Top 7 Most Heart-Filling Things to Do in Naxos Greece
Naxos is a beautiful combination of many things. From golden sands and crystalline waters to verdant lands that provide a wealth of dairy and agricultural products and from traditional Cycladic architecture and landmarks that speak of times once so glorious to warm and hospitable locals living a lifestyle that exudes peacefulness, you will definitely be spoilt for choice. Admittedly, the list of things to do in Naxos is quite long, so here are seven suggestions to consider.
The Portara Sunset
Long ago, the doorway now remaining on a small islet, just a short walk from the island capital called Portara Naxos, was the entrance to a temple dedicated to the Greek God of light and music, Apollo. Over the centuries, the marble-built temple underwent many changes. After it was abandoned in the 5th century B.C, it was used as a church under Ottoman rule, before it was torn apart. The only way the doorway still stands still is because of its heavy construction- the massive 20-ton marble was impossible to steal at that time. Visiting Portara is one of the best things to do in Naxos, Greece, especially if you feel like sharing some unique romantic times with your partner – the sunset views from up here are simply breath-taking!
Visit Chora and the Castle
The majestic capital, also known as the Chora, is not only a picturesque place to take a leisure stroll and unwind but also home to an imposing castle that sits on a hill some 30 meters above sea level. If you fancy learning about the history of a place you are holidaymaking in, this is certainly one of the most constructive things to do in Naxos. Built over the remains of the ancient acropolis, the Trani gate allows you to enter a mysterious, yet so exciting, world. Back in the older times, the medieval settlement that was inside the castle walls was much more than just a residential area – it was also the religious, educational, and administrative heart of Naxos Greece, during the Venetian ruling. Dotted with luxury mansions (one of which is open to the public as a Venetian era museum), an imposing Catholic Cathedral, a school of Ursuline nuns, a business school, and more, it was a sight for sore eyes. Today, many musical evenings and exhibitions are held here, while the Archaeological Museum of Naxos is another pole of attraction worth visiting. You will also find plenty of taverns, cafes, and shops on the alleyways of the castle.
Explore the Beaches
Without a doubt, enjoying the warm Mediterranean sun at the sandy shores of the pristine Naxos beaches is one of the top things to do in Naxos. With more than 90km of sugary coastline, this beautiful island is heaven for those that love the beach. Those closest to the Chora are, of course, the most popular. However, it all depends on what you are looking for. For instance, if you prefer more secluded beaches and secret coves with natural characteristics, the ones on the south or the northeast will probably suit your needs the best. That being said, some of the must-visit shores with regular local bus transportation (also accessible by car) are Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, and Agios Georgios (all three are awarded Blue flag), as well as Plaka, Mikri Vigia, and Panormos. Each dazzling with its own charm, you will have a difficult time deciding where to spend your days!
Windsurfing & Kitesurfing Adventures
You can’t come to the Cyclades and not try at least once to tame the waves! In fact, the northerly Meltemi wind that blows almost all the time turns the island into a huge playground for windsurfing and kitesurfing lovers. If you find yourself attracted to the idea of testing your skills in water sports, then do include Naxos windsurfing and kitesurfing in the list of things to do in Naxos, Greece. The wide, shallow bays combined with the stable wind blowing from a side-onshore direction create the perfect opportunities for safe wind and kite surfing from the early morning hours. And, if you have never tried any of these water sports, you will find lots of chances to be trained appropriately!
Visit the Villages of Apeiranthos & Filoti
The majority of Naxos tours include a stop at the scenic villages of Apeiranthos and Filoti. Although all Naxos villages have an intriguing personal character, Apeiranthos turns heads with the two-storey houses, the arched, marble-paved streets, the remains of Venetian towers, and a small but hugely energetic community of people with diverse backgrounds and customs. Worth visiting are the N. Glezos library (the largest in the Cyclades), the 17th-century Zevgolis Tower, the 18th-century church of Panagia Aperanthitissa, the church of Agia Kyriaki (probably the most important Christian monument in the Balkans) the various museums (see the Geological, the Natural, and the Archaeological museums) that house thousands of exhibits from the Proto-Cycladic period and a plethora of local species (flora and fauna). Not to be missed is also the lovely Aegean Children’s Art Museum. As for Filoti village, it is rightfully included in the list of the top things to do in Naxos, as it will fill your heart with profound natural beauty. Known mainly for its charming Byzantine churches and olive groves it used to comprise of three settlements. To date, it is the largest Naxos village and is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of Zas Mountain. Featuring whitewashed houses, flower-laid streets, a massive plane tree providing shelter to sun-scorched travellers, traditional cafes, family-run taverns serving delicious local foods (called mezedes), superb views of the mountain and old churches with incredible frescoes, you can understand why visiting Filoti is among the most fulfilling things to do in Naxos. While here, do consider heading to the church of Panagia Filotissa, the Barozzi Tower, the theatre, the fountain of Arion, the Zas cave (birthplace of ancient Greek God Zeus), the ancient-styled sports stadium, and the Filoti Cultural Association Centre that houses a reading club, a cinema, and a library.
Day Trip to Mykonos & Delos
Even if you only have a few days to spend at Naxos, organising a day trip to the nearby Mykonos and Delos islands will be one of the most rewarding things to do in Naxos, Greece. Each island offers its own share of excitement – Delos has a great energy to it while Mykonos is, well, Mykonos! Known for its legendary parties and vibrant night scene, it is a stop worth noting when writing down the list of things to do in Naxos.
Feel free to treat your palate with mouth-watering Mediterranean flavours and locally produced goods that will steal your heart. You will find superior samples of traditional Naxos cuisine at the most exclusive Naxos hotels, such as Iria Beach Art Hotel, and select restaurants and tavernas throughout the island. Naxos has particularly fertile lands that provide an abundance of herbs, meats, and vegetables. Using top quality Naxian ingredients, the chefs here offer lots to please your taste buds with – from a variety of cheese products, such as xinotiro, mizithra, and kefalotyri to homemade sweet preserves, fresh fish, juicy meat dishes, and great local wine.
Choosing where to stay in Naxos depends on the kind of experience you want to live. Those, for example, who prefer exclusive, luxury, and private holidays at deluxe suites and sublime facilities that offer the fullest spectrum of services will definitely find their match at Iria Beach Art Hotel. Let’s note that Iria Beach Art Hotel is constantly being voted one of the best hotels in Naxos – you will soon find out that it is a title worth bearing!