Naxos Travel Guide
Chora, also known as the city of Naxos, is the capital of Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands. This archipelago is located in the Aegean Sea, opposite mainland Greece. This town is divided into two main districts: Bourgos and Kastro.
Naxos is a relaxed and laid-back tourist paradise, with a history to discover that begins in mythical times, offers beautiful beaches for recreation and invites you to explore picturesque towns and villages, including Halkio and Apiranthos.
The island’s rich agricultural land and varied landscape incorporating mountains and forests feeds a delicious local cuisine, with wines and spirits worthy of the most demanding food lovers. On the other hand, the environment of Naxos provides unique experiences, such as admiring the sunset from Portara, the monument that welcomes tourists upon arrival in Naxos.
- The 5 best reasons to visit Naxos
- What to do in Naxos
- When to visit Naxos
- How to get to Naxos
- Where to stay in Naxos
- How to get around Naxos
- Cost of living in Naxos
- Where to eat in Naxos
The 5 best reasons to visit Naxos
From charming beaches, like Agios Prokopios, to incredible mountains, Naxos will make you fall in love with its beauty and its movie sets.
Naxos offers world-class windsurfing along the west coast and deep-sea diving, through which you can explore the waters of the Aegean Sea surrounding the island, including caves, shipwrecks and more.
In Greek mythology, Naxos is the birthplace of the god Zeus. The island, which has been inhabited since the Neolithic era, has thousands of years of history to discover. Its visitors can see it in its unique monuments, as well as in its museums, ruins and medieval churches.
Naxos is known for its rich agriculture and excellent classical Greek cuisine. Its gastronomy is mainly based on meat, fish and different seafood of local origin, and includes olives, figs, herbs and various fruits and vegetables.
Charming villages and nature walks
The island is home to charming villages such as Apiranthos, whose characteristic whitewashed buildings in a mountainous area with lush forests are ideal for excellent walks and picnics.
What to do in Naxos
Here is our detailed guide about the Things To Do in Naxos.
Entering the Gate of Heaven
Portara, as the Great Gate is known in Greek, is a huge marble gateway near the port of Naxos on the islet of Palatia. Some say it honours Apollo, the god of music and poets. Others, however, claim that it was built to honor Dionysus, the god of wine, as well as the patron god of Naxos. Today it is a symbol of the great city, which includes three columns and an incomparable spectacle when the sun descends on the horizon.
Travel to Ancient Greece
The Naxos Archaeological Museum, in the central square of Kastro, occupies an impressive 17th century Venetian building. With five floors, it once served as a school for Jesuits, before becoming a museum in 1973. It houses archaeological finds from Naxos and includes artifacts from the late Neolithic period, including a collection of white marble cyclic statues, as well as gold jewelry, tools and funerary offerings.
The museum also houses a collection of Mycenaean ceramics, as well as statues from the Bronze Age, the Archaeic period, the Classical era, the Roman era and the Hellenistic period. It is a must if you want to admire Greek art in all its splendour.
Experience the Byzantine era
Naxos Castle, built in 1207 by Marcus II Sanudo, a Venetian conqueror, is a pentagonal fortress with three separate doors. Located on a hill, 30 meters above sea level, it was built on the ruins of the ancient acropolis. The round tower of Glezos, near the northwest gate, has four floors that have been very well preserved.
The entrance to the tower shows the coat of arms of the Crispi family, who once inhabited the fortress. Although it is being restored, its museum can be visited and aims to become the main Byzantine museum of the Cyclades, once the work is completed.
Refreshing the mind at Agios Prokopios
The beach of Agios Prokopios is considered one of the most beautiful coasts in Europe. With an approximate extension of 1.61 kilometers, this sandy beach is surrounded by dunes, which protect the crystalline coast from the strong island winds. Visitors can access sunbeds, parasols and water sports facilities. Behind the dunes, there are many hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars of all kinds. Located less than 5 kilometers from the city of Naxo, it is connected to it by a bus service that operates throughout the day.
Honoring the goddess of grain
The Temple of Demeter, near the village of Sangri, is built of local marble and dates back to the 6th century BC. This religious construction pays homage to Demeter, the ancient goddess of grain, because the surrounding area is extremely fertile. Built in 530 BC in a classical architectural style, it became a Christian church after the advent of Christianity. Although it was razed to the ground during the Arab invasion in the 6th century AD, it was rebuilt in 1977, shortly after the excavation of the area uncovered the original sanctuary. It is located 9.66 kilometers from the city, and is well connected by road.
When to visit Naxos
Naxos is an optimum destination all year round, as it has mild winters, with minimum temperatures of 12ºC, and warm summers, between June and August, which are around 27ºC.
How to get to Naxos
The regional airport of the island of Naxos (JNX) is located approximately 1.93 kilometers from Khora. Although it does not receive international flights, it has daily flights to Athens, where connections to the rest of the world are managed. A taxi from the airport to the city of Naxos costs about 35 EUR.
The mobility by car is completed with a ferry service. A hybrid option is available to Naxos from a variety of cities, including Miconos and Santorini.
There is no bus service to Naxos. However, it is possible to take a bus to Thessaloniki and, once there, opt for a ferry connection to the island.
It is possible to travel to Naxos by ferry from many Greek ports, including Piraeus, Milos, Mycos, Santorini, Thira and Siros, with tickets available from 78 EUR. The main ferry companies are Blue Star Ferries, Cyclades Fast Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, Hellenic and Sea Jets.
Airports near Naxos
JTR Fira Santorini
Where to stay in Naxos
If you’re looking for well-located accommodation and modern conveniences, Hotel Xenia is located in the city of Naxos, near the beach and historic sites such as the Venetian castle; it offers rooms from 180 EUR. The Aeolis Boutique Hotel Naxos is located on the beach of Saint George and offers high standard from 65 EUR. As a price reference, a night in a double room normally costs between 102.65 EUR in the Cyano Suites and 33.64 EUR in the Anatoli Hotel.
Interesting neighborhoods in Naxos
Kastro is the oldest part of Khora, with winding cobblestone streets that are protected by medieval walls that were built by the Venetian rulers.
Saint George Beach is the main beach area, located southwest of Khora. It enjoys its own scene of informal cafes and restaurants and a strategic location within walking distance of Naxos city centre.
Plaka Beach, south of Naxos city, is home to a number of charming beaches and towns such as Elounda, which can be reached by bicycle.
How to get around Naxos
The bus service on the island is run by the company KTEL, whose routes cross Naxos. Its fares depend on the destination, but are not particularly expensive, ranging from EUR 1 to EUR 2.
Taxis, which are quite abundant on the island, must be booked in advance. A trip from Khora to Agios Prokopios, south of town and along the beach, costs about 12 EUR.
Renting a car is a good way to explore the island. You can do it at the airport itself or with the companies based in Naxos, especially Europcar, AutoUnion Car Rental and Dirent a Car, from about 50 EUR per day.
Cost of living in Naxos
Kastro, the ancient walled city of Khora, is home to many charming shops with local products and souvenirs. There are also small local shopping areas in most of the island’s towns along the beach, such as Agios Prokopios and Plaka.
Groceries and others
Atlantik, Vidalis and Koutelieris are the three largest supermarkets in the city of Naxos. A gallon of milk costs about 3.80 EUR and a dozen eggs about 2 EUR. The local beer will cost you 2 EUR.
Where to eat in Naxos
Try local organic food and classic Mediterranean dishes at the Axiotissa Tavern, where a three-course menu is available from 23 EUR. Enjoy traditional meat dishes in Sto Ladoxarto, near the port of Khora, where main courses start at 16 EUR.