Naxos City (Chora)

For many years Naxos City was a little "behind" comparing to rivals like Fira on Santorini or even Parikia on Paros at least when it came to tourism. The locals weren't so happy about that and worked hard to catch up. The good news for them: they almost made it. Most of the fans of the island are not so happy about it. Naxos was always special because it wasn't as busy and touristy as other places but unfortunately this is how things seem to go in Greece. It is getting more and more difficult to find a quiet spot that still has a touch of the traditional Greece without being in the middle of nowhere.


Naxos City basically consists of a port with a long water front, directly behind is the old town with the Venetian castle and the countless tiny little roads that only seem to have one purpose: confusing innocent tourists. It truly is a labyrinth but no worries; it is relatively small and easy to escape. North of the port is a little peninsula with the Naxos Gate. It is the town's landmark and part of a temple for Apollo. The Naxos Gate is the islands most popular spot for sunset. South of the port is "modern Naxos" Agios Georgios. There you find most of the hotels and the best beach of Naxos town.

The water front

This is where you find the "new Naxos" with its expensive Cafes and restaurants for tourists and newly rich locals. 4 Euro for a coffee is pretty normal in these places. The view of course is nice.

The restaurants are very different in price and quality. Be careful; it's easy to get ripped off here. Check the menu before you go in. It is always a good idea to check where the locals eat. It most of the time is an indication. Also; never let the people working in these restaurants let you talk into going into their place. That’s a certain indicator for rip-off.

Old town and Castro


The old town is just behind the water front. You will easily recognise it by the tiny roads and no cars. It is beautiful and the main reason why Naxos City is considered on of the most beautiful cities on all the Greek islands. It is easy to get lost and in a way that is the best thing you can do. Stroll around and discover beautiful little stores, tiny bakeries and restaurants (tavernas). Some of these lanes are even canopied.

Narrow stairs lead the way up the hill. The upper part of the old town is the old walled city Castro. Many of the old houses at stage are empty and slowly decay. It is a shame since this is the most beautiful part of town. In the very heart of Castro you'll find a Catholic church. Right next to it is the Archaeological museum. It does worth a visit and it costs only 3 Euros to get in. They have a couple of very interesting Idols in there. Naxos is quite famous for marble in general and these marble idols in particular.

Temple of Apollo with Naxos Gate

The temple was built in the 6th century BC but never finished. It is situated on a peninsula just next to the harbour. The most prominent part of the temple is the so called Naxos Gate. It is six meters high and still in good shape. It gives you an impression of what was originally planned here. It was commissioned by the tyrant Lygdamis in honour of – and there is some confusion on it – either the god or Apollo or Dionysus. It seems to be more common to associate the temple with Apollo. I guess it doesn't really make a difference.

When the Spartans ended the tyrants reign in 524 BC construction work on the temple stopped as well. Apparently no one wanted to pay for it.

The temple is particularly popular with tourists towards sunset. From here you get a fantastic view over the city, port and the neighbouring islands.

Agios Georgios

The "modern" part of the city is situated south of the water front. Most tourists stay in this part of the city with its small and often enough reasonably priced guest houses and pensions. From here it is less than 10 minutes walk to the city centre and the beach in Agios Georgios is one of the finest on Naxos. You can walk up to 500 meters in to the water and it never gets deeper than about 1 meter. This makes it perfect for kids. With its fine white sand it is an almost perfect beach. You can rent sun chairs and there are a few tavernas just next to it. The further you walk out of town the quieter it gets.

A very good surf school with more than 200 boards is Flisvos Sport Club (

Eating Out

There are countless restaurants and tavernas in Naxos. As a rule; restaurants along the waterfront are generally overpriced. The further you are away from the waterfront the better (and cheaper) it gets. Very popular with foreigners living in Naxos is Taverna Kavouri on the city beach in Agios Georgios. Keep south from the port. If you ant to stay near the harbour I can recommend "O Nikos".

Accomodation in Naxos City

If you travel on budget or simply don't want to spend much money on accommodation I recommend my personal favourite: Hotel Soula in Agios Georgios. It is some sort of guest house and youth hostel combined. There currently is no other youth hostel on Naxos. In May 2008 a bed in one of the dorms cost 9 Euro, a single 18 Euro and a double room 25 Euro. There is a communal kitchen free internet (you can use their computer or use their WIFI) All rooms have bathroom, balcony and TV. The owner is nice and the whole place leaves us with a very good impression. To get more information check here.

A good alternative is Naxos Windmill. Quality and prices are pretty similar but the place is a bit out of town. They also have apartments.

Both places are open all year. They do have heating and air condition but do charge extra for it.

Other Good Hotels on Naxos

Busses from Naxos City

The bus to Apollonas goes 2-4 times a day depending on the season. It also stops in most of the bigger villages of the Tragea.

To the beaches south of Naxos city (Agia Anna and Plaka): During summer busses go more or less every 30 minutes. In winter there are only 3 busses a day.

Around Naxos City

Some of the villages and beaches south of Naxos City are particularly popular with package holiday makers and campers. The biggest of these villages is Agia Anna. There are quite a few hotels and an excellent long beach. A bit further down south is Plaka. It is a lot quieter here. This is also where the local busses stop. Keep in mind, before May 15th there are only three busses a day. During summer busses go at least once an hour.

Camping on Naxos

There are 3 camping sites on Naxos. The most famous and popular is Maragas. It is right next to the final stop of the bus from Naxos City. It used to be a legend among travellers and of the favourite meeting places. It has lost a bit of its magic since they started to build bungalows on the camp site. Quite a few of the old regulars stayed away as a result (including me). It still is a great camping site though and literally next to a fantastic beach.

Not too bad is Naxos camping which is the closest to Naxos City. The biggest advantage is the proximity to the capital. It takes about 40 minutes to walk. It is most popular with surfers. One of the best surf beaches on Naxos is just across the street.

At this stage my favourite however is Plaka Camping. It is about 10 km out of town but it is the quietest camp site and the one with the best facilities. The campers have the whole area more or less to themselves and that includes the best part of the long, long beach that starts in Maragas.

Since there is a lot of competition among the 3 camp sites value for money is excellent. If you like it quiet and don't like to be surrounded by package holidaymakers I'd recommend Plaka. If you surf or want to see Naxos City and hit the local bars there, Naxos camping is first choice. Maragas is somewhere in between; busy but also very good.

Last update 04/2008

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