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Things To Do In Naxos
Naxos island is a paradise on earth - it has the bluest and clearest of waters along with some really enchanting landscapes and historic sites. It lives up to the expectation of tourists as it has so much to offer! Whether you are looking for a relaxing family vacation or an adventurous short break - you will find it all. Here's a recommendation of the top things to do in Naxos. Get ready to start checking things off from your bucket list!
Enjoy its blue waters
Naxos has a plethora of beaches, as it is an island surrounded by sandy shores on all sides. Most beaches are well organised with some amount of watersports available - but the top 3 with the best sporting activities are Plaka, Agios Georgios and Saint George. Here you will find a variety of gaming and activities - apt for people of all ages - like kayaks, jet skis, waterskiing, banana boats, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing, kite surfing etc. You can also just visit different beaches and take in different landscapes. Some of the best beaches of Naxos are Agia Anna, Mikri Vigla, Agios Prokopios, Plaka, Aliko, Pyrgaki, Orkos, Sahara, little paradise etc.
Visit its picturesque villages
Apart from the main Naxos town where the port is, there are many smaller towns around the island that are very beautiful. Naxos is a mountainous island, so many of these villages sit on hills and offer panoramic views of the island. Visit towns like Apiranthos, Halki, Filoti, Potamia, Koronos, Melanes, Moutsouna, Kourounochori etc.
Explore its magical caves
There are many caves around the island - some accessible by land others only by water. The cave of Zas is located on the western side of Zas Mountain. The story around it was that Greek God Zeus found shelter here and was raised here. In fact, the mountain (and its cave) was named after him. It has interesting stalactites and stalagmites. You can hike up to the cave from Filoti or Danakos village.
Another beautiful cave is the Rina cave, which is accessible only by sea. You can take a boat to the bay of Rina and swim to the cave. You can also snorkel and explore its underwater corals which are quite beautiful.
Learn from its Museums
Naxos's history is more than 2000 years old, so of course, there is a lot to catch up on! Visit Archaeological Museum of Naxos which is located in Naxos town in an old Venetian mansion. There are some very interesting exhibits of findings from ancient times and many wonderful marble sculptures that Naxos has been famous for throughout its history. Some other museums to visit are the Venetian museum (also located in the main town), the Geological & Archaeological museums at Apiranthos, also the folk art museum at Apiranthos. You can also visit the Egares Olive Press Museum to get a glimpse into the world of Olives.
Visit Historic Sites
Since Naxos has a history that spans over 2000 years, there are some archaeological sites, museums (listed above) and also some interesting un-finished marble sculptures that have been found lying around. Archaeological sites include the Portara (the symbol of Naxos) which is actually ruins of a Temple of Apollo, Kouros of Apollonas, Acropolis of Panormos, ancient aqueducts of Naxos, the tower of Chimarros and the Temple of Demeter. Also visit the Kastro located in Old Town and Churches like the Catholic Kathedral, Agia Kyriaki and the Monastery of Fotodotis Christ from the Byzantine era.
Hike through Nature Trails
Naxos is an island with diverse landscapes - be it beaches, hills or the wild and rocky countryside. Walking and exploring the road less travelled is a great way to experience it. You can hike up Mount Zas, standing tall at a little over 1000 meters on Naxos or find amazing waterfalls amidst nature like Routsouna Waterfall in Keramoti. There are many hiking trails that connect the villages of Filoti, Apiranthos, Melanes, Halki and the valley of Tragea.
Tour its neighbouring islands
There are many boat trips you can do from Naxos. Since it is centrally located, you can easily do day trips to other Cyclades islands like Santorini, Mykonos & Delos, Paros Amorgos, Koufonisia etc. There are organised tours available with many of them inclusive of lunch. You can also just enjoy half-day excursions on a sailboat or a Catamaran.
Get a taste of its Kitron
Kitron is the traditional drink of Naxos. It is a liqueur, made from a fruit that is similar to lemons but not as bitter. While you do get Kitron at local shops all over the island, you can take this experience one step further by visiting the Vallindras Distillery in Halki where you will learn more about the process of making Kitron, get a glimpse of the machinery used and you can also sample the product. It is a small tour, but worth it if you are close by.