The Cyclades do consist of multiple islands but the largest remains Naxos. Perched literally between Santorini and Mykonos this is another island you like to consider if you want to stay away from the crowds but still appreciate the Greek island life. Naxos, might not be as busy as its neighbouring islands but it still has rich beaches, history and culture.
You can easily spend two-three days here and don’t worry there is amble of things to do around this gorgeous island, including day trips to the nearby islands!
Beaches – Naxos, is blessed with a beautiful coastline and that also means you will be having access to some alluring beaches like Agios Prokopios Beach, which isn’t too far from the main town of Chora and this 1.5km stretch of golden sand will please you. Another popular one is Plaka Beach where you can relax and unwind or indulge in water sports if you like. Mikri Vigla is probably another beach that you like to check out especially if you are into kite surfing or windsurfing. Lastly Alyko, this one is more than just a beach, it has crystal clear water, a cedar forest including dunes, and did you know it’s a protected area so not too many tourists go here but it is beautiful.
The old town of Chora – Start your expedition in this vibrant town by seeing the Portara, you must have already seen it too if you came by ferry, this architecture once used to be a part of the temple of Apollo which never got completed, it’s a great place to enjoy the sunset. You can also check out the medieval Castle of Naxos, the Mitropolis Museum or the Archaeological Museum of Naxos to know more about the history of the town. In the evenings you can even relish a movie at the open-air movie theatre called Cine Naxos. Lastly, don’t forget to stroll around the cobblestone alleyways, try some delicious Naxian cuisine and marvel at some of their churches.
Also just like Mykonos, Naxos also has its very own iconic windmills and it’s not too far away from Chora. The town of Vivlos has the famed windmills perched on the hill and it is quite a tourist site.
Villages in Naxos – Halki is about 25 min away from the main port lies a wonderful town of Halki, this village is literally what I dream Greece to be like, it’s a jewel. There are plenty of shops, Cafe’s and restaurants, along with the main square. Visit the 11th Century Church of Agios Giorgios Diasorites, it’s beautiful. The village of Apiranthos in Naxos is another place you shouldn’t miss it is located just 30km away from the main town, and it is also known as the Marble Village. This beautiful hillside village is definitely worth visiting. While you’re here, you can explore some of the local attractions, such as the Archaeological Museum of Apiranthos, the Museum of Folk Art, and the Geological Museum. In addition to the museums, there are also many cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy local cuisine. One of the most breathtaking landmarks in the village is the Panagia Apiratisissa church, which is the oldest church on the island. Overall, Apiranthos is a picturesque village that offers visitors a unique glimpse into the history and culture of Naxos.
Hike to Mount Zas and the cave – If you are into fitness and would like to take up a challenge then why not climb the mighty mountain of Zas, the view is worth it. There is also a cave somewhere between 600metres where you can see the stalactites and stalagmites formations.
Archaeological sites – Naxos, has an abundance of history and that’s why you can find many monasteries, ruins and museums. Some of the important sites on the island which you should consider checking out are Demetre Temple which was built around 530-520 BC which showcases the best use of the Naxos marble, Kouros of Melanes and Apollonas, both of which were statues dedicated to gods. A few more places of interest could be the Monastery of Fotodotis, Kalamitsia Monastery, Bazeos Tower and the popular Church of Panagia Drosiani.
While you can spend days exploring the entire island these in my suggestions are some of the best things to see, apart from that you can even do day trips to Islands such as Mykonos, Paros, Ano Koufonissi or a romantic day trip to Santorini.