Best things to do in the Greek Island of Naxos

by Kelly

Naxos is one of the best Cyclades islands in Greece. It may not be one of the first islands you think of when planning your Greek Island holiday but it really should be! As it is near Mykonos it is so easy to get to. Why more people don’t go there I can’t understand. It is fabulous and totally worth the trip. Let me tell you why!

How many days on Naxos?

You could spend 3 days and see a lot but if it is possible I would spend a week here easily. This would include days at the beach and time to relax with no pressure to rush. There is a lot of historical, natural and beautiful things to see, the island is quite big so places to visit can be spread out.

If you are staying between 1-3 days I would stay in the main town of Plaka and either hire a car to get around or use the bus system. If you can stay longer then I would recommend staying a night at Plaka, 2-3 nights at Agios Prokopios, 2-4 nights at Moni. Having a car is the best way to get around Naxos, this is the car rental company we used on Naxos and it was excellent!

When to visit Naxos?

We visited Naxos in June and it was lovely. The best weather is from May to September and these are the best months to visit. The busiest time will be July and August which is the high season. Everyone we talked to was saying that August gets crazy busy but the weather is perfect! If you want to avoid the busiest crowds then I recommend May, June and September.

The best things to do on Naxos

The beaches

There are some beautiful beaches on Naxos, some busy with all the infrastructure you want and others are natural and peaceful with only locals visiting them.

One of the best and easiest to get to is Agios Prokopios and it is my top recommendation. It is like a little piece of Tulum in the Greek Islands. Think tons of sun beds under palm frond umbrellas. Drinks and meals delivered to your slice of beach paradise. There is a main strip right behind the beach with great hotels and restaurant with each styled beautifully and uniquely. There is a chilled out laid back vibe and I couldn’t ask for anything more. The water is super clear and the beach has soft sand and if this is the only Greek Island beach you see on your whole trip you would be happy.

It is only a half hour bus ride from the main port entrance and is so incredibly easy to reach. You should definitely come to spend a day if you aren’t staying here. We stayed one night at this beach but I love it so much I recommend staying here 2 to 3 nights, depending on how much beach time/relaxing you need to do!

Sunbaking on Agios Prokopios beach, Naxos

There is also Plaka Beach at the Chora which is nice and very calm. It is just off the port where the boats come in but the water is still nice. It is the simplest one if you are just coming to Naxos and don’t want to go around exploring but is nothing compared to Agios Prokopios.

Aga Anna is another beach just down from Agois Prokopios. I also has food and drink and hotels around it but I still believe that AP is the best!

The Portara

Right at the main port you will see the Portara. It is the most famous landmark and historical site in Naxos and it really is beautiful. It stands high on the hill and is perfect to visit at sunrise or sunset as there is a full 360 degree view of the ocean, town and mountains beyond. We visited during the day and it was very peaceful. I wished I had more time to come at different hours as I think the light would be stunning at sunset.

Wander around the Chora

Plaka is the main town on Naxos and it is a great place to stay if you want to be central to the port. There is the old chora area with the kastro at the top. Definitely visit this area and wander the beautiful old streets. You will love the experience of twisting and turning through the pathways and finding something new around each corner. The shopping is great here and there are hundreds of little stores selling every type of souvenir, jewellery and clothing you could ask for.

Explore the Kastro

The Kastro is an old Venetian castle which is quite well preserved. Over time it has been converted in to a space where you will find cafes, museums and shops in the old buildings. There is a large set of wooden doors you will enter through and this is where you find the start of the Kastro. There are monasteries and schools, churches and old shops. It is a lovely place to spend a few hours taking it in.

The Temple of Demeter

Temple of Demeter is inland and you will need to hire a car or take a tour to get there. You can go by bus but it is quite a walk from the bus stop to the site. The road is a tiny little path and tricky when there is another person coming the other way. Just take your time and go slowly, it is a beautiful drive. It is a really special site, you feel like you are discovering it yourself. I visited when there was almost no other people there, just one group who were with a guide.

The temple is made of Naxos marble and dates back to the 6th century BC, Demeter was the ancient goddess of agriculture, people built temples dedicated to her on fertile land. There are really well preserved parts of the temple and then other parts that have been rebuilt. The landscape is stunning and the historical information is really informative. There is a ticket booth as you approach the entrance and tickets are 4 euro each.

Paleochristian Church of Panagia Drosiani (6th c.)

This is the oldest church in Naxos and one that is really worth visiting. It is considered to be one of the most important Byzantine churches and is of historical significance. Inside it houses rare paintings and is decorated in a traditional manner. It is free to enter but there is a donation tray and a very kind lady there to make sure you are not taking photos inside.

It is a really beautiful church and so easy to visit, just near the town of Moni. Time your visit near lunch time and treat yourself to a delicious lunch at ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat Hotel. Their restaurant is open, airy and the food is delicious. It is based around the healthy sustainable and farm to plate idea. You can read all about it on our blog here. The staff are wonderful and if you meet Helen please say hello from us!

Visit the villages-

The gems of Naxos are its mountain villages, each with its own character. They can be visited in a day but it is such a lovely area to stay especially if you like hiking or really want to experience the true Greek life.

You can have that experience by staying in these small towns. There is a fabulous resort called ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat which is situated at Moni and is almost exactly at the centre of the island, by staying here you can visit these towns slowly and really enjoy them. It is also well located to almost every area of the island so you could potentially stay here longer and visit the whole island from this central place. It is one of the best places we have discovered in our trips and I wish we could have spent more time here. The host Helen will really give you a wonderful taste of her Greek heritage. Read about it here!


Moni is a tiny little village that sits just above ELaiolithos. It is super sweet and you will wander the quiet streets, with children playing and ladies weaving. If you are lucky one of the ladies will offer to show you how she weaves which is a lovely experience.


Chalkio (Halki) is the cutest little village we have ever seen. We easily spent a whole day there wandering the shops and the churches. There is a great food scene here and you’ll find cute little restaurants to choose from and churches nearby to wander off and explore.

There is a wonderful cheese shop owned by a local farmer and a ladies hand looming cooperative where you can purchase traditional pieces of weaving made by the local women. Supporting this store means giving back to the community and we really loved the beautiful patterns and colours available.

There is a kitron (local citrus fruit) distillery called Vallindras Distillery. It houses a museum of the old distillery which you can tour, taste samples and buy them to take with you as well. The entry and tour is free, you will only need to pay if you wish to buy a bottle. This is the only place you will see this type of fruit liquor being made and it is still made using the same method from many years ago.


Filoti is very picturesque, there are great cafes and restaurants to enjoy. It is a very sweet village and we loved strolling the streets here.

exploring villages around ELaiolithos


Apiranthos is a pretty town that is further north from Filoti. It is very well preserved and has wonderful tavernas and beautiful houses to look at. It also has a wealth of museums if you are interested in history then you will get your fill at the Archaeological Museum of Apeiranthos, the Museum of Folk Art, the Geological Museum, and the Museum of Natural History.


We were lucky enough to experience the village of Koronos with our host, Helen from ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat. She offered to take us one evening and to show us one of her favourite villages. We quickly accepted and knew we were in for a wonderful experience. As we walked through the village up and down the many steps she told us about the way it was built on the slopes of the mountains and how the villagers lived. The homes are whitewashed and the lights at night were so pretty.

We made our way to an excellent taverna, Taverna Dalas. We met the owners who joined us for a drink and a chat. It was honestly one of the most pleasant and lovely evenings we have ever had. Sharing stories and ideas with beautiful local people. We were so appreciative to Helen who shared such a special time and place with us. We drank the traditional raki and ate some delicious cake. I would definitely recommend coming here for a meal if you are in the area.


The hiking is exceptional in Naxos. There are short trails and then longer ones such as the Mt Zas hike. There are hikes that connect the mountain villages as well. We did a short one of about an hour or so from Moni to Chalkio and it was perfect. There were historical churches, goats, streams, overgrown hills and beautiful olive trees along the way. It wasn’t to difficult and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

While staying at ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat we met a couple who were going to do the Mt Zas hike. Our host was giving them tips on how best to do it and she drove them to the start point. It sounded like a beautiful hike, we unfortunately were not prepared with the correct shoes for a big hike. Apparently it is a wonderful walk through the scenic Greek landscapes and there is Zas Cave to check out along the way. The views from the top are meant to be stunning, we are definitely doing this on our return trip! You can read about all the hiking paths here, we did trail number 4.

Where to stay on Naxos

I only like to recommend places that I have actually stayed and and really loved. We stayed at both of these properties and liked them for different reasons:

Agios Prokopios Hotel – this is a great choice if you would like to spend a few days near the beach. It is easy walking distance from both the beach and the bus stop. It has an excellent pool and the breakfast is good. The rooms are affordable and clean. The bed was comfortable and the room was equipped with a kitchenette. This is a great affordable option if you just want to be near to the beach.

ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat – this property is a real gem. If you want to really spend time in Greece and feel like you belong there then this is the place for you. It is an excellent accommodation option with beautiful rooms, delicious food and incredible staff but it is more than that, it is an experience. You will learn about Greece first hand, see and explore the countryside and feel the village life. I can not recommend ELaiolithos more highly, it is truly life changing.

Bedroom in ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat Hotel

We loved our time in Naxos! It was definitely made more special by staying at ELaiolithos and getting to experience the island more deeply. Honestly there is so much to do on Naxos everyone will find something that they love!

Extra Naxos travel tips

There is a great luggage storage in Plaka if you need to leave your bags until your ferry arrives, it is very convenient to the ferry area and just down from the bus ticket shop in the travel agency next door. Make sure to ask if you can get a small locker it was huge and we could leave all our luggage (2 x 45l backpacks, 2 x shopping bags and a beach bag) in just that one locker.

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1 comment

Krista May 5, 2024 - 3:13 pm

Would you mind sharing the name of the restaurant/beach club in your photo? Thanks!


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