fun things to do in Naxos

The largest of the Cyclades islands, Naxos has really come into its own as a major Greek tourist destination over the last decade.

For thrill-seekers and lovers of the outdoors, it has much to offer from kitesurfing and windsurfing at Laguna Beach Park and Mikri Vigla to scuba diving the nearby reefs and wrecks and hiking on Mount Zas.

Walk to the famous Portara at the Temple of Apollo, check out the 13th-century castle in the main town of Naxos and discover the ancient Temple of Demeter — these are just some of the best things to do in Naxos for history buffs.

The clear and turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea gently lap at the island’s golden sandy beaches which stretch on seemingly without end. Whether you enjoy the buzz of lively beach bars or want to relax in tranquil solitude you can find it here.

Wander through traditional whitewashed villages, visit the nearby islands of Mykonos, Paros and Santorini or try to sample all of the best traditional Naxian dishes. Make the most of your vacation with this selection of great places to visit and fun activities in Naxos.

1 – Catch the sunset at the Temple of Apollo (Portara)

Temple of Apollo, Naxos

The most iconic landmark on the island of Naxos, The Portara is a huge marble gateway that is all that remains of the ancient Temple of Apollo.

Constructed around 2,500 years ago, The temple was never fully completed and eventually fell into ruin. There are still remnants and foundations there today so visitors can easily imagine the size of the temple in its heyday.

The Portara is the visual symbol of the island and is located on the small island of Palatia next to the busy port of Naxos. It is quite likely the first thing you will see if you arrive at the island by sea — as many do.

The marble stones used in its construction have a combined weight of 80 tons, making it a splendid example of ancient engineering skills.

The island of Palatia is famous in Greek mythology as the spot where Princess Ariadne was left by Theseus after he killed the ferocious Minotaur. It is joined to the main island by a narrow path and is easily reached from Naxos Port.

Check this place out during the sunset and you will be rewarded with some of the most magical views on the island. This is a must-see location on your trip to Naxos!

2 – Live luxuriously on a catamaran cruise

catamaran tours in Naxos

Naxos and the Cyclades islands are some of the most serene and enchanting locations to explore in the world.

These tranquil islands in the Aegean Sea mesmerize millions of visitors each year with their transparent turquoise waters, idyllic beaches and wild and rugged terrains.

Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do in Naxos is to take a luxurious catamaran cruise to get the most out of your trip. These speedy and modern vessels are one of the most comfortable ways to travel between the islands and you’re sure of a great journey.

There is much to see and do on land but why not explore some of the nearby islands while you are visiting?

Take a full-day cruise and sail all around the island taking time to explore its best secret beaches and landmarks, including the south of Naxos and the gorgeous Rina Cave which can be visited only by boat.

Take a trip to nearby islands such as Paros, Antiparos and Panteronisia. Swim at secluded beaches and snorkel in the crystal clear waters, this is what vacations on the Greek islands are all about.

Enjoy a delicious traditional Greek lunch on board as you relax to the gentle sound of lapping waves.

3 – Snorkel at Agios Prokopios Beach

Agios Prokopios Beach, Naxos

Just a short walk from the main town of Naxos, Agios Prokopios is one of the island’s most popular beaches.

Blessed with pristine sand and clear turquoise waters, the beach has consistently been awarded a Blue Flag for environmental quality for over 30 years.

Being one of the busiest and best-loved beaches on the island, it’s well located and surrounded by excellent cafes and hotels. Though it can be busy in the Summer months, it never feels packed because of its large size.

The beach is well-organized and there is enough space here for everyone. Enjoy the shade of the loungers and beach umbrellas or lay down your towel and simply soak up the sun.

Why not try out some popular watersports while you are here? The Blue Fin Diving Center is located to the south of the beach and offers scuba diving excursions that visit local wrecks, including a World War II aircraft.

Prefer to stay above the water? Try windsurfing, tubing, or even playing a game of beach volleyball, there’s plenty to do at Agios Prokopios Beach.

The village of Agios Prokopios is just a short walk away from the beach and offers everything you could need, including accommodation, motorbike rental, supermarkets and restaurants.

4 – Discover the real Chora (Naxos Town) on a walking tour

walking tours in Naxos

The island’s main town, known alternatively as Naxos and Chora, is sure to delight all visitors.

The typical Cycladic architecture and traditional blue and white color scheme tell you immediately where you are. The town welcomes tourists from all over the world but hasn’t lost any of its classic charms.

Walk the long winding alleyways of the Old Town past the many small cafes and family-owned stores. Breathe in the warm sea air on the harbor which is garnished with delicious smells from the nearby restaurants.

History lovers will be in their element and can explore the Venetian Castle which dates from the 13th century and the Venetian Museum which is located in a mansion of historic importance.

Check out some of the local museums, including the Theatrical Museum and the ancient ruins of the Mitropolis Museum.

Why not try a walking tour of Naxos to really delve beneath the surface of the town? Take a tour with a knowledgeable local guide who will familiarize you with the history of the island and some of its most fabulous landmarks.

Visit the Catholic Cathedral, Glezos tower and the Portara at the Temple of Apollo. Take in the sights, sounds and smells along the way and maybe even sample some delicious local delicacies.

5 – Visit the ancient Temple of Demeter

Temple of Demeter, Naxos

Located on a hilltop in a fertile valley near the village of Sangri, the Temple of Demeter dates back to around 500 BC.

Dedicated to the ancient goddess of harvest and agriculture, the temple is a reconstruction of the original, rebuilt in the late 20th century using the original marble which was quarried on the island. It is one of the earliest examples of Ionic-style architecture.

After its construction in 2,500 BC, the temple remained in use for a few centuries. The rise of Christianity led to its decline and its materials were gradually reused for the construction of other buildings.

A Christian church is said to have stood on the current site over 1,000 years ago which likely used materials from the temple.

Though not complete by any stretch of the imagination, the Temple of Demeter has been reconstructed to give an impression of how it may once have appeared.

There is a small museum nearby that has artifacts and invaluable information related to the temple, its uses, and more.

This is just one of the many excellent ancient sites to see on the island of Naxos. Be sure to include it in your itinerary for an authentic and historic Greek experience.

6 – Relax at Plaka Beach

Plaka Beach in Naxos

Located on the west coast of Naxos, just south of Agios Prokopios is Plaka Beach. This long golden beach is graced with soft sandy dunes and crystal clear waters that are sure to delight.

At over 4 kilometers in length, you can be sure to find a secluded spot if you prefer peace and solitude or you can check out the beach’s more organized sections for shady loungers and sunbeds.

Plaka is a great choice for those who like their beaches more on the natural and undeveloped side. It is rarely bustling with people and you won’t find a ton of beach bars and hotels close by.

Towards the northern end of the beach, you can find more amenities, including drinks and snacks and lounger rental for those who prefer.

It is, however, a great place to spend a quiet afternoon swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling. Plaka is an ideal family beach and is just next door to Maragas Beach which is much more lively so you can enjoy the best of both worlds if you choose.

If you’re not staying in the area you can reach Plaka by car in about 20 minutes from Naxos town or hop on board the local bus which runs hourly and takes around 30 minutes.

7 – Explore the nearby islands on a boat tour

boat tours in Naxos

Its excellent location in the center of the Aegean Sea makes Naxos a great base for island hopping.

Naturally, there are many boat tours departing from the island on a daily basis so you can see some of the Cyclades island’s most fantastic destinations during your stay on Naxos.

Visit the popular and glamorous islands of Mykonos and Santorini to explore their luxurious and fashionable shops, restaurants and beaches. Tour the uninhabited and sacred island of Delos — which is said to be the birthplace of the god Apollo, and visit ruins that date back 3,000 years.

Visit the Small Cyclades islands and spend a relaxing day cruising the glistening waters of the Aegean Sea. Sail around some of the region’s most calm and beautiful islands including Koufonisia and Iraklia and keep your eyes peeled for curious dolphins.

Dive into the refreshing water straight from the boat and Snorkel along the shallow coastal reefs. Later, enjoy a traditional Greek lunch on board prepared freshly by the crew.

There are a variety of different boat tour experiences to choose from and the Cyclades islands are rich in culture. Whatever your interests — shopping, swimming, hiking in nature or exploring historic sites, you are sure to find something fun to do here.

8 – Chill out at Aqua Fun Water Park

Aqua Fun Water Park, Naxos

Staying on Naxos and looking for fun things to do with kids or even an alternative to the beaches?

Aqua Fun Water Park is a must-visit on a trip to Naxos for those who enjoy a lazy day by the pool. The park has plenty of fun attractions for kids and grown-ups as well as a children’s pool with slides and a full-size adult swimming pool.

Everyone loves a day at the beach but sometimes kids need more action-packed attractions to explore. Aqua Fun Water Park has the best of both worlds, allowing kids a safe space to enjoy themselves — with lifeguards on-site, and adults a leisurely and relaxing experience.

The park has everything you could need for a full day of fun, including a cafeteria and cafe bar, a pool bar serving delicious coffee and cocktails, a mini-market, locker rooms and sports facilities.

For those in need of a little pampering, why not visit the fish spa to relax, unwind and indulge yourself. Get together to play a game on the volleyball courts or try out the kamikaze slides together — Aqua Fun Water Park is fun for the whole family.

For those lazy days when you just want to relax and take it easy, this is a great option on the island of Naxos.

9 – Bike around and enjoy the views

bike tour in Naxos

These trips may be on the shorter side, but that doesn’t make them any less amazing!

With the added power of a motor, your e-bike journey will be easy and exciting; just do a bit of pedaling, and soon you’ll be rolling past beaches and old streets worthy of any postcard!

10 – Unearth ancient history at the Archaeological Museum of Naxos

Archaeological Museum of Naxos

Located in the main town of Naxos in a Venetian building from the 17th century — which is itself a historic monument, Naxos Archeological Museum hosts some of the most impressive finds from the Cyclades island.

The building was constructed for use as a Jesuit school and was also the School of Commerce in the 1800s. Since the 1970s it has housed the Archeological Museum which covers five floors of the building.

Discover treasures of the Cycladic civilizations that date back to the third millennium BC when the island of Naxos was a center of artistic creation. See ancient marble sculptures, jewelry, pottery and much more.

Some of the museum’s most impressive finds include Neolithic gold plaques and jewelry and small boxes known as pyxis found in the islands’ tombs and cemeteries. Discover ancient mosaics and a carved statue known as Kouros.

Here you will find a wide variety of items ranging from the everyday jugs and pots to detailed works of art and sacred artworks such as the museum’s large collection of Cycladic figurines.

For those interested in the ancient history of Naxos as well as that of the larger group of Cycladic islands a trip to Naxos Archeological Museum is a must. Take a deep dive into the island’s history and culture before you visit Naxos’ other historical sites.

11 – Try scuba diving in the crystal waters of the Aegean Sea

scuba diving in Naxos

Looking for a new adventure to undertake during your time in Naxos? Scuba diving is still one of the most thrilling recreational sports around and is suitable for almost everyone.

Explore life beneath the waves with a scuba diving tour in Naxos. Join a professional dive school and discover the joys of underwater exploration. Your experienced dive instructors are knowledgeable about the area and know the best locations to visit and the safest times to do so.

Never dived before? No problem! From total beginners to experienced divers there is a tour suitable for all abilities. Visitors to Naxos can even take a PADI advanced scuba diving course and receive an internationally recognized diving certification.

Visit local shipwrecks and even a crashed World War II airplane nearby to Naxos. Explore the underwater environment, keeping your eyes peeled for octopus, colorful fish and coral.

Check out the island of Amorgos, including spectacular locations such as Aegiali Bay, Agios Pavlos Beach and the colorful Nikouria Caverns.

Scuba diving is a gentle sport and can be enjoyed by all people, whatever your age and fitness level.  You’ll be amazed how quickly you pick up the sport, who knows, it may become your new favorite hobby!

12 – Hike through the Cedar Forest of Alyko Beach

Cedar Forest of Alyko, Naxos

Alyko Beach is possibly one of the most beautiful on the island of Naxos. It is in a secluded and natural location at the end of a chain of beaches but is easily reachable by car or bus.

Less than a half-hour drive from Naxos town, Alyko Beach is surrounded by a cedar forest which adds to the wild and untouched feeling of the place. You won’t find many bars or loungers here so be sure to bring water and snacks and an umbrella for shade.

The remote nature of the beach makes it one of the best things to do in Naxos for those who like to swim and sunbathe in peace and quiet.

As with many of the other beaches on the island, visitors are treated to a gorgeous golden sand beach — which is one of the island’s largest and pure clean waters to bathe in.

Explorers and adventurous types can trek through the surrounding area and see some attractive street art in the abandoned hotel that stands nearby. There is also the Chapel of Agios Georgios to the west of the beach.

For those wanting to reach it by public transport, Alyko has its own bus stop just a short walk from the beach.

13 – Discover the Small Cyclades islands on a boat tour from Naxos

Small Cyclades tours from Naxos

The archipelago known as the Small Cyclades includes just over 30 islands, only four of which are inhabited. If you like exploring beautiful and quiet places and less-visited spots, these tours are some of the best things to do in Naxos.

Take a day sailing tour to discover these hidden treasures of the Cyclades islands and some of the finest, least-visited locations in the region.

Explore the peaceful coastlines and quiet beaches of the islands of Koufonisia, home to Pano, the largest town in the Small Cyclades. Check out the other major islands, including Iraklia and Schinoussa.

Jump straight from the boat into the clear turquoise waters of the Aegean and get the chance to snorkel and spot marine life. Enjoy traditional delicious dishes onboard in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

These tours are available from single-day cruises up to three, five and seven-day tours which take in the Small Cyclades islands in greater detail. On these longer tours, visitors can really take time to enjoy the peace and tranquility that the islands offer.

Relax into a slower pace of life and enjoy all the natural wonders that Greece’s smallest and most peaceful islands offer. This might just be paradise.

14 – Hike through some amazing scenery

hiking tour in Naxos

Villages, valleys, and windswept hills… what can’t you find on a hiking trail?

All around the region, you can enjoy exciting treks through peaceful monasteries, charming little towns, and winding paths that bring you in and out of seascapes, island forests, and more.

It’s a walk that’s worth every step!

15 – Learn the traditional production methods at Eggares Olive Oil Museum

Eggares Olive Oil Museum, Naxos
credit to Eggares Olive Oil Museum

One of the island’s oldest and most important industries, olive oil production has been a major part of Greek culture for over 7,000 years.

The Eggares Olive Oil Museum shows the traditional harvesting methods which have been used for centuries and the museum’s olive press and buildings have been in the Lianos family for five generations. The press itself dates back to 1884.

Take a free guided tour and learn more about the history of olive oil production. Discover the deep connection the people of Naxos have with the oil and how the many ways it has been used in the past.

After the tour, grab a chance to sample some of the incredible olive oil products in the museum’s gift shop and cafe. Try olive bread and cookies as well as a variety of olive oils, hummus and olive pate.

Relax on the patio and soak up the summer sun. Try the best fresh local products in the place they were grown and processed, what could be better?

Pick up some souvenirs from the shop, including soaps and cosmetics, olive wood utensils and sweet and savory preserves.

The Olive Press Museum is just a short drive from Naxos town in the village of Eggares.

16 – Take a day-long adventure with a Naxos bus tour

bus tours in Naxos

Are you visiting Naxos for a short time and want to see all the most important sites? Try a bus tour of the island and hit all its must-see landmarks in one day.

Perhaps you have only a day to see the whole island or maybe you just want to kick back and let someone else take care of the driving, a bus tour is a great way to travel.

Visit the island’s most important historic sites, including the ancient Temple of Demeter and a giant marble Kouros statue, abandoned long ago in the island’s marble quarries.

Explore traditional and interesting villages such as the mining town of Koronos and the village of Apeiranthos, famous for its buildings constructed from Naxian marble.

Head on to the seaside village of Apollonos where you can stop to take a refreshing swim before grabbing a meal in a local taverna.

Visit the island’s oldest distillery and sample some of the prized local spirits known as Citron. There’s so much to see and do on the island of Naxos that these tours will keep you busy for the full day.

Whether you enjoy historical sites, beaches or villages, there’s a bus tour here to suit your taste!

17 – Explore the Paleochristian Church of Panagia Drosiani

Paleochristian Church of Panagia Drosiani, Naxos

Though the island of Naxos has 0ver 100 Christian churches and chapels, Panagia Drosiani is the oldest and most special.

The church is around 1500 years old and is one of the country’s most important Byzantine sites. It features some of the oldest paintings and Byzantine artwork in the Balkans, some of which date to the 6th century AD.

The name Panagia Drosiani means the church of the Dewy Virgin. The site is said to have been blessed with plentiful water and a cool and pleasant atmosphere.

The church has a unique architecture that includes bare stone walls and domed roofs, one of which contains an early fresco of Jesus Christ.

There are a number of local legends surrounding the church’s icons, including an image of the Panagia Drosiani that is said to weep each time the village is in danger.

Visitors can find this old and uniquely fascinating church in the village of Moni. While there take the time to enjoy the views of the nearby valley of Tragea as well as this beautiful and very old place.

18 – Hike around the windmills of Vivlos

Vivlos, Naxos

The windmills of Vivlos — one of the largest villages in the south of the Naxos, are a quintessential landmark in the island’s scenery.

The village of Vivlos — also known as Tripodes, is very traditional and here visitors can see classic Cycladic buildings and architecture and even pick up great locally produced wines.

Of the three standing windmills, only one is in working condition and appears as it originally would have with whitewashed walls, a thatched roof and full sails.

It is a nice place to visit in the daytime to explore the nearby hiking trails and is also equally impressive after dark when the windmills are lit from below.

While visiting the village of Vivlos be sure to check out nearby locations including the Temple of Theotokou which is home to some rare and valuable icons, the Folklore Museum and the remains of the Plaka watchtower.

19 – Kick things up a notch while kitesurfing

kite surf in Naxos

Plant your feet, grab the rope leading to the kite above you, and prepare for fun!

This beloved water sport uses the power of the wind to get you zooming across the sea – and if conditions are right, you may even get airborne!

20 – Have a go at windsurfing at Laguna Beach Park

windsurfing in NaxosLooking for a fun and exhilarating sport to try in Naxos? Windsurfing could be just the thing!

Take a lesson in windsurfing and discover the high-speed thrills and action for yourself. Join an experienced instructor at Laguna Park Beach who will have you cruising the waves like a pro in no time.

Whether you’re a total beginner or an intermediate windsurfer who wants to brush up on some tricks, these lessons are ideal. Train with some of the best windsurfers in Greece in one of its most perfect island locations. Their love for the sport is sure to be infectious.

At Laguna Park Beach, the wind blows consistently throughout the Summer months so you’re almost guaranteed excellent conditions. The school has a range of equipment to try, including beginners and pro boards.

After a short theoretical lesson, you’ll be out on the water and discovering what the sport is all about. You can take your first attempts in the shallow lagoon in front of the school, where you can practice your skills and build confidence. Here the water is warm and the wind is consistent.

Whatever your ability, windsurfing at Laguna Beach Park is sure to be one of the biggest thrills of your time in Naxos!

21 – Stroll through the streets of Filoti

Filoti, Naxos

One of the largest villages on Naxos and one of its most populated, Filoti is buzzing with life and well worth a visit during your time on the island.

The picturesque layout of the village along the side of Mount Zas gives a particularly attractive view when approaching along the road from Naxos town.

Filoti is, in fact, an amalgamation of three smaller settlements, Liiri, Rachidi and Klefaro, and its name is thought to be quite ancient.

Here you can find local culture in abundance which makes it a great place to discover more about island life. Stroll through the narrow streets and visit the small central square which is surrounded by traditional cafes and shops.

Visit some of the town’s most unique landmarks such as the church of Panagia Filotitissa and the Venetian-style Barozzi Tower which dates back to the 17th century.

From here you can drive or, for the more adventurous, hike up Mount Zas to the cave of Zeus. Legend has it this unassuming cave was the birthplace of the Greek god of the sky and thunder. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding valleys but it can be a challenging climb during the hot summer months.

22 – Experience Mykonos on a day trip

Mykonos, Greece

Looking for some glitz and glamour during your Greek island stay? A day trip to Mykonos is sure to scratch that itch.

One of the most popular summer party destinations and a favorite among vacationers of all types, Mykonos is the bustling center of the Cyclades islands throughout the Summer months.

Only a couple of hours sail from Naxos, Mykonos has lots to see and experience. Stroll along the alleyways from the old harbor in the town of Mykonos and check out the seafront cafes.

Visit the chic stores in Mantogianna for fashionable labels and luxurious items and grab a waterfront seat at the cafes of Little Venice.

Is shopping not your thing? Discover the island’s ancient history at the Archeological Museum of Mykonos or check out some of the best local art galleries.

Hit up some of the biggest beach bars such as Super Paradise and Scorpios or check out the island’s popular restaurants and dine in style surrounded by fantastic scenery.

If you’re looking for a lively day trip during your time in Naxos, a day trip to Mykonos is sure to fit the bill.

For a more in-depth look at what to see and do on the island you can check out our fun things to do in Mykonos post.

23 – Check out the Kouros of Apollonas

Kouros of Apollonas, Naxos

The colossal Kouros statues on the island of Naxos are some of its most fascinating archeological sites.

The largest measures around 10 meters in length and is near the village of Apollonas in an abandoned marble quarry. It is dated to around the 6th or 7th century BC

Traditionally, a kouros would be a symbol of a younger man but the Kouros of Apollonas appears older and sports a full beard. The statues often depict the idea of youth but it’s thought the Kouros of Apollonas portrays a god, possibly Apollo or Dionysus.

The statue is roughly carved though observers can make out its general shape. It was never completed most likely due to the overall size and weight, presumed to be around 80 tonnes, which would have made transporting it very difficult.

It is also thought that the deep cracks in the statue may have happened during the carving causing the masons to abandon the gargantuan statue.

You can hike from the village of Apollonas and the quarry and statue are open to visitors. There are some great sea views from here and a nice sandy beach to check out in the village.

If you would like to see more of the island’s Kouros during your time in Naxos, there is another part-finished one in the village of Melanes from around the same era.

24 – Grab a drink at Naxos’ best Beach clubs

beach clubs in Naxos

The island of Naxos is a great destination for almost everyone. Those who appreciate peace and relaxation can escape to the secluded beaches and villages and those in search of a party atmosphere can check out the great clubs and beach bars.

For those in search of a more sophisticated beach bar and restaurant experience, Yazoo Summer Bliss is a great choice. Located on the long and sandy Plaka Beach, Yazoo has been a fixture of the island since 2004 and offers great food, drinks and a friendly atmosphere.

For the younger crowd looking for a vibrant beach bar with live DJs and an energetic atmosphere, Santana Beach Club is a great choice. The club can be found on the beautiful Agia Anna beach and has chic decor in an excellent seafront location. This definitely isn’t the cheapest beach club on Naxos but is the place to be and be seen for the hip and beautiful.

If you want a relaxed club vibe with great views, The Ocean Club is one of the best places in Naxos. The seafront location in Naxos main town benefits from cooling breezes and harbor views. The bar serves a wide range of cocktails and the decor is modern and glamorous. Importantly for most, the prices here are a little more affordable than other clubs on the island.

25 – Spend the day hiking on Mount Zas

Mount Zas, Naxos

Get out and about during your trip to Naxos and discover some of the region’s beautiful hikes and walks.

One of Naxos’ most popular hikes is along the slopes of Mount Zas and takes in mythical caves, chapels, villages and more. Mount Zas is actually the highest mountain in all of the Cyclades islands and at its peak reaches just over 1,000 meters.

The mountain is said to be the childhood home of Zeus, the Greek god of the sky and Thunder and is named after him. Halfway up you can find the Cave of Zas which extends up to 11 meters into the cliff.

You can begin the hike up Mount Zas from the attractive and shady Aria Spring in the central part of the island or from the village of Danakos. If heading from Danakos, you will pass by a small chapel to Santa Maria before reaching the cave.

From here the trail gets a little more difficult but you can continue up to the peak to grab some fantastic views of the Aegean Sea and nearby islands.

The mountain is a green and fertile place and rich in history. If you’re looking for some of the most picturesque views, a challenging hike and legendary landmarks, definitely consider this hike up Mount Zas.

26 – Dine and discover on an Old Town food tour

food tours in Naxos

Want to really scratch beneath the surface of the island’s culture? There’s no better way to do so than with a guided food tour.

Try local delicacies and traditional dishes while you visit the classic tavernas and restaurants of Naxos’ Old Town. Join an experienced local guide who can give you the best and most authentic experience.

Sample some of the region’s finest produce, including its unique wines and olive oils and some of its best culinary traditions such as the famous local cheeses and citron liqueur.

Sample Naxos’ favorite vegetable recipes — they treat potatoes very seriously here and try time-honored Naxian dishes such as Kalogeros, a stew of beef, eggplant and cheese, as well as some of its most delicious desserts.

Pick up a little history on the way as you stroll through the narrow streets and visit some of the island’s best small eateries. Allow your guide to enlighten you as to the island’s history and the local significance of the foods that are produced here.

Visit some of the best-known local landmarks, including the Portara and Venetian Castle as well as fantastic under-the-radar spots. Combine dining and discovery in the bustling Old Town town of Naxos, what could be better?

27 – Ride the ferry on a day trip to Antiparos

Antiparos, Greece

The tranquil and idyllic island of Antiparos is one of the nearest islands to Naxos. Separated by less than 30 kilometers, with the island of Paros in between, visitors can be exploring the pristine beaches of Antiparos in no time.

The island has a cosmopolitan flair but is not, as yet, a well-known tourist destination, which means you may well have the beach all to yourself. Some of the most popular and attractive beaches on the island include Glyfa and Psaralyki, but there are beautiful and secluded spots like Livadia in the southwest.

Check out the rock formations in the ancient cave of Antiparos and visit the small main town to see its attractive boutiques, shops and restaurants.

The most straightforward way to reach Antiparos is on a boat tour which will take you straight from the port of Naxos calling first at Paros then Antiparos.

If you’re looking for a public transport adventure you can jump on the the ferry from Naxos to Paros catch the bus to Pounda and catch another ferry to Antiparos there. The crossings are both pretty quick and you get to travel like a local at the same time.

28 – Set out for some snorkeling

snorkeling in Naxos

Clear waters, colorful fish, stunning corals… when you’re snorkeling here, you’ll almost feel like you’re in your own personal aquarium!

Venture out to Aegiali or the Ios Islands, where you can hop right into the sea and watch the whole amazing ecosystem unfold below you.

It’s a magical introduction to the briny blue!

29 –  Explore Apiranthos

Apiranthos, Naxos

Apiranthos is one of the most populated and also beautiful villages on the island of Naxos. Its marble-lined streets and attractive stone buildings are a soothing sight to see for even the most hard-to-impress traveler.

The town is buzzing with life and here you can find some notable landmarks such as the impressive Panagia Aperathitissa church and the Tower of Zevgolis which dates back to the island’s Venetian period.

If you’re looking for attractions, the village has a number of museums, including an archeological museum, a geological museum and a museum of natural history — with a selection of sea creature skeletons and remains.

There is also a visual arts museum to explore and a folklore museum with donated tools and artifacts that document the history of everyday life in the town.

Apiranthos is a traditional yet unique Cycladic village with its own dialect, architecture and traditions. Just wandering through its streets you can enjoy the slower pace of life, even if just for a little while.

Grab a coffee or a cool drink from one of the local cafes and sit in the shade of its narrow alleyways to soak up the ambiance of the place.

30 – Watch the kitesurfers at Mikri Vigla

Mikri Vigla, Naxos

One of the best things to do in Naxos for those who prefer their beaches natural, unpretentious and a bit wild, the tiny village of Mikri Vigla has everything you could need.

The village is located on a small peninsula just below the town of Naxos and has fantastic long beaches to the north and south of it.

The northern beach of Mikri Vigla, known as Parthena, is a popular place for kitesurfers, windsurfers and watersports enthusiasts. This is due to the consistent winds, known locally as “Meltemi”, that blow all through the summer months.

If you would like to try the sports for yourself you can hire equipment and take a lesson from the Kitlelife Surfing School which can be found right by the beach.

The southern beach, known as Limanaki, is better for swimmers and sunbathers as it is better protected from the Summer winds. The long golden-sand beach extends for over 3 kilometers to the village of Kastraki.

This is one of the best beaches on Naxos if you don’t require much in the way of services. There are a couple of tavernas and restaurants by the beach and some loungers and the prices here are genuinely reasonable.

31 – Mingle with the glamorous people on a Santorini day trip

Santorini, Greece

One of the Aegean’s most attractive island destinations and by far one of its most popular, Santorini draws huge crowds each summer to its dramatic and glamorous shores.

The island of Santorini is a somewhat unique natural phenomenon and is thought to be one of the only submerged caldera (volcanic crater) in the world.

in recent years it has become known for its upmarket hotels, chic beach clubs, luxury stores and as a place where the rich and beautiful take their Summer vacations.

Some of the most popular things to do on the island include visiting the picture-perfect towns and villages such as Oia, Pyrgos and Ammoudi, checking out the ancient ruins of Thera and hiking the rugged volcanic landscape.

There are lots of activities for big spenders too, including helicopter tours, jet ski rentals and almost unlimited opportunities for fine dining. Grab some obligatory selfies in front of beautiful landmarks such as Ammoundi Bay and the blue-domed Oia Church and check out some of the best beach bars, including Tranquilo and Jojo.

Considered by many to be the most beautiful island in the region, Santorini has a lot to offer whatever your interests.

For a more in-depth look at what to see and do on the island, you can check out our fun things to do in Santorini post.

32 – Enjoy the lively Port of Naxos

Port of Naxos

The busy port of Naxos is the beating heart of the island. Previously unknown on most tourist maps, the island’s popularity has grown immensely in the last 20 years and now welcomes thousands of foreign travelers each year.

The port, including the impressive marble Portara on the islet of Palatia, is the first thing most travelers see when arriving on the island. Naxos does have an airport but it only accepts light aircraft and is not suitable for passenger jets.

In close proximity to the port, there are a lot of interesting things to see. Within a couple of minutes, you can walk through the charming Old Town and visit its historic Kastro (castle).

You can check out some of the many museums, including the Venetian Museum, Theatrical Museum, Archeological Museum and the Byzantine Museum and visit the town’s Catholic and Greek Orthodox Cathedrals.

Choose from literally hundreds of nearby restaurants offering everything from traditional Greek and Mediterranean favorites to popular international cuisines.

Enjoy the lively nightlife in the surrounding area at the most popular bars and clubs, including Like Home Bar and 520 premium. With excellent harbor views and the pleasant sea breeze, you are in for an excellent evening in Naxos Port.

33 – Dine in style at Naxos’ best restaurants

best restaurants in Naxos

The island of Naxos is home to some excellent restaurants in some of the most scenic locations you could wish for.

Whatever you’re in the mood for on any given evening, you are sure to be spoiled for choice with the hundreds of restaurants on Naxos. You will find traditional Greek tavernas serving up the freshest local seafood and salads and the diverse flavors of Mediterranean and international restaurants.

If you are in search of great Greek food and particularly local Naxian specialties, To Elliniko Restaurant is an excellent choice. This family-run restaurant in Naxos town serves up fantastic fresh dishes in an authentic and friendly atmosphere. it also offers a good selection of vegetarian options.

Maro’s Taverna is another good choice and is located near the picturesque Panagia Drossiani. It specializes in Greek and Meditteranean dishes such as roast pork, Greek salads and Daurade fish dishes.

Scirocco is another excellent family-run eatery and has been a permanent fixture of Naxos town for nearly 30 years. This popular and lively restaurant is a favorite amongst those in search of great quality “Aegean Cuisine” with a friendly atmosphere, good service and reasonable prices thrown in.

If you’re staying in Apeiranthos, Rotonda has marvelous views from the restaurant balcony and is set in a fantastic location near to the Church of St. John. Try a selection of meats straight from the grill along with traditional Greek sides such as moussaka, meatballs and Kalogeros.

34 – Learn about the traditional citron liqueur at Vallindras Distillery

Vallindras Distillery, Naxos

Dating back to the late 19th century, the Valindras Distillery is a producer of award-winning local liqueurs.

Located in the village of Halki, which was formerly the island’s capital, it is now mostly a museum of the traditional art of distilling.

The famed local liqueur, known as Kitron — or citron, was produced here and visitors can see the traditional equipment and machinery used in its production. Citron is produced only in Naxos from the rare fruit and leaves of the Citron tree — which is similar to lemon.

The prized yellow liqueur has been produced by the Vallindras family beginning in the 1890s and was exported around Greece. In the distillery museum, you can learn about the methods for producing the alcohol and see historic brewing equipment.

The Vallindras Distillery is still in operation and is run by the fifth generation of the Vallindras family.

Visitors are treated to a tour of the old distillery and given the opportunity to sample and even take home a bottle of Naxos’ original Kitron.

35 – Swim in the calm waters of Agia Anna Beach

Agia Anna, Naxos

Just south of Naxos town is the picture-perfect beach town of Agia Anna. Nestled within a harbor, the village has become a favorite destination for visitors who prefer a tranquil atmosphere.

You can easily spend a day swimming and sunbathing on Agia Anna Beach — one of the island’s most popular beaches — known for its golden shore and clear calm water. The seafloor is mostly sandy, so you can walk in the water barefoot. But if you want to enjoy snorkeling, you can find fish and even corals a little bit farther from the shore.

Stroll around this quaint village and visit the small church of Agia Anna or Saint Anne Church, located just in front of the beach near the port. Some visitors light a candle upon arriving in the town. The chapel’s tiny red dome adds up to the colors of this predominantly whitewashed Greek village.

36 – Take a unique wine tasting tour

wine tasting in Naxos

Though said to be the birthplace of Dionysus — the god of wine and revelry, Naxos is not very well known for its wine production.

It has many vineyards dotted around the island and produces some excellent varieties but there are few commercial wine producers on the island. This means you have to sample all the best local wines in the island’s bars and restaurants or even straight from the growers.

Saint Anna Winery is a wonderful place to visit for those interested in the cultivation and production of wine. It only opened its doors in 2016 and is owned and run by a young Naxos entrepreneur on land previously farmed by his grandfather.

Sample up to nine varieties of local wine and tour the winery, which uses modern methods of wine production. Try tasty local snacks and organic foods straight from the garden as well as regional cheeses, olive oils and more.

Visit the tranquil 9th-century chapel of Saint Anna that gave the wine its name and discover the unique properties of the area’s grape varieties. This is one of the best things to do in Naxos for wine lovers!

37 – Enjoy a night out in Naxos’ best bars

best bars in Naxos

The nightlife on Naxos is like everything else casual, relaxed and easy-going. You can find plenty of lively bars to sip a glass of wine or a cool beer in as well as chic cocktail lounges and traditional bars.

If you’re looking for live music to enjoy with your drink or prefer DJs playing the best in modern electronic dance music, be sure to head to the main town of Naxos.

Start the evening in the cozy surrounding of 520 Cocktail Bar and soak up the panoramic views from its terrace. The bar’s veranda overlooks Naxos Port and the Castle making it a great place to unwind and watch the sunset.

Like Home Bar is one of the most popular on the island and its comfortable and casual atmosphere is both traditional and modern at the same time. This is the place to be later in the evening if you’re looking to dance the night away to the mainstream hits. You might even catch a guest DJ set by a big name.

The colorful and dramatic drinks at Swing Bar are sure to lure you in on your night tour of Naxos. Fruity cocktails and frosty drinks come in all colors shapes and sizes here, you’re sure to want to try them all. This place has two terraces with excellent views of the harbor, one for relaxing and one for dancing. You can’t help but have a good time in Naxos!

Where to stay in Naxos?

There are great hotel choices here to meet every budget. For the best luxury hotels in Naxos, we would recommend La Grande Vue private villas, Naxos Beachvilla and Ammothines Cycladic Suites.

For outstanding budget-friendly accommodation, Petra Home Heritage and Hospitality and the Ostria Inn are excellent choices.

We hope you enjoyed this list of the best things to do in Naxos to help you plan your next vacation. There are, of course, many other fabulous locations to choose from in this region.

Continue your journey and explore some of the must-see nearby destinations, such as Athens, Thessaloniki and some of the best Greek Islands, including Santorini, Mykonos and Paros.

As always, happy travels!

Benjamin Halliday is a seasoned content writer for TourScanner. Based in the UK, Benjamin's wanderlust has taken him across Europe and the US, with a transformative 7-year sojourn in Portugal adding depth to his tales. Beyond his written words, he's a gifted musician who revels in sampling, creating, and playing enthralling tunes. Whether through captivating articles or mesmerizing music, Benjamin's creations always promise an unforgettable journey.