Whether you’re thinking about where to stay in Naxos as a part of your island-hopping holiday, or as a base to explore the island itself, I’ve put together this list of 10 of the best places to stay in Naxos, to help you get the most from this attractive Greek isle.
Prior to 2000, it was an island often overlooked by travellers when planning to tour the archipelago. Naxos is the largest, and most diverse of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea.
With Mount Zeus rising over 1,000m above sea level, it generates its own mini-climate, providing an abundance of water for its rich fertile soil to feed its dairy herds and cattle, grow a wide range of fruit and veg including olives, and provide large areas of dense natural vegetation stretching from the coast to the interior.
It is an island with a history dating back to the Byzantine, Franks, and Venetian eras, with churches, monuments, and ancient ruins that chart the history of the islands.
It has picturesque, rural Cycladic villages, working farms, friendly Greek hospitality, fabulous cuisine, and some of the most pristine white-sand beaches you’ll find on any of the islands.
To help with your choice of whether to book town, beach, resort, or village for your holiday, we’ve put together this list of where to stay in Naxos, to give you a feel of this oft overlooked holiday gem.
The 10 best areas where to stay in Naxos
1. Chora, the capital and the best place to stay in Naxos for nightlife
Standing on the west coast of the island, Chora (Naxos Town) is the capital and also the island’s largest port, and the only one that can accommodate the large ferries arriving from the mainland with visitors wanting to stay in Naxos.
With a history that goes back pre-Venetian times, this beautiful town is a maze of narrow, windy paths off the main street that snake their way between tall, terraced, whitewashed businesses and homes.
In medieval times, locals entered the town by one of three large gates, two of which still stand to this day, and in many other areas, remains of the old ramparts and fortifications can still be found.
Two of the biggest attractions in the pedestrianised part of town are the Portara Temple, and the Glezos Tower, also known as The Castle. During the summer it plays host to bands and performing artists from around the world.
Inside, artisan traders have established a local market selling their goods and produce. It also houses a taverna and cafe/bar, popular with both locals and visitors.
Other local architectural attractions include Sanudo’s Tower, the Della Rocca-Barozzi mansion, the Catholic cathedral, the Ursulines school building, and the Jesuit School of Commerce, now housing the Architectural Museum of Naxos, and well worth a visit.
Protodikiou Square is the main commercial centre of town, and is a busy, vibrant shopping centre with plenty to see and do, and plenty of guest houses, hotels, cafes, bars, and tavernas to rest those weary legs.
During the summer, the port area comes alive with visitors strolling along the promenade in the warm summer sunshine. Private yachts and sailboats sway gently in the marina, while the island ferries nose in and out of the harbour, going about their business.
Shops, bars, local fish-restaurants, and international eateries do a brisk trade in drinks and lunch, and if you want to travel further afield, the local bus station and taxi rank are located at the end of the port.
Chora is also the best place to stay in Naxos for nightlife. Most of the nightlife options are concentrated at the port area.
2. Agios Georgios, a pristine withe sand beach close to the capital
If you prefer spending a few hours visiting the towns and villages rather than staying in them, Agios Georgios and its pristine white-sand beach may suit.
Just a 5 minute stroll from Naxos Town, and 10 minutes from the port, the beach stretches for over two kilometres around the coast. With its shallow azure waters, and full beach services including lifeguards, it is a favourite beach for the entire family.
With the coastal road stretching along behind the beach, you can choose different areas to explore on different days. Or hire a sunbed and sunshade, pick your bit of beach – and chill.
The beach is suitable for all ages, with shops, taverns, restaurants, toilets and showers stretching along its length, and beach bars on the sand allow you to enjoy a drink with the sand between your toes.
The area has good accessibility and facilities for disabled family members.
While the light breeze will provide pleasant relief for the sun worshippers, it is strong enough to attract the windsurfers to the southern, more open end of the beach, and lessons are available for enthusiasts.
Busy during the day with beach lovers; during the evening, lights from the numerous bars, tavernas, and restaurants along the front, attract those who want to enjoy a pleasant evening eating, drinking, and socialising under the stars.
Agios Georgios has a good and varied selection of accommodation available as close to, or as far from the town, as you want to be.
3. Plaka, where to stay in Naxos for a family fun beach holiday
Another blue flag beach and resort for those who enjoy endless stretches of fine white sand. Plaka beach meanders for nearly four kilometres along the west coast of Naxos.
With a backdrop of sandy dunes, and vegetation covered hillsides shading out the self-catering villas and apartment complexes, it is a popular resort with all ages.
The main coast road runs behind the beach, and the walkway has palms and cedar along the beach line to provide that tropical vibe.
At the northern end of the beach, you will find sunbeds and parasols for hire, while the further south you go the fewer the facilities and services available.
Like many Naxos beaches it is very popular with naturists, with the majority (but not all), choosing the southern area to enjoy the sun au-natural.
With a good selection of tavernas, bars, shops, and restaurants along the front, great Greek hospitality, and excellent local cuisine, it makes a solid base from where to explore the island (it’s just 8 kilometres from Chora), or somewhere to enjoy the whole of your holiday.
Plaka beach resort has an excellent selection of apartments, villas, and package and boutique hotels available.
4. Agia Anna, a little-developed fishing village resort
Like so many of the Greek Isles, compared to other islands in the Mediterranean area, most of Naxos appears gloriously under-developed, while providing all the facilities you need for a two-week stay. Agia Anna is a case in point.
Midway down the west coast of the island, this beach-resort with its still working fishing harbour has everything required for a laid-back beach holiday, and is one of the most popular destinations where to stay in Naxos.
Just 6 kilometres from Naxos Town, and with the coast road running alongside the beach, it is easy to get to by hire car, public transport, or cycles – and equally as easy to explore from.
The long sandy beach and shallow waters make it ideal for all ages and abilities, but care needs to be taken with young children crossing the road.
Although there is little in the way of water-sports, boat trips to various parts of the island are available off the beach jetty.
Sunbeds and parasols are in good supply, and shops, bars, cafes, tavernas, and restaurants along the beach-front make it the place to be both daytime and in the evening.
There is an excellent choice of accommodation including beach-front, low-rise hotels and apartments, with other accommodation options across the road.
5. Agios Prokopios, a pristine beach and traditional village
Another popular beach and resort on the west coast is Agios Prokopios, and its village of the same name.
The heavy golden sand on this long beach is ideal for a little sand castle building with the kids. While the turquoise shallow waters are safe for the smaller ones to splash about in.
The usual beach facilities apply, but water-sports are somewhat limited. Although that doesn’t seem to deter the younger set from enjoying their holiday stay in Naxos.
A few years back, Agios Prokopios was another Naxos beach very popular with naturists. But as the ‘textiles’ using the beach increased in number, many moved on looking for quieter areas. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised if you bump into one or two as you stroll along the beach.
While most of the tourist shops, bars, cafes, and eateries are along the beachfront, it is well worth spending some time exploring the village for local taverns and restaurants, and sampling some local, homemade cuisine.
There is an excellent selection of accommodation around Agios Prokopios, from rooms and studios to let, to boutique hotels, and upmarket spa resorts.
6. Apollonas village and beach, a step back into antiquity
If your perfect holiday involves more exploration than it does sunbed, perhaps the tiny fishing village of Apollonas could be the place to start.
Situated on the north-east tip of the island, the history of Apollonas village dates back to before the Middle Ages.
Although a busy local fishing village and port in its day, the nearby Naxian marble quarry provided the majority of employment in the area, and the marble was shipped through the port around the island and beyond.
Part completed 10m tall statues of Greek gods dating back BC, can be seen close to the village entrance. Another local attraction is the hilltop ruins of the prehistoric fort of Kalogeros, which overlooks the surrounding area.
Apollonas is a typically Greek village, with pretty whitewashed cottages and narrow winding alleyways. Although some development has occurred to cater for increasing numbers of tourists, the village is much as it has been for hundreds of years.
Small café/bars and tavernas around the village welcome guests with genuine Greek hospitality and the best of local cuisine, and a little local souvenir hunting around the village shops and businesses is an absolute must.
Apollonas beach is just a short walk from the village. A sand and rocky beach with its own small fishing fleet tied up in the harbour.
A little more development has been undertaken here, with low-key apartment blocks, bars, tavernas, and shops around the harbour and beach area.
Access to the village (and beach) is straightforward, with good tarmac roads leading right into the village. Local public transport is also reasonably reliable with several daily arrivals through the season.
Accommodation is pretty limited to rooms, guest houses and a few apartments.
7. Mikri Vigla, where to stay in Naxos for kite and windsurfers
Mikri Vigla is the go-to beach for wind and kite surfers wondering where to stay in Naxos for the best surfing conditions.
Laying 12-kilometres south-west of Naxos Town, Mikri Vigla is a beach resort of two halves, and stretching two-kilometres along the coast it attracts international kite and windsurfers.
For the not so active visitors, the beautiful turquoise waters and glistening white sand make it a picture perfect destination for all.
What makes Mikri Vigla an internationally renowned windsurfing beach is the local north wind which blows down the coast. The beach is divided by a large tree-covered hillside.
On the north side of the hill, the constant breeze provides the perfect conditions for wind and kite surfing enthusiasts from beginners upwards. On the south side of the hill, you can lie on your hired sunbed enjoying the sun, with barely a whisper of a breeze.
You can find unobtrusive apartments and hotels on the beachfront and further back behind the treeline, as well as a few bars, shops, and eateries to keep the hunger pangs and thirst at bay.
Evenings are relaxed, quiet affairs, with visitors enjoying the hospitality and cuisine of local bars and tavernas. If you prefer livelier evenings, Naxos Town is just a few kilometres up the road.
8. Abram Beach/Kampos, popular place to stay in Naxos with older explorers
On the north-west coast of Naxos lies the secluded, lightly developed, cove beach of Abram.
Nestled in the small Abrami Bay, the sand and pebble beach is popular with snorkelers, windsurfers, and those who just want to relax and explore the more rugged scenery around the northern coast of the island.
The only concession to tourism is a small beachfront apartment complex and taverna, which serves both visitors and guests. The basic necessities are available from Kampos village, and the nearby village of Eggares has a bakery, grocery store, and mini-mart.
For anything other than foodstuffs and toiletries, a 30-minute drive into Naxos Town is required.
Most visitors arrive to enjoy the seclusion of the almost deserted beach, and the craggy coastline of the area.
If you’re travelling by hire car from Chora to Abram, take the scenic route. This will take you along the coast road, and some of the most fantastic coastal views you will find anywhere on the island. A photographer’s dream.
Accommodation is very limited at Abram beach and Kampos village during certain times of the year, so widening your search a little may provide the required result if you’re a little concerned about where to stay in Naxos.
9. Aliko Beach, an attractive beach in a protected natural area
On the south-west coast of Naxos, Aliko beach is one of a group of beaches within a designated Protected Natural Area. In part this is because of the nearby Salt Flats, but the order also includes the dense cedar forest which runs from the beach-line up into the dunes.
Aliko is a long white-sand beach with clear, shallow, turquoise waters; and a backdrop of dunes and forest.
Although a popular beach with visitors (and a few naturists), there are no facilities of any kind on the beach, and rental accommodation is minimal until you get to the nearby resorts.
Nonetheless, the closest beaches in the group are all easily walkable, with the remainder just a short drive along the coast. Staying around Aliko beach allows you the time to enjoy this beautiful natural area at its magnificent best during your stay in Naxos.
If you’re using a hire car, access to the entire area is good, with tarmac roads right up to most beaches. You can also use airport/resort transfers, or the reasonably reliable public transport.
10. Stelida, an amateur archaeologist’s paradise
On a peninsula on the north-west coast of Naxos, just five-kilometres from the island’s capital, lies the beach of Stelida. A pebble and sand beach with few amenities, it is ideal if you just want the heat of the sun, and sound of the sea, with plenty of space around you.
Stelida is one of the newest up-coming tourist areas to stay in Naxos, and has an excellent selection of the latest apartment and hotel complexes, boutique hotels, and sumptuous villas built around the village hillside.
With the beaches of Agios Georgios and Agios Prokopios close by, most visitors, especially families, bypass pebbly Stelida beach, in favour of the long sandy beaches, bars, shops, and eateries just a few hundred metres away. Allowing those who prefer somewhere less busy, the opportunity to enjoy the tranquillity of Stelida beach.
Stelida, just a few hundred metres inland, and built around the base of a 150m high chert hill, has become much more than just another Naxos village over the last 40-years.
Although there are a growing number of private and to-let properties being built in the area, it is also a protected area, and the site of many archaeological digs.
Stone working and hunting implements have been found by the thousands, and many are on display in Naxos Town’s Architectural Museum.
Before this latest find of stone tools, it had been generally accepted that the Mediterranean Islands have been inhabited for around 9,000-years. Now, many archaeologists believe that these latest finds could be up to 40,000-years old, throwing previous thinking up in the air.
The ongoing research may eventually prove the Cyclades Islands were inhabited far earlier than is currently thought, and many of these digs are an ongoing work in progress, as archaeologists continue to determine who really were the island’s first inhabitants.
So there you have it. We hope this small list will be of help when you are choosing where to stay in Naxos, for your first visit to this increasingly popular island.