Sightseeing

Naxos lies somewhere between myth, ancient heritage and the day to day of today. Like all Greek islands it has a range of experiences to offer, depending on traveler preferences. However, when considering what to do in Naxos, your top items on the list for sightseeing should definitely include the following landmarks.

 

Portara – Apollo’s Temple entrance

None approaching Naxos can miss this impressively imposing site. Witnessing the jewel of Naxos is definitely number one of what to do in Naxos. Portara, as the locals refer to it, is visible from a distance, commanding the awe and respect of all those who lay eyes on it. It is essentially a massive marble doorway measuring 6 meters in height and 3,5 meters wide. Dating back to 530 BC, it was supposedly part of a temple, the rest of it did not get constructed due to the turmoil of the time. Regardless of it being unfinished, it is highly recommended that you walk up to it and absorb some of the palpable energy it emits.

 

Naxos town (Chora) – Kastro

An integral part of the old town of Naxos known as Chora to the locals, the Venetian-built castle known to locals as Kastro, was erected during the 13th century and is most definitely an unmissable when thinking about what to do in Naxos. Today it has been fully incorporated in the local way of life and you will find many shops, stores, cafes and eateries as well as more recent churches and monasteries within its walls. As it is usual for such fortifications, it is built on a hill so prepare yourself for steps on an incline although it is a fairly easy feat overall. It offers you the experience of going back in time as well as some amazing backdrop views from certain vantage points which you will discover walking around it.

 

Temple of Demeter in Sagri

One of the most remarkable ancient ruins of Naxos, the Temple of Demeter in the area of Sagri is highly recommended for the ancient history enthusiasts in search of what to do in Naxos. Situated about 30 minutes drive from Naxos town, the Temple of Demeter will astonish you. Built around the same time period as Portara, the ruins that remain are quite well preserved, giving you a good visual of what it used to be. Dedicated to the ancient goddess of crops and fertility, Demeter, following the conversion to Christianity it later began a place of worship for the faithfuls before being consecrated during the 6th century A.D. after an Arab siege. Entrance is 4 euros and you can visit Wednesday to Monday 08:30-16:00 with last entrance at 15:45.

 

Temple of Dionysus

Another one for the ancient history lovers considering what to do in Naxos, a 10 minute drive from Naxos leads you to the Temple of Dionysos, a sanctuary dedicated to the cult of the most jubilant ancient Greek god. Apart from one myth that identifies Naxos as his birthplace, the sanctuary is linked to Naxos’ proliferant wine culture and the fact that Dionysos was the consummate god of wine and celebration. Legend has it that Dionysus resided in the forests of those parts of the island. Reaching the site can be done by a 30-40 walk from town too, if you prefer to experience the visit like a pilgrimage, and when you get there be sure to take a moment to relax under the shade of the trees and take in the energy that pervades the entire site. It also houses a museum while the site is closed on Mondays, the rest of the week you can visit from the morning until 16:00. Entrance is 4 euros.

Culture & Art

Culture lovers looking for what to do in Naxos will be thrilled to know that Naxos has two annual cultural festivals that typically run between April to October. These help raise awareness for the international arts, to both the locals’ benefit and the enjoyment of the island’s visitors.

Bazeos Tower Festival

The 17th century structure of Bazeos Tower is quite striking in its appearance resembling a fortified monastery, as per its use from its construction up until the 19th century. Since 2001, it is the main hosting venue of the Naxos Festival that brings a wide range of artists, musicians and various performing arts performances to the island. To get a taste of what’s coming, browse the 2019 Naxos Festival programme.

 

Domus Cultural Festival

Housed in the admirable citadel of the Venetian Museum in Kastro of old Naxos town, the Domus Cultural Festival hosts a number of musical performances by professional Greek musicians and virtuosos. The Domus Festival programme includes Greek music as well as thematic nights with jazz, classical guitar, violin and piano concertos, but also movie art evenings and events that have a charitable character. There is a monthly schedule of the events at the Domus Cultural Festival which you can refer to.

Natural Beauty

The natural beauty of the Greek islands is often associated with the beaches that each can boast about, and Naxos is no exception. It is home to many gorgeous ones, and below you will find a list of the top beaches as part of your search about what to do in Naxos.

 

Mikra Beach

Sandy, picturesque and well protected from windy weather, Mikra beach on Naxos island caters to all tastes, especially individuals preferring tranquility and relaxation.

 

Kalantos Beach

Kalantos beach on Naxos island is well-protected from windy conditions and located at the edge of the bay with the same name. This alluring sandy beach at Naxos island’s southernmost point has crystal-clear, shallow waters.

A rich wetland has developed at the stream’s end, hosting numerous birds amongst other species. A marina/fishing pier in the bay offers protection from the annual northerly summer breezes (meltemia) as and southerly winds.

 

Panormos Beach

Panormos beach on Naxos island, sheltered by a gulf at the island’s southeastern coast, is almost always windless. It is equipped with a small pier and features lovely sandy beaches with immaculately clean waters. A small canteen offering snacks and refreshments operates next to the beach during the summer months. The hill above the beach features the remains of the prehistoric acropolis (fortified citadel) of Amygdalies, considered to be the most ancient spot in the Apiranthos area.

Beginning from the beach, a track with signs reaches this spot, from where the view of the neighboring Koufonissia islands is superb.

 

Agios Prokopios

Ranked 3rd from a top 10 list of beaches in Europe, makes Agios Prokopios a must see when considering which beaches to visit in Naxos. Just 4 km from Naxos town, it is a sandy, organized beach with inviting azure waters, offering beach goers sunbeds, parasols and with an array of shops, tavernas and cafes on the main road behind it. Water sports facilities are available too.

Agios Georgios

A beach that been awarded a Blue Flag, Agios Georgios is another sensational beach found close to Naxos town. The shallow waters make it ideal for families with small children, while Agios Georgios is also a poll of attraction for water sports fans and windsurfers who occupy one edge of the beach. Amenities are provided by the various cafes and hotels situated behind it.

Agia Anna

Essentially the continuation of Agios Prokopios beach, Agia Anna has a segment that offers the same ambiance and amenities of it other counterpart, however, it has another kind of charm to it as well. To one side you will find the namesake chapel which offers incredible views from its courtyard, while reaching it will reveal a number of sheltered little bays that allow for more secluded, tranquil moments away from the crowds.

Μikri Vigla

Within 12 km from Naxos town you will find the popular Mikri Vigla sandy beach which is split into the northern and southern sections. The northern Mikri Vigla beach is frequented by windsurfers, as the wind gusts make it an ideal sport for this sport. Not one but two water sports centers to rent your gear as well as plenty of choice in amenities. The southern section of Mikri Vigla is separated by impressive rock formations, is sheltered from the winds and is most suited to families or people who prefer relaxation over a more active beach day.

Azalas

For a more remote beach experience, 11 km from Apiranthos village, but 500 m from Moutsouna a signpost will show you the way to Azalas beach. It is a pebbly beach with a distinctive hue on the shore but has a sandy base beneath the waters. Its rocky perimeter makes it fantastic spot for snorkeling and is the ideal choice for nature lovers who seek to connect with nature. The closest facilities are found in Moutsouna, while it is recommended you are equipped with water and snacks for ensuring your comfort.