Tout ce que vous devez savoir avant de venir dans notre merveilleuse île

Our confidential guide to discovering the Chora of Naxos

Naxos stands as the most expansive and diverse isle within the Cyclades, boasting an array of landscapes, activities, and sights to explore. At the heart of Naxos beats Chora, or Naxos Town, a place teeming with history, culture, and undeniable charm. This alluring town presents a harmonious fusion of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, featuring quaint alleys, pristine whitewashed houses, and vibrant flowers painting a picturesque scene. Chora is not only a haven for history buffs with its iconic landmarks, like the Portara of Apollo’s ancient temple and the Kastro, the medieval castle once home to Venetian dukes, but it’s also a lively hub for modern pleasures. With an abundance of cafes, tavernas, bars, and shops, there’s something to satisfy every preference and budget. Let’s not forget the picturesque sandy beach of Agios Georgios, perfect for those who seek relaxation, a swim, or an adventure in water sports. Whether you’re drawn to culture, nature, or just looking for fun, Chora offers it all. In this guide, we’re excited to share our exclusive tips and recommendations for unveiling the magic of Chora in Naxos, covering what to see, do, and taste in this enchanting town. Continue reading and prepare to be captivated by Chora!

Unveiling the Charm: Getting to Know Chora

Chora transcends the typical definition of a town. It serves as a vibrant museum, flourishing with history and culture at every corner. As you meander through its alleyways, you’ll stumble upon countless treasures that narrate the storied past and pulsating present of Naxos. Let’s highlight some must-visit spots that should be on every traveler’s list.

The Gateway to Naxos: Portara

The Portara stands as the iconic beacon of Naxos, greeting visitors the moment they approach the island via ferry. This colossal marble doorway, perched on a tiny islet linked to the port by a causeway, is the sole survivor of an ambitious but unfinished temple dedicated to Apollo, initiated in the 6th century BC by the tyrant Lygdamis. His dream was to erect the grandest temple across the Aegean. Alas, the temple remained incomplete, and its stones were repurposed for other constructions, except for the Portara – too massive to be relocated, it stands as a poignant reminder of Naxos’s ancient splendor. Perfectly aligned with Delos, Apollo’s birthplace, the Portara offers mesmerizing sunset views. Legend holds it as the romantic backdrop where Dionysus, the god of wine, met and fell for Ariadne, abandoned by Theseus, the daughter of Crete’s King Minos.

Through the Maze of History: Exploring Kastro

The Kastro, Naxos’s old Venetian quarter, was constructed in the 13th century by Marco Sanudo, who led the Fourth Crusade, conquered the island, and established the Duchy of Naxos. Its pentagonal form encompasses three gates, with the Trani Porta standing as the most monumental. Within Kastro’s confines lie countless historical and cultural gems: the Catholic Cathedral, the Archaeological Museum, the Venetian Museum, and the Ursulines School, surrounded by elegant mansions once home to noble families, some descendants of whom reside there to this day. A labyrinth of narrow pathways and stone houses adorned with lush flowers and quaint balconies makes the Kastro a captivating site to wander, soaking in its architectural beauty and breathtaking views.

Old Market’s Hidden Gems

The Old Market pulsates as Chora’s bustling commercial and social core, nestled within the ancient castle walls, also known as Bourgos or the Labyrinth. Here, a medley of shops, eateries, cafes, and bars unfolds, offering an array of local delicacies—cheese, honey, olive oil, herbs, and ceramics—and unique keepsakes like jewelry, books, crafts, and sail-made towels. The Old Market serves not only as a shopping haven but as a vibrant showcase of the local culture and culinary wonders. Relish in delectable seafood, meats, cheeses, and vegetables, all prepared in the traditional Naxian fashion. Savor a coffee or a glass of wine while immersing in live music or simply enjoying the lively spectacle of people passing by. The Old Market is brimming with surprises, waiting to enchant you with its hidden jewels.

Naxos Beyond the Usual: Unique Experiences in Chora

Chora, the heart of Naxos, is a treasure trove of surprises and hidden delights that promise to make your visit unforgettably unique. If you’re eager to venture beyond the common tourist paths and uncover the secrets of this enchanting town, we’ve got some top suggestions for you.

Seek Out a Secret Rooftop View

Among the best experiences in Chora is basking in the breathtaking views of the town and sea from a rooftop. While many cafes and bars offer rooftop terraces, Avaton 1739 – Coffee & Wine Roof stands out as one of the most unique and cozy spots. Nestled on the roof of the Old Monastery of Ursulines within the Venetian Castle, it boasts a romantic and relaxing ambiance with candles, cushions, and soft music. Here, you can enjoy a coffee or wine while taking in the panoramic views of the port, the Portara, and the mesmerizing sunset. Discovering this hidden gem is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

A Bite with a Story at The Naxos Apothecary

For those in search of culinary delights that come with a narrative, The Naxos Apothecary is a must-visit. More than just a place to eat, it’s a blend between a herbal pharmacy and concept store, offering homeopathy, phytotherapy, and natural cosmetics made with Greek herbs and Naxos ingredients. The Naxos Apothecary also features a cafe and restaurant where you can indulge in healthy and tasty dishes, inspired by the island’s flora and culture. Moreover, you’ll get a taste of Naxos’s history and heritage through the assortment of objects and decor adorning the establishment.

Sunset Wonders Beyond Portara

While the Portara is Naxos’s most celebrated sunset viewing spot, it often becomes overcrowded and noisy. For those seeking a peaceful and serene sunset experience, consider exploring other locations that offer equally splendid views beyond the Portara. You could hike to the summit of Mount Zas, the highest peak in the Cyclades, to watch the sun dip behind the mountains and the sea. Alternatively, visit the ancient ruins of Delos, a sacred island and UNESCO World Heritage Site, to witness the sunset amidst myths and history. Or, embrace the adventure of windsurfing or sailing, and experience the sunset from the water, caressed by the breeze and waves.

Indulging the Senses: Culinary and Shopping Secrets

Naxos captivates both foodies and shopaholics alike, offering a treasure trove of local products, delicacies, and souvenirs. From fine dining establishments, traditional tavernas, to quaint cafes, Naxos caters to all tastes. And if you’re looking to take a piece of Naxos home with you, the island’s unique and authentic goods will delight you. Explore some of the top dining and shopping spots in Naxos, along with must-try local specialties.

Epicurean Delights: Where to Eat

Naxos boasts a rich and varied culinary scene, thanks to its fertile land, coastal location, and rich historical and cultural heritage. The island is self-sufficient in cheese, meat, honey, olive oil, wine, and liqueur, in addition to fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These ingredients are the backbone of the mouthwatering dishes that embody both local flavors and the Mediterranean diet. Here are some top spots to dine in Naxos:

  • Axiotissa: A family-operated eatery that prioritizes organic and seasonal fare, particularly catering to vegetarian and vegan preferences. The menu is an ever-changing palette based on ingredient availability, featuring inventive dishes like stuffed zucchini flowers, beetroot salad, and pumpkin pie, all served in a picturesque garden near Kastraki beach.
  • Vassilis Tavern: A quintessential taverna that excels in grilled meats, notably lamb and pork, sourced directly from local farms and charcoal-cooked for that perfect smoky flavor. Accompaniments include fresh salads, cheese, homemade bread, and regional wine and raki, all to be enjoyed with a beautiful valley view in Sangri village.
  • Yucca: A contemporary restaurant offering a blend of Mediterranean and fusion dishes, with a focus on seafood and pasta. Each dish, prepared with the freshest, high-quality ingredients, is a work of art. The ambiance is complemented by a chic bar for cocktails and music, situated in the port of Naxos, offering mesmerizing sea views and vistas of the Portara.

Shop ‘Til You Drop: Unique Finds in Naxos

Shopping in Naxos is a delightful adventure for those looking for souvenirs, gifts, and local products that encapsulate the island’s charm. The island’s boutiques, galleries, markets, and workshops are treasure troves of unique and authentic items:

  • Kitron: A unique liqueur derived from citron tree leaves and fruits, exclusive to Naxos and a handful of global locations. Available in green, yellow, and clear varieties, Kitron offers a sweet, refreshing taste. Visit the Vallindras Distillery in Chalki to witness its production, sample it, and purchase a bottle.
  • Cheese: Naxos is renowned for its cheese, particularly graviera – a hard, salty cheese aged for three months, boasting a nutty, buttery taste. Made from cow’s milk, graviera can be purchased in Naxos town cheese shops or directly from local producers. The island also offers other cheese varieties like kefalotyri, anthotyro, xinomyzithra, and arseniko.
  • Ceramics: With a pottery tradition dating back to ancient times, Naxos is the place to find stunning, handmade ceramic goods like vases, plates, bowls, and ornaments, crafted and painted by local artisans. You can find these items in town shops or visit pottery workshops in Damalas and Komiaki villages.

The Flavors of Naxos: Sampling Local Cuisine

For lovers of authentic local cuisine, Naxos offers an array of specialties and delicacies that highlight its rich gastronomic identity:

  • Kokoras me makaronia: A luscious dish featuring rooster braised in red wine and tomato sauce, served with fresh spaghetti. This dish, offering tender meat in a rich, aromatic sauce, is a traditional Sunday meal across Naxian households and can be found in various taverns.
  • Patoudo: A festive, hearty dish of pork wrapped in caul fat, stuffed with cheese, garlic, and herbs, and roasted until crispy. Typically prepared for special occasions, this dish melts in your mouth with flavors, available in certain taverns, especially in the mountainous villages.
  • Sefoukloti: A healthy, vegetarian pie made of chard, fennel, and other herbs, mixed with eggs and cheese and wrapped in filo pastry, baked until golden and crispy. This delicious pie is great as a main course or a snack and can be found in bakeries and cafes.
  • Melachrino: A traditional dessert consisting of walnuts, eggs, sugar, and spices, soaked in a syrup made of water, sugar, and kitron. This dense, moist dessert, often served with ice cream or whipped cream, is a sweet and spicy treat available in many pastry shops and restaurants.


Chora, the crown jewel of Naxos, effortlessly weaves together history, culture, and beauty into a single, mesmerizing tapestry. It’s a town that doesn’t just invite exploration—it compels it, promising a treasure trove of sights, tastes, and secrets waiting to be uncovered. In this piece, we’ve laid bare our exclusive guide to unlocking the wonders of Chora in Naxos. From must-see attractions to culinary delights, our tips and recommendations are designed to ensure you experience the full spectrum of joy and enchantment that this captivating town has to offer. We trust our guide will enrich your visit, allowing you to cherish Chora’s myriad charms as deeply as we do. Don’t hesitate; book your journey to Naxos now, and prepare to be swept away by the spellbinding allure of Chora!


Is Naxos Town the same as Chora?

Indeed, Naxos Town and Chora refer to the same destination. Both titles are used interchangeably to describe the capital city and the primary port of the island of Naxos in Greece.

Is Naxos Town lively?

Absolutely, Naxos Town is renowned for its vibrancy. It boasts a variety of tourist facilities, a vibrant waterfront promenade, along with numerous historical and cultural sites to discover.

Is Naxos Greece a party island?

While Naxos isn’t characterized as a conventional party island, it offers a robust selection of nightlife activities for those in search. Visitors can enjoy bars, nightclubs, and bouzoukia in Naxos Town, and some resorts also host beach parties.

What is the main village in Naxos?

The primary village in Naxos is none other than Naxos Town, also known as Chora. It serves as the island’s focal point and is the landing area for ferries at the port.

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