Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and has a rugged, mountainous landscape, and long sandy beaches. In fact Naxos beaches are considered some of the best beaches in Europe. There is a lot to see and do and it’s proximity to a number of other beautiful islands makes it a perennial favourite with families, couples and solo travellers year after year. Due to the sheer size of the island working out where to stay in Naxos can be challenging, so we’ve done the research for you.
Further reading: Naxos or Paros
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The main town, including its hilly old quarter known as Kástro, is called Chora, which translates to ‘Town’. It was the seat of the Venetian Duchy of Náxos, who ruled most of the Cyclades from the fortress after 1204.
The steep lanes of Kástro and its downhill continuation, Boúrgos, provide many wandering opportunities and are home to numerous hidden gems.
You will find everything here that most port towns have: souvenir shops, backpacker hostels, cafes, tour desks, and more. It is also where the main port is located, as well as close to some excellent beaches, so for many people, it is easy to base themselves here.
The long esplanade around the waterfront is bustling with cafes, bars, tavernas, and shops and is buzzing with life all day and especially in the evenings. Behind it is the ‘Old Market’, a maze if narrow alleys that is home to numerous shops and boutiques, as well as some very charming small tavernas and bars.
You will find a good mix of accommodations in Chora, as the hotels and villas spread right around St. George Beach, one of the best beaches in Naxos. This is the area where we always stay when visiting Naxos as it is central to absolutely everything and very protected from the wind. You can walk from the port and still be on the sunbed within minutes in either direction. There are also several great supermarkets in this area, a couple of laundry services, and numerous car and ATV rental agencies.
There is also a beach at the northern end of Chora called Grotta Beach, which has a couple of excellent hotels. This area is more exposed to the wind, however.
WHERE TO STAY IN CHORA, NAXOS
For a good mid-range hotel, check out Hotel Grotta or Nastasia Village, who have newly renovated rooms in a quite spot a few streets back from the beach and the main part of town.
Families and groups should check out Ikaros Studios and Apartments which has a great pool but is only a short walk to this popular family beach.
Astir of Naxos is one of the most popular luxury hotels on the island and has a beautiful swimming pool and spa as well as a childrens playground. We also love Nissaki Beach Hotel which is right behind Agios Georgios Beach and has a beachfront restaurant and swimming pool, or Hotel Glaros Boutique Hotel which is right next door and less expensive.
Nissaki Beach Hotel
Located just 5kms south of Chora is Agios Prokopios beach with its wide sandy beach and deep turqoise water. It’s considered one of the best beaches in Greece and it is no wonder it is popular particiulary with familes.
At the northern end of the beach you will find the remains of a salt pan which makes for an interesting walk and a great place for photographers.
The beach area is well organised with many day beds and water sports for hire. The street behind the beach is lined with tavernas and cafes and several service the beach too. There is a wide variety of accommodation on offer, many with wonderful sea and sunset views as this beach faces West.
In summer it can be quite crowded and difficult to get a car park although there is a frequent bus service as well.
recommended hotels in Agios Prokopios
Virtu Suites is right across from the beach and have a great Beach Club too. Naxos Island Hotel is one of the few true 5 star hotels on the island and has a great rooftop pool as well as a gym and a spa.
Right below Agios Prokopios beach is Agios Anna beach, really a continuation of the former. Also a long sandy beach there is also a small port which is home to some local fishing boats. The coastal road passes right next to the beach and the small houses, cove and fishing harbour make it a very popular spot for sightseers, photographers and beach goers.
There are a lot of tavernas and cafes along the beach and in the village as well as a wide variety of hotels, villas and apartments. The small cove offers protection on windy days making it one of the most popular spots on the whole island. It’s also the end of the paved road which goes on to be a dirt road heading south.
where to stay in Agios Anna, Naxos
This is a smaller beach with fewer accommodation options but there are more popping up each year. It’s the type of place that you come for a few weeks and really kick back and totally zone out.
A solid budget choice would be Sofia Studios.
ikri Vigla Beach
Soft sand, clear and often calm water, Mikri Vigla is not as busy as its northern neighbours and a great place to base yourself for a relaxing holiday. There are a number of excellent tavernas and a small market.
Located just off the coast is lovely Panagia Parthen Island which is a worth a day trip for snorkelling and swimming and to see the sole building on the island which, of course, is a church.
recommended hotels in Mikri Vigla
The Naxos KiteSurfing School is located in Mikri Vigla so nearby Surfer Studios are very popular with people into watersports. Not far from there is Zanneta Studios while families and groups should have a look at Mikri Villas which are very new and right across from the beach.
Located 20kms north of Chora Abram is a very pretty, isolated beach which offers a secluded getaway among a rugged landscape. The neighbouring village of Kampos is home to a beautiful church on the headland as well as the Naxos Diving Centre.
There are many small coves, bays and caves to explore along this rugged coastline. In the interior, halfway to Apollonas you can see The Tower of Agia.
recommended hotels in Abram beach
Apollonas is located at the very north of Naxos and like most north-facing towns and villages in the Cyclades it can be very windy at times, especially in summer when the strong Meltemi wind blows down from the Bosphorus in Turkey. That said it is a charming village that offers a different alternative to the villages along the more popular beaches.
The main attraction is the largest of the 3 famous Kouros statues which are found on Naxos at Apollonas and Melanes. The Apollonas statue is over ten meters in height and dates back to the 8th century. It is thought to depict either the God Apollo or Dionysus.
recommended hotels in Apollonas, Naxos
The Mountain Villages
Naxos is quite special in that it is big, the largest island in the Cyclades, and there are a bunch of very charming villages that wrap around Mt.Zas in the middle of the island.
These villages show a different side of island life to the beaches that Naxos and the Cyclades are synonymous with, and are a must for any visitors. They are authentic locations where you will find old men playing backgammon under the big Plane trees in the village square, local celebrations and religious festivals at the local church, and even some unique attractions such as the Kitron Distillery in Chalki.
Many people visit these towns and villages on day trips from the Coast but spending a few nights is a fantastic experience and very affordable too.
recommended hotels in the mountain villages of Naxos
In Filoti 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.
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.
Luxury Villas on Naxos
Sometimes the best places to stay on a Greek Island aren’t in one of the popular towns or villages. In fact, the most exclusive and incredible villas and celebrity hideaways are usually very private and hard to find.
This may mean you will need a car for the duration of your stay but the trade-off can be worthwhile.
Villa Themis is surrounded by orange orchards in the middle of the island yet is easy to get to and central to many things. Built by a Greek-American artist who lived in NYC it is right near where the Naxos Festival is held each year. It can sleep up to 14 people in 6 bedrooms and has a wonderful shady swimming pool and garden.
At the southern end of the island is Villa Alyko, right next to the famous Aliko Cedar Forest. There are actually 3 villas that can sleep up to 24 people combined and they are right on the beach with amazing sea views.
Another place to look at is La Grande Vue Private Villas, a very new luxury complex with 4 beautifully appointed villas with panoramic views and private pools.