A true gem frequently neglected thanks to its neighbors Santorini, Mykonos, and Paros, Naxos is slowly emerging as one of the best value-for-money Greek Islands.
Be it a delicious meal, a stunning sandy beach, or a fun night out, Naxos has everything (almost) all top-of-the-line Greek islands have — just at a much more reasonable price.
But the budget is just the beginning — unless you know the best time to visit Naxos, you won’t be able to enjoy your stay there or plan how to spend your budget, as each season comes with different activities, festivals, and travel expectations.
This is where we step in with our detailed Naxos guide, and by the time you finish reading it, you will have fallen in love with an island you’ll never want to leave.
Why You Should Visit Naxos in 2023
Few people need convincing to visit a Greek island and enjoy a perfect Mediterranean stay, but here are the reasons why Naxos is going to be one of the best Greek islands you could ever visit anyway:
- Naxos boasts some spectacular beaches — Plaka Beach, Agios Prokopios Beach, Mikri Vigla Beach (Parthena), Pyrgaki Beach, and Mikri Vigla Beach (Parthena). The best part? Even in the busiest of seasons, you’ll still manage to find enough elbow room.
- The quaint villages will leave you in awe. Usually off the beaten path, these villages have preserved their authentic Greek setting, laid-back vibe, and playful nature and are in perfect balance with their surrounding scenery.
- Naxos has some pretty interesting points of interest, such as the Temple of Apollo – Portara, Óros Zévs, Holy Paleochristian Church of Panagia Drosiani, the Temple of Demeter, Apollonas Kouros, Faragi Kouros, Monastery Fotodoti, and Bazeos Tower.
- The food on the island is so good that real foodies may find themselves spending more time in the taverns than on the beach. The following dishes are an absolute must: Naxian Greek salad, kebab, gyro (it’s Greece, after all), potatoes with melted Graviera cheese, Kataifi with ice cream, and lemon roasted lamb served with steamed rice.
- Chora, Naxos’ old town, becomes a visitor’s favorite even after the very first stroll. From narrow streets, fancy stores on every corner, and vibrant cafes to enjoy the view, Chora has a charm few old island towns can live up to.
- The island caters to family needs, too. Whether you decide to go for something fun, like the Aqua Fun Water Park Naxos, learning about history in the Eggares Olive Press Museum, a horse ride with the Naxos Horse Riding Club, or simply go sailing and enjoy your time on Naxos, the island won’t disappoint.
- For all of you mythology fans out there — did you know Zeus is alleged to have grown up in Naxos, hidden away from his ferocious father, Cronus? You can even visit Zeus’ childhood cave during your stay.
- The Cyclades are famous for their marble production, and Naxos is no exception. If you’re interested in a marble carving workshop, check out some of the local tours and get ready for an experience out of the ordinary! Sure, you won’t become a marble expert right away, but you’ll end up with a nice souvenir to take home with you.
Overall Best Time to Visit Naxos
The overall best time to visit Naxos is in summer (June–August). These months have the highest temperatures (they usually vary between lows of 75°F and highs of 79°F) and the most daylight, making it the ideal period for beachgoers to bask in the sun or enjoy the water.
Water-based sports are in full swing, too — be it kneeboard, waterskiing, jet skiing, or canoe kayaking, you’re bound to have fun.
Those interested in more dynamic activities should try kitesurfing and windsurfing. The Meltemi winds provide the perfect conditions for both activities in this three-month summer period, and the ideal beach for it is Mikri Vigla.
Island hopping is also on the table, and for many, it’s the highlight of their stay in Greece. You get to enjoy popular nearby islands such as Paros, Santorini, and Mykonos.
With that said, this season is not only the busiest but also the most expensive one, thanks to the big demand.
Naxos isn’t as crowded as Santorini or Mykonos, though, and chances are you’ll be able to find accommodation if you visit in summer, but do make sure to book your stay at least several months in advance.
Summer also sees plenty of festivities and events taking place, the major one being The Naxos Summer Festival at Bazeos Tower. The festival organizes a plethora of cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions to stimulate the connection between domestic and international cultures.
There’s also the Klidonas Custom — one of the most significant traditional events, where a fire is lit in the name of purification, which happens annually on June 24.
A popular August event, Axia International Festival unites music and art lovers. In summer, there are also many feast days and celebrations, providing visitors with plenty of insights into local rituals, food, and religious ceremonies.
Here are the ones you should be on the lookout for:
- The feast day of Agioi Apostoloi (Melanes village), June 29
- The feast day of Agia Kyriaki (Potamia village), July 7;
- Celebrating Agios Nikodimos Agioritis (the island’s patron saint) (Chora), July 14;
- A festival devoted to Agia Marina (Koronos village), July 17;
- The feast day of Agia Anna (Agia Anna), July 25
- The feast day of Agios Panteleimon (Agersani village), July 27;
- The feast day of the Transfiguration of Jesus the Savior (Glinado, Kourounochori, and Damarionas), August 6;
- The feast day of Virgin Mary (Naxos and nearby villages), August 15;
- The feast day of Holy Virgin’s novena (Tripodes village), August 23;
- The feast day of Agios Ioannis (Agersani, Apollonas, and Apiranthos), August 29.
Cheapest Time to Visit Naxos
Wish to save some money while enjoying the island? Then, consider heading in the fall (September–November).
Hotel rates are way lower than in summer, but don’t expect different food, drink, and transportation prices. Scoring attractive flight deals is possible at this time, too.
Besides the affordable prices, travelers love the early fall period because it allows them to enjoy the sea without sharing it with the summer crowds. Hiking is on the table as well.
Having some of the best hiking terrain of the Cyclades, Naxos invites enthusiasts to hit some of the available trails, such as those around Chalki, Zas, Tragea, and Apeiranthos.
For all of you wine lovers out there, note that fall marks the beginning of the wine harvest season. If this sounds exciting, make sure to attend the yearly Dionysia Festival in honor of the god Dionysus.
Promising plenty of wine, free delicacies, and great music, the Dionysia Festival is for those who wish to enjoy their stay on the island to the fullest.
If you visit in October/November, take note of the Rakee Distilery Festival, allowing visitors to enjoy a popular local drink. September 8 is the celebration of the feast day of Panagia Theoskepasti in Potamia and Komiaki.
The fall months on the island have average temperatures between 63°F and 75°F.
Finally, note that Naxos is more affordable than some other Greek islands, such as Mykonos and Santorini, so chances are you’ll have a nice holiday without having to break the bank.
Least Busy Time to Visit Naxos
The least busy time to visit Naxos is in spring (March–May). If you wish to enjoy Naxos in tranquility and get the chance to be surrounded by locals rather than tourists, spring has you covered.
The temperatures at this time fluctuate between 56°F and 68°F. Such weather is comfortable enough for sightseeing, heading to Naxos’ archeological sites, and unwinding on some of the beaches, but also for more dynamic activities such as biking and hiking.
If you’re willing to undertake more challenging hiking routes, check out the ruins at the temples of Demeter and Apollo. Those brave enough to swim can try doing so, as the seawater temperature is still quite cold.
May 20 hosts the feast day of Agios Thaleleos in the Agios Thaleleos village; May 20 has the Panagia Argokiliotissa festivity, an event taking place on Holy Friday in Kronos village and featuring plenty of wine and great delicacies.
If you make it to Naxos for Easter, expect a myriad of religious celebrations, rituals, and fun festivities. All villages have their own set of traditions, so you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the way different regions celebrate the same holiday.
Worst Time to Visit Naxos
Naxos is always lovely, but heading there in winter (December–February) isn’t the best travel decision you can make.
These three months see temperatures hovering around 53°F during the day and 60°F at night, with January leading the way, as it’s the coldest and the rainiest month of them all.
Winters on the island never see extreme temperatures, but the rainfall and the wind don’t make them pleasant either. Such unpredictable weather can certainly affect your itinerary.
Also, hitting the beach isn’t quite possible in winter, so beachgoers should definitely stay away from Naxos during these months. That said, the beaches are ideal for an afternoon walk just before sunset. Winters are great for some museum hopping, too, especially when it’s raining.
However, visiting in winter also means you’ll find very few tourists and, unfortunately, fewer open restaurants and hotels. Ferries and buses also have a limited working schedule.
Things get more dynamic with the arrival of the carnival season, though. From visually appealing parades and local music to fun traditions and customs, the carnival alone is worth coming to Naxos during winter.
Things to Consider
We want you to have the best island stay possible, so we compiled several of our favorite Naxos tips to make sure you have a whale of a time:
- If you’re an American citizen, you may enter the country visa-free and stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
- Naxos Airport is a national airport and has only daily flights from Athens. Reaching other islands is only possible via ferries.
- Although the meltemi winds can be helpful when engaging in some activities, such as kitesurfing, they can be dangerous when you go for a swim.
- While you can pay on most beaches, stores, restaurants, and bars with a credit card, remote villages operate more on a cash-only basis. Also, finding ATMs is a piece of cake in Naxos Town, but in the villages — not so much.
- Taxis are pricey — if possible, stick to buses. That said, buses don’t run in the more remote villages. If you’re renting a bike or a moped, be careful, as Greek drivers tend to be aggressive. Plus, the mountain roads can be challenging for non-locals to navigate in any case.
- Most restaurants require reservations, so plan ahead and book a table, especially if you visit during the peak summer season.
- To ensure hassle-free ferry rides, download the Ferryhopper app.
- If you’re planning on hiking, make sure to reapply SPF repeatedly, bring water, wear sunglasses and a hat. Also, check the weather conditions before you set off.
- Not only is driving in Greece with flip-flops considered illegal, but it’s also highly unsafe for you and the rest of the people with you. To avoid hefty fines and to make sure everyone’s safe, have an extra pair of comfortable shoes with you at all times in the car.
- Tap water is generally considered safe to drink, but stick to bottled water if you feel more comfortable that way.
- Naxos is generally a safe island to visit, however, some common precautions still apply as they do anywhere — don’t leave your drink unattended, keep your valuables safe at all times, and don’t wander late at night on your own, to name a few.
- Get travel insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days do you need on Naxos?
We suggest spending at least three days on Naxos — the island has plenty of sights, villages, beaches, and delicacies to be tried out. However, if you hope to visit nearby islands and use Naxos as a base, spending a week should suffice.
Why is Naxos so cheap?
For a seven-day stay on Naxos, you’ll need $1460 if you’re traveling solo, $2620 if you’re with a partner, and $4900 if you’re visiting as a family of four.
Hotel prices range from $40 to $215 (on average, $65 per night), whereas most vacation rentals will charge you $150-$590 per night for the entire accommodation.
Don’t rely on these figures, though — having insights into previous travelers’ data is useful, but by the time you make it to Naxos, it will likely have changed.
Do you need a car on Naxos?
While you can navigate the island using public transportation and renting a bike/scooter, renting a car allows you to do so at your own pace. Plus, you can visit more remote areas and make your own itinerary instead of relying on the public transportation schedule. Plus, car rentals aren’t expensive on Naxos.
If you decide to rent a car, however, make sure you have an International Driving Permit.
Is it better to go to Naxos or Paros?
While both islands provide visitors with the same Greek island experience and have very similar architecture, beaches, and traditional villages, Paros is much fancier and more glamorous, whereas Naxos is laid-back and truly authentic. Also, Paros is much busier and more crowded compared to Naxos.
Does Naxos have nightlife?
Nights at Naxos can get pretty dynamic, but not in a crazy, party-till-you-drop kind of night. Expect beach bars, restaurants, and typical Greek taverns staying open until midnight, as well as bars offering different kinds of music — from traditional Greek music to jazz.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|👍 Best Time to Visit||June to August|
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit||September to November|
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit||March to May|
|👎 Worst Time to Visit||December to February|
All in all, Naxos is a spectacular island for your next holiday, and there’s something to appreciate irrespective of which period you decide to visit.