Located in the middle of the Cycladic complex of islands and between the popular destinations of Paros and Mykonos, lies Naxos, the largest island of the Cyclades and the once center of archaic Cycladic culture.
Legend has it, that young Zeus was raised in a cave of mount Zas -or mount Zeus-, the tallest mountain in Naxos and the Cyclades, while Naxos is widely known as the place that hosted the marriage of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine.
Blessed by the Olympian gods, Naxos, has always been a popular destination of Greece because of its beauty and vibrancy. It is also one of the best Greek islands for families, offering an abundance of choice in things to do, see, try and -of course- taste.
You want to know why Naxos is such a family-friendly island? Below, we’ve listed every single reason, just in time for you to book your summer vacations with your loved ones in our glorious island!
Amazing beaches with shallow waters
(Plaka beach, Naxos - credit: www.maragasbeachnaxos.com)
Naxos’ beaches are known for their exquisite quality, with sandy shores and crystal-clear waters charming the visitors. What’s more, their shallow depth makes them ideal for families with young children, creating a safe environment where parents feel comfortable with letting their kids explore nature. On the other side, the beaches found on the western part of the island are perfect for watersports, optimum for the entertainment of older kids looking to combine fun with exercise. The long, sandy beaches of Plaka, Maragas and Agia Anna are some of the most popular beaches, but our top recommendations as well, due to their impeccable waters and relaxed, family-friendly vibe. For watersport-lovers, we would opt for either Agios Georgios beach or Agios Prokopios beach, both easy to reach, organized beaches with plenty of sunbeds, umbrellas, taverns and beach bars to fulfil your needs. If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded and quiet, we suggest you pay a visit to the partly-organized, golden beach of Pyrgaki. Wherever you go, rest assured that you’re going to be amazed with the breath-taking landscape and reflecting waters. The beaches of Naxos, mostly designed to accommodate families, offer an excess of beauty and a lack of party animals! Additionally, if you want your family to escape the busy shores and swim further out into the sea, a Naxos sailing trip is all you need. This way, you can discover hidden coves and jewel-like beaches only accessible by boat, while enjoying Greek lunch, drinks and snacks!
Fresh and healthy local food
(Local products of Naxos - credit: http://epitome.xyz)
Naxos is the most fertile island of the Cyclades, and therefore the most self-sufficient, with its rich agriculture, consisting of various vegetable and fruit crops as well as cattle breeding, being the most significant economic sector of the island. Naxos is famous across Greece for its cheese – specifically, the deliciously mild gruyere of Naxos and the unique, aged arseniko cheese-, its potatoes and -for when kids are asleep- its Kitron liqueur, the local lemon-citrus Greek spirit. Food is an integral part of Naxos’ culture, with yummy local dishes, family-owned restaurants and fresh ingredients, all enhanced by the homey atmosphere that kids love. If you wander around the picturesque streets of Naxos, you’re sure to stumble upon a selection of traditional taverns offering local delicacies. However, if you are interested in off the beaten path culinary gems, Kalliopi is a meat lover's heaven, where one can meet locals enjoying their scrumptious meals. For fresh fish, nothing beats Apanemi. The mouth-watering seafood offerings in combination with the friendly atmosphere of the tavern and the kindness of the owners makes for an unmatched experience! Providing that you will fall in love with Naxos’ cuisine, if you want to take a small taste of the island back home, we suggest you buy the world-renowned Naxian cheeses from Mpampounes, the modern, yet traditional, family cheese house established in 2010. For homemade spoon sweets and jams from Naxos, visit Naxion and taste a little bit of summer with every delicious bite. Naxos is definitely an island of foodies, and if you consider yourself as a foodie as well, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to learn how to cook like a local with our Naxos organic cooking class and Greek family feast. As the name suggests, not only will you learn to make some of the island’s signature dishes with fresh, organic ingredients, but you will also taste the fruits of your labor in a Greek family feast that will follow!
Plenty of choices for accommodation
When travelling with kids, booking the appropriate accommodation can be a hassle. Thankfully that’s not the case with Naxos. Being an island that caters to families across the world, it offers a number of choices depending on your budget and preferred type of lodging, leaving nothing to be desired. Our favorite accommodation for families in Naxos is the Nissaki Beach Hotel in Naxos Town. Located right above the aforementioned family-friendly Agios Georgios beach, it is only a short walk away from the town’s center. The designated family suites are made to host 4 people, while the hotel also has a pool, where the kids could play and swim, if the sea seems too daunting. Santa Katerina Apartments & Studios, also located in Naxos Town close to the taverns and the beach, has the perk of offering fully-equipped kitchens within their spacious rooms, allowing families to reduce their spending by cooking homemade meals if they feel like it. Generally, we suggest you choose Naxos Town for your stay, where you’ll be in walking distance to anything you might need. However, if you want to avoid the bustling town, Iria Beach Art Hotel in Agia Anna is an excellent choice and arguably one of the best family beach hotels in Naxos. Here, you can find rooms that fit up to 6 family members, making it an ideal destination for big families, and a wide selection of cafes, bars and taverns in close proximity.
Easy to get there by plane or ferry
(Naxos' port - credit: www.airchampion24.com)
Accessibility is key when travelling with family. The process of traveling if tedious even when you’re alone, let alone with a bunch of children throwing tantrums your way. Once again, Naxos has you covered, being one of the most easily accessible islands of Greece, both by plane and ferry. Because of its central location within the Cyclades, you can travel to Naxos both from Athens and from other islands effortlessly, with the island being accessible by ferry from Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Amorgos and Koufonisia. The airport of Naxos, 2km away from Naxos Town, operates domestic daily flights from Athens while unfortunately, there are no direct flights from abroad offered. The flight from Athens to Naxos takes 35 min, while depending on the season and the island’s popularity, there may be direct flights from Thessaloniki as well. Ferries to Naxos run daily from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina in Athens, which last between four to six hours. The local ferry Express Skopelitis operates six days a week between Naxos, Amorgos and the Small Cyclades.
Please keep in mind that both the frequency of the itinerary and the prices of the tickets may vary depending on the season.
Plenty of things to do, see and experience
(Portara, Naxos - credit: www.telegraph.co.uk)
Being a large island with lots of history and culture, there are plenty of things to do, see and experience in Naxos. A drive through the mainland will bring you to scenic little villages and stimulating sightseeing, that we keep your kids engaged, while at the same time it will provide them with valuable knowledge.
The trademark of Naxos, the world-famous Portara, dominates with its presence the edge of the harbor in the center of Naxos Town, presenting the ultimate spot for you to catch the sunset in Greece. The name of the Instagram-ready landmark was given to it by the locals because of its massive size and it is today the ultimate piece of a part of the Temple of Apollo, which was built in the 6th century BC, back when Naxos was a commercial and cultural center. Another important historical monument reflecting the island’s rich heritage is the Caste of Chora. Built on the remnants of the ancient Acropolis with materials from the ancient city, the monument’s different influences across the years are seeming. Nowadays, the castle houses the Archaeological Museum of Naxos, exhibiting artworks and everyday objects dating from the later Neolithic to the Old-Christian years . The Castle gets illuminated at nighttime, displaying a romantic aspect of the island and offering the best place for long walk. To experience Portara and the Castle along with the awe-inspiring sunset of the island, embark on our Naxos Castle and Portara private sunset walking tour. No picture will manage to convey this marvelous experience. The picturesque Apeiranthos village is another destination you can’t leave out of your trip to Naxos. Apeiranthos village is broadly considered the crown jewel of Naxos, offering visitors a travel back in time with its old-ways charm and unique landscapes, due to its location at the slopes of Mount Fanari. Apeiranthos houses a number of museums, with the Apeiranthos Archaeological Museum and the Visual Arts Museum of Naxos being our top picks. However, the most impressive element of the village is its architecture, with its stone built towers, old houses and churches and marble paved alleys having been made to be photographed. Apeiranthos is 25 km away from Naxos Town, but it is worth every second!
Greece is known for being a family-oriented country, a quality that is apparent in our way of life. We put family first, and we take it upon ourselves to treat families visiting our beloved homeland with love, care and respect. If you’re considering travelling with your family to Greece, Naxos is the place you’re looking for!
Delicious food, inviting people, stunning landscapes, family-friendly beaches and a peaceful serenity spread across the island, will wait for you to enjoy them. Recharge your batteries and keep your kids entertained, while experiencing what being Greek truly feels like.