Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades and offers something for everyone. It is famous for its stunning sandy beaches, rugged mountains, charming Chora, and picturesque, whitewashed Naxos villages and towns.

There are numerous day trips you can do, especially to the stunning Small Cyclades islands or next door to the island of Paros, which is just 30 minutes by ferry.

In this article, we cover the best mountain villages in Greece and suggest you spend at least a full day, if not more, on your visit.

Further reading: Things to do on Naxos 


Whether you’ve been before or it’s your first time it can be hard to process all the information out there. Be sure to check out our complete Planning Guide as well as our FREE 13-page downloadable itinerary.

If you are feeling really overwhelmed you might like a Trip Consultation perhaps?

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naxos villages

How to visit the Naxos mountain villages

Naxos is best explored by car as it is big and many things are far apart. This will also give you lots of independence and the ability to be more spontaneous if something you see takes your fancy.

Hiring a car is easy and there are many places in and around Chora where you can pick one up, or they will often deliver to your hotel as well. A car is a better option than an ATV for the mountain villages as they are faster and better able to handle the steeper roads. Do try and hire the smallest one you can though so it is easy to park.

Most of the towns and villages have large public carparks on the outskirts of town, or at the back, and are a short walk in.

You can also use the bus system which is quite efficient and well used by Naxians. There can be long queues in summer though so give yourself plenty of time. Ticket can be bought at the main bus station in Chora or from the driver.

There are also a few tours of Naxos that cover the interior of the island -both half day tours and private full day tours that include lunch. Be sure to stop at Rotonda for a drink and to take in the magnificant views of the island. 

naxos villages


Chalkio is located in the heart of Naxos, 16 km from Naxos Town (or Chora). Chalkio, also known as Halki, was the former capital of the island and its main administrative center. This charming town is nestled amongst high mountains and the plateau of Tragaia.

The town has a permanent population of 368, increasing in the summer.

The best way to get to Chalkio is by car since it is an easy 25-minute drive from Chora, the island’s capital city. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can catch the KTEL local bus. The trip between Chora and Chalkio takes around 30 minutes, with a beautiful route via mainland Naxos.

There are many things to do in Chalkio, starting from strolling around its pastel alleys lined with perfectly maintained houses and neoclassical buildings.

Unmissable is the Church of Panagia Protothroni, which displays fine frescoes from Early Christianity, middle Byzantine, and late Byzantine periods, and is one of the oldest churches on the island. The church boasts a fresco in the nook of the altar depicting the Virgin Mary with a spindle, which is a unique way to depict the icon in the Balkans region. The Church of Panagia Protothroni has been in continuous service since 1052.

Another great church to visit right outside the village is the historic Church of Agios Georgios Diassoritis. Typically Byzantine, the best part of this church is the incredible frescoes on its inside, which are exceptionally preserved. Another relic of the past you can see in Chalki is the imposing Barozzi-Gratsia Tower, built in the early 17th century by the Venetians.

A great activity in Chalki is trying delicious local products, in particular, the kitron liqueur called Kitron. The best spot in Naxos to sip it is the historic Vallindras distillery, right in Chalki. Still family-owned, this distillery harvests and processes kitron (aka Citron), the unique fruit found on Naxos and made into the island’s famous liqueur. At the Vallindras distillery, you can do tastings and visit the small museum inside to learn all about the family history and the distilling process.

naxos vilages
naxos villages
naxos villages


Filoti is a mountainous village in the Tragea region, in the central part of Naxos, 18km from the island’s capital.

Although today it is considered a single village, Filoti is made up of three smaller settlements: Liiri, Klefaro, and Rachidi. It is also the largest village not only in Naxos but in all the Cyclades in terms of population, with 1,800 permanent residents.

To get to Filoti from Naxos Town, you can opt for a taxi, car rental, or public bus. By taxi or car, the drive will take around 18 minutes. With the KTEL bus, the journey is around half an hour, depending on traffic.

Filoti is a popular spot on Naxos to visit for its characteristic Cycladic architecture and beautiful landscape of olive groves. It is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of Mount Zas.

Stroll around the village to admire white-washed houses with flat roofs and narrow and charming streets with flowers all over. Marveling at the breathtaking view of the mountains and soaking up the laid-back climate of the village are only two of the main attractions Filoti offers its visitors.

The village’s main street is lively thanks to the many café and restaurants, the ideal spots to mingle with the locals. For a very traditional break, head to the Gefyra square: here, you will find many kafenia, traditional Greek cafès serving ouzo and snacks.

In Filoti, you can also visit the beautiful Church of Panagia Filotitissa, which is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Built in 1710, this church has a superbly sculptured bell tower and a finely crafted marble altar. The Church of Panagia Filotitissa is next to the Barozzi Tower, another village attraction.

The tower was built when Naxos was under Venetian rule and is a visual reminder of the island’s past. Besides the Barozzi Tower is a marble wall with an in-built tap constantly running spring water and that has an inscription sought by King Otto, the first king of modern-age Greece.

There are also several cultural venues in Filoti, including an ancient-styled sports stadium with an entertainment theater and the Greek Numismatic Collection Museum of Nikolas Moustakis.

Where to stay in Filoti

Staying a few nights in one of the mountain villages is a wonderfully immersive way to get a sense of the local culture. You will meet the locals who all come out at night for dinner and often some impromptu music or dancing can happen.

There are only a handful of places to stay in Filoti and Giannakis Filoxenia Rooms would be our pick for solo travellers or couples. If you are looking for a fully self contained Villa then Filoti Square House is right on the town square and can sleep 5.

naxos villages


Apeiranthos is by far one of the most fascinating mountain villages of Naxos. Located in the central area of the island at an altitude of 600 meters on the slopes of Mount Fanari, it is 28 km from Chora.

With a permanent population of 722, Apiranthos is the second-largest settlement on the island after Filoti.

Apeiranthos is easily accessible from Naxos Town by car and public bus. The route via the villages of Sagri, Halki, and Filoti is the one followed by the public bus as it offers easier access, and it is more panoramic, with views of the sea up to Paros Island as you get closer and closer to Apeiranthos. Both routes take around 1 hour both by car and bus.

Apeiranthos is nicknamed the “mаrble village” for its wonderful marble-decorated buildings with Venetian architectural elements. One of the main activities to do in the village is getting lost in the winding allеys to marvel at the village’s unique architectural style that has nothing in common with the Cycladic style.

Apeiranthos also boasts five museums, an impressive number considering the village’s dimension. The Apeiranthos Archaeological Museum is a small museum created with a private collection of Michalis Bardanis. Inside, you will see findings from regional excavations retrieved from ancient cemeteries and settlements.

Another great museum in the village is the Geological Museum, located on the ground floor of the Cultural Centre. With free entrance, the museum’s exhibit contains 2000 samples of mineral rocks, ores, and paleontological findings from Naxos and beyond.

The Museum of Natural History, opened in 1966, showcases a wide array of samples of the island’s flora and fauna, including skeletons of dolphins and whales. The Visual Arts Museum is also housed in the village’s Cultural Centre and displays artistic expressions from local artists. Inside the Folklore Museum, you will see exhibits, from furniture to textiles, which are all donated by the locals.

The museums are all worth visiting, but the best thing to do in Apeiranthos is to experience its unique atmosphere and culture of Cretan origin, heartily preserved by its inhabitants.

Where to stay in Apeiranthos

The Mare Mont Hotel is a homestay just outside the entry to the old town, or Petra Home Heritage is a gorgeous 4-bedroom house with beautiful views.

naxos villages
naxos villages


Situated between Chalki and Apeiranthos is the small village of Moni.

The main attraction here is the Church of Panagia Drosiani. It is one of the oldest churches in Greece and holds significant historical and religious importance.

The church is known for its unique architecture, featuring Byzantine and Early Christian elements. It is a three-aisled basilica with a dome, and its construction dates back to the 6th century.

The interior of the Church of Panagia Drosiani is adorned with well-preserved frescoes that date from the 7th to the 12th centuries. These frescoes depict scenes from the New Testament and are of great artistic and historical value. 


Tripodes (Vivlos)

Tripodes, also known as Vivlos, is one of the largest settlements in southwestern Naxos. Located just 8km from Chora, it is also close to the famous beach of Plaka.

The village has a little more than 800 permanent residents, which makes it one of Naxos’s most lively villages.

If you have your car or scooter, you can reach Tripodes from Chora in just a 10-minute drive. The route is also served by KTEL buses, which will take you to your destination in 20 minutes. If you love walking and taking up beautiful panoramas, you can also cover the 8-km distance from Naxos Town to Tripodes on foot in around 1 hour and a half.

Tripodes’ most striking characteristic is its windmills, which can be viewed from every angle of the village. The white-washed windmills are the perfect complement to the rest of Tripodes’ Cycladic architecture and ambiance. Strolling around and appreciating the tranquillity of the village is a must while in Tripodes.

As for sightseeing opportunities, Tripodes offers visitors much more than the windmills, starting from its many small churches and chapels. One you shouldn’t miss is the Church of Panagia Tripodiotissa, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the village.

The church dates back to the 16th century, and tradition says that the inhabitants began to build the monastery in a different spot than where it is today, but it kept collapsing. One day, digging somewhere else, they found the icon of the Virgin and decided to erect the church on that spot.

There are other must-see religious venues in the village. The Church of Agios Nektarios boasts spectacular views of the blue Aegean Sea, with the island of Paros in the distance, and on the picturesque windmills. Another unmissable stop is the Temple of Theotokou, which houses beautiful hand-painted icons.

Other tourist attractions in Tripodes are the Folklore Museum, hosted inside a restored olive-mil, and the remains of several towers in the village’s surrounding area, including the Plaka Tower, the Ai Giorgis Tower, and the Ga Tower.


The village of Glinado is located 6 kilometers south of Naxos Town, right in the heart of the fertile Livadi valley. This valley extends from the coast to the hills, and besides Glinado, there are two other settlements (Tripodes and Agersani), which are collectively called Livadochoria (“plain’s villages” in English).

Glinado has a permanent population of about 585 inhabitants. Being so close to Chora, you can arrive in Glinado in no time. It takes just 8 minutes if you travel by car (hire or taxi) and around 15 minutes by public KTEL bus. As it is for Tripodes, you can also access Glinado on foot, with a lovely walk of a little over an hour.

Glinado is mainly a farming village founded around 1650 CE at a gentle elevation of 100 meters. There are only a few activities to do here, but one of the absolute best is a leisurely stroll around the village, admiring the vista of the green fields below it and soaking up the authentic Cycladic atmosphere that characterizes it.

The “Greekness” of Glinado is also evident in the exceptional local products farmed and harvested in the fields around it, with which delicious dishes are prepared. Head to Mina Tavern, which also operates as a kafenio, where locals love to meet up and spend their free time like in the old days.

Unmissable is the Church of Agioi Saranta, located about 500 meters from the village. This arched-roofed, single-aisle church houses fine post-Byzantine icons.

At the village’s entrance, you will instead find the beautiful Church of Agios Nikodimos, built in 1990. Only a 5-minute drive from Glinado, in the nearby region of Iria, is the unmissable Sanctuary of Dionysus. This ancient site was dedicated to the god of wine and celebrations, who, according to Greek mythology, lived in Naxos. The original temple was built in the 6th century BC in the Ionian style and reconstructed in the 1st century BC by the Romans.

From the 5th century CE, the former Dionysian sanctuary was converted into a Christian church, and today, all that is left are ruins.


Located in a dramatic location, Koronos is one of the oldest settlements in northeastern Naxos. It lies 28 kilometers from Chora, and green valleys and vineyards surround it.

At a high of 540 meters above sea level, the village is set on the slopes of a ravine between Mt. Amomaxis and Mt. Koronos. There are around 526 people who live permanently in Koronos.

From Naxos Town, you can get to Koronos within a half-minute drive, both by rental car and taxi. You can also catch the KTEL bus, which departs from the capital twice a day, and will lead you to Koronos in 1-hour time.

The village is made up of seven neighborhoods connected by picturesque narrow streets lined with buildings characterized by the traditional architecture of the Cycladic islands. Relax alongside the locals in a kafenio or enjoy a meal in a classic taverna, and then explore the lovely little squares with old fountains that you will find in each neighborhood.

In Koronos, tourists can also visit the Folklore Museum, which opened in 2021 and is housed in a traditional quaint guesthouse. The museum’s exhibit displays old objects of everyday life, mostly donated by locals.

Right outside the village, you will find the Church of Panagia Agrokiliotissa, whose construction started in 1835 after a local found buried two old orthodox icons from the Byzantine era. The villagers continued the excavations and discovered an underground cave-like Byzantine observatory.

They decided to build the church on the same site. The underground room-cave can still be visited by walking down a steep, carved rock staircase. The Church of Panagia Agrokiliotissa is made from the small, original church and a newer all-white basilica constructed on its eastern side. This religious complex is the largest church in the Cycladic region, so don’t miss it!

Cultural Activities and Tours on Naxos

Can’t get to the mountains? Don’t worry, there are plenty of cultural activities right in Chora, which is packed with history and culture. 

A guided walking tour is a great way to get a feel for the Chora (town) and a full day bus tour of the island is a great way to spend a day.

Naxos is famous for its food and in particular its honey, cheese and potatoes. In fact, the Naxos Potato Festival is held each year in July and they are currently world record holders!

In the Chora you will find numerous shops that showcase the local produce and, of course, you can sample all the delicacies Tavernas across the island. Don’t miss Antamoma Cuisine Deli.

Naxos is also a great place to do a Cooking Class. There are two that we highly recommend:

1. This class is conducted in a local home and includes dinner there too or,

2. This class is held at Basiliko Taverna and is conducted by their excellent Chef.

Either one of these is a stand out activity to do in the Cyclades. Book early as they only take small groups and they are often booked out.

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