Naxos Island is a true gem. A real jewel, Naxos is the largest of the Cycladic Islands, and also, the most fertile of all. It’s about 2 hours from Santorini, and 5 hours from Piraeus. Naxos is known for many things, including its most famous landmark–the Portara, which is a gate of marble that dates back to the 6th century BC. It formed part of a temple that was built and dedicated to the God Apollo. Enjoy Naxos Island attractions over several days. As for a tourist destination, it ranks high, as the other popular Cyclades, appealing to all beach goers, and especially windsurfers. It boasts numerous beaches, both organized and secluded, has several ruins to take in, is home to the highest peak of this island group, Mount Zeus, and much more. (See below)
Naxos has a mountainous interior, rich with villages and towns, which are quite easily accessed via a surprisingly good road system. The West Coast of the island is basically one long beach that has inviting crystal clear blue waters, and has many popular areas or beaches along the way.
Naxos Island Attractions
The Castro, which is the old walled city, sits high above overlooking the harbor. It’s beautiful and serene, offering visitors incredible views and excellent picture taking opportunities of the town below. As for archaeological highlights, Naxos is home to the Kouros of Melanes and Apollonas, the Cheiimarrow Tower and Dimitra’s Temple.
Naxos is actually a cluster of islands, including Iraklia, Shchinoussa, Koufonissia and Donoussa, so there are in fact, five islands in one, so to speak. For the tourist, it means an unforgettable experience. However, Naxos, being the largest of all the Cyclades, is an experience in itself, which can take several weeks to explore, with its great beaches, historic Old Town, and great nightlife. It offers everything anyone could want out of a holiday, be it a relaxing time with the family, a romantic getaway for two, or an adventurous vacation filled with hiking or water sports, thanks to its many beaches, mountainous terrain, and inviting waters.
When is the best time to visit Naxos?
Being an all-year destination, you can visit Naxos any time, but it all depends on what type of vacation you’re looking for. Those who definitely want swimming in the sea, then the warmer months of the year are best, i.e., between mid-May to the end of October. Others who prefer an adventurous holiday, like sports enthusiasts, they can explore the island all year long, even during the off-season.
Good to Know:
Accessing the Island of Naxos:
You can arrive by airplane from Athens, via a direct flight, or by boat to take in the Naxos Island attractions. There are ferries that leave the different ports, such as Piraeus, Crete, and the other Cycladic Islands. During peak season, there are daily several ferries from the various ports that take anywhere from 3 – 5 1/2 hours to reach Naxos. Mykonos, however, is only about 1 hour away with a regular ferry, and only about 20 minutes with a hydrofoil During the off-season, there is still daily transportation, but less frequent.
What are the names of the four islands of the Small Cyclades?
Iraklia, Schinoussa, Koufonissia and Donoussa, and all are accessed via ferries, daily, and all year long.
Iraklia offers exquisite thyme honey, fava, and special cheeses like ksinomyzithra and sklirotyri, pasteli (a sesame sweet) and pittaridia, a boiled pasta made by hand with goats’ milk.
Schinoussa offers visitors their award-winning fava, rakomelo, a spirit from raki and sweetened with honey, honey, and kserotigana, honey-topped fried dumplings, as well as their homegrown cucumbers.
Donoussa offers kavourmas, browned pork prepared with spices which can be eaten as an omelet or as an appetizer, a traditional goat and potato dish known as patatato, kserogana, pastelli, klosta, and more.
For more information on Naxos Island attractions click here: Anthony Bourdain