Naxos Travel Guide - Travel Eat Enjoy Repeat

Naxos Travel Guide

Naxos is the most fertile island of the Cyclades and it shows when you take a road trip on the island. You drive past beaches but also through valleys with grapes and olive trees. According to Greek mythology, the island owes its fertility to the god of wine (Dionysos). The island is also known for its local drink kitron made from the leaves and fruit of the lemon tree. Unlike the other islands we visited, this is the most versatile: discovering cute mountain villages, enjoying a drink on the beach, and hiking in the mountains.



The best time to go to Naxos

The best travel time to visit Naxos (and any other island in the Cyclades) is May-June or September-October. During that period it is cheaper and less crowded than the summer months and the temperature is a pleasant 20-25 degrees.

How to go to Naxos? 

Naxos is centrally located in the Cyclades and is very easy to reach by ferry from Athens and the other islands. Naxos also has an airport but there are only flights from Athens, so actually the ferry is the best solution: they are fast, comfortable, and affordable. Depending on the type of ferry, the trip from Athens takes 3.5-6.5 hours. Since it is also quite close to Paros (30min-1h sail), it is easy to combine the two. Through Ferryhopper you can easily book a ferry.



Some tips for ferries in Greece:

  • Buy your tickets online in advance to be sure of a seat
  • There are ferries for passengers only or also vehicles. If you go onto the ferry by car: some ferries require you to drive onto them backwards
  • Most ferries have numbered seats
  • They recommend to be at the port 1h in advance
  • Make sure you always know the name of the company and the boat: often several boats leave at about the same time
  • You can buy food on board the ferries
  • If you are very prone to motion sickness, you can buy medication, especially in bad weather this may be necessary.



Where to stay on Naxos? 

We stayed at Pension Ocean View. The hotel is within walking distance of the plaka and has nice and simply furnished rooms. A basic breakfast is also served every morning. There are free parking lots near the plaka where you can also park.

How to explore Naxos? 

Naxos is a fairly large island but is very easy to explore by scooter or car.

Public transportation on Naxos: there are buses connecting the towns. A ticket costs €2-5 per person depending on the distance. You do depend on bus schedules and the buses also do not run very frequently. More info can be found here.

Scooter rental on Naxos: there are several scooter providers on the island. In the summer, however, a car with air conditioning is not a luxury. For a scooter, you pay about €60 for 2 days.

Renting a car on Naxos: a car is the most comfortable way to explore Naxos: it is easy and comfortable. We easily booked a car with Auto Europe. In the low season, you can already rent a car for €30 per day, and in the high season about €60 per day. Of course, the price of the car depends from day to day and what type of car you will rent.



Tips on renting a car on Naxos:

  • It is advisable (especially in high season) to book a car in advance, be sure to compare prices as well
  • If you want to take the car on ferries to explore other islands: check with the rental company if this is allowed. Then also take into account a one-way fee
  • Most cars have a manual transmission
  • A 4×4 is not necessary
  • You must be 21 years old to rent a car and have had your driver’s license for at least 1 year
  • You must return the gas tank at the same level as before
  • Provide a credit card in the driver’s name. If you want to rent a car on more than one island: take into account the blocked deposit and the limit of your credit card; you may need a second credit card or increase your limit.

And then some general tips for driving on Naxos:

  • Gasoline is not cheap; almost all gas stations are manned; you can ask to fill up for a specific amount
  • There are almost no traffic lights
  • The maximum speed is 50km/h
  • Google maps are not always reliable
  • Parking is free

What to do on Naxos? 

Visit Naxos City (Chora)

This is the town where you arrive by ferry. This is also where most of the restaurants and stores are located. The town is built like an amphitheater against the slope of a hill. When you go from the port toward the Venetian Castle, you walk through a labyrinth of small and cute shopping streets. You can also visit the Archaeological Museum there (closed on Tuesdays).


The temple of Apollo

This is the attraction of the island. The gate of Portara from 522 is the entrance to the never-finished temple of Apollo and is made entirely of marble. It is also the place to be for a beautiful sunset. Do go early to be sure of a good spot.

Once you are at the gate, turn around to see the city as well. From here you also have a fantastic view of Chora.




Visit the temple of Demeter

About 10km from Chora, near the village of Sangri, is the temple of Demeter. This temple was built about in the 6th century BC and consists almost entirely of marble. The temple was built in Doric style and it is thought that this style was later used in the design of the Parthenon in Athens.

The area to explore is not very large and there is also a small museum attached. A ticket costs €4 (€2 for children). It is open every day except Tuesday.




Old hotel ruins Alyko

Are you a fan of street art? Then a visit to the old hotel ruins of Alyko beach is a must. On the walls of an unfinished hotel, beautiful street art was applied. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see some artists in action.

Keep in mind that this is a building in disrepair so you enter at your own risk.

Alyko hotel ruines

Alyko hotel ruines

Alyko hotel ruines


Visit the distillery in Chalki

The mountain village of Chalki is the former capital of the island. There are several nice restaurants and also a distillery of Kitron. You can visit it for free and also taste this local drink. This is also the perfect souvenir to take home. The olive oil with lemon is also highly recommended.



The cute village of Apiranthos is located on the slopes of Mount Fanari. You cannot enter the village by car but there is a parking lot on the outskirts of the village. Because almost all the alleys are paved with marble, Apiranthos is also called “the marble village. It is a beautiful village to walk through narrow alleys, cute little houses, and occasionally spectacular views.


Hike to the cave of Zeus

There are many hikes to do on Naxos, but the most popular is a climb up Mount Zas (or Mount Zeus). This is the highest mountain in the Cyclades and, according to Greek mythology, also where the Greek God Zeus lived as a child. In doing so, you can also visit the cave where he is said to have grown up. There are 2 possibilities: one of 5.6km and one of 7km. To get ahead of the heat, it is recommended to start the hike as early as possible.

Take a daytrip to Delos and Mykonos

From Naxos, you can also easily book a day trip by boat to the archaeological island of Delos. After a short stop on Paros, yes arrive on Delos. There you will have a few hours to visit the excavations. There are few signs with information, so actually a guide is necessary (if you would find this interesting). Afterwards, you then sail on to Mykonos where you again have a few hours before sailing back to Paros and Naxos.






Other things to do

Of course, there is more to do on Naxos. For example, you can explore the coastline of Naxos on a kayak tour that also gives you the chance to snorkel. Or enjoy a full day at sea on a comfortable catamaran. Swim and snorkel in the beautiful blue waters around Naxos.

Do you like good food? Then book a food walking tour with cooking class. After buying your ingredients at the local market, get to work in the kitchen.

Where to eat on Naxos? 

There are so many good restaurants on Naxos, spread throughout the island. Here are some of our tips:

Taverna Naxos: ideally located on the promenade of Chora overlooking the water. Here you can enjoy traditional Greek dishes with a modern twist.


Diogenes: on the promenade of Naxos you can find this place. From 2h in the afternoon is happy hour and cocktails are available at super prices. Also good breakfast


Meze2: Delicious Greek dishes right by the water. Very popular so you may have to wait a while for a table

All useful links at a glance for your next trip to Greece

Find plane tickets to Naxos
Find ferry tickets to Naxos
Find the best hotels on Naxos
Find the best Airbnb on Naxos
Book an all-in rental car on Naxos
Book tickets for attractions on Naxos
Buy the best travel guides about Naxos

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