Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, five times the size of Santorini or Mykonos so there is lot on offer. It is famous for its lush and fertile lands along with its picturesque, whitewashed villages and towns, wide sandy beaches and lots more. There are so many things to do on Naxos and that is why it is one of the main reasons it is much loved by visitors.

Although it has a modest permanent population, Naxos’ beauty makes it a popular place for tourists. Its a big island, there’s some fantastic accommodation and there are a lot of great things to do on Naxos.

Cultural Activities and Tours on Naxos 

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 the amazing Naxos Cheese Koufopoulos, where you can do a private cheese tasing with wine, in their cellar and Antamoma Cuisine Deli.

Naxos is 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.

If you’re visiting Naxos with children then a visit to a local farm is hugely popular. This kids will learn about farm life and also get to collect vegetables and eggs and see all the animals. There are also art classes on offer on Exarchopolou Street, right next to Sunray Toy Shop. Great for days when the weather is not so good!

For history buffs there aren’t a lot of fancy museums on Naxos but the small Archaeological Museums and the Folk Museum in Chora are both excellent as are the Archaeological Museums at the Temple of Demeter (Gyroulas at Sangri)  and the Tower of Belonia, and the Olive Oil Museum in Eggares. 

things to do in Naxos
things to do in Naxos

Beaches in Naxos

Naxos is famous for its long, sandy beaches, in fact some of the longest beaches anywhere on the Greek Islands can be found here. If you’re looking for something to do in Naxos, visiting one of the beautiful beaches is a great choice.

things to do on naxos


One of the longest beaches of all is Plaka, which extends a dazzling four kilometres in length.

For decades, it was a nudists’ beach, and they can still be found on the beach in low season. In high season, however, the popularity of the beach means that only a small section is clothing-optional. The rest is popular with visitors of all types, from families enjoying the crystal clear water to young revellers drinking at the nearby bars and cafes.

With so much sand to go around, there is plenty of room to enjoy its beauty.


Agios Prokopios

Although it’s not the longest beach on Naxos, it is widely considered the most beautiful.

In fact, Agios Prokopios is often called one of the most beautiful beaches on all of the Greek Islands, with its swathes of soft sand and glistening clear water.

As it is located just five kilometres away from Naxos Town, it is also one of the most popular beaches on the island. As a result, there is a good selection of bars, restaurants, and shops to enjoy not far from the water. There is parking at the northern end of the beach where you will also find some small pink salt lakes.

You can also rent snorkels and banana boats from the shore.

best beaches in Greece

Agia Anna

Also within close proximity of Naxos Town is Agia Anna, a picturesque cove and sandy beach. While it’s technically a continuation of Agios Prokopios, it has a quieter and more traditional feel, mostly thanks to the small wooden fishing boats dotted along the shore.

That said, it is still a busy beach that is well organised, with plenty of sun umbrellas and amenities nearby. In addition, as the cove is quite secluded, it is generally quite calm, making it suitable for swimmers of all ages.

There are a number of excellent tavernas along the beach and small shops and supermarkets along the back roads. This is the sort of flop and drop beach village where people come for weeks, year after year.

things to do on Naxos

Akrogiali Taverna Agia Anna

santorini town

Paralia Mikri Viglia

Located on the west coast of Naxos, Paralia Mikri Viglia is often lashed by strong winds. While this means it is not ideal for weak swimmers, it is very popular with water sports enthusiasts and those looking for adventurous things to do on Naxos.

In particular, the beach is well-known for its excellent windsurfing and kitesurfing. It’s also popular amongst divers and snorkellers, thanks to the many fish that can be spotted just off the shore.

There are a couple of buses per day from Naxos Town in high season, although it is easiest to reach with your own car.

village in naxos


With dozens of beaches on Naxos, there are plenty of hidden gems to enjoy away from the crowds. One of the most beautiful is Abram on the northwest coast.

Although it is only 20 kilometres from Naxos Town, it is much quieter than the closer beaches – although it still has a fair bit going on in peak season. The beach itself is picturesque, with sparkling blue sea and views of Mykonos way off in the distance.

If you’re looking for a quiet beach in Naxos not too far from town, this is a great option.

things to do on naxos

St George beach

St George Beach, also known as Agios Georgios is the main beach of Naxos as is right near the town or Chora.

It is a calm, shallow beach which is usually protected from any wind and therefore is very popular with families. It is well serviced with many sunbeds, cafes and tavernas and at night it transforms into a quiet beachfront resort with some excellent toes-in-the-and dining venues.

Its easy to walk to St George from the town and there are several small hotels right on the beachfront as well. 

Further reading: The best beaches on Naxos 

things to do in Naxos

Tavernas at St.George Beach, Chora

More outdoor things to do on Naxos

Naxos is blessed with a rich natural environment complete with mountains, fertile plains and lush valleys. As a result, many of the best things to do in Naxos are outdoors.

things to do on Naxos

Rina Cave

Located on the island’s southern coast, Rina Cave is one of the most beautiful places on Naxos.

The cave is nestled near the right side of the beach, with its entrance surrounded by beautiful green-blue waters. The postcard-perfect look of the cave makes visiting it one of the most popular things to do in Naxos.

In order to reach it, you’ll need to take a water taxi to the secluded beach, where you can then swim in the beautiful blue waters or you can do a catamaran cruise that includes it.

things to do on Naxos
Naxos has some of the best hiking routes in the Greek Islands.

It is large enough to offer trails for all levels of age and fitness, and the views and countryside are often spectacular.

Hiking to Mt. Zas and the mythical cave where Zeus was born is most people’s priority, but there are many other great routes too.

Filoti – Cave of Zeus – Mt Zas summit

Starting in the charming village of Filoti, this route aims to reach the summit of Mt Zas. Along the way, hikers pass the Cave of Zeus, filled with stalagmites and stalactites. The summit offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and surrounding islands. The total distance is around 9.2km, but you can turn back at the Cave of Zeus for a shorter hike​.

Keramoti-Routsouna Waterfalls

Starting from Keramoti, this trail leads to the impressive Routsouna Waterfalls, around 2.2km away. The path passes through a valley and is especially beautiful in spring, autumn, or early summer when the waterfall is likely to be running.

Melanes – Mili – Kouros of Flerio

This family-friendly hike includes traditional mountain villages and cultural sights. Starting from Melanes, the path takes you past fertile fields, wildflowers, and old houses, ending at the Kouros of Flerio, an ancient statue abandoned in antiquity. The route is about 3km each way​.

Tsikalario – Chimarros – Sangri  Temple of Demeter

This longer hike starts in Tsikalario, passes through Chimarros and Sangri, and leads to the Temple of Demeter. Highlights include several churches, the Paleologos Tower, and the Temple of Demeter, a significant representation of Naxian marble architecture​.

Skado-Komiaki-Apollon Bay

 This trail starts from Skado village in the north and leads to Apollon Bay. The path transitions from low vegetation to rich greenery with oak and walnut trees. The route passes by stone shepherd’s huts, a Mycenaean tomb, and the Kouros of Apollonas, an ancient marble statue. It offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea, culminating in a rewarding swim at Apollo Beach after approximately 4.5 hours of walking​.

Aliko Juniper Forest

There are only eight cedar forests in all of Greece, and one of the most beautiful is the Aliko Juniper Forest in southwest Naxos.

In the 80s, there were plans to build a mega resort here, however luckily it never came to fruition and it remains largely unspoiled. Today, the trees come nearly up to the water’s edge, just leaving behind a slither of soft sand to enjoy.

As well as relaxing on the beach in the shade of the forest, you can also take a walk along the many walking paths. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy one of the most unique landscapes in Greece. 

Historical sites on Naxos 

For the Ancient Greeks, Naxos was one of the most important part of the Cyclades. As a result, there are many remnants of the past left behind, making it a paradise for history lovers.

things to do on Naxos


Naxos boasts one of the most charming capitals of any of the Greek Islands – Chora (pronounced with a silent C ‘hora’),or Naxos Town.

The town has grown a lot in the past decade with new villas, shops and car hire places spilling down to the beach and surrounding subrubs and many visitors fall in love with its undeniable charm. It is well-known for its hodge podge of narrow laneways and its white-washed cube houses and buildings and when you arrive at the Port by Ferry you can clearly see the Kastro and the Portara Gate, which dominate the skyline.

Surrounding the Venetian Kastro is the ‘Old Market’ a series of winding alleys full of shops, tavernas, bars and other attractions and oozing with charm.

Simply walking around it is a delight, while there are many great cafes and tavernas to enjoy.

things to do in Naxos


Perhaps the most iconic sight of Naxos is that of Portara, the ruins of an ancient temple that occupies an impressive hilltop location on its own small isle.

While much of the ancient temple has been reclaimed by the earth, an impressive door-like rectangle remains, faced towards Dellos, Apollo’s birthplace.

This impressive sight also frames the incredible views over the island, making it a particular favourite for photographers at sunrise and sunset.

free entry
always open

things to do on Naxos

Chora Castle

Naxos’ most impressive fortified structure is the impressive Chora Castle standing atop a large hill.

This dramatic location in Kythira gave the castle the nickname “the Eye of Crete” as it allowed watchmen to keep an eye on the Aegean, Ionian, and Cretan seas all at once. No doubt this is why it was built by the Venetians in the 13th century.

Today, the castle is almost completely ruined, but hints of its former grandeur still remain. It is undoubtedly romantic, perched on the hilltop overlooking the island.

free entry
open from 8 am to 8 pm in summer, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm in winter

things to do on Naxos
things to do on Naxos
things to do on Naxos

Temple of Demeter

Located near the village of Sangri in central Naxos, the Temple of Demeter is one of the most fascinating things to do in Naxos.

The impressive ruins are thought to date back more than 2,500 years to around the 6th Century BC. Although there are still many mysteries surrounding the temple, we do know that it was built in honor of Demeter, the Goddess of grain.

The temple was likely built near fertile farmlands, in the hope that she’d bless the crops. Today, it is one of the most interesting sights on the island.

Entrance to the temple is free, €4 for the museum.
Open 8:30am to 3pm

naxos villages

Explore the small villages of Melanes, CHalki, Filoti AND aPEIRANTHOS

Naxos has many beautiful and charming small villages which are much like open-air museums, looking as if they have been frozen in time.

Some of the most beautiful include Melanes, with the white-washed stone houses clinging to the cliff-face, the former capital of Chalki with remnants of its former fame and fortune, and home to the Kitron Distillery, where they make the famous Naxian appertiff from the unique Kitron fruits grown there ( which is similar to a Lemon but green).

Then there’s picturesque Filoti with its lovely square where the locals have coffee under the huge plane trees and, our favourite, Apeiranthos. This is one of the highest and largest villages and is full of amazing tavernas, cafes and shops, many with spectacular views.

While these places are fairly small and can be explored easily, it is best to soak in their unique and charming atmosphere. There’s no need to rush!

Further reading: The Mountain Villages of Naxos

naxos villages
naxos villages

Platanos Taverna, Apeiranthos

naxos villages

Kitron Distillery, Chalki

Day trips from Naxos

There are many things to do on Naxos island, but it’s also well located for day trips to other nearby sights. In fact, Naxos has one of the best varieties of day trips and activities of all the islands in Greece.

Just south of Naxos are a group of little islands called The Small Cyclades which are very quaint and very beautiful. Whether you are staying on Paros or Naxos we strongly recommend you do a sailing trip around The Small Cyclades which I guarantee you will be talking about for the rest of your lives.

It’s even possible to do day trips from Naxos to Mykonos and Delos as well as to Santorini.

Other great day trips from Naxos are: Here are a few more great day trips from Naxos.

things to do on naxos

Visit Paros

When looking into which Cyclades Island to visit, you might have found yourself considering the merits of Paros over Naxos. Luckily, you can easily enjoy both, as Paros is just a short ferry ride away from Naxos.

A day trip over to Paros is a particularly good idea during the summer, when the island enjoys a bustling calendar of events including traditional Greek cultural performances as well as open air music festivals.

There are four ferry companies that operate between the two islands, with several ferries each day so it is fairly easy to get between the two.

things to do on naxos


Another wonderful day trip from Naxos Island is across to Ano Koufonisi, a tiny speck in the sea that in a group of islands that wraps around the south/south-east of Naxos called the ‘small cyclades’. These islands are quiet and very laid back and are considered to have some of the clearest, safest water for swimming in Europe.

At just over five square kilometres Ano Koufonisi is all about natural beauty which makes up for its modest size. In particular, the island is famous for its jaw-droppingly perfect beaches, such as Pori Beach.

There are also numerous classic tavernas that offer traditional meals and friendly service. It’s certainly one of the most unmissable day trips from Naxos.

You can visit Koufonisia and the other Small Cyclades islands on the public ferries but one of the best ways is to do a sailing trip around it.

Further reading : A Complete Guide to Koufonisia

things to do on Naxos
where to stay in Koufonisia
things to do on Naxos
things to do on naxos

Visit Santorini from Naxos

This is a pretty ambitious day trip and overnighting on Santorini is much more enjoyable but if you are time-poor and have never been before it is a great idea to see the most iconic Greek Island of them all.

You will not get a full day on Santorini and may not get to see the famous sunset either but depending on the ferry schedule at the time you should get around 4-6 hours to explore.

The ferry trip takes between 2 and 4 hours, depending on which ferry you book. Once there take the cablecar or taxi up to Oia and explore, what to many, is considered the most beautiful village on Santorini.

If time permits hire a car and head down to the ancient site of Akrotiri and the medieval village of Pyrgos, or join a half day tour of the island (see below). If your main interest is the volcano then book a half day cruise and swim in the hot springs.

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