freshwater supply. The mount Zeus is the tallest mountain on the island with heights of 3,300 feet. The Naxos island gets adequate rainfall since the forward movements of the crows are restrained by the mountain. The main source of income of the people of Naxos island comes from agriculture and tourism. Farmers grow vegetables and fruits that are consumed by local people and also exported to another island as well as the mainland of Greece. The cattle breeding is also another industry growing in the island.
The Farming Villages on the Islands-
- Koronos and
Best Ways to Travel in Naxos Island
Tour Bus-There are organized ½ or full-day tour of Naxos Island for a fixed price that could be around $ 40 to $ 70. The ½ day tour may show 2 to 3 places and a full-day tour may take tourists to 5 to 6 places plus give lunch break near one of the tourist attractions in Naxos Island.
Rent a Car- Alternatively, visitors can rent a car for $ 30 to $ 50 for a day. The rental car can accommodate two couples or a family of 4 to 6. The advantage of touring Naxos Island with a rented car is that tourists can stop anywhere and take a break. Stay as long as they prefer at any one place. Choose where to have lunch and dinner. Most tourists may take 2 to 3 days to see most of the places in Naxos Island.
Taxi or Private Car- Tourists can rent a private car with a driver or rent a taxi. The cost of renting a taxi or private car is about $ 100 to $150 for 8 hours.
10 Amazing Places to Visit in Naxos Island
1. Naxos City-
Naxos city is located on the north-east corner of the island. The population of the town is 6,500 people. The ferry and most Yachts are parked at the main port of Naxos city. Naxos is busy with tourists year-round but the busiest period is spring. The island provides the best hospitality and most tourists return every few years to visit Naxos Island. Tourists love to spend time walking in the street between shops and take a break in coffee shops.
Places to See in Naxos City:
a. Naxos Portara
Most tourists see the two marble pillars 6 meter tall and horizontal stone on top of the pillar while coming to the port of Naxos by ferry. The marble frame is known as Portara which means “Big Door”. The “Big Door” was built for the Apollo temple that was never built. The Portara is located on a small peninsula about 1.5 km west of the city center next to the main island Naxos. Most tourists visit the peninsula Portara in the afternoon or evening to walk around and enjoy the sunset. Portara was built in 6th century BC.
b. Naxos Temple of DIONYSUS, Iria
The temple was built as a sanctuary of Dionysus. The ancient Greek people were worshipping the Olympian god of wine and vegetables. The prayer was mixed with festivals and meditation. The story told by legends indicates Dionysus met Adriadne at the Naxos island and married her at the island. The locals built the temple in 1,400 years as a place for fertility cult. The temple is about 3 km from the Naxos city center.
c. Archeological Museum of Naxos-
The museum is about ½ km from the city center. The museum is located next to the castle. Most artifacts are from, Cycladelic era. The museum was built sometime in the 16th to 18th centuries. The museum exhibits include sculptures, artwork, tools, jars, and articles made of stones as well as bronze.
d. Naxos Crispi or Glezos Tower-
The tower is located ½ mile north from the city center. 12 towers were the part of medieval castle of Naxos. The castle was a private mansion of the illegitimate son Jacobo of Duke Guillermo II Crispo. Jacobo was a governor of the island for a short period around 1494. At the present time, the tower is used to host concerts, festivals, and exhibitions by artists and bands around the world. There are coffee, Jewelry, and gift shops near the tower.
e. Naxos Old Market
The old town is about ½ mile from the city center of Naxos and close to Tower as well as the castle. Most tourists visit the tower, castle and old town on the same day. The old town has old houses built from the Byzantine era. People like to walk through the pebble stone street and spend some time at the coffee and gift shops.
f. Agios Georgios Beach
Agios Georgios Beach is close to the Naxos city center. The beach is often crowded during weekends. Most locals who live in the city come to the beach during weekends. The majority of tourists prefer to stay in the city of Naxos and often spend a couple of days at the beach. Beach offers all the facilities and rental items. There are excellent quality restaurants and coffee shops located near the beach.
2. Panagia Drosiani Church
The old Byzantine church is located in the middle of the island about 19 km east of Naxos city center. The Church was built in 6th century AD. The inside of the church was built in the 7th century and also redone in the 12th century. The church has a courtyard that has a cemetery of the village. The natives of the island come to the church every year on Good Friday to celebrate old traditions and share alcohol as well as bread, resin, and nuts. The church is the oldest Christian church of Island Naxos. The word Panagia Drosiani means “Dewy Virgin”. The church is built at a distinctive place to create amity in mind with mountains all around the church.
3. Kouros of Apollonas
Kouros of Apollonas is about 36 km northeast from the city center of Naxos. The site is an ancient quarry near a small town of Apollonas. The quarry has an unfinished statue that was carved on 3 sides in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. The estimated weight of the statue is 80 tonnes.
The statue was considered to be a statue of Apollo. The unfinished statue has a head, mid-portion of the body, and unfinished naked lower body. The quarry is one of the oldest excavation sites of the Naxos island.
4. Mount Zas
The mount Zas is located in the middle of the island about 21 km east of Naxos city center. The highest point of the Naxos mountain is about 1004 meters and known as Mount Zas. There are tracks from the nearest village that leads to the Mount Zas. The hiking can be difficult for elderly tourists. Mount Zas is the highest point on Cyclades island. Mythological belief indicates Zeus spent his childhood at one of the two caves of Mount Zas. Tourists come to Mount Zas and hike further to see the caves.
5. Eggares Olive Press Museum
The museum is 8 km east of the city center of Naxos. Oldest olive mills were renovated in the early 18th century and restored in the 19th century. The museum gives a tour and commentary of the olive industry, Greek culture, and multiple uses of Olive like making soap and moisturizers. Guests can purchase the items made of Olive.
6. Agios Prokopios Beach
The Agios Prokopios Beach is about 5.5 km southwest of Naxos city center. Most tourists take a local bus or taxi to spend ½ or full day at the beach. The water is crystal clear and blue that is surrounded on one side by a smooth sandy beach. The beach has restaurants and a bar, as well as chairs and umbrella, which are available for rent. The beach is about 1.5 km in length and accommodates several hundred people.
7. Plaka Beach
Plaka Beach is about 8 km from the city center and 5 km from Naxos airport. Most tourists prefer to stay in a hotel or rental properties near the beach. The beach is 4 km long and also between 40 to 60 meters wide. The sand is smooth and guests can walk with naked feet. There are restaurants and coffee shops near the Plaka beach in Naxos Island. Most tourists come to spend a day at the beach. There is water sports equipment available for rent. Tourists or locals can rent an umbrella and a bench for 4 hours or longer. The water sport allowed on the beach is jet ski, canoeing, wakeboarding, paddle boating, and windsurfing.
8. Mikri Vigla Beach in Naxos Island
Mikri Vigla is on the west coast of 11.5 km south of the city center of Naxos. The beach is long and not much used by locals and tourists. It’s a quite beach and not much to do. There are pockets of beaches where tourists can rent water sports equipment, an umbrella, and beds. But most sections of the beach are empty and tourists may not get any rental items. There are rental properties like apartments or small houses along the beach for a reasonable price. Most European rent some of these condos for 2 to 4 weeks. The 3 or 4 stars hotels are rented at a reasonable price. There are full-service restaurants serve Greek meals as well as the continental menu. The beach is the number one reason most tourists rent apartments near the beach.
9. Alyko Beach
Alyko beach is located on the west coast of 17 km south of Naxos city center. The beach is quiet and less crowded. The beach is covered by small hills and rocks. Most tourists like to sit on the beach for some time to enjoy the scenic beach and watch the beautiful blue water as well as bright beige sandy coves. There are no restaurants or watersport equipment for rent at this beach.
10. Vallindras Kitron Distillery
The Halki village is located in the middle of the island and the village was the old capital town of Naxos Island. The Vallindras Kitron distillery is located in the Halki village. The distillery is 17 km east of Naxos city center. The distillery was opened in 1896 and produced popular liqueur in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Vallindras Kitron distillery produces alcohol known as Kitron. Kitron is a liqueur produced from citrus fruit and leaves. The liqueur Kitron is sold in 3 varieties like green, yellow and clear drink. The green liqueur has the least amount of alcohol and drinks taste sweet, the yellow raki is strongest and has a higher concentration of alcohol. Clear raki is in the middle of yellow and green raki liqueur.