Naxos is the largest and most fertile island in the Cyclades and, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful and most popular summer destinations. Think endless beaches, crystal clear waters, picturesque villages, rich history and delicious local produce…
Naxos is a destination that satisfies any taste and offers a wide variety of activities for its visitors – beautiful beaches, traditional villages, delicious food, archaeological sites, numerous hiking paths, windsurfing, kitesurfing spots, and beautiful weather.
Here, you’ll find nice bars, serving colourful and delicious cocktails, nightclubs with music for the young and not-so-young, and tavernas and restaurants with live bouzouki music and tasty specialities.
It is also the Cycladic Island with the longest coast. The most popular beaches are located on the western side and are considered the most beautiful in the Aegean Sea. Clear turquoise water and pure soft sand are the main features of the shores. Naxos was one of the last islands of the Cyclades to open its gates to tourism and why it has kept its natural, unspoiled beauty.
When entering the port by ferry, you can see Portara, the island’s landmark. It’s a huge marble doorway, build in the 6th century BC as a temple dedicated to Apollo that was never completed. Centuries later, it stands proud and welcomes all travellers arriving on the island and is apparently the best place to see the sunset.
Because of its plains and valleys, Naxos is famous for being fertile and produces agricultural products like olives and high-quality wine. Although its meat and cheese are very good too!
Naxos offers interesting archaeological sites, such as temples, beautiful Byzantine churches and Venetian towers, and there are organised hiking trails passing through the fields of olive trees, traditional villages and abandoned settlements, making this island a popular hiking destination.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands. It has an airport; however, you can’t fly direct from Manchester. You can fly to Athens and get an internal flight to Naxos or hop on a ferry, which, in my opinion, is the only way to travel around the islands. Or you can do what we did, fly to Santorini and get the Seajet to Naxos. The ferries are nothing like they were on my first visit to Spetse in my 20s. They now have Seajets, offering speed, luxury and brand-new lounges. Seajets operates the largest high-speed fleet in the Aegean and one of the most comfortable and punctual fleets in the Mediterranean. Whether you visit a single island or you go island hopping, the largest network of high-speed vessels worldwide guarantees a great trip. seajets.com
WHERE TO STAY
Next to Saint George beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of the island, is Hotel Princess of Naxos, a well-maintained hotel with good rooms in a peaceful location. There’s a nice swimming pool looking out to the sea and the hotel offers easy access to the beach and town too.
Saint George beach offers a wide variety of watersports (water skis, banana, wakeboard, tubes, kneeboard, sea jet, cycling, canoeing, sailing) with organised schools and qualified instructors for groups or individuals.
WHERE TO EAT
Meze Meze serves tasty grilled sea bass as well as a great choice of Greek and Mediterranean dishes. It’s one of the busiest restaurants on the waterfront and worth the wait should you have to queue for a table. Service is efficient, food is fresh and it’s a great spot to sit and people-watch. Highly recommended, but don’t over-order as portions are large.
A lovely, cosy and authentic Greek, family restaurant in the Old Town of Naxos. It was empty when we sat down, but by the time we left, it was full; obviously a popular restaurant. We ordered bread with dips, followed by prawns and sea bass. Boulamatsis had a very laid-back atmosphere and wasn’t too expensive.
Overall, the beaches, the gastronomy, the architecture and the activities make Naxos a great example of an island that has preserved its natural beauty and traditional character. And it’s no secret that many tourists visiting Naxos come back year after year.