Naxos has an area
of 423 km² making it the biggest of all the islands in the
Cyclades island group. Approximately 15.000 people live on
the island. Naxos is a fairly typical Cyclades island. It
might be a popular destination with tourists but it still is
a lot better than Mykonos or Santorini. You'll still find
quite a few backpackers and independent travellers.
Unfortunately budget accommodation is a lot harder to find
these days so their numbers decrease.
Naxos is popular
for many reasons. The number one reason would probably be the
excellent beaches. They fine sand beaches stretch for
kilometres and they are easy to reach. What I always liked
about the island is the size. Naxos is so big that you can
easily avoid the crowds. There are many remote areas far away
from tourist resorts where you can enjoy local culture or
just be on your own. Naxos has less tourism than neighbouring
Paros, Santorini and Mykonos but you sometimes wonder why.
The island has it all: a beautiful capital, some of the
finest beaches in the whole island group, some interesting
archaeological sites and one of the best hiking areas in all
in Naxos Town for dorms und private rooms.
The islands capital
is Naxos City. It is build around a hill. On top of the hill
is a very impressive Venetian castle. The view from there is
stunning and the little museum highly recommended. Around the
castle you'll find the Old Town with the two parts Burgos and
Agora. They are particularly pretty with their narrow streets
and old houses. Old town remained more or less untouched
since medieval times.
The main ferry port
of the island is located in Naxos City. At this stage the
city is a fully developed tourist destination with about 100
hotels and very good infrastructure. 90 percent of all Naxos
visitors stay in the capital or on the beaches south of it.
The beach at Agios Georgios for example, with its shallow
water and protected from the wind is considered one of the
best family beaches in the Cyclades islands group. Fairly
popular and with beautiful beaches is also Agios Prokopios.
to stay in Naxos Town are Hotel Soula and
They have both very cheap rooms with prices around 25 Euro
per room and night most of the year. Hotel Soula has also
shared, hostel like, rooms. It is the only place with
dormitory on Naxos. Naxos Windmill also has apartments.
recently was an insider tip for backpackers and travellers.
Unfortunately this has changed in the last few years. By now
it is packed with sun beds and attracts pretty much the same
audience as all the other villages.
Behind Plaka is the
only nudist beach on Naxos. It has a very faithful following;
many people that go there would be considered regulars. They
come to Naxos every year. Needless to say most of them are
German. South of Naxos City are three campsites: Agia Anna,
Agios Apollon and Agios Georgios.
The coast with its fine beaches might be well developed, the
inland (Tragea) is a completely different story. It is a
paradise for hikers Here you can still experience traditional
Greek culture. The villages are still relatively untouched.
In most places they have some basic rooms to rent and
needless to say a lot cheaper than near the coast. Tragea
offers loads of nature and tranquillity. Highlight for most
is the ascent to Naxos' (and the Cyclades islands) highest
mountain the Zas. The view is stunning.
Naxos is fairly green, especially by Cyclades standards.
Unlike most of the islands it has enough water to support
farming. Agriculture and even dairy farming play an important
part in the local economy. Grown are mainly figs, oranges,
wine, corn and of course Olives.
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In recent years a number of roads have been built so it got a
lot easier to access Tragea. The number of visitors went up
as a consequence. It now is a popular destination for
organised day trips. They can be booked from Naxos City and
cost about 25 Euro. Just look for "Island Tour".
A small but rather
nice place to stay is Apollonas in the north. It has a quiet
beach, a perfect place to chill out. The bus trip alone
worth's the visit. It is a two hour ride through some of the
most spectacular parts of the island.
Naxos has a busy port. A number of ferries per day go to
Piraeus and other island in the Cyclades. At least twice a
week you can get to Iraklion on Crete from here and even to
Thessaloniki and Rhodes. Most boats to the so called Small
East Cyclades depart from Naxos port. That includes
Donoussa. The trip is an adventure
in itself. The small ferry is the Express Skopelitis. It goes
from Naxos to Amorgos pretty much every afternoon. In the
morning it goes back from Amorgos to Naxos. It stops at most
of the small island but (like on Donoussa) not necessarily
From Naxos port you can also book day trips to
Paros, Santorini and other islands. Very popular is the day
trip to Delos and Mykonos. On each island you can spend about
3 hours and costs only 40 Euro a person (spring 2008). That's
Naxos has a pretty
decent public transport system. From Naxos City there are
busses to more or less every village on the island. To more
important places like Apollonas busses go frequent. The
beaches in the south have a regular bus connection. During
the season the bus goes every 30 minutes. Off season there
are fewer busses but even then a regular bus connection is
Despite its size and beauty Naxos attracts far less tourism
than other islands (and most of the regulars are very happy
about that). The main reason is the tiny airport. There are
no international flights to the island. The only way to get
there is via Athens and then with one of the small planes or
to Mykonos and Santorini and then by boat. The ferries from
there go frequently so it's no real problem but of course it
is a hassle.
detail is that the small airport on Naxos doesn't have a bus
stop. You can walk to the main road where the busses from
Agia Anna stop but it is inconvenient. The taxi drivers are
well aware of that and introduced a little airport charge. A
taxi from there cost easily 15 Euro although it is only 5
kilometres. There is nothing you can do about it so don't
waste your time getting upset about it.
Popular things to
do on Naxos are horse riding and all kinds of water sports.
South of Naxos City in Agios Georgos is the best spot if you
are interested in wind and kite surfing, sailing and other
activities like hiking and mountain biking. Best check
Flisvos homepage (http://www.flisvos-sportclub.com/).
More information to popular destinations on Naxos you'll find
on the following subpages. Simply click on the link:
Naxos City the busy island capital
Tragea the perfect hiking holiday in Naxos' heartland
Apollonas the small fishing village in the north of Naxos
Last update 04/2008