By Sreesha Ghosh
Police Station: +30 22 8502 2100
Port Authority: +30 22 8502 2300
Municipality: +30 22 8536 0100
Healthcare Center: +30 22 8536 0500
The largest and loftiest of the Cycladic archipelago, Naxos is easily one of the most underrated of the islands. Home to high mountains, fertile valleys, lush green gorges and stunning seascapes, Naxos boasts a beautiful natural landscape; its reputation of being the greenest Cycladic island indisputable from the start.
Naxos also has a glorious ancient past and numerously abundant ancient sites including but not limited to churches, monasteries and Venetian castles coexisting harmoniously with the Cycladic architecture. But most iconic amongst these archeological sites is the trademark of Naxos: Portara, the remaining gate of an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. Portara offers unforgettable views of the sea and sunsets guaranteed to take your breath away. Meanwhile, Chora, the capital of Naxos, is an old castle-town with stone-paved alleys and sporting a unique blend of Cycladic and medieval architecture.
From historical sites to golden beaches to the clearest waters you can imagine, Naxos has everything to offer its inhabitants. Boasting the remnants of Byzantine and Ancient Greek history, the preservation of traditional life, and of course, an absolutely stunning coastline, it’s the perfect destination. Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to travel to Naxos:
WHERE TO SWIM
Few other Cycladic islands can boast of beaches like the ones in Naxos—these beaches are different due to their characteristic length, making for some of the longest coastlines in the Aegean. With soft, white sand and stunningly blue, cobalt waters, they are widely considered to be some of the most beautiful beaches across Greece. From Ai-Yiorgis to Agios Prokopis to Agia Anna, tourists are generally spoilt for choice. Every beach on the island has something to offer: Plaka is the longest, Aliko and Agios Georgio have gorgeous aesthetics due to a neighboring cedar forest, and Mikri Vigla is ideal for sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you’re travelling with children, Saint Georges has shallow waters and all immediate facilities while Sahara is protected by the summer wind. If you’re looking for a little privacy, we recommend the small coves at Orkos—but if you’re feeling adventurous, Panermos is an excellent choice. On the northern side of the island, some of the best beaches include Abrami and Agioi Theodoroi.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several excellent residential and accommodation options in Naxos including:
Chora Hotel Grotta (+30 22 8502 2215) located in Chora
Naxos Resort Hotel (+30 22 8502 6650) located on Saint Georges
Porto Naxos (+30 22 8502 3970) located near Agios Georgio
Iria Beach (+30 22 8504 2600) located in Agia Anna
Plaka Nostos Beach (+30 69 4461 5389) located on Plaka Beach
Maistrali (+30 22 8504 2734) located in Plaka
Golden Sand (+30 22 8504 1653) located on Plaka Beach
Nikos & Maria Studios (+30 22 8504 2670) located on Plaka Beach
Maragas Beach Naxos (+30 22 8504 2552) located near Agia Anna
WHERE TO EAT
Dining options are varied and spread out—most restaurants, cafes and bars are found in town, especially along the port promenade. Taverns and beach bars are found along beaches like Agia Anna, Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agios Georgios and more. Taverns can also be found in the country villages of Naxos. Nightlife in Naxos is not quite as intense as others Cycladic island but this does not mean that there is none. Most bars are found in town or at popular beaches and a few of them stay open until the early hours in the morning (but playing Greek music).
Eat Mediterranean cuisine made entirely with local products at Riviera Town (+30 69 7073 2692), Musique Cafe (+30 22 8502 7278) or Barozzi Bar and Restaurant (+30 22 8502 7672).
Grab a bite at Irinis (+30 22 8502 6780), one of the most celebrated tavernas in Chora, located by the harbour and serving traditional cuisine.
Stella (+30 22 8506 2312) and Charis (+30 22 8506 2266) at Eggares Village also serve authentic Greek cuisine.
Our top choices in Agia Anna include— beach bar, Banana (+30 69 7873 3402), and restaurants, Island and Patatosporos.
On the road to Plaka, check out Nikos & Maria (+302285042670), a family restaurant that serves authentic flavors of the island’s cuisine on tables set right on the sandy beach, allowing you to dine as the sun dives into the sea.
If you wish to try Naxian cuisine at its best, try Axiotissa (+302285075107), a restaurant located in Kastraki.
Moving around the island gets significantly easier with the services of Fun Car & Rides (+30 22 8502 6557) at your side.