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Naxos: The Undiscovered Gem of the Cyclades

by Ryan

Top Attractions

  1. The Portara: Start your journey with a visit to this ancient marble gateway, the remains of an unfinished temple of Apollo. Located near the harbor, the Portara offers stunning sunset views.

  2. The Old Town and Castle: Wander through the narrow streets of Naxos Old Town, lined with whitewashed houses and bougainvillea. Don’t miss the Venetian Castle, where you can explore the archaeological museum and enjoy panoramic views.

  3. Mountain Villages: Explore the mountain villages of Naxos, like Apiranthos and Filoti. These villages offer a glimpse into traditional Naxian life and are great for sampling local cheese and kitron, a local citrus liqueur.

  4. Beaches: Naxos is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Plaka Beach, Agios Prokopios, and Agia Anna are perfect for sunbathing and water activities.

  5. Ancient Sites: Visit the Temple of Demeter near Sangri and the archaeological site of Grotta for a peek into the island’s rich history.

  6. Hiking: For the adventurous, Naxos offers fantastic hiking trails. The hike to Mount Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades, is particularly rewarding.

Best Places to Eat

  1. Antamoma Cuisine Deli Store: Enjoy modern Greek cuisine in a charming setting in Chora.

  2. To Elliniko: Located in the Old Town, this restaurant serves delicious Greek dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.

  3. Metaxi Mas: A traditional taverna in Engares, offering authentic Naxian cuisine and a cozy atmosphere.

  4. Maro’s Tavern: A family-run tavern in Chora known for its generous portions and friendly service.

  5. Barozzi Restaurant & Cocktail Bar: For a fine dining experience, head to Barozzi in Naxos Town for creative Greek and international dishes.

Top Places to Stay

  1. Nissaki Beach Hotel: A luxury hotel located on Saint George Beach, offering elegant rooms and a pool.

    Find the best price for your stay @ Expedia

  2. Venetian Suites: Charming hotel in Old Town Naxos, known for its excellent service and spectacular views.

    Find the best price for your stay @ Expedia

  3. Adriani Hotel: Located in the Old Town, this boutique hotel offers stylish accommodations close to major attractions.

    Find the best price for your stay @ Expedia

  4. Arco Naxos Luxury Apartments: Located in Naxos Town. Comfortable hotel with full-service spa and coffee shop/cafe.

    Find the best price for your stay @ Expedia

  5. Finikas Hotel: Located on the quiet beach of Pyrgaki, it’s perfect for a tranquil stay.

    Find the best price for your stay @ Expedia

Tips For Your Trip

  • Transport: Renting a car or scooter is the best way to explore the island.
  • Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May and June) or early autumn (September and October) for fewer crowds and pleasant weather.
  • Local Products: Don’t forget to try and buy local products like Naxos cheese, olives, and kitron.
  • Cultural Festivals: If you’re visiting in summer, check out the local festivals for a taste of Naxian culture.
  • Stay Hydrated: Always carry water with you, especially when exploring during the day.
  • Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local traditions and etiquette, especially in smaller villages.
  • Pack Accordingly: Bring comfortable walking shoes, beachwear, and a jacket for cooler evenings.

Sample 3-Day Itinerary

Over three days, you can immerse yourself in the island’s beauty and even enjoy a unique cinematic experience under the stars. Here’s a comprehensive 3-day itinerary for your Naxos adventure.

Day 1: Discovering Naxos Town (Chora)

  • Morning: Arrival and Breakfast

    • Arrive in Naxos and check into your hotel. Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at a local cafe in Naxos Town.
  • Late Morning: Explore Naxos Town

    • Visit the iconic Portara, the ancient marble gateway on the islet of Palatia. Then, wander through the charming streets of Naxos Town, exploring the old market and the Venetian Castle.
  • Afternoon: Lunch and the Archaeological Museum

    • Enjoy a traditional Greek lunch in the Old Town, followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum for a glimpse into Naxos’ ancient past.
  • Evening: Dinner and Open-Air Cinema

Day 2: The Villages and Beaches of Naxos

  • Morning: Mountain Villages Tour

    • Rent a car or scooter, or join a guided tour to the mountain villages of Naxos. Visit Apiranthos, known for its marble streets and unique architecture, and Filoti, nestled in the heart of Naxos.
  • Lunch: Traditional Cuisine in a Village

    • Enjoy lunch in one of the village tavernas, tasting local cheese and other Naxian specialties.
  • Afternoon: Beach Time

    • Relax at one of Naxos’ beautiful beaches in the afternoon. Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna are excellent choices with crystal-clear waters.
  • Evening: Sunset and Seafood

    • Have a seafood dinner at a beachside restaurant, enjoying the fresh catch of the day. Spend the evening strolling along the beach or exploring more of Naxos Town.

Day 3: Ancient Sites and Leisure Time

  • Morning: Temple of Demeter

    • Start your day with a visit to the Temple of Demeter near Sangri. The temple, dedicated to the goddess of agriculture, is a fine example of classical Greek architecture.
  • Late Morning: Kouros Statues

    • Head to the villages of Melanes and Apollonas to see the ancient Kouros statues, unfinished marble figures dating back to the 6th century BC.
  • Lunch: Greek Taverna Experience

    • Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a traditional Greek taverna in one of the small villages.
  • Afternoon: Leisure Time

    • Spend your afternoon as you please; relax on a beach, visit more villages, or go shopping for local crafts in Naxos Town.
  • Evening: Farewell Dinner

    • For your last night in Naxos, choose a special restaurant in Naxos Town for a farewell dinner. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of the town one last time.

Naxos is a treasure trove of Greek culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, a cultural getaway, or an adventure, Naxos has something to offer every traveler. So pack your bags and set sail for this beautiful island, where the spirit of authentic Greece awaits you.

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