Take the Naxos trip with us! We spent 4 wonderful days in Naxos, the island was a gem to discover, full of surprises! The roads of Naxos lead to some of the best beaches in Greece, but also to gorgeous mountain villages, and mysterious archaeological sites, and some of the best beaches in Greece.
Sea Naxos’ best beaches
When it comes to beaches, Naxos has an endless offer for you to choose from. Such an extended territory, it counts with a very long coastal area where turquoise waters and soft white sand recall some of the best places in the Caribbean. And yet, you’re still in Greece.
One of the many great things that Naxos has to offer is the quantity but also the quality of its beaches. And the variety of choices.
From relaxing sandy shores, ideal for families and kids, to secluded pebble beaches, romantic coves, and even naturist areas. Solitary beaches as well as fashionable hangouts with tavernas and cafés, and ideal spots for snorkeling and diving.
With only four days to spend on the island and so many places to see, we decided to try the best-known shores of the islands.
Making it a choice based mostly on beaches that suited our kid’s needs: safe, shallow and sandy. Three were the beaches that captured us, and everyone in the family enjoyed the three of them so much.
Agios Prokopios Beach
Agios Prokopios was the most obvious and comfortable choice for us. Being our hotel in Stelida, reaching Agios Prokopios was easy and fast.
This is a fantastic beach that stretches out to reach and almost unite, with the next beach of Agia Anna. Quite busy during the Summer for its shallow turquoise waters, this beach is super safe for kids.
Right in front of the beach, the tiny village of Agios Prokopios offers a wide choice of hotels and studios. Restaurants, tavernas, and bars are also available for those wanting to spend the whole day on the beach.
Continuing on the road that leaves Agia Anna to the south, the first beach you reach is Maragas, a solitary angle of Naxos. Here, it is possible to sunbathe without any clothes. The sea is calm and waters idyllic. Soft dunes and hidden coves, with a few trees, offer a refreshing shadow. All characteristics that make this place a true gem. Few tavernas place their little tables on the sand and… heaven is served.
Next to Maragas stands Plaka, one of the most beautiful beaches of Naxos. Several kilometers of soft, clear sand and vibrant blue seas. Here you can choose between organized beach areas and other more solitary where nudism is very common.
According to us, this is one of the most beautiful spots in Naxos for sea lovers, and it would definitely be our beach of choice if we were to spend several weeks on the island.
Right opposite the shore, there is a long promenade with nice bars, a few supermarkets, and a few boutique hotels. The place is animated during the high season, but it doesn’t really disturb the peaceful and wide beach.
Mikri Vigla Beach
Mikri Vigla has all the paradisiacal touches of an exotic beach. Crystal clear waters and soft, mild winds. A few rocks on the shore and an extremely relaxing atmosphere.
Considered one of the finest beaches of the Aegean, there are two different shores divided by a rocky hill. This disposition allows you to swim or relax no matter where the wind blows from.
The southern side of Mikri Vigla is called Limanaki. The shore is about 1 kilometer long, ideal for children as it’s protected from the north wind. There are impressive underwater scenarios, being even possible to spot soles and even octopus!
Parthenos is located on the northern side of Mikri Vigla. This is a small bay, perfect for windsurfing and kite surfing thanks to the north wind of the Cyclades, the Meltemi, which usually blows in this area.
The proximity of Paros Island creates unique conditions where the wind blowing through the strait between the two islands speeds up. Closeness to Paros also prevents the creation of too high waves granting an ideal spot for both windsurfers and kite surfers of any level.
If you don’t want to explore the island on your own, you can always rely on a comfortable organized visit. Check these tours of Naxos and book your next adventure on the island.
Archaeological sites of Naxos
Naxos has always been an interesting point for archeologists, historians, and people with an interest in history and culture. The island’s extension, together with its central position in the Aegean and its rich soil have made it a self-sufficient territory thus allowing an important development.
Several archaeological findings on Naxos prove the presence of an advanced society quite early in times, as from the Neolithic. Among the several findings dating back several thousands of years, we can count temples and the well-known Kouros.
The most famous archaeological site you will find on Naxos is right by the port, and it’s one of the first things you’ll see of the island if you arrive on a ferry. The Portara (or Great Door) is a huge gate made of marble located on the small islet of Palatia, also known as the isle of Ariadne.
The islet, which used to be a hill, is nowadays connected to the main island of Naxos by a modern path however it used to be a strip of land. The doorway is about 6 meters high and it was built with 4 different columns of which only three remain.
Part of the marble used to build the castle of Naxos comes from the remains of the area, probably from the missing column and other structures in the area now completely gone.
According to Greek mythology, it was on this piece of land that the young Theseus abandoned Ariadne on their way from Crete to Athens after he had killed the Minotaur (you can read the whole story in the article I wrote about Knossos).
There’s some controversy as to what the Portara exactly stands for. For some researches, the structure was part of the biggest temple that was supposed to be built in Naxos around 525 B.C., but when the ruler was overthrown the works were never finished.
Some others, instead, claim that this temple, which was never completed, was erected to honor god Apollo (in fact, that’s exactly what you read in the local signposts). Still, others believe that it was supposed to become a temple to celebrate Dionysus (who married Ariadne and is the patron god of the island).
The sanctuary of Demeter
The sanctuary of Demeter, also known as the Temple of Sangri is a Late Archaic Greek temple in the area of Gyroulas. It was probably built around 530 B.C., and it’s one of the earliest temples of the Ionic order. The sanctuary is completely made with Naxian marble.
There’s also a small but pretty museum you can visit in the archaeological site. It hosts a collection of other findings from the same area, including sculptures and different pieces of the temple itself.
It also presents parts of a late Christian temple, built on the site, when the sanctuary was demolished.
The museum is perfect to understand the temple and the reconstruction that it features paint a perfect picture of how the area used to be.
It’s better to pay first a visit to the museum and then head to the temple. The museum also exhibits rests of pottery, vases, and jewelry.
According to research, the temple contains several unusual characteristics. For instance, the ground plan is almost square, while most Greek temples used to have a rectangular plan.
The entrance to the archeological site and museum is free. They are both open to the public from 8.30 to 15.00 (as most archaeological sites in Greece, it’s closed on Mondays).
The kouros in the village of Melanes
The island of Naxos is home to three ancient Kouroi, beautiful giant statues from the 7th to the 6th centuries B.C.
A kouros (in the plural, kouroi, pronounced /ku’-ri/) is a statue that represents a free-standing, nude young male. The ones in Naxos have an impressive size and are considered very mysterious because they have been abandoned incomplete.
One of them is located quite far from the Chora, on a hillside overlooking the village of Apollonas, in the north of the island. We visited the other two which can be reached easily, in the village of Melanes, less than 20 minutes from the old town.
The statue in Apollonas lies horizontally on the ground and it’s about 10 meters long. Archaeologists consider that this kouros is probably a statue of the Greek god Dionysus.
The other two statues are in the village to Melanes, they were not easy to find, (in fact, the road signs start to appear only after Melanes) but they are worth the visit… and the hike in the morning heat!
These two statues have been in the same spot for over 2.500 years. Researchers believe that the sculptors abandoned them in the place where they are now when the stone cracked under their chisels.
The first of the two kouroi is a few meters from the parking lot. But to reach the second, instead, you will need to hike a hillside for about 15 minutes.
The hike was worth it also because the view of the mountains and the underlying valley is impressive. Remember to have water with you and to wear comfortable shoes too!
Where to stay in Naxos
When we visited Naxos, we spend the most wonderful days in the amazing Villas of the Naxian Luxury Collection, here you can read our review and here you can book a stay. Otherwise, you can check these places which are more budget-friendly.
Places to stay in Naxos island
- Sagri Village Vacation Home is the old town and it’s a roomy accommodation great for families. Check reviews, prices, and book here.
- For a stay in the mountain village of Filoti, Smilis Villa House is another place good for families or bigger groups. Check it here.
- In Halki check Motel Halki for a budget stay and Elaiolithos Luxury Retreat if your budget is more flexible.
- For a stay by the beach, Nikos & Maria Studios are opposite Plaka Beach, and it has and convenient fees. You can book in here. Near Agia Anna Beach, you can check Orion Naxos Hotel or the more affordable Despina Hotel. Both of them with top reviews.
- In Agios Prokopios, you can check Alykes Studios, you will love the beachfront location and unique views of the beach.
- Finally, if you are looking for a more isolated position, or if you are more of a mountain than a beach type of persone, a stay in Melanes can be great idea. Check the prices and reviews of Villa Elia.
The Tiny Book especially wants to thank Vangelis and Maria from Summer Car Naxos, in Agios Prokopios, for providing us a comfortable way to visit such a big island.
In Naxos, having a car to visit the whole island an just a few days is a must. It will save you time on public transportation and it’s the most authentic way to explore the island. This local rental office has excellent prices and modern units. Their cars will take you safely from one tip to the island to the other.
What’s your favorite beach in Naxos?
Let me know in the comments below!
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About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!