Naxos in Greece

Naxos. Agia Anna. Agios Prokopios. Saint George. Greece.

Island group: Cyclades | Capital: Naxos town | Population: 17600 | Area: 389 km2 | Highest mountain: 1001 m | Airport: Yes, domestic

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Welcome to Naxos, the most popular island in Greece and the biggest one in the Cycladic group. 18 000 inhabitants share the 382 square kilometres of the island and most people (about 8 000) live in Naxos town, also known as Chora. Naxos is not only the biggest of the Cycladic islands; it is also the greenest and most majestic one. No other of the Greek islands has so many fans, for three years straight Kalimeras readers has voted it the Top island of Greece. How is that? Surely, there are as many answers as there are fans. Personally, I believe it is because Naxos provides just about anything you are looking for in the destination of your journey. No matter what you are looking for in your vacation, you can get it. Naxos is simply the perfect place to visit in Greece.

GETTING HERE
It is possible to go on a package holiday to Naxos, but if you are travelling independently it is easiest to go by air to Athens or Santorini. There are first-rate boat connections from both Piraeus and Santorini. Actually, the best choice is to take the two to three hour long trip from Santorini. Express Skopelitis will easily take you to Iraklia, Schinoussa, Koufonissi, Donoussa and Amorgos.

GETTING AROUND
The communications on Naxos are good; the local buses frequent more or less the entire island. The bus station in Naxos town is right next to the ferry terminal. There is also a taxi station. As said before Naxos is a big island that it takes time to discover, therefore a car is preferable to a moped, but the moped is a good vehicle for short distances, if you wish to go to the beaches on the south coast for example. Rental cars, mopeds and bicycles are available in Naxos town as well as in all the major tourist areas.

Plaka beach.

Plaka beach.


Agia Anna beach.

Agia Anna beach.


VILLAGES
There are considerably many untouched villages full of Greek life, as well as many exploited communities. Together the villages of Naxos make up a lovely mix of old and new, touristic and genuine. See descriptions of some of the villages, below.

Naxos town
The inward voyage to Naxos town is astonishing, the houses lie like a string of pearls along the harbour promenade. The most striking sight is the beautiful "Portara" which rises like a monolith from space where it stands on its little island. The Portara is the only thing left of an intended temple to the god Apollo. The construction began about 2500 years ago. From above the harbour the old town district of Kastro gazes down on the sea. Do not miss a visit to Kastro where you can let yourself be amazed by the labyrinthine way up and the astounding view over the city and the ocean. There is also a museum in Kastro that is well worth seeing.

In Naxos town, there are numerous restaurants and taverns, many ouzeries and bars and a couple of discos. Even though the town has a lot to offer, it is still rather quiet. The quality of the different taverns varies to a great degree. The many "throw-ins" that work outside the taverns is a big drawback. Many taverns have their menus shown "live" on refrigerated displays by the streets. The throw-ins will ask you to look at the display-window and direct you to the tables with their entire arms, and the show goes on the entire harbour promenade. To avoid feeling tricked in to one of the places you can always sneak in the back way. Personally, I prefer the ouzeries, especially Ouzeria To Limanaki on the harbour promenade. Here they serve tasty small dishes to a good price. Their grilled squid is marvellous. They are also nice people who will let you in on themselves. This is where the Greeks go, don not miss out!

Naxos town.

Naxos town.


Aperantos
Aperantos is a charmy picturesque mountain village that many fall headlong for at an instant. It is also a colossally popular outing; at times, the village is completely invaded by tourists. If you want to be somewhat on your own, you should go there in the morning or in the late afternoon. When you walk into the village, the first things you will notice are the marbled streets, the old houses from Venetian times and the aged and warn stairs that lead to the top of the village. Here are many good taverns and the cosy factor is high.

Apollonas
About 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Naxos town, in the far north, you find Apollonas, beautifully located by the ocean. Even though the distance it is a popular place to see. What brings people here is the peculiar stone statue called Kouros, that stands just outside the village, and off course long lunches on one of the taverns by the sea.

Apollonas.

Apollonas.


BEACHES
One of the reasons behind Naxos popularity is that it has some of the best beaches in the entire Greece. Seven of the islands beaches made top hundred the last time Kalimeras' readers voted among the "Best beaches in Greece". Three of them made top ten, Agia Anna placed third and Agios Prokopios fifth. Learn more about them below.

Agios Prokopios (see picture on top of the page.)
Many consider Agios Prokopios beach located just four kilometres outside Naxos town, to be the best beach on the entire island. I can only agree. It is a long nice bay with inviting powder fine sand. The water is clear and when the wind is calm the bay looks like a giant swimming pool. Behind it all lays several taverns and the view over the beach is both calming and tempting.

Agia Anna
Agia Anna is the first competitor with Agios Prokopios for the title best beach on Naxos. Agia Anna is also a great beach, not as long as Agios Prokopis, but it has the same seductive water and the sand is at least as inviting. Along the beach lies many pleasant taverns, some with the tables set up right in the sand, you barely have to leave the sun chair to get lunch. It is a delight to sit at one of the taverns and gaze out over the ocean. Do not miss Taverna Gorgona; it is on of Naxos' best. Greeks from all over the island will come here to enjoy good food and a few nights a week there is live music.


SIGHTS
The best sights are the beautiful nature, the beaches and the Portara in Naxos town. You can read more about two other sights, the strange stones and the temple of Demeter, below.

Kouros
Right outside of Apollonas (marked by a sign) on the north of Naxos, a ten-metre long stone statue, called Kouros, rests on a hillside. It was knocked out of marble about 2500 years ago. For some unknown reason nothing much happened after that, so the statue lies where it is. It is believed that it represents Apollo or Dionysus. A smaller Kouros (6,5 metres or 21 feet) rests in a dazzling garden between Melanes and Kinidaros. This Kouros has a broken leg, and it is assumed that is the reason that it has remained a lying statue instead of standing up somewhere. Just 100 metres from this Kouros is another statue, now possible to see after many years of being unknown. But it is not in a good shape.

Temple of Demeter
The temple of Demeter is located about 3 kilometres south of the little village Ano Sangri, almost in the middle of the island. The temple stems from the 6th century B.C. and was rediscovered in 1949 by the Greek archaeologist Kontoleon. The temple itself was partly destroyed in the 8th century a.d. and was fallen into disrepair. Today some parts have been restored, copies of columns and pillars have been raised and you get a pretty clear picture of how the temple once looked.

Sunset at the Portara.

Sunset at Portara.


ACCOMMODATION
To find a room in Naxos is as easy as finding sand in the Sahara desert. There are far more hotels and pensions than there are visiting tourists. Still new family hotels are built each year. If you want to stay close to the beach you choose Agia Anna or Agios Prokopios, there are more offers in Agios Prokopios. You can also fins places to stay by other beaches, like Plaka and Mikri Vigla, but there is less to choose from here. If you both want to live near the beach and be close to Naxos town, you can stay by the Agios Georgios beach. Off course, there is a huge supply of rooms in the town as well and if this is your choice, you will live close to just about anything. For example, there is just a short walk to Agios Gergios beach. Below we have hand-picked some great places that you book at Booking.com.

Book other hotel, studios and apartments in Naxos here »

Kouros of Apollonas.

Kouros of Apollonas.


Agios Prokopios

Agios Prokopios

Naxos Town

 

 

   

Hotel Agios Prokopios »

Naxos Island Hotel »

Pension Sofi »

 

 


MORE ABOUT NAXOS
Geographical location »
Map of Naxos »
Ferry timetable »

OTHER LINKS
Koufonissi - nearest island »
Weather in Greece »
Naxos in Swedish »

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Photos from Naxos »
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