Naxos: What To Do in the Biggest Island of the Cyclades

My next stop on this Greece trip was Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands where I settled in a nice little apartment in Hora the Capital. The city is similar to those of Mykonos or Paros as it is filled with white and blue little streets everywhere. However, Hora is built on a little hill where its streets lead all the way to a Venetian era castle. Much cheaper than the other islands around like Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros, it felt like a relief for the wallet as even restaurants on the main sea strip were reasonably priced, as well as accommodation that can be found for under 20 euros.

To my eyes, Naxos is nice but doesn’t pack the quality and mindblowing aspect of the other Cyclades islands. What can be found on Naxos can be found in better somewhere else in the Cyclades. Hence, I wouldn’t call Naxos a “must visit destination” on a holiday in Greece, yet travelers will converge to Naxos at one point since it is a Hub for the ferries.

Sunset in the Portara

The beaches around the capital are also not as good as the ones in Paros and Mykonos, filled with seaweed and mostly too shallow to enjoy a nice swim, especially on Saint George Beach. So a day or two is the perfect time to see the capital and walk around the narrow streets all the way to the Caste, and another day to explore the towns of the islands in the mountains such as Halki, Filoti, and Aperathos. these three towns are quite high in the mountains so a good vehicle is essential to visit them (avoid renting a 50cc motorbike).

The Highlight of Hora is definitely the Portara, also called the Gate of Apollo, a large white marble gate on the small isle of Palatia (now connected with a bridge). It is the only part left of the temple of Apollo dating all the way back to the 7th century BC. The temple is known for never having been finished, and surprisingly the gate has not been restored, standing for more than 27 centuries!

View of Hora from the Venetian Fortress

2 Days itinerary of Naxos

Reserve the first day to visit Hora, the capital of the island. Have breakfast in the old town and visit Its narrow streets, a pleasant walk filled with shops. Go up to the Venetian fortress all the way up, see the tower of Sanoudos, and pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Naxos. Go back down and enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants on the seafront. On the afternoon head to Agios Georgios for some beach time as Naxos Sleeps. Around sunset, walk to Portara and enjoy the sunset as the sun passes through the gate. For dinner, try Kozi, one of my favorite restaurants in the Cyclades right on the beach with a breathtaking view of the sunset and Portara, for some awesome Souvlaki!

On day two, rent a vehicle and go visit the island. Start with the beaches south of Naxos which stretches for 10 km (after the airport) for what is considered the best on the island. On the afternoon, go up the mountains to Halki and Aperathos, as well as Filoti. That should fill your day in a great way!

Portara a sunset

Top 10 Things to do in Naxos

  • Sunset at the Portara (Gate of Apollo)
  • Venetian fortress Kastro
  • Walk around the small white and Blue streets of Hora
  • Archaeological Museum of Naxos
  • Geological Museum of Apeirathos
  • Rent a vehicle to visit the interior towns of Filoti, Halki and Palatia
  • Beaches of Naxos: Agios Prokopios and Agios Georgios
  • Temple of Dionysus
  • Eggares Olive Press Museum
  • Kastraki Beach

Top Rated and Recommended Restaurants in Naxos

  • Kozi (My Favorite Souvlaki in Greece)
  • To Elliniko
  • Mysouvlaki
  • Strofili
  • Labyrinth
  • Scirocco

Top Rated and Recommended Cafes in Naxos

  • Chocolat
  • 1739
  • Bossa Cafe
  • The Rum Bar
  • Milato
  • Citron

Door of the fortress

Flowers of Spring in the Streets of Naxos

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