Lying at the heart of a unique group of islands at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Naxos is a jewel in the azure blue Aegean Sea. Huge spectacular sandy beaches, sand dunes covered in a rare cedar forest, 1000 meter mountains, lush green valleys, fertile planes, caves, rivers and fresh water springs. These are a few of the reasons that see the regular return of the informed traveler and the frequent accidental tourist. Whatever you look for in a summer break, Naxos has it all. Whether you like to laze around on beaches or tour the islands wealth of historical sites, you won’t be disappointed.
From Naxos city centre (Chora) in the west, the coast south is almost one continuous sandy beach stretching for almost 30 km. Even at the busiest times it’s possible to be on the beach alone. Rise early enough and find your very own little cove for the day. During the hot summer months these beaches are cooled by the prevailing north wind (meltemi). Windsurfers and kite surfers arrive from all over Europe for some of the best conditions possible. Horse riding and scuba diving are available for the more adventurous. Beach life is not for everyone, there are hundreds of kilometers of tarmac roads. Naxos is 448 sq km; it has about 40 villages and a population of 19,000. The road north of Naxos town has glorious scenery and many rocky beaches. Stop for lunch in Apollonas and visit the Kouros statue which was carved in the 7th century BC. The journey back through the high mountain villages is spectacular. Koronos and Moni for amazing views and 6th century churches.
Naxos is not as commercialized as some of its Cycladic neighbours. This is partly due to its self sufficiency, often supplying the surrounding islands with fruit, olives and potatoes. They also mine for marble and emery. And partly because of the airport not being able to handle international flights. Olympic airlines operate a daily 50 seat connection from Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport. The vast majority of visitors arrive by ship from the main ports of Athens (Piraeus and Rafina) and the surrounding islands. Tourism has grown considerably since the airport opened in 1993, but not enough to change the special character of Naxos. Most of the commercialism is confined to the attractive port of Naxos town, with a magical mix of ancient and modern, the port is dominated by a Venetian castle. Narrow paths and streets wind their way down to the seafront, where you can find all the modern amenities of a busy town, banks, restaurants, cafes, travel agencies and supermarkets.