Let’s just get right into it and let me paint the scene of Naxos, Greece for you. Ferry door drops to the port’s cement grounds. White concrete buildings, shops, restaurants, hotels and apartments line the edge of the water in a narrow path. Blue shutters peek out from some of the buildings, as well as the faintest color of fuchsia from the bougainvillea flowers that grow along the outside walls of the shops. Sailboats cover the water that surrounds the Chora. To finish, the end of the Chora wraps itself up a stone path that leads to the top of a hill, where the marble archway of The Temple of Apollo stands tall and strong. Truly breathtaking.
Naxos has been a travel spot for those that look to getaway from the touristy streets such as that of Santorini and Mykonos, but still enjoy a larger island with similar beauty. Find yourself in Naxos with almost more beautiful architecture and landscape to photograph – I am talking this is a seriously Instagram worthy island! Also, Naxos rings in to be a bit more affordable compared to the other, more touristy islands.
Where to Stay:
Airbnb: George Studios
We stayed here for our 3 nights in Naxos and my family and I were beyond happy with the location and simple amenities. The showers were newly redone, it fit our group of 5 comfortably, and the huge balcony was a plus. Also, our Airbnb host welcomed us with homemade wine! Incredibly kind and hospitable staff.
The best part about this Airbnb and the location we stayed in was that it is footsteps from a the local beach, Agios Georgios, and about a 3 minute walk from the entire Chora. I suggest this area to stay in for anyone traveling to Naxos, it was very convenient.
Book Georges Studios Airbnb HERE!
If you are staying in the Chora you can get to Georgios Beach by foot and the entire Choras strip, up to Apollo’s temple by foot. Everything in the Chora is a pretty reasonable walking distance.
When we wanted to venture out for beach days we rented a car right in the Chora from Drive Time. There are many options to pick from.
Be aware that the roads in Naxos are very tight and confusing. The roads are literally a maze, and some are too narrow for cars to go down. Make sure you have a map up and a passenger that can guide the driver on where to turn because it was pretty difficult getting out of the Chora. Once you are out, Naxos has fairly easy open roads.
Things to Do:
Dinner in the Chora:
Naxos Chora is amazing for food because you can get anything you’re craving right on the main strip, which is Ariadnis road. The restaurants have their indoor seating, and then directly in front of their storefront they have outdoor seating set up under large tents. I had never experienced this from the other islands we had been on. The layout was unique and honestly, genius! And every restaurant is like that along the main strip with the port’s water just feet away from you.
Each night you can enjoy the option of walking down Ariadnis road and picking whatever cuisine you would like that night. Many will be traditional Greek restaurants, seafood or Italian. And almost every time you will get seated immediately.
There are many beaches all over the island of Naxos. If you are staying in the main Chora though, there will be a few that are your closest, best options.
Agios Georgios Beach:
I personally do not recommend this beach to anyone that is looking for a beautiful white sand beach setting in Greece. This beach is closest to the Chora, which means it’s small, very crowded and not the cleanest.
Agios Georgios Beach also has a massive supermarket directly behind the front end of the beach which is great when you need a snack run or regular grocery shopping from your Airbnb. Use this beach as your first option when you just get off the ferry and are looking for a quick beach stop.
Agios Prokopios Beach:
This beach was a bit busier but in a really cute little town in Naxos. The Chora of Agios Prokopios has hotels, beach stores, bakeries and restaurants all over. You can enjoy the beach or walk around the shops to make it a day for the best of both worlds.
Travel time: 10-15 minute drive from the Naxos Chora
Plaka is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Naxos, and it was personally our favorite out of the three we had visited. A local recommended it to us saying it was her favorite beach because it was never crowded, due to the beach only being accessible by a dirty road. It lessens the amount of visitors and she wasn’t wrong! We had a peaceful, beach filled day here at Plaka, and stopped to grab lunch at one of the many restaurant options that line the dirt road. Expect soft sand and bright blue Grecian waters at this beach.
Travel Time: 15-17 minute drive from the Naxos Chora
Temple of Apollo:
The coolest thing about Naxos is hands down Temple of Apollo. And really the fact that this door-like temple is positioned right at the beginning of the Chora, on its own piece of land you have to walk up a stone path to reach. The temple overlooks the sea and the Chora around it. It’s one of the most breathtaking sites I’ve seen.
Temple of Apollo is a huge marble gate and the only remaining part of an unfinished temple of Apollo from 530 BC. It stands tall at the tip of the island as a main landmark. The temple is connected to the mainland of Naxos by a paved walkway. It is incredible to see this temple standing tall and strong as you get off your Ferry and arrive in Naxos, or when you’re just casually eating on Ariadnis road in the Chora. It is a staple to Naxos and the people who live there.
How to See the Temple: The Temple of Apollo is free to visit. Just walk the path up the hill to reach the temple. I highly suggest doing this right before sunset. Take time to sit and watch the sunset directly behind the tower. It is a beautiful sight, and you could hear the large crowd almost hold their breath as the sun just disappeared behind the waters horizon. We have to LIVE for speechless moments like this.
Discover the Chora:
The Naxos Chora is AMAZING and definitely in my top 3 favorite Choras – let alone island in Greece. The entire village is spread across the port along the water which has rows and rows of boats docked along it – this is Ariadnis road. The Chora winds in all directions with shops and restaurants at every corner. You will never have to re-eat at the same place for all your meals, including dessert! There are so many options that you can try something new each day.
Might I just add how beautiful Naxos Chora is. If you love Santorini and Mykonos for their picturesque villages and white concrete buildings, Naxos has it! But, with more color. There are touches of color throughout the entire village that you won’t be able to get enough of.
Where To Eat/Drink
Yasouvlaki: We loved this restaurant located in the Chora on Ariadnis road. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the menu, just get the classic pork gyro as your main and of course, the souvlakia – which is what they are known for! We also got one of our favorite dishes which is spaghetti and classic Greek meat sauce (“macaronia me keema” is how you’ll order it in Greek!).
We also ordered the “flaming cheese” aka “saganaki”, and an order of bread to put it on – so good!
This place was really amazing. Classic Greek cuisine and many other items on the menu if you’re feeling something different.
Il Girasole: We tried two Italian restaurants in the Chora on Ariadnis road and this one was one of our favorites. Order the massive calzone and you will not be disappointed!
Rendez-vous: Simple and tasty breakfast. If you go inside, they have a stocked bakery for you to get your favorites on the go. We sat down and ordered eggs and bacon, and for me, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. It was incredible. If you haven’t had fresh Greek yogurt IN Greece before you have to give it a try when you visit!
Taverna Naxos: I’m sharing this restaurant because we weren’t able to dine there on our trip, but I wanted to SO badly – really because the outside of the restaurant looked jaw droopingly beautiful. Sit in their narrow outdoor section that is covered by a canopy of bright pink bougainvillea flowers. The vines of the flowers wrap around the entire restaurant. A beautiful restaurant that looked like it had a great menu. Something to try for next time!
Swing Rooftop Bar: You can’t miss this bar along Ariadnis road in the Chora. The steep steps that lead to the rooftop are on the side of the building (see picture below). The bar has a super cute menu printed on record players, fun drinks and a beautiful view of the sea. Be warned though: The drinks are expensive for what they give you. The really only filled our glasses half way with the actual cocktails we ordered. Definitely a fun place to try out though!
Shop This Look!
Checkout this Reel from my Instagram (@katerinaharos) that I made of our trip to Naxos to see some of the places we visited in action!
Let me know if you are planning a trip to Naxos, Greece in the new year! Naxos is one of my new favorite islands in Greece, and I personally think it is a MUST stop at on your trip. I can’t wait to visit again and discover more of this beautiful island.