Windsurfing enthousiasts from all over the world let us introduce you to Naxos! It is the biggest island of Cyclades and it is the hottest destination for your favorite sport! Naxos has so much to give when it comes to natural beauty, beaches, gastronomy and graphic villages. Make sure that you will plan to spend enough days on the island to experience every aspect of Naxos’s island life.
Naxos is the summer paradise of windsurfing
To start with one of the most popular beaches on the island is Mikri Vigla beach. The incredibly beautiful beach actually consists of two sandy beaches separated by an impressive hill. Both of them have crystal turquoise waters. However they have a big difference. The northern beach is hit by north winds called Meltemia and for that reason it’s the ideal place for kite-surfing and windsurfing. On the contrary the second beach is well protected from the winds and that makes it the perfect spot for families to enjoy a day under the sun and in the calm waters of the Aegean. Another worth visiting place is Orkos beach. It is a chain of a few little and calm coves next to each other. The extra touch of color to the beach comes from the impressive red coloured hills behind them. As a typical beach in Naxos it offers good conditions for windsurfing.
Are you looking for organized beaches? No problem! You can choose between Plaka, Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios and Agios Georgios beaches. All four of them are sandy and have clean blue waters. They are popular among the tourists and also have tourist facilities and Water sports clubs especially for windsurfing. Speaking of which, let us get you to Laguna beach, the hottest destination in Naxos for the beginners in windsurfing and for those who want to try new moves. It took its name from the word Lagoon because its shape looks like one. The waters are extremely shallow only 1 meter deep. This factor along with the smooth winds hitting the shore and the reef that separates the lagoon in two parts compose the finest conditions to practice your favorite sport.
Other beaches to see in Naxos
A beach with an exotic vibe is Aliko beach. If you come here you will enjoy some time away from the crowds. It is the perfect place to relax in one of the numerous small bays with soft sand and crystal water. There are tamarix trees providing natural shade. Above Aliko you will be amazed with the cedar forest and the beautiful sand dunes. Just a visit on this shore will leave you speechless with the natural beauty.
A family friendly beach is Pyrgaki beach with a sandy shore and peaceful environment. The shallow waters are perfect for the kids to play. Pyrgaki is also partly organized. When the sky is clear you easily view the islands Ios and Ιraklia. Kalantos beach is protected from the winds and has beautiful sandy shore with transparent shallow waters. Next to the beach there is a river’s estuary creating a wetland that is home to many bird species. In addition the beaches in Klidos are a chain of beaches next to each other with thin sand and crystal waters. They are tranquil and secluded perfect for relaxation. Another beach that offers tranquility is Spedo beach which has an amazing natural beauty. The shore is both sandy and pebbled and the bay is almost untouched.
Do you have a private boat or you want to rent one and cruise around Naxos? Don’t forget to stop in Melinos beach, a small quiet bay on the north with sandy shore. The waters are clear and deep blue luring you to dive in. Itonas beach is also located in northern Naxos and is isolated. It is perfect for relaxation. In the middle of the cove a very peculiar rock emerges that distinguished the beach from the others. The shore has small pebbles and the waters are turquoise.
Strolling around Chora of Naxos and the villages
The capital and the main port of Naxos is Chora. It is built on the same spot of the ancient village of Naxos. It gets you goosebumps when you know that you walk in the streets that have been walked from locals since the antiquity. The white Cycladic style houses, old stoned mansions, narrow streets and arches are composing the general image of Chora. Start your tour in Chora with a visit in Kastro (it means “castle” in Greek) . You will feel like you are going back in the medieval ages as the buildings have the architectural structure and aesthetics of this era. It is like you are in a real living museum with a unique atmosphere. The mansions still have their heraldries on the windows. By the foothills of the Kastro you will come across with the ancient market. Walk around the graphic alleys and visit the little shops with the handmade jewelry and local goodies.
If you want to experience every aspect of the island then you should visit some villages of Naxos as well. Away from Chora which is a highly lively and touristic place you will feel the pure island lifestyle in Naxos’s small villages. The village of Apiranthos is nestled at the foot of Mt Fanari at 600 meters above sea level. The look of Apiranthos is imposing. As you walk in the marble paved alleys with arches above your head you will see Venetian towers, old two-storey houses and picturesque squares. The locals here have their own idiom language and different customs than the rest of Naxos due to the fact that the villagers came from other areas like Crete or Asia Minor and built this beautiful settlement.
Leaving behind the sandy beaches, the blue waters and the whitewashed neighborhoods of Chora we go to Halki village. It is right in the middle of a green meadow with centenarian olive trees, oak trees, plane trees, fruit-bearing trees and vineyards and all of them circled by mountains. Halki used to be a commercial centre. Evidence of its glorious past is the marvelous neoclassic mansions with the large balconies and the pebbled yards. The market is quite interesting as there are galleries and restaurants where you can taste local delicacies or enjoy your coffee in the central square of Halki.
Sightseeing in Naxos
In Chora there are some museums worth visiting. Let’s start with the Archaeological Museum of Naxos that has a collection of works of art and objects dating from the Late Neolithic period to Early Christian times (5300 BC-5th AD). It has a quite impressive collection of the famous white idols of Early Cycladic era. The highlight of the museum though is the mosaic floor that illustrates a half-naked female silhouette ridding on a sea monster. The Byzantine Museum is hosted in one of the most impressive buildings of Kastro, a tower with an amazing view of the port. It is the only tower that is preserved to this day among the total 12 that used to protect the castle. The museum hosts a beautiful collection of sculptures and statues from Naxos and Cyclades in general during the Byzantine period.
The site that has been established as the symbol of Naxos is the Temple of Apollo, Portara. You will find it in every carte postal with idyllic sunset in the background of the remnants of the temple. Portara is a huge marble gate that is a remnant of the Temple of Apollo in 530 BC that was never finished. It consists of four pieces of marble that weigh 20 tones. It is located on an isle called “Palatia” in the entrance of the port of Chora. The isle was connected with the worship of Ariadne and god Dionysus. Today Portara is connected with the land with a pebbled path. If you go there during sunset you will experience some of the most mesmerizing sceneries of Aegean.
Continuing the tour to the most important sightseeing place in Naxos we should mention the Sanctuary of Dionysus in Iria. Right in the middle of the green meadow there are the ruins of a sanctuary that was open from the 14th BC till the Romans period. Time to move on to the Archaeological place called Grotta. Close to the port of Chora has been discovered a part of the Mycenaean capital of Naxos that dates back to 1300 BC. The ancient buildings are continuing under the sea as well. The part that is on the land is open to the public and gives a graphic picture of how the ancient market of the settlement in the antiquity looked like.
One more Ancient Sanctuary that should be on your list is the one of Apollo and Demeter. On a mound hulking over the beginnings of a valley in Gyroulas district the inhabitants of the 6th century BC began worshipping these two gods. The temple is all-marble. The temple was related to fertility and the growth of vegetation. Once you get there you will be amazed by the scenery. The white temple is giving an otherworldly vibe in combination of the mountains around. Our last stop would be the Ancient Quarry of Apollo. Near the coastal settlement of Apollonas it was discovered one of the two ancient marble quarries of Naxos. From here hundreds of statues and blocks of marble were transferred from the ancient port of Apollonas to the sacred island of Delos and various other places. Nowadays, archaeologists found a colossal but unfinished 11 meter statue of Kouros as well as many other remnants of unfinished statues.
Bonus tip for Naxos: Naxos is the perfect place to go sailing. The island has four little brothers called the Small Cyclades! These are Iraklia, Donousa, Schinoussa and Koufonissia. We suggest you to combine your visit to Naxos with a tour to these little gems of the Aegean as well. You will be thrilled with their natural beauty, their peacefulness and the dreamy beaches. Stay tuned for the next travel guide dedicated to Small Cyclades and get travel inspirations and more tips!
Naxos is the summer paradise of gastronomy
Naxos is a big island and thus during all its long history managed to be self-sufficient. The island is known for its unique cheeses, the thyme honey that produces, the good wine and tasteful potatoes. The fertile soil of Naxos along with the climate continues to supply pure ingredients that make local cuisine irresistible.
In Greek myth, god Apollo who was worshipped with special affection by the Naxiots let on the island his sin Aristaios who was an excellent cheese maker, to teach the locals the art o cheese making. Who doesn’t like cheese? Spicy or mild, white or yellow it seems that there is one cheese for every occasion! The most widely-recognized Naxos cheese is the Naxian cheeses gruyere, the production of which has been protected since 1988 and carries a Protected Designation Origin (PDO) since 1996. It is a hard table cheese with pleasant flavor and fragrance. Another PDI cheese is Kopanisti, a soft cheese ripening with flavor quite strong and quite spicy.
Moreover, Xinomyzithra is another popular Naxian cream cheese with a slightly sour taste mainly made with goat’s milk. It is ready in 24 hours and has to be consumed within a few days because it is fresh and contains no preservatives. If you like spicy cheese then you should definitely try Arseniko as it has a pleasant salty and piquant taste with rich aroma. It’s made of sheep’s or goat’s milk with the addition of whey. The color is light yellow and it is ideal for spaghetti. Leaving aside the cheeses, let’s talk about deli meat. One of the most peculiar deli meats is Zamponi of Naxos. It is made from pork leg and reminds of prosciutto. However, its taste is spicier and definitely more salty. They marinate it with a mix of spices like salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. Try it in a great sandwich with Naxian gruyere and you will love it.
Naxian products are recognized for their unique taste and quality. That’s why many of them have been marked with the Protected Designated Origin. Naxos’s renowned citron liqueur is one of the three Greek aperitifs that are labeled with the PDO. The citron leaves are fully fragrant and they are bathed in alcohol. The essential oils of the leaves are dissolved in the alcohol and the distillate gives three basic spirit types: white at 33 degrees, green at 30 degrees and yellow at 36 degrees.
Are you looking for accommodation in Naxos?
Undoubtedly, Naxos is the summer paradise for windsurfers and foodies. It has everything: great beaches, beautiful Chora and graphic villages as well as rich history. You might want to look for a place to stay there? Don’t go far since we have for you the best choices!
If you are travelling with your family we have for you Villa Aigli and Villa Amvrosia. Both of them are family friendly with spacious and utilitarian layouts. Their architectural style is profoundly Cycladic with a few more modern details. You will definitely fall in love with the amazing sea view of Villa Amvrosia. Speaking of sea view, Villa Euphoria I and Villa Euphoria II will generously give you plenty of that. Imagine drinking coffee or having breakfast as you gaze the light blue of the Aegean.