Naxos is one of the seminal Greek islands. Indeed, it is said to be the birthplace of mythical Zeus. It wasn’t always this way. For centuries the fiercely independent inhabitants of the island dominated trade in the region, until finally joining the Greek state in the 19th century. This unique, individual spirit lives on here, with towns and villages full of charming, quirky architecture, surrounded by ancient archaeological sites. Definitely one for those who enjoy a little culture and history with their golden sands and retsina.
Where to go
Have an early morning dip before walking through the Kastro district of Naxos Town. There, find tiny boutiques selling fashion, crafts and antiques in the winding streets and alleys of the Old Town. Explore the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, before heading to the island’s Archaeological Museum, full of treasures from bygone ages. Step through the Portara, the massive marble doorway that is the only remnant of a huge temple. Swim in the cool, clear waters off the beaches and coves surrounding the island. Sit outside an island tavern, drinking wine and watching the islanders engaged in what they’ve done for centuries - enjoying the good life.
Food & Drink
Cheese is one of Naxos’ specialities - you must try it while you’re there. Patoudo, a herby lamb dish is another regional dish that will satisfy for lunch or dinner. To eat well on Naxos we recommend Axiotissa (Near Glyfáda) for amazing, tasty Naxian dishes, all produced with organic, local ingredients. If you’re in the mood for something a little more casual, Giannis (Halki main square) does Greek comfort food, presented welL
While not one of Greece’s party islands, there’s enough nightlife on Naxos to ensure a good night out. On The Rock (Dionýsou) does a fine line in cocktails, DJs and the occasional live set. If you’re looking for something traditional with a slight funky twist, Jazz & Blues (Paleá Agorá) has a great setting, terrific music and a relaxed, friendly crowd.
Where to stay
Our pick for Naxos is Nastasia Village Boutique Hotel
in Chora, the island’s capital. This utter charmer prides itself on the bespoke personal service it provides - anything from private pilates sessions to sailing tours of the islands can be organised for guests. The hotel itself is chic, minimalist, light and airy and evocative of the traditional whitewashed buildings found across the Greek islands. The hotel does fabulous breakfasts and, later in the day, cocktails, but you’ll want to venture across the island for some of the best restaurants (see above) you’ll find in the region. How to get there
In season, British Airways and Easyjet fly to either Mykonos and Santorini. From there, ferries travel between the islands daily.