After hearing Jessica talk about Naxos, my boyfriend and I decided that we had to visit it, so we booked our flights from Moscow to Greece in the fall of 2016.
We fully explored the whole island and really made the most of our time there.
Portara: The symbol of the city and the island. The first attraction that you see when you arrive to the island by ferry. Portara is located on the island Palatia which is connected to Naxos by a narrow causeway. It can be an exciting adventure to get to the Palatia by this causeway if it is a windy day and there are waves on the sea, because waves overflow the causeway.
Kastro: A medieval castle that is still inhabited! There are not so many inhabited castles in Europe nowadays. It is very interesting to walk around steep lanes. I would recommend to visit Old Market Street and buy some souvenirs there.
Archaeological Museum This museum is located inside the Kastro castle, on the top of the hill. If you like history and museums I would recommend that place.
Venetian Museum: This place is very interesting. In fact it is a house that belongs to one family for ages and inside you can see how life was years and centuries ago on the island. There are a lot of photos, old family books, rarity furniture, elements of decor inside. And the structure of the house is very interesting too: there are several floors made in the rock of the Kastro hill and even a prison in the basement.
Apolonas Kouros: This is one of the three unfinished monuments on the island. During ancient times there were several quarries on Naxos where workers made monuments for temples and palaces. And this Kouros like the two others were never finished for many reasons.
I would recommend to visit that place not only because of the Kouros but also because of the beach in Apolonas. I think there is always north wind from the sea and that’s why all the buildings and other elements are covered with salt and rust.
Church of Panagia Drossiani (Drossiani Mary): This is a remarkable Byzantine church, one of the oldest monasteries of Byzantine Balkans.
Museum Naxos Citron (Vallindras): This is a factory where a local alcohol is made. Its name is citron because it is made from citrus. There were three different tastes from strong (white) to middle (yellow) and to sweet (green one) and you can taste them all. Also you can buy some bottles to take with you.
Damalas Pottery You can buy some simple but charming souvenirs there. I strongly recommend to buy ceramic presents in Damalas, because in Naxos on the seaside the same souvenirs are more expensive. Also you will be able to see a local craftsman demonstrate how to make a jug.
Kouros of Flerio: They are two other unfinished statues of ancient greek gods or heros. They are located in a very beautiful place rather high in the mountains.
I would recommend to visit this place not because of its historical value but because of views of mountains of Naxos there.
Definitely stroll along the main walking street which is lined with small shops, cafes and even museums. In gaps between houses you will see a precipice going down, because Apiranthos is located on the slope of the mountain Favari. You can buy local souvenirs in Apiranthos: textiles, ceramic crockery, or visit museums. This village is very picturesque. I loved it a lot.
In the valley of Gyroula in Sangri
Demeter Temple: Located between Zas Mount and Mikri Vigla beach, it is the rebuilt temple of Demeter with a very interesting history. In the Middle Ages a christian church was built on the same place and later the government of an island decided to save them both and move the church a bit.
Church of Panagia Filotitissa: The church was built in the beginning of the 18 century and is very beautiful because of the paintings on the wall and decor elements like lamps and candlesticks.
Museum Eggares: This is a museum of olive oil, where you can see how olive oil was made earlier and also buy some fruit jam with olive oil and taste some delicious cake!
Agios Georgios Beach
Agios Georgios beach is the best city beach in my opinion. It is more protected from the north winds, with a clean, sandy beach. It is the nearest beach to Chora town. Good for families and lazy people who don’t want to go any farther.
This beach is found on the northern part of Naxos Chora, but it is pebbly and very windy, so not my favorite.
A very big sandy beach that you can reach by bus. Ideal for long lazy weekends on the beach. There are also cafes and restaurants on the beach where you can have lunch.
Located on the north side of the cape, the coastline from Plaka to Mikri Vigla is one of the most picturesque places on the west coast of the island. There are a lot of tiny beautiful bays where you can chill out. Mikri Vigla beach is very popular among windsurfers so depending on the wind situation, it may be overcrowded with the surfers- so not ideal for sunbathing and swimming in peace and quiet.
Mikri Vigla 2
Mikri Vigla 2 is on the south side of the cape and is very calm. There is no wind because of the cape and there is where we found the best snorkeling on the island.
Local wine can be bought in supermarkets so that can enjoy it on your balcony after a long day of sightseeing. Naxians are proud of their homegrown potatoes and tomatoes and many say that the best potatoes in Greece are found there. The portions were enormous, so you can start with a small order and always add to it. The wine was delicious and rather strong, be careful not to drink too much! Pikantiko Grill House-Restaurant (πικαντικο) was our favorite restaurant.
The bus station near the port will get you access to the entire island and a ride to all of the mentioned beaches. Buses are huge and it is amazing to see them making their way on narrow Naxos roads. Ticket cost was 2 euro in 2016. Also you can get to all the villages on the island from this bus station. But be ready that buses don’t go very often, there may be one or two trips a day to the destination point.
Two guided trips are available to purchase at the same bus station for 25 euro / person. The first one (blue line in the photo) let you travel to the center and other side of Island, visit pottery, olive oil factory and museum. Second trip (green line) also takes you to the center of island and back to all mentioned beaches. I recommend these journeys if you don’t want to rent a car.
There was a warm and windy weather on Naxos in September. I don’t remember really hot days. Because of the wind there were big waves in the sea some days. And there were a lot of windsurfers everywhere in the west part of the island. Also there was a very quick thunderstorm one day, it finished in an hour or something like that.
We stayed in the hotel Argo Boutique Hotel in 2-3 minutes to the Agios Georgios beach. It was a small, very clean and pleasant place, we truly enjoyed it. The food was fresh and tasty and the bakery was great.
Naxos in September was PERFECT for us because the weather was no too hot and there were not too many tourists. I will certainly return to Greece in the fall!