The Greek island of Naxos is truly a special place to go on vacation. The largest island in the Cyclades island group is one of the most popular destinations within Greece, with tourist numbers growing exponentially each year.
The beauty of Naxos is that the island is big enough to have something for everyone. Beach bums can enjoy the amenities of Agios Georgios or remote beaches such as Moutsouna.
Adventure lovers can explore the rugged interior, including hiking up Mount Zas. There are plenty of ancient ruins such as the ancient temple of Dimitra and medieval castles to keep history lovers occupied.
There are clubs for party lovers, but they’re not so loud that they disturb the many families on vacation.
All of these activities occur against a backdrop of beautiful weather, a gorgeous blue sea, and a laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle that prioritizes the fine things in life, such as delicious cuisine.
But while it may seem perfect, perception and reality don’t always mix. To learn more about the reality of visiting Naxos, especially safety challenges, keep reading this detailed travel guide.
Is Naxos Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes, Naxos is a very safe place to visit! The laid-back atmosphere and tight-knit community feeling of the island mean that residents and visitors alike tend to feel safe there.
Petty crime can occur, especially when there are big tourist crowds, but the crime rate overall is fairly low.
It helps that Naxos is in Greece, a country that most people assume is safe. In fact, most national governments assess that Greece is safe when preparing travel advisories for their citizens going abroad.
The United States places Greece under a Level One travel advisory, just telling people to exercise normal precautions the same as they would when traveling to the next town over.
Most of the problems that countries such as Australia mention in their travel advisories for Greece are relevant in big cities such as Athens or more populous tourist destinations such as Mykonos.
Naxos is simply too small and sleepy to experience problems such as civil unrest or terrorism. Crime is one of the only real problems that you might encounter, and even the crime rate is fairly low.
Most crime incidents are petty in nature, such as:
- Theft of unattended items
- Bag snatching
- Break-ins (accommodation and vehicle)
- Drink spiking
- Drug-related offenses
These incidents can all happen on Naxos, but their frequency is usually few and far between. While you should take precautions to protect yourself, you don’t have to let worry about crime affect your vacation.
Naxos is also at risk of Mediterranean-wide extreme weather conditions. Greek summers are notoriously hot and arid. Visitors can sometimes get sunburns or heatstroke if they are not careful.
It’s good to follow the lead of locals — drink plenty of water and take a break mid-day from exploring instead of walking around in the sun. The hot summers come with a more serious risk than a pesky sunburn: wildfires.
Wildfire season most summers in Greece is fairly intense, and it was particularly destructive in the summer of 2023, affecting many islands as well as the mainland.
Wherever you go in Greece, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast ahead of time and follow emergency alerts so you know if you need to evacuate.
Naxos did experience some fires in July 2023, but the fires were smaller and confined to inland brush areas away from human inhabitants. It also has a wetter climate than most other Greek islands, which makes it less vulnerable to wildfires.
Crime in Naxos
Crime is probably your primary concern when preparing for your trip to Naxos. That’s not because the crime rate is very high, but because there are simply no other safety challenges on the island.
It’s hard to find accurate English-language crime statistics. Numbeo, which creates its crime index by collecting survey responses, reports that Naxos scores a 0 out of 100 on its crime index, which is a very low score.
The site includes the caveat that it wasn’t able to collect enough responses for Naxos to provide an accurate picture of crime on the island, but it’s clear that the crime rate is very low.
People report some concerns about minor property crimes, such as theft from vehicles, break-ins, theft, and drug abuse.
There is also some concern that crime increased in the past few years, but since the crime rate was low to begin with, even if the crime rate increases, it won’t be by much. Occasionally there are news stories about the police arresting people for drug crimes, but this is also fairly rare.
Naxos is very safe even by Greek standards. It has a much lower crime rate than many other Greek islands.
Numbeo provides a side-by-side comparison with other islands such as Crete, which shows that Naxos receives much better scores in almost all metrics compared to other islands.
There are a few reasons why Naxos is so relatively safe. One is the relatively small population of the island. The island only has about 19,000 residents, and the largest town has fewer than 8,000 residents, with the rest living in scattered villages.
This means that the community on the island is very close-knit, with most people knowing each other. In such a small environment, it’s hard to get away with criminal activities!
Another reason why Naxos is so safe is the nature of its tourism. Within Greece, Naxos has a reputation for sustainable tourism.
Although it receives many guests, it doesn’t receive the flood of cruise ship passengers that other islands like Santorini do because its port is not equipped to host cruise ships. The smaller crowds mean that there is less cover and incentive for thieves to come to the island.
Naxos also attracts more laid-back visitors and offers a more sustainable vacation rather than the partying that islands such as Santorini, Ios, and Mykonos stake their reputation on.
For better or worse, party islands also tend to attract organized crime as real estate and drug trafficking markets are attractive to mafia groups. Naxos has none of those lures, so the crime rate is also lower.
The most common crime in Naxos, when crime does happen, is petty theft. The most common forms of petty theft are pickpocketing and theft of unattended items, although bag snatching and break-ins can also happen.
Most thefts in Naxos are thefts of opportunity.
You will not encounter the practiced pickpockets that countries such as Canada warn about in their travel advisories for Greece, but you may run into someone who takes advantage of a moment of distraction to walk away with your valuables.
Preventing theft in Naxos is easy enough as not leaving your items unattended, as most thefts happen when a person got distracted and lost sight of their phone or wallet.
While on the beach, don’t leave your valuables in plain sight. Either leave most of your valuables in your accommodation, have someone stay behind to watch your bags while the rest of the group swims, or cover your bags with a towel while you swim.
A thief won’t rummage through your bags as that attracts too much attention. The streets of Naxos Town can sometimes get crowded, so take precautions to prevent pickpocketing.
Put your valuables in a front pocket or zipped bag, instead of somewhere easy to access for a pickpocket such as a back pocket.
Of course, if you don’t have it with you, then it can’t get stolen at all. Try to only take what you need for the day and leave the rest of your valuables safely locked up in your hotel room.
Although street crime does happen in Naxos, it isn’t that common. It is far rarer here than in other parts of Greece. As long as you are not completely unlucky (or careless), you’ll probably avoid this problem while you are in town.
Most Naxos residents are open and friendly to welcome travelers. However, as with any place where much of the economy is focused on tourism, you will run into some people who are trying to take advantage of tourists and scam them.
One of the most common scams that people warn about on traveler forums is ATV and motorbike rental scams. These are both common ways to get around Naxos since the island is big enough to need a vehicle to explore.
Scam rental companies will rent tourists faulty vehicles, then force them to pay for damages when they return them, claiming that any wear and tear is the tourist’s fault.
Once you’re aware of this practice, it’s fairly easy to separate the scammers from the legitimate rental companies. Scam companies tend to use aggressive practices to get tourists to rent from them, such as touts stationed in front of their offices.
The more someone seems intent on getting your business, the less likely they are to be trustworthy. Always take photos of vehicles that you rent, and if it seems dusty or damaged, don’t sign any contracts.
Another common scam is the “tourist tax.” Always check the prices on menus before entering a place. Some restaurants and cafes will charge exorbitant prices, knowing that tourists don’t know what to expect.
Research the average price of a meal or drink before going and avoid places that are much more expensive as they are probably trying to take advantage of you.
Avoiding Bad Areas
There are no areas of Naxos that are so dangerous that you need to avoid them completely. The island overall is fairly safe.
Things to Consider
Here are a few additional safety tips for Naxos:
- Lock your hotel room doors and close your windows. Burglaries are not common, but they do happen. Break-ins are usually not “break-ins” but “walk-ins” as criminals take advantage of tourists’ carelessness. Make sure that you protect your accommodation and your valuables!
- Be careful in bars and clubs. Naxos doesn’t have a crazy party scene, but you should still take basic precautions if you decide to go out at night. Watch your drinks and make sure that you stick with your group. Never accept drinks or rides from strangers.
- Take precautions when hiking. Take enough food or water to last you through the hike. Make sure that someone always knows where you are going. Naxos may not have extremely rugged mountains, but it’s still worth taking precautions before every natural excursion.
- Be careful on the roads. They aren’t in the best condition, especially away from the main towns, and tend to be narrow and winding. Greek drivers also have a loose relationship with the rules at best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few other questions that other people have asked before visiting Naxos before:
Is Naxos safe to walk at night?
Yes, Naxos is generally safe to explore even at night. That being said, trust your instincts and if you don’t feel safe walking anywhere at night, avoid doing so.
How safe is Naxos, Greece?
Naxos, Greece is actually very safe. Most of the Greek islands are fairly safe and have low crime rates, and Naxos is among the safest.
Why is Naxos so cheap?
Naxos is one of the more affordable Greek islands, and there are a few reasons why. Since the island is larger, it isn’t as reliant on imports as other islands may be. Naxos hasn’t been taken over by tourists the way that other islands have, which keeps the prices more affordable.
Is it worth it to go to Naxos?
Naxos is absolutely worth a visit. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in the Greek islands. Plus, it offers a more authentic Greek island experience than neighboring islands such as Santorini.
How many days in Naxos is enough?
Three to five days are enough to stay in Naxos. That gives you enough time to explore the large island, but not so much time that you will get bored of the laid-back pace of life.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Naxos Today!
Naxos is one of the safest places to visit in Greece! As long as you take the bare minimum of precautions to secure your valuables, you can lay back and relax completely without worrying about anything dangerous happening.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Naxos has to offer. Happy travels!