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Naxos

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Naxos is one of the major islands in Greece's Cyclades group.

Apollon's Gate on Naxos

Understand[edit]

The largest and most fertile of the Cyclades Islands, Naxos in fact gains much of its income from agriculture rather than solely from tourism. The main town, referred to as 'Hora' on maps, but also as simply 'Naxos' or 'Naxos Town', contains most of the shops and restaurants frequented by visitors. A number of beach communities extend south along the coast from Hora.

Talk[edit]

English and German are very common; French and Italian are also spoken by many.

Get in[edit]

Naxos is about 5 1/2 hours by the fastest regular ferry from Piraeus, faster by catamaran, and about 2 hours by regular ferry from Santorini.

By sea[edit]

Ferries and high speed catamarans [1] run daily from the mainland Piraeus and the nearby islands Paros, Santorini.

Naxos is a central hub in the sea transport system, and enjoys multiple connections to many directions. Ferry boats and high speed catamarans, costing from about € 34 to € 52 one-way in economy class, run daily from Piraeus, Paros, Santorini and Mykonos during high season.

Various shipping companies sail for Naxos:

  • Blue Star Ferries [2]
  • Hellenic Seaways [3]
  • Sea Jets [4]
  • NEL Lines [5]

Ferry schedules [6]

In Naxos, ticket offices for ferries to all directions can be found along the quay in Hora (Naxos Town). Ferries from Pireaus to Naxos are frequent, as many as half a dozen a day during the summer but generally two or more. The length of the trip does not require a cabin. Blue Star Ferries is the most common carrier between Pireaus and Naxos. The ferry takes about 6 hours and the high speed catamarans take about 4 hours.

By plane[edit]

Olympic Air [7] operates a service from Athens on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (as at May/June 2009).

On weekends between May till October there are direct flights from Austria (Klagenfurt and Graz)

Get around[edit]

Within town walking is the best method of transport. Bus services do operate between the towns, and car and motorbike rentals are readily available; however, be very careful to fully document all dents and even scratches at the time of hire to avoid additional expense and unpleasantness later (You've been warned!) -- and even this may not save you from hassles later. Dependable rental agencies include RUN (Rental Union Naxos) and Rental Center.

See[edit][add listing]

The most recognizable landmark of Naxos is the Portara, an iconic 6th century BC marble gate on the islet of Palatia in Naxos harbor. It is the only remnant of a temple dedicated to Apollo. Naxos is well known for its wonderful beaches, some with advantageous winds for prime windsurfing and kitesurfing. Most of the Island's West coast is one long sandy beach with crystal clear azure water, the most popular areas of which are Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka and Mikri Vigla. It also has a mountainous interior with a great variety of valleys and villages, easily reachable by a well-maintained road system. Archaeological highlights include the Kouros of Melanes and Apollonas, Dimitra's Temple at Sangri and the Cheimarros Tower.

Do[edit][add listing]

The Castro (old walled city) section, on its elevated ground overlooking the harbor, provides some of the quietest and most photogenic alleyways to be found in the town. It survives from the days when Naxos was an outpost of the Venetian empire.

Daytime activities center around the beaches, especially those to the south of town, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka being the most famous ones. Naxos beaches, like those on many Greek islands, offer clothing options. Generally, nude sunbathing is more frequently encountered in southern beach communities that have sand dunes blocking the view from the access road - such as in Plaka.

At the end of Plaka beach nearest to Ag. Anna there is a group of rocks and small coves, and this area is excellent for naturists. It is hidden from the road by trees, yet is an easy (300m) walk along a flat beach from the bus stop at Paradiso taverna.

For those who love adventure, the island offers many opportunities for active sports. Bluefindivers Naxos Diving Center [8], located at Agios Prokopios beach, offers beautiful and safe diving/snorkeling trips around the island. Excellent conditions are formed among meadows of sea weed (Posidonia Oceanica), sand banks, reefs and vertical cuts along with shipwrecks, not only for marine life but also for the divers/snorkelers who explore them.

Truly ancient ruins are limited to the Portara gateway, visible from the harbor, and a rather modest half-finished Kouros statue uncovered in a quarry near Melanes (Kouronohori) as well as a larger version near Apollonas on the northern coast. Special attention has been given in recent years to the sites of Dimitra's temple at Sangri, and Dionysus' temple below Glinado village, where the Ministry of Culture organizes full moon concerts in July and August.

The tiny harbors of Lionas and Moutsouna on the East coast are very picturesque and quiet even in the summer months. Both have tavernas and a beach. A newly asphalted road from Moutsouna down to Panermos is also very much worth exploring, as it passes by several secluded bays.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Annas organic Shop and Garden Café The first shop on the island of Naxos, to offer exclusively biological products. Anna John offers delicious, healthy food, detailed advice in matters of food and nutrition. Very nice place to take a breakfast or to have a snack in the organic Garden Café.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Dakos at Irini's

Due to its fertile valleys, Naxos has the richest variety of produce of the Cyclades islands (Naxos is famous in Greece for its potatoes), as well as cattle and poultry.

Greek specialties like moussaka, souvlaki and a wonderfully mild feta are available in restaurants. The olive oils one encounters are superior to the 'light virgin' oil commonly available, in that the local process apparently leaves in much more olive flavor.

There are also supermarkets on the outskirts of Hora which offer food and drink at everyday prices. As many rooms come complete with cooking facilities, this offers an excellent way to keep expenses down.

  • Η ΑΞΙΩΤΙΣΣΑ (Axiotissa), popularly known as The Yellow House, on the road from Hora to Pyrgaki at the height of Kastraki. Its menu blends Naxian specialties with the kitchen of Asia Minor. Reservations recommended.
  • ΤΑΒΕΡΝΑ Ο ΤΖΩΝΝΗΣ (Johnny’s Taverna-Restaurant) [9], located in Sagri, a traditional village with hospitable residents in country of naxos island. It use local pure fresh materials for the creation of dishes.
  • Στης Ειρινι (Ιrini's), Naxian home cooking such as Dakos, wheat rusk topped with tomato and fresh Myzithra cheese or the spicy Shrimp Saganaki.
  • ΦΑΡΟΣ Αλυκού (FAROS Aliko beach), famous restaurant with authentic Greek mama's recipes on the road from Hora to Pyrgaki at the height of Aliko beach next to the unique Cedar forest.
  • O ΓΙΩΡΓΗΣ (George's Restaurant) in Melanes Village (tel.22850-62180) just 7 km outside Hora is a family restaurant with a magnificent view of a green valley. Open all-year round, it makes for an excellent stop-over after visiting the Kouros and has very reasonable prices and huge portions. You should definitely try the rooster in tomato sauce, stuffed pork, lamb in a clay pot with fried potatoes and cheese, rabbit in onion sauce, aubergine with pork and cheese in the oven and one of the many different traditional sweets that the owner's wife makes all year round, served with yoghurt or ice cream.
  • ΛΕΥΤΕΡΗΣ (Lefteris) in the quaint, historic village of Apiranthos. Well known, especially for its home made Galaktoboureko and Pasta Flora sweets.
  • Apolafsi, 2285075483, [10]. Beautiful Naxian cuisine made with fresh produce all homemade by Voula, Great views to enjoy a romantic evening.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Rakomelo at Cafe Naxos

Naxos is famous for producing its own liquor called kitron, made from an exotic fruit which can be compared perhaps to lemons, though kitron's taste is pleasantly sweet and citric. Its production process can be viewed at the old Valindras distillery in the village of Halki, where different varieties can also be tasted. Kitron is also produced by Promponas.

More common with the locals is a drink called Raki which in winter is served hot with honey (Rakomelo). Raki is a brandy made from pomace (the pieces of grapes (including the stems and seeds) that were pressed for wine making and is similar to Italian grappa. One of the places that continuously serves Rakomelo is Cafe Naxos, located in the narrow alleys in the port's old town. Enjoy it with your "parea" (company of friends) by the cosy fireplace or outside in summer.

On the Rocks Bar - ... is located in the heart of chora naxos downtown between the seafront, called "paralia", and the really old town. Have a seat in the early evening for an aperitif or a before-dinner-cocktail and see the people passing by while the sun is fading away ... enjoy the atmosphere and get yourself a perfect drink - maybe accompanied by a havana cigar or shisha (waterpipe)... [11]

  • Sottovento, st. george beach (Located on St. George Beach, just a few steps from the center), +30 2285029222, [12]. Open from breakfast till night. Offers a range of dining options from classic pizza to chef's specials.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

As on most islands, a phalanx of touts greets each arriving ferry waiving placards advertising rooms for rent and (usually) offering free transport. In the months of July and August you should book in advance; but otherwise, these immediately available rooms are often the best value. Bargaining is usually possible. Be sure and establish the location of the accommodations first -- as distance can add to expense.

  • A1 Soula Hotel, (Saint George Beach), +30 22850 23196, [13]. A friendly family run hotel 2 minutes walk from Naxos town center dorm 10€ / double 20€.  edit
  • Adriana Hotel, (Agios Prokopios), +30 22850 42804, [14]. Hotel Villa Adriana is a picturesque family managed hotel and it is situated on a quiet location of Agios Prokopios in Naxos Island and offers a wonderful view of white sandy beaches. 25-80€.  edit
  • Anna Maria Pansion, (Chora Naxos), [15]. A pansion with family environment and economy prices. 50-100€.  edit
  • Ariadne Hotel, (Agios Prokopios), +30 22850 42737, [16]. Ariadne Hotel situated at Saint Prokopios, just 30 meters from the famous golden sandy beach. It is newly built and constituted from completely equipped and traditionally decorated studios/apartments.  edit
  • Athina Studios, Plaka Beach, +30 22850 41153-4, [17]. Athina Studios also runs the adjoining 9 Muses Suites with which it shares a pool. 30-90€.  edit
  • Colosseo Naxos Apartments, (Saint Prokopios beach), [18]. 80€.  edit
  • Faros Studios Apartments, Aliko beach, 150m from the beach, next to the unique Cedar forest, [19]. 40-120€.  edit


  • Glinado House, Glinado (7 km from Naxos town). A traditional village house with a homely artistic atmosphere. 70-90€.  edit
  • Hotel Naxos Resort, Saint George, Naxos Town, +30 22850 26650, [20]. Island and Venetian architectural domination with hints of blue sky and sea give the Naxos Resort. The Glamour, the Luxury and the Nobility of a Cycladic painting. 63-262€.  edit
  • Ikaros Studios and Apartments, (near the Saint George beach), +30 22850 23542, [21]. Studios and apartments with pool and garden. 30-60€.  edit
  • Korali Hotel, (Saint George Beach), [22]. 12 rooms in proximity to Naxos town (Chora) centre. double 66€.  edit
  • Lagos Mare Hotel, Agios Prokopios Beach (3 km from Naxos town), [23]. A newly built (2006) four star hotel with 28 rooms and 2 suites, offering indulgences such as private hamam steamrooms. 86-296€.  edit
  • Mathiassos Village Hotel, Naxos Town, [24]. It is a group of bungalows which combine the architecture, peace and simplicity of a Cycladic village with the comforts of a modern hotel unit. 25-90€.  edit
  • Naxos Summer Dream Hotel, (Agia Anna), +30 22850 41330, [25]. It is a brand new hotel located in Agia Anna, just 25 metres from the sandy beach. It offers a unique environment for relaxing and memorable holidays, high standards accommodation that consists from very spacious, fully equipped and tastefully decorated studios and apartments.  edit
  • Nissaki Hotel, (Saint George), +30 22850 25710, [26]. Build on the endless sandy beach of Ag.Georgios, in the Chora of Naxos, only few meters far from the city centre, hotel Nissaki allocates: Double Rooms, suites, Superior suites & Honeymoon suite  edit
  • Oasis Studios, Mikri Vigla (Parthenos and Mikri Vigla), +30 22850 75494, [27]. Self catering studios with bar and swimming pool, by the beach 45€.  edit
  • Pension Verykokos, (Naxos Town), +30 22850 23026, [28]. It is located in the beautiful beach of Saint George in the Chora (Town) of Naxos and hardly 20 metres from the sea.  edit
  • Plaka Camping, (south of Agia Anna). checkout: 12noon. Quiet, clean, and reasonably priced. €7 camping with own tent, extra €2 for tent hire. 7€ (2€ tent).  edit
  • Villa Flora Apartments (info@naxos-villaflora.com), Saint George Beach (at Saint George Beach, 100 metres from the sea), +30 22850 24745, [29]. Spacious apartments and studios. €40-100.  edit
  • Petra Studios & Apartments, Kastraki (In the southwest part of Naxos Island, 15 km from Port/Naxos Town, 350 m from the long sandy beach of Kastraki), +30 6974 651765 (), [30]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. €25-90.  edit
  • Kavos Naxos, Agios Prokopios (near to Agios Prokopios beach), +3022859023355, [31]. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11AM. Cyc-chic boutique hotel. Villas for up to six people, stylish suites for two. Friendly atmosphere, sensible prices. €85-290.  edit
  • Kouros Hotel, Stelida Beach Naxos, +30 22850 29151, [32]. Offers self catering studios and apartments close to the beach  edit
  • Iria Beach Art Hotel, Agia Anna Naxos, +30 22850 42600, [33]. The hotel is comprised of 25 comfortable and fully furnished rooms and suites in Naxos 75 - 350€.  edit
  • Naxos Town Hotels, Naxos Town, +30 22850 26801, [34]. Naxos Town hotels consist of the Apollon Hotel, Chateau Zevgoli & Castro Residence all located in Naxos Town.  edit
  • Sigma Studios on the Beach, Saint George Beach 84300 (on Saint George Beach), +306977599965, [35]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Sigma Studios on the Beach offer spacious and traditionally decorated studios literally 15 steps from the beach in reasonable prices. .  edit
  • Kedros Villas, Agios Prokopios, Stelida (3.8 km from Naxos Town, 1.2 km from Agios Prokopios), +302285024382, [36]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. Villas and suites for two to six people in a unique natural environment with gardens and cedar trees. The property has panoramic views of the sea and the Hora (Naxos Town). Reg.Νοs: 1144Κ123Κ0787901 & 1144Κ123Κ0788001 85-380 €. (37.081775°,25.357212°) edit

Stay safe[edit]

Naxos is generally a safe island.

Be aware of rental scams, especially with agencies working only with motorbikes and ATVs. Using these types of vehicles is very common on Naxos and there are a lot of rental agencies. Some of them are ready to cheat. They will offer faulty motorbikes or ATVs for a lower price, but in case of accident they will demand that the customer pay for the whole cost of damage. They are offering only basic insurance but will present it like full insurance. Also, there is a big possibility of serious injuries.

It is possible to recognize these rental agencies by observing them aggressively attracting tourists and offering lower prices than others. Employees in front of these type of agencies will be loud and ready to promise everything until the contract is signed. It is necessary to check the vehicle before making any decision. Their vehicles are in most of the cases dusty, dirty and look old.

Get out[edit]

Move on by boat to Little Cyclades, Paros, Mykonos, Ios or Santorini.

Exadas Yachts provides to all visitors and tourists an extensive range of Yachts, Catamarans, Sail Boats and MotorYachts bareboat, crewed and skippered yachts.

Word of advice: It is not an uncommon story on Naxos that someone who initially planned to stay for only a few days missed their original ferry out, and liked the island so much that they ended up staying there forever. They are living proof of Ariadne's legend, who was left behind here by Theseus after they escaped from Crete, and remained to become the wife of Dionysus.




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