Naxos

The Cycladic isle that has it all
View of Naxos Hora from the little island on which Portara stands, Palatia, is now connected to the mainland
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Long beaches, medieval towers, lush valleys, timeless mountain villages and delicious local produce. All of these and more await on your holiday to Naxos, the island in the Cyclades that has it all.

Welcome to the largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos. So fertile, it’s self-sufficient. You’ll find plenty of history, ruins from every era, an extraordinary array of landscapes, friendly locals and wonderful food in the most beautiful part of the Aegean.

Entering the harbour of Naxos, you’re greeted by the ancient Portara – the massive marble gateway identical to the National Geographic logo – and the sight of the medieval castle above the town. Inland, you’ll find isolated villages untouched by time, like Tripodes, Filoti, Halki and Apeiranthos, that invite you to explore their beauty. 

You’ll find Mt Zas (another name for Zeus), green valleys, abandoned monasteries, venerable churches and lofty buildings like Bazeos Tower on Naxos. Built in the 17th century, the tower functioned as a monastery of the True Cross (Timios Stavros) for decades. Today, it hosts a wide array of cultural activities, such as the Naxos Festival.

If you’re a sun worshipper, Naxos’ endless stretch of gorgeous sandy beaches will keep you blissfully happy during your holiday. And if you’re even remotely interested in antiquities and culture, you’ll make sure to see the two giant kouri – giant statues of young men – lying down in the open. No wonder that Naxos is known as the island that has it all, not just in the Cyclades but in all of Greece. 

 

What to do on Naxos, Greece

Be greeted by the gigantic Portara

Traces of many past civilisations enrich Naxos’ main town. The most obvious is the gigantic Portara, all that remains of a massive temple to Apollo that was never completed. The legacy of the Venetians and Franks, nobles who took over Greek islands and mainland as spoils from the Fourth Crusade, is more layered. Walk through the narrow alleys in the oldest part of town and up to the fortress and you’ll think you’re back in the Middle Ages. 

Take a walking tour in the Hora of Naxos


Visit the kouri, resting serenely since antiquity

Naxos’s most impressive sculptures are in the open air. They are one of the most popular attractions on the island. Colossal, half-finished statues of young men – Archaic kouri – they have been resting for aeons in the same spot, one in a garden at Melanes, the other overlooking the coast at Apollona. Lying, as if waiting, for their creators to come and finish the job.
 

Enjoy a culinary journey that lasts a holiday

Foodies will love Naxos. Its outstanding local products make it an unsung gastronome’s treasure trove. First, try the cheeses, highly prized by Greeks, such as graviera (similar to gruyere), kefalotiri called arseniko (masculine). Second, order some potatoes, preferably fried. Their superlative taste and texture come from the island’s potassium-rich sandy shale. You may find you like them so much, you’ll order some more for dessert! Then, to end your meal, have a glass of kitro, a liqueur distilled from the leaves of the citron (citrus medica), which comes in three versions, green, yellow and clear.
 

Visit a Cretan village in the hills of Naxos

Apeiranthos, or T’Aperathou, is a jewel among the mountain villages of Naxos. More than ten centuries have rolled by without substantial changes to its houses, cobbled streets, accents, customs and daily habits. The locals still speak Greek in the lilting idiom of their Cretan forefathers, who settled in the village ages ago. No doubt they would have no trouble recognising the marble-flagged alleys, vaulted arches, Venetian towers and two-storey stone houses. Have a seat in one of the old kafeneions (cafes) and drink in a bit of this unadulterated civilisation.

Spend the day village-hopping on Naxos


Hidden gems of Naxos island

The Temple of Demeter

Find the source of Naxos’ delicious agricultural produce by heading to the Temple of Demeter, the 6th-century BC sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of harvest and fertility … and a forerunner of the Parthenon in Athens.
 

The fertile Tragea Valley

Make sure you come to this fertile valley in the heart of Naxos. Blessed by nature, it is also home to 12 delightful villages and more than 30 of the most important Byzantine churches in the Aegean, beginning with the 6th-century Panagia Drosiani, the oldest. 
 

Mt Zas… Zeus’s mountain

Mount Zas, the highest in the Cyclades, is named after the ruler of Olympus. Local legend maintains that he was born in a huge cave halfway up. The cobbled stone path to reach it starts from Filoti.
 

Windsurfing heaven at Mikri Vigla beach

The winds at Mikri Vigla beach blow steadily and constantly. But since the wind and kite-surfers have discovered it, their sails make more noise than the wind itself. And their even louder cries of excitement can be heard miles away.

You’ll find water sport options on many of Naxos’ standout beaches

Experience the best of Naxos

Τhe Temple of Demeter, the 6th-century BC sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of harvest and fertility

A tour of the Temple of Demeter on Naxos

To find the source of Naxos’ delicious agricultural produce, head to the Temple of Demeter, the 6th-century BC sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of harvest...
The Venetian Castle at the top of the hill on which Hora is located, you’ll enjoy discovering a town believed to have been built on the island’s original ancient city

A walking tour of Naxos’ Hora, the complete island town

From a Venetian castle that’s still full of life to enjoying a sneaky swim at the beach, exploring Naxos’ main town is the ideal way...
Beautiful paved streets, neoclassical buildings and a lively market and shops all testify to Halki’s past as the capital of Naxos

Mountain village hopping in Naxos

The quaint little mountain settlements of Naxos stand ready to reveal all the authenticity of the island… one cobblestone at a time.
  • The Hora
  • The giant kouri
  • A culinary journey
  • A Cretan village in the mountains of Naxos
  • The Tragaia Valley
  • Zeus’s mountain

Highlights

8 reasons to make you visit Naxos again and again
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Bazeos tower, one of the most well-known monuments of Naxos
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Fool moon on Naxos Island

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Accommodation

Depi's Luxury Villas

Naxos
Depis Naxos seafront private villa with pool is a luxury villa constructed according to the Cycladic architecture, in a very beautiful natural landscape betw...