Naxos is one of the lesser-visited islands in the Greek Cyclades but is considered one of the best. Located near the heavily-trafficked island of Santorini, Naxos boasts the same iconic white-washed building and blue-domed roofs that are unique to Greek islands. When building a Naxos itinerary, take into consideration places that are popular for tourists and a little off the beaten path.
Whether you have 2, 3, or 4 days in Naxos, you’re in for a treat. This list is composed of everything you should consider when visiting Naxos so you have a full and exciting few days on the island.
How Many Days in Naxos?
Perhaps the biggest hurdle is figuring out how many days to spend in Naxos. How long you spend on the island is entirely dependent on the kind of experience you want to have.
There is a lot of sightseeing to do across Naxos–from rural villages to stunning beaches. If you prefer to stay centrally located, 2 days in Naxos is more than enough. However, if you’re planning to venture out to explore more of the island, you’ll want up to 4 days in Naxos.
Naxos is considered one of the best Greek islands for families and those traveling in pairs or small groups who want an island with smaller crowds. There are plenty of family-friendly shops and restaurants as well as a few options for nightlife while still being a quiet island.
Naxos is a great option for those wanting a more laid-back experience of the Cyclades. Naxos also tends to be more affordable than Santorini or Mykonos.
Getting To & Around Naxos
You have two options for how to reach Naxos. The first is to take a short regional flight from Athens to the island. There are several nonstop flights everyday that usually take around 45 minutes to complete. Prices range from $60 to $85 per ticket. You can organise a transfer from the airport here.
If you’re spending time in the Cyclades, you can also take a short ferry ride from Paros, Santorini, or Mykonos. Depending on the flights available, you could fly to a neighboring island then take a ferry to Naxos.
The second option is the ferry from Athens. Ferry paths between Athens and the Greek islands are divided into pockets of islands. For example, one ferry line from Athens goes to Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, and Naxos because of their close proximity to each other.
The ferry ride from Athens to Naxos is around 6 hours on the main line. There are express ferries from Athens, but they run less frequently. The ferry is a unique way to reach the islands and experience the Mediterranean. You can book ferries in advance here.
Once on Naxos, you can get around using the island’s bus service, but you will likely find it easiest to get around if you can rent a car. If you’d like to hire a car on Naxos, we suggest browsing Rentalcars.com to find deals across a range of different companies.
If you don’t rent a car, it is also possible to take some day tours around the island such as this full-day tour for those interested in the history of the island or this full-day cruise for those looking for a relaxing time on the water.
2, 3 or 4 Days in Naxos Itinerary
Having 2, 3 or 4 days in Naxos is perfect for building a great itinerary. This sample itinerary includes some of the best parts of the island. You can use these items to build the best Naxos itinerary for your interests.
Day 1 – Chora, Beaches & Archeological Museum
Explore Chora and the Portara
If you’re arriving on the island by ferry, Chora will be where you dock. It’s the largest and most developed area of Naxos, but this also makes it one of the busiest towns on the island.
Chora was built on the ruins of an ancient town dating back to 4,000 BC. The Temple of Apollo, or the Portara, will stand out to you upon arrival. It’s a large temple on an islet jutting out from the town.
The Old Town is home to an eye-catching Venetian Castle (the Kastro) that captures a period of time in Naxos history. Both the Archeological Museum and the Metropolis Museum are worth the visit if you have an afternoon to explore Chora.
There are beaches nearby for a relaxing afternoon once you’ve first arrived in Naxos.
Visit nearby beaches
To kick off your Naxos itinerary, explore one (or several) of the incredible beaches on the island. Soft sand and crystal blue waters await you when visiting beaches on Naxos. Grotto Beach is the best for snorkelers as they can explore the ruins of an ancient city underwater.
Agios Georgios and Agios Prokopios are the most family-friendly beaches–they’re great for swimmers and sunbathers with several options for restaurants and beach clubs. The further south you go, the better the beaches get.
Plaka Beach is the most famous beach in Naxos. The northern end is more tourist-heavy, but the further south you go, the quieter it gets.
Mikri Vigla Beach catches a lot of wind–great for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Kastraki Beach offers incredible sunset views while the sun goes down behind Paros Island.
Go to the Archeological Museum
The Naxos Archeological Museum, Cyclades is located in the central square of the Kastro and boasts the largest collection of Cycladic artifacts in the area. Everything from household objects to works of art from the Late Neolithic period are on display.
It’s a perfect spot to spend a quiet afternoon learning more about the long and impressive history of the Cyclades and Greece. Terra-cotta figurines, pottery, Mycenaean artifacts, jewelry, and more are housed here.
Make sure to seek out the mosaic floor depicting a Nereid riding a bull from the Roman period. Naxos has a long history of being a culture hub throughout Greek history that is captured here.
Day 2 – Sangri, Filoti & Apeiranthos
Visit Sangri for the Temple of Demeter
With 2 days in Naxos, set out to explore the villages of the island. Sangri is located about 12 kilometers southeast of Chora.
Here, you won’t find the classic white-washed buildings with blue roofs. Instead, you’ll encounter greys and browns of brick walls and roofs.
The village is known for the Byzantine monasteries. The Temple of Demeter is one of the most famous sites–made from marble and dating all the way back to 530 BC.
There are a few good options for restaurants and cafes if you want to get an early start and have breakfast in the area. The best way to see the villages of Naxos on your second day on the island is by car.
Stop at Filoti
Filoti is one of the most famous and beautiful mountain villages on the island. You should plan to spend at least a couple hours exploring here. It’s known for its olive groves and Byzantine churches.
Filoti is thought to be one village, although it’s technically the combination of several smaller villages to create the largest village in Naxos. It’s built on the slopes of Mount Zas with white-washed buildings and flowered streets.
The main street is full of cafes, shops, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to stop for lunch or an afternoon treat. Make sure to stop at Barozzi Tower and wander through all the old churches.
Parking is usually readily available for visitors and public transportation connects the villages to other main parts of the island.
See the museums at Apeiranthos
Round out your day of exploring the mountain villages of Naxos with a visit to Apeiranthos. This village is by far the most popular for tourists outside of Chora.
Over the years, it has largely remained untouched, allowing it to retain its authenticity. It’s built along the side of Mount Fanari to give its visitors an exceptional view of the Naxian mountain ranges.
If you’re a museum lover when traveling, you’ll want to come here as Apeiranthos is home to five different museums. The Apeiranthos Archaeological Museum, Geological Museum, Museum of Natural History, Visual Arts Museum, and the Folklore Museum are all worth stopping in.
If you think there is plenty for you to do here that an afternoon isn’t enough, you could consider spending the night.
Day 3 – Mount Zas, Halki & Vallindras Kitron
Hike Mount Zas
Mount Zas is not only the highest place in the Cyclades, it’s also the mythological birthplace of the Greek god Zeus. Mount Zas, also known as Mount Zeus, is home to a cave near the summit where it’s believed the god was born and raised. You can visit the cave of his birth if you hike to the summit.
This hike offers a close-up look at what makes Naxos unique–its mountainous, green, and vibrant landscape that is vastly different from any other islands in the Cyclades. The hike is 5 kilometers, or 3 miles, round trip, but it’s by no means a relaxing hike.
This is a highly strenuous climb that rewards its hikers with stunning views from the peak. The trailhead is closest to Filoti. Be mindful of the road up to the trailhead as the last section does become narrow and steep. Make sure to come prepared with a water bottle and a good pair of hiking shoes.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain villages in Naxos, Halki should be on your list for when you complete your hike of Mount Zas. You could also swap your visit to Filoti here too as the villages are very close together.
Halki, also known as Chalkio, captures the look that makes mountain villages in Naxos so breathtaking. Olive groves, citrus trees, and famous archaeological sites await visitors. You’ll have several options for a meal–you’ve earned it after climbing to the top of Mount Zas.
Halki is just a 30-minute drive from Chora, but make sure to take your time. This village is worth at least an afternoon to explore. Art galleries and jewelers are prominent here. The Kitron Distillery, Fish & Olive ceramics, and Byzantine Church of St. George should all be on your list.
Go to the Vallindras Kitron
As mentioned above, the Kitron Distillery is one of the most-visited sites in Halki.
The distillery was established in 1898 and produced the famous Kitron, a yellow liqueur made from a fruit that is slightly less bitter than a lemon. The liqueur became popular throughout Greece and was distributed widely from Naxos.
There is a museum where the traditional tools and machinery used to create kitron are preserved. You can also taste some of the liqueur yourself or purchase a bottle.
Day 4 – Wine Tasting & Sunset Views
Go wine tasting
It might come as a surprise that several Greek islands are known for their wine production. Naxos is one of them.
Wine tours on the island offer a unique opportunity to learn more about the land and the grapes that grow well there. For wine enthusiasts, this is one of the best things to do in Naxos and the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Saint Anna Winery is one of the most popular and well worth the visit during your 4 days in Naxos.
Guided tours take visitors through olive groves and the vineyard, as well as offer plenty of opportunities to try the local wine. Some highly rated options include this half-day tour that combines food tastings with local wine or this winery tour.
Watch the sunset at the Portara
Close out your Naxos itinerary with an iconic Greek sunset from the Portara in Chora. The best view comes from taking a slow evening walk down the islet leading to the temple.
There is a paved path that leads visitors to a short hill where the temple is perched. Climb the stairs to the top of the hill to secure your spot for the sunset viewing. You can also settle somewhere along the path.
Keep in mind that this tends to be a busy area for watching the sunset, especially during the peak tourist season, so try to get there a bit on the earlier side. Make sure you sit with a view facing the west, looking toward Paros Island, for the best view.
Where to Stay in Naxos
Hotel Grotta – This mid-range hotel is great for those looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay on Naxos. They have a great location, countless lovely rooms to choose from and have a swimming pool, bar and lots of other great amenities to make your stay a great one. Click here to see their availability
Nissaki Beach Hotel – This gorgeous 5-star hotel is an excellent choice for those looking for a luxury escape on Naxos. They have countless plush rooms on offer, a beautiful swimming pool to enjoy, sea views, a beachfront location and an on-site bar to enjoy. Click here to see their availability
Sunday Studios – For those looking for a self-catering option, you’re sure to love these holiday apartments. They have a range of flats to choose from that can accommodate any group size and they are all fully furnished with everything you may need during your trip. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Naxos hotels!
Your Naxos itinerary is filled with a mixture of lesser-known spots and famous destinations that will build a well-rounded trip. Spend some time exploring the mountain villages, but make sure you relax on the beautiful island beaches for an afternoon too. Between the food, history, and the views, you may find yourself sad to leave the stunning island of Naxos.
Are you considering a visit to Naxos? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!