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Naxos: is it worth visiting ? (including 11 Must-See Gems in 2024)

Introduction: A Sneak Peek into the Allure of Naxos

Searching for a Greek island that seems to have it all? Look no further than Naxos. As the largest and most varied island in the Cyclades, Naxos boasts breathtaking beaches, towering mountains, quaint villages, rich history, vibrant culture, and delightful cuisine. It’s a haven for everyone—whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of relaxing beach days, or an adventurous soul eager for exploration.

What sets Naxos apart is its authenticity and comparatively low-level tourism, especially when contrasted with its more famous counterparts like Santorini and Mykonos. Here, you can immerse yourself in the island’s beauty and charm without the drawbacks of overcrowding and steep prices. Moreover, its proximity to other Cycladic gems such as Paros and Antiparos means you’re just a short ferry ride away from further adventures.

Wondering if Naxos deserves a spot on your travel list? We’ll share 9 compelling reasons why it unequivocally does and introduce you to 11 must-see sights in Naxos for 2024, ensuring your visit is nothing short of spectacular. Let’s dive in!

Why Is Naxos Worth Visiting?

Naxos stands out as a gem among Greek islands, offering a little something for everyone — whether you’re a beach lover, a history enthusiast, a foodie, or an adventurer at heart. Discover the compelling reasons that make Naxos a must-visit destination:

The Best of Both Worlds: Sun-soaked Beaches and Enthralling History

Home to some of the finest beaches in Greece, Naxos boasts miles of pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise waters. Whether you prefer vibrant beach towns like Agios Prokopios and Plaka, or the tranquility of secluded coves such as Aliko and Kedros, there’s a spot for you. Furthermore, the island is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts, offering prime conditions for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and sailing.

Yet, the allure of Naxos extends beyond its coastal charm. The island harbors a rich and captivating history, with roots stretching back to ancient times. Explore the spellbinding archaeological sites including the Portara, the Temple of Demeter, and the monumental Kouros statues. Don’t miss the Venetian castle and the old town of Naxos Chora, where Cycladic and Venetian architecture interweave beautifully.

A Flavorful Culinary Journey: Savoring Naxian Specialties

Food enthusiasts will find themselves in heaven on Naxos, a veritable treasure trove of local products and mouth-watering dishes. Blessed with fertile lands, the island prides itself on its fresh and organic ingredients: think exquisite cheeses, succulent meats, delectable potatoes, fragrant honey, and aromatic spices. Relish the renowned Naxian cheeses like graviera, arseniko, and xinomyzithra, or indulge in hearty meat dishes such as kokoras me makaronia (rooster with pasta) and kleftiko (goat stew). For a sweet finale, treat yourself to melachrino (walnut cake infused with Kitron liqueur) and loukoumades (honey puffs).

Unmatched Natural Beauty and Adventure Opportunities

Naxos is a breathtaking island, boasting diverse landscapes and stunning scenery. The island’s green valleys and mountains, lush olive groves and vineyards, and charming villages and churches are a feast for the eyes. Adventure seekers can hike to the summit of Mount Zas — the Cyclades’ highest peak — and be rewarded with panoramic views of the island and the azure sea. There’s also the option to bike, horseback ride, or drive around Naxos, uncovering its many hidden gems and secrets.

11 Must-See Gems in Naxos for 2024

Naxos, brimming with natural beauty and cultural heritage, is a treasure trove of places to discover. If you’re planning a trip in 2024, here are 11 incredible spots you definitely shouldn’t miss:

Glorious Beaches: Plaka, Agios Prokopios, and Mikri Vigla

Naxos boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the Cyclades, characterized by their soft sand, crystal-clear waters, and mesmerizing views. Plaka, renowned for being the longest and most beloved beach on the island, offers a relaxed vibe alongside ample amenities. Agios Prokopios shines with its turquoise waters and a vibrant nearby village. For those passionate about windsurfing and kitesurfing, Mikri Vigla is a dream, thanks to its consistent winds and challenging waves.

Charming Villages: Naxos Town (Chora), Chalki (Halki), and Koronos

The island is dotted with quaint villages that mirror Naxos’s rich history and cultural depth. Naxos Town (Chora), the island’s capital and main port, is picturesque with its historic old town, a Venetian castle, and myriad shops and eateries. Chalki (Halki) nestles in the island’s heart, boasting traditional dwellings, a Byzantine church, and a distillery producing Kitron, a local specialty. Koronos, a mountain village, presents a unique architectural style, enveloped by lush valleys and noted for its emery mines.

Historic Wonders: The Portara, The Temple of Demeter, and Naxos Kastro (Castle)

Naxos’s history is rich and captivating, with roots stretching back to antiquity. The Portara stands as the island’s most iconic structure, a giant marble gateway to an uncompleted temple meant to honor Apollo. Another significant ancient marvel is the Temple of Demeter, dedicated to the goddess of agriculture and fertility. The Naxos Kastro (Castle), erected in the 13th century by the Venetians, is a medieval fortress that now hosts museums, churches, and splendid mansions.

Archeological Marvels: The Statues of Kouros and Aliko Beach’s Cedar Forest

The island also prides itself on its archaeological wonders that highlight its artistic and natural legacy. The Statues of Kouros, two monumental marble figures of young men, were mysteriously left incomplete in ancient quarries. Meanwhile, Aliko Beach’s Cedar Forest is a rare and protected ecosystem, featuring sand dunes, cedar trees, and a wetland. Here, visitors can also explore the remnants of a deserted resort.

How To Get To Naxos: Planning Your Journey

Reaching Naxos, an enchanting island nestled in the Aegean Sea, is straightforward whether you’re coming from Athens or other Aegean islands. Your primary travel options are either by air or by sea. Here, we’ll delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each mode of transport and offer practical advice to streamline your travel planning:

Flight vs. Ferry: Weighing Your Options

For those prioritizing time efficiency and comfort, flying might be your best bet. Direct flights link Athens International Airport to Naxos Apollo Airport, boasting a brief 40-minute travel time. However, keep in mind that flights can be pricier than ferries and may not run daily, especially during off-peak seasons. It’s crucial to book early as flights fill up fast.

If you’re on a budget or wish to soak in the stunning sea vistas, consider taking a ferry. With frequent services from Athens’ three ports (Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion) and numerous other islands like Santorini and Mykonos, ferries offer a scenic route to Naxos. Journey times vary from 3 to 9 hours based on the ferry type (conventional or high-speed) and path chosen. Various seating or cabin options cater to different budgets and preferences.

Getting Around Naxos: Tips for Seamless Exploration

Naxos, being a sizable island, boasts a plethora of sites to discover. To navigate the island smoothly and at your convenience, consider the following strategies:

– The optimal method to explore Naxos is by renting a car, motorbike, or bicycle. Numerous rental services are available in Naxos Town and other tourist locales, or you can secure a rental online ahead of your visit. This enables the liberty and flexibility to venture to any beach, village, or landmark at your leisure.

– For those inclined towards public transport, the island’s buses connect Naxos Town with key beaches and villages. The service is frequent, affordable, and dependable, although it may not serve all desired destinations. Bus schedules and ticket information are accessible at the main bus station in Naxos Town or at kiosks near the port.

– To explore neighbouring islands, the local express ferry, Skopelitis, offers approximately six weekly trips between Naxos, Amorgos, and the Small Cyclades (including Koufonisia, Donoussa, Schinoussa, and Iraklia). Alternatively, you can partake in boat tours or cruises for a glimpse of Naxos’ most beautiful and hidden gems alongside other island marvels.

Conclusion: Embracing the Quintessential Greek Island Experience in Naxos

Naxos is a Greek island that offers everything you could wish for: sun-soaked beaches, captivating history, delicious cuisine, breathtaking natural beauty, and abundant adventure. What sets it apart is its authenticity and the fact that it’s less crowded compared to the more renowned islands like Santorini and Mykonos. Accessing Naxos is a breeze, whether by flight or ferry, and once you’re there, getting around is convenient via car, bike, bus, or boat. Plus, its proximity to other islands like Paros, Amorgos, and the Small Cyclades opens up even more exploration opportunities.

For those seeking the ultimate Greek island experience, look no further than Naxos. You’re bound to be enchanted by its unique charm, rich diversity, and warm hospitality. Don’t hesitate – book your trip to Naxos today, and be ready to explore its 11 must-see wonders in 2024. It’s an experience you’ll cherish forever!

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