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8 Best things to see & do in Naxos

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: John Malathronas

Day trip to the Lesser Cyclades

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Day trip to the Lesser Cyclades

Experience

Pleasure boats leave daily for day trips to the small islands around Naxos. Expect clear, pristine beaches overlooked by simple tavernas at Iraklia and Schinoussa. Book through any of the travel agencies by the main bus station.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 day

Portara, Temple of Apollo

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Portara, Temple of Apollo

Experience

The conspicuous ‘Gate to Nowhere’ should have led to the never-completed Temple of Apollo, but today it’s is the perfect place to watch the glorious Aegean sunsets. It was allegedly built on the spot where the cad Theseus abandoned faithful Ariadne who’d helped him kill the Minotaur.

Good for age: 13+

Hike to top of Mount Zas

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Hike to top of Mount Zas

Experience

At 1001m, the highest peak in the Cyclades is a challenge to hikers; start either from the bus terminus in the village of Filoti or, if you have a car, drive to the chapel of Agia Marina. The trail is easy, shaded and well-signposted with some incredible panoramas at the top.

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 2 hours

Venetian castle of Naxos

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Venetian castle of Naxos

Experience

Naxos was the capital of the 13th-century Venetian conquests in the Cyclades, and the Kastro fortifications bear witness to its importance. Gothic gates, cobbled narrow streets, Roman Catholic cathedrals, mansions with heraldic coats of arms, an Ursuline school (now the Archaeological museum) – are all still lived in.

Good for age: 18+

Valindras Kitron Distillery

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Valindras Kitron Distillery

Experience

This unassuming village, 16km from the capital, claims 13th-century frescos in the Panagia Protothronis church and a 17th-century Venetian Tower. But it’s the Valindras kitron distillery that everyone comes to visit: tour the factory, take part in tastings, and buy some bottles to take home.

Good for age: 18+

Apeiranthos

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Apeiranthos

Experience

With no fewer than five quirky museums, and the air of a forbidding mountain lair, the village of Apeiranthos, all laid out in Naxiot local marble, is the perfect place to experience the island’s wild mountainous interior.

Good for age: 18+

Temple of Demeter

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

Temple of Demeter

Experience

Reached easily by car in central Naxos, this partly reconstructed temple that dates back more than 2500 years was a stylistic milestone for many reasons – explained comprehensively through the English signage – but, most importantly, it was the first in Greece to be built wholly in marble.

Good for age: 18+

The Kuoroi

  • Naxos, Greek Islands, Greece

The Kuoroi

Experience

The most unusual sight on Naxos is the unfinished statues of Kouros, still half-chiselled in-situ in two separate ancient marble quarries. One, measuring 12m, stands above the village of Apollonas, while two smaller ones (ca 5-6m) sit by the village of Flerio. It’s still a mystery why they remained unfinished.

Good for age: 13+