Naxos took me by surprise. When I think of the Cyclades, my mind immediately goes to the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, and not much further. On board with G Adventures for their seven night sailing trip from Santorini to Mykonos (read the full review here), we made a stop on the beautiful island of Naxos for two days. We had an opportunity to see the rich history, landscape, and cuisine of this often overlooked island.
It could be said that Naxos is the darling of the Cyclades. Rolling golden hills, secluded pristine beaches, a bustling chora — all of this can be found on Naxos. The pace felt slower. There seemed to be no rush in the day, with the locals winding through the port to their usual business. The beaches felt untouched, and the crystal turquoise waters were proof of an island well cared for. Fisherman came in with their fresh catch, providing a Greek cuisine that was second to none. And at the end of the day, as the golden rays hit the shores, everyone slowed down into the night.
As the forty-eight hours came to a close on Naxos, I was left with the feeling of being a part of the island. I didn't feel like another passing stranger, I felt welcomed. Naxos has this way of pulling you in as one of the locals, providing a different experience to the Cyclades.
The Local Guide to Naxos, Greece
Where to Eat in Naxos:
- Small plates at Apostolis
- The taverna atop the Naxos Island Hotel
- The oldest tavern on the island, Lucullus Taverna
- The best ice cream around at the Waffle House (you'll want to visit a few times!)
- In the village of Apeiranthos, the traditional restaurant Platanos
- Elliniko in old town Naxos for good live music
- Giannis for lunch or early dinner
- A small family restaurant in old town, L'Osteria
What to Experience in Naxos:
- Explore the town of Naxos by foot
- Rent a car and beach hop to the stunning beaches of: Plaka Beach (considered the best), Parthena Beach, Kastraki Beach (the cleanest and longest), Mikri Vigla (cliffs with little coves to hike into with private beaches), Agios Prokopis and Agia Anna (both bustling and popular)
- Dive into the history of the Temple of Demeter
- Take a look at the traditional village of Apeirathos
- Take a picture under the famous Portara doorway near the port
- See the Kastro (castle) at the top of the whitewashed houses in town
- Visit the Venetian Museum of Naxos
Where to Shop in Naxos:
- Pocket Gallery for local artists and ceramics
- Stop in to buy incredible local cheese at Koufopoulos Emmanouil
- Pottery at Fish and Olive
- For handcrafted art pieces, head to El Gallery
- Adorable bookstore at Papyrus
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*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of G Adventures. As always, all opinions are own.