Naxos, Greece. Where is it and what to see?

Naxos Attractions

Temple of Demeter Plaka Beach Blue Fin Diving Center Naxos Surf Club Church of Our Lady of Refreshing Power Church of Our Lady of Chalki Bellonia Tower Cafe Bar Scholio

This site contains Naxos attractions – photos, descriptions and traveler tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Naxos, where to go, and where to find popular and interesting places in Naxos.

Temple of Demeter

Temple of Demeter (photo)

Near the village of Sangri, on the island of Naxos, is the temple of the goddess Demeter. In Greek mythology, Demeter is the patroness of farmers, which is why her shrine found its place in the endless fertile fields of Naxos. The building dates back to the 6th century B.C. The temple has lost its former grandeur, but it was not so much time that stole its beauty as greedy people, hunters of expensive marble. Thanks to the efforts of German archaeologists, the main columns and chapels of the temple were reconstructed. The architects point out that the Temple of Demeter is a unique example of a building of the time with a rectangular plan at its base.

Coordinates: 37.03650900,25.43013100

Plaka Beach

Plaka Beach (photo)

Plaka beach, located on the island of Naxos, is the most ancient beach of the island.

It stretches for 5km and is a real wild beach that nature has created. For those who like an active and bustling holiday among people, you can visit the beaches of Anne and Agios Prokopios, which are nearby.

This beautiful secluded beach with clear sea and soft sand is the opposite of the bustling city beach. Many tourists prefer it because it is very easy to get to by buses that run all day. The beach is located just 8 km from Chora. Here you can often see nudists.

Throughout the beach there are bars, restaurants and nightclubs, which are popular among young people.

Coordinates: 37.03613200,25.37781700

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Blue Fin Dive Center

Diving center Blue Fin (photo)

The Blue Fin Dive Center is located in Naxos, the largest island of the Cyclades archipelago. The famous complex, surrounded by ancient ruins, teaches scuba diving not only for adults, but for children as well. Here you can rent or buy diving equipment.

Blue Fin Divers teaches scuba diving to beginners, but there are also special courses for professionals to improve their skills. The instructors in the center are considered some of the best in Greece and are dedicated to the scuba diving lessons, so you can entrust even the youngest scuba diver to their care.

At Blue Fin Divers the emphasis is on safety and the lessons are delivered in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. Courses can be booked for more than one person, but instructors recommend one-on-one instruction.

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Coordinates: 37.09489500,25.37630100

In photo mode you can view the sights on Naxos from photos only.

Naxos Surf Club

Naxos Surf Club (photo)

Greece is a maritime power. And, of course, there are enough places for in-depth training in various water sports. For example, windsurfing.

One of the best windsurfing centers is equipped on the island of Naxos, in the vicinity of the town of the same name. The location of the club makes it possible to “catch” the wind, and the high quality equipment allows you to fully enjoy the dispute with the elements, which, in fact, is windsurfing. This location is suitable for all levels of difficulty, providing a variety of speed lanes, freestyle moves, and opportunities to jump on the waves. The bottom here is sandy, with no rocks or chasms, so no special shoes are needed. Behind the reef the waves can reach 3 meters high, which is sure to please advanced surfers.

Certified instructors will help you learn the wisdom of sailing, and people of all ages and with any level of training can try their hand in this sport. In addition, the Surf Club offers tours, hotel or apartment rentals, mountain bikes, car rentals, ferries on Naxos and so on.

Coordinates: 37.09635000,25.37508800

Church of Our Lady of Refreshing Power

Church of Our Lady of Refreshing Power (photo)

If you drive a little over fifteen kilometers south of Chora, the capital of Naxos, near the small village of Moni you will find a unique Byzantine church – Our Lady of Refreshment Church. The Greek name of one of the oldest Christian shrines on the island is Panagia Drosiani.

The temple belongs to the early Christian buildings of the Byzantine era and dates back to the 7th century. Some rare frescoes also belong to this time. Particularly famous are the altar image of St. George and the dome painting “Christ Pantocrator” (“Christ the Almighty”), which were created in the IX century. Legends are also lavished on the face of the Virgin Mary – after the frescoes were completed, the long drought also ended, which explains the unusual name of the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The temple had a beautiful marble screen, but it turned out that behind it hid an even greater wonder – an amazing ancient carved wooden iconostasis.

During the day, the Panagia Drosiani is usually open. Even if the door is locked, tourists can simply call the caretaker and they will be able to see the flat stone Byzantine church.

Coordinates: 37.05913300,25.47997400

The Church of the Virgin Mary in Chalki

Church of Our Lady of Refreshing Power in Halki (photo)

In the village of Chalki, on the island of Naxos, southeast of Chora, one of the earliest cruciform-domed churches in Greece, the Panagia Prototron (First Enthroned Virgin Church) can be seen. The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, dates back to the IX century and is a strict white-stone building, topped with a single dome. It was originally a basilica, and inside there is a page chapel of Agios Akindinos.

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Restoration work in the Byzantine early Christian church revealed frescoes created between the sixth and thirteenth centuries. In total, historians-restorers have counted five layers of paintings on the walls of the church, belonging to different eras, from the early Christian period to the late Byzantine period. For fourteen centuries, the temple has continued to function, and in our time it is the Panagia Prototron Orthodox Church.

Coordinates: 37.06115300,25.48842800

Bellonia Tower

Bellonia tower (photo)

The Bellonia Tower is a tall and elegant square-shaped stone structure. The tower is located in the village of Galanado, just a few kilometers from Naxos. The tower has a stunning view of the entire island.

The towers were originally built on the island as protection against pirates. They could be used as shelters as well as alarms. Strategically, the towers were placed all over the island so that if there was an attack, the roof of the affected tower was lit by fire and was the first in a chain reaction. Fire notified the islanders of an enemy attack from tower to tower.

Next to the tower is St. John’s Church with two altars, one for Orthodox and one for Catholics.

Coordinates : 37.07041400,25.41253300

Scholio Café Bar

Scholio cafe-bar (photo)

Scholio Café Bar is located in the center of Koufonissi, in an old stone house built in 1852, overlooking the sea. The place is famous for its great drinks, good rock music, unique interior and the hospitality of the owners.

According to visitors’ reviews, it is the best bar on the Greek islands. Scholio regulars recommend tasting freshly squeezed juices, pancakes, yogurt with honey, nuts and fresh fruit here. Every year from June until the end of September, the café hosts a Mimis & Nena photo exhibition accompanied by an informative story about Naxos island, its history and inhabitants.

Coordinates: 36.93131800,25.59831600

The most popular attractions on Naxos with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Naxos on our website.

More Naxos sights

Agia Anna Beach, Naxos, Greece Marble Gate Portara, Naxos, Greece Venetian Museum, Naxos, Greece Agios Prokopios Beach, Naxos, Greece Cine Astra Outdoor Cinema, Naxos, Greece Mikri Vigla Beach, Naxos, Greece

Naxos

The traditional villages of Naxos)

Naxos (Greek Νάξος ) is a picturesque island located in southeastern Greece, almost in the center of the Aegean Sea. It is part of the Cyclades, an archipelago of more than two hundred islands and is the largest in it. The island is famous for the extraction of marble and sandpaper, as well as for the abundance of beautiful beaches for every taste. The capital, Chora (or Naxos), descends like an amphitheater to the azure coast and is a veritable open-air museum.

Lord Byron, who visited the island in the early 19th century, called Naxos the best place on earth.

Indeed, nature has spared no expense in beautifying Naxos. Characterized by fertile soils and varied landscapes, it stands out among its Cycladic neighbors. On one side of the island are the mountains, on the other side are the green meadows and the white sandy beaches with crystal clear waters. Olive and citrus trees grow here, and cozy cottages are literally buried in vineyards and flowering gardens. Mysterious ancient ruins and ancient Venetian castles harmoniously complete the picture and give Naxos a unique flavor.

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According to ancient Greek myths and legends, Zeus, who was born on Crete, spent his childhood on this island. The highest peak of Naxos and the Cyclades is named after him, Mount Zeus, or Zas (as the locals call it). It is over 1000 meters high above sea level and from the top there is a stunning view over the entire island.

It should be noted that Naxos has a reputation as a relatively “non-tourist” place and is ideal for lovers of undiscovered routes and relaxing holidays. But you should hurry – the island is rapidly gaining popularity and every year more and more foreign visitors come to enjoy its charms.

Picturesque paths of Chora, Naxos

Picturesque paths of Chora, Naxos

Climate

The climate of the island is considered comfortable for recreation and beneficial for health. Because of the lack of large inland areas near the Cyclades, the summers are dry and hot. The thermometer reads +25 to +30 degrees, but the heat is mitigated by the typical windy weather of Naxos.

The wind is pleasantly refreshing and creates perfect conditions for windsurfing. It can be rainy during the winter, but the temperature never drops below +15 degrees. The swimming season starts in May and lasts until the end of October.

Myths and history

Naxos has been around since ancient times: it was inhabited by humans in the Neolithic Age. The island flourished and was a major trading center. It was part of the Byzantine Empire, was the capital of the Duchy of Venice and survived the Ottoman period. Remarkably, Naxos belonged briefly to the Russian Empire: from 1770 to 1774 it was the residence of Count Orlov. Only in 1829, the island was finally included in Greece.

The history of Naxos is so inextricably linked to ancient Greek legends that you seem to encounter their characters while walking along the winding paths of the island. According to legend, the lord of the Olympian gods Zeus grew up on Naxos and Dionysus, the god of wine-making, merriment and fertility, was born. Maybe that’s why the wine on the island is so delicious.

Naxos is often called Ariadne’s Island, because it is the place of a sad love story, sung by myths. Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete, who, falling in love with King Theseus of Athens, helped him escape from the labyrinth of the Minotaur. In exchange for her promise to marry her, she gave Theseus a magic ball of thread that showed him the way out. Ariadne fled Crete with Theseus, but was abandoned by him on the shores of Naxos. The deceived girl was discovered by the god Dionysus, who fell in love with Ariadne and married her. According to another version, Dionysus himself appeared to Theseus in a dream, ordered him to give Ariadne to him and leave the island. Theseus obeyed and went home devastated, forgetting to set the white sails on his ship. Theseus’ father, King Aegeus, when he saw the black sail on the horizon, threw himself over the cliff into the sea and from that time on the sea was called the Aegean Sea.

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Panoramic view of Naxos from the boat

Panoramic view of Naxos from the boat

Sightseeing

The main attraction and symbol of Naxos is the giant marble gate of Portara . This is the supposed entrance to the temple of Apollo, the construction of which dates back to the 6th century BC. Only the gate and the foundations of the temple, which were never finished, are extant. The setting of the sun, with Portara as a backdrop, is an indescribable and fascinating spectacle that draws crowds of people in the evenings.

Another architectural jewel is the Venetian Fortress of Castro which is situated on a hill overlooking the city. Fortified castle was built by the Venetian Duke in XIII century and is perfectly preserved to this day. The facades of the houses of the nobility form the outer wall of the castle, which protected it from naval attacks. The fortress houses the Archaeological Museum of Naxos, which contains many unique finds of great historical value.

The seventeenth-century Bazeos Castle deserves special attention. For a long time it was the abode of monks and was empty until the noble Bazeos family rebuilt it in the nineteenth century. The castle now hosts regular art exhibitions as well as the annual Easter Festival of Naxos.

The most important religious attraction of the island is the Cathedral of St. John Chrysostom, located near Chora.

You can take part in a free guided tour, watch the making of wine and taste the best of this drink produced according to ancient technology in the village of Chalki, almost the entire territory of which is occupied by the famous distillery of Vallindras.

Tourists are also very interested in the unusual monuments of antiquity – kuroses. These are huge, carved in marble and lying directly on the ground statues of young men. Kouros of Dionysus reaches 10 meters in length and weighs almost 80 tons. You can see it in the marble quarry at Apollonas, where it has been lying since the 6th century BC. In Melaneses you can admire the six-metre kouros of Apollo.

Sunset at Portara

Sunset in Portara

Beaches

Naxos is famous for its excellent beaches. There are more than 20 of them, they cover about 100 km of the coastline of the island and are considered the best in Greece. You can choose among them the one that suits you the best.

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The beach of Chora, Agios Georgios, is preferred by campers with small children. The sea is shallow and has a smooth entrance. The beach is very busy and crowded.

The beach of Agios Prokopios is located around the capital and is the most popular beach of the island. It is one of the three best beaches of Greece and one of the ten best in Europe! It is a perfectly wind-protected beach with white quartz sand. The sea is so calm, clean and clear, that it can be compared with a huge swimming pool. The beach is very well equipped with all the necessary facilities for recreation and entertainment.

On the other side of Agios Prokopios, about 7km from Chora, you will find the beach of Agia Anna, surrounded by the cedars, and the beach of Plaka, appreciated by lovers of quiet and relaxing holidays. Here there are far fewer holidaymakers and noisy cafes. At Mikri Vigla beach you can enjoy the perfect conditions for windsurfing.

There are also lesser-known beaches, big and small, sandy and pebbly, romantic and secluded, but invariably beautiful and designed for an unforgettable holiday.

The Beaches of Naxos

Beaches of Naxos

Entertainment

For the fun-loving public, Naxos will remember the capital’s nightclubs and open-air beach discos. The entertainment programs with live music and fun theme parties will not let anyone get bored.

Experienced divers as well as novices will love the Taormina diving center, where you can rent all the necessary equipment and visit the most remarkable and picturesque scuba diving sites.

All kinds of stores, stalls and food pavilions welcome all fans of shopping every day. Do not ignore the markets of Chora, where you can buy original handicrafts, souvenirs and unique jewelry (eg, mother of pearl).

At the seashore you’ll find the best cafes and restaurants of the city, where you can taste the delicious Greek cuisine and, of course, taste the heady ruby drink, which has long been the patron of Dionysus. The island is also famous for its citron liquor, its cheeses and its medicinal thyme honey.

How to get there

Naxos has its own airport, so the easiest and fastest way to get there is by plane. There are regular flights to the island from Athens. The flight takes about 45 minutes and the schedule depends on the day of the week. In addition, there are good ferry connections to a number of Greek ports (Piraeus, Lavrio and Rafina). So you’ll spend more time, but you’ll enjoy your trip and you’ll save on your ticket. In general, thanks to its favorable location, Naxos has many sea routes and is easily accessible from the other Greek islands.

Come to Naxos! You’ll have a lot of fun on this small island!

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