Santorini or Naxos? | Greek Paradise Choice Guide

Melina Thalassinou
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Table of Content
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Key Takeaways

  • Greece offers diverse experiences for all types of travelers, from culinary delights to stunning landscapes.
  • Choosing between Santorini and Naxos involves considering key concepts for a Greek island adventure.
  • Santorini boasts sandy beaches, historical sites, and a wine lover's paradise.
  • Naxos appeals with more affordable accommodations, varied activities, and family-friendly offerings.

Greek honeymoonCouple in Santorini - credits: Sotnikov Misha/Shutterstock.com

From mouth-watering cuisine to the sway of bougainvillea trees overlooking a sunset, Greece has a vibrant tapestry of activities and scenery to absorb.

The Greek experience provides a slice of heaven for every type of traveler, whether you're looking for a party animal alcove or a fantastic foodie location. 

The captivating Cyclades, which includes the two islands of Naxos and Santorini within its thousands of islands to explore, is the perfect place to discover the essence of Greece in full throttle. 

So, how do you choose between one Grecian Mediterranean gem and another? Take a look at a few key concepts to consider when making a decision between the neighboring islands of Naxos and Santorini.

Santorini Breakdown

loal wine in SantoriniSipping local wine in Santorini - credits: Songquan Deng/Shutterstock.com

Often referred to as Thera/Thira by the locals, Santorini is the blueprint of the typical magical island experience Greece is known for.

With its network of white and blue buildings, and a network of shield volcanoes lying underneath, this island is a beautiful setting for exciting escapades and cruise ships.

Reasons to visit Santorini:

  1. It has stunning sandy beaches on the north, south, east, and west coast
  2. A plethora of rich historical sites, like the famous Akrotiri
  3. It’s a wine-lovers paradise

Sublime Sandy Sanctuaries

kamari beachKamari Beach, Santorini - credits: Zocchi Roberto/Shutterstock.com

From the majestic white cliffs of White Beach to the Mars-like landscape of Red Beach, Santorini is the ultimate place to scrunch toes in a multitude of sands.

The beaches of Santorini provide a space for every kind of beach frequenter.

Travelers looking for a side of cocktails and a youthful party scene to their vacation can visit Perivolos Beach to experience a great place to let loose and live it up in Santorini.

The black lava sand within its bounds is also a unique landscape to soak up the rays and a seemingly endless supply of alcoholic libations.

Santorini Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Historical Sites to Explore

Santorini viewsSantorini views - credits: Korpithas/Shutterstock.com

While most associate Santorini with its spectacular views and beaches, this island has a wide variety of ancient buildings and structures to experience.

Whether it's relics at museums or rubbled ruins of past civilizations, Santorini is a mecca for history buffs. 

If you want to add a workout to your historical adventure, you should consider adding Skaros Rock.

This incredible viewpoint (located near Imerovigli) was once the location of a Santorini castle that was destroyed by an earthquake in the 19th century.

A Wine Lover’s Dream

growing vines in santoriniGrowing vines in Santorini - credits: Andrei Nekrassov/Shutterstock.com

With volcanic soil as its base for growth, wine in Santorini is a treat to try and indulge in.

The island has various wineries and vineyards to explore, many of which are within walking distance from one another, creating the perfect opportunity to learn about its interesting viticulture practices.

Assyrtiko is the most widespread grape variety planted in Santorini and is a lovely white wine after production. 

Naxos Breakdown

agios prokopios naxosAgios Prokopios Beach, Naxos - credits: Constantinos Iliopoulos/Shutterstock.com

A sliver of peace and quiet from the hustle and bustle of the previously mentioned island, Naxos is a dream for tourists looking for something different and the largest island in the Cyclades islands.

From windsurfing to hunting for ancient ruins, there is an abundance of things to do in this down-to-earth fruitful landscape.

Naxos Castle & Portara Sunset Walking Tour

So, why should you visit Naxos:

  1. Accommodation prices are more affordable than in many Greek islands
  2. A wide range of activities & amazing cuisine
  3. Incredible, long beaches, like Agios Prokopios Beach and Plaka Beach, and a fair share of sea caves
  4. The best in family fun

Affordable Accommodation

naxos streetNaxos Street - credits: Nicole Kwiatkowski/Shutterstock.com

As Santorini can potentially teeter on the pricey side of life, Naxos is the perfect place to save a few pennies on your trip.

Naxos Town (or Chora) is one of the best places to stay as it’s a short walk to nearby attractions and has a wide array of cheap stay options.

Travelers looking for something more lavish also have the opportunity to explore the vast network of luxury accommodation types this island provides. From boutique hotels to beach villas, Naxos has it all.

Walking Trips & Simplistic Dishes

filoti naxosFiloti Village, Naxos - credits: Apostolos Mantzouranis/Shutterstock.com

Naxos provides a splendid way to enjoy the little things while on vacation, including sublime walks and the quaint pleasures of local cuisine.

Whether it's up the magnificent peak of Mount Zas or simply wandering the paths of its charming villages, this island is a treasure for ramblers on vacation.

Nothing heals tired legs from getting around Santorini like the beckoning siren call of delicious cuisine waiting to be devoured.

This island has a wide repertoire of traditional Naxos food and products to try, which ranges from freshly caught seafood to locally made cheese. 

If you’re looking for an authentic souvenir to take home, you can do no better than to add the liquid gold splendors of Kitron to your suitcase.

This heavenly liquor finds its production through the leaves and fruitful bearings of the citron trees from the island.

A Family-friendly Find

Naxos choraNaxos Chora - credits: rawf8/Shutterstock.com

Greece has ample party havens to experience and frequent, but traveling with family often makes these spaces one to avoid.

While Naxos has a vibrant nightlife to explore, this island is generally known for its less crowded beaches and tourist attractions.

Whether exploring seaside towns or paddling in the shallow waters of Naxos beaches, this island is the ultimate family-friendly spot to entertain any child-filled clan.

There is an excellent selection of adrenaline-fueled water sports for older kids to experience while nearby parents sip a cocktail in bliss.

Santorini vs. Naxos - Questions to Consider

ammoudi beach santoriniSantorini - credits: ian woolcock/Shutterstock.com

On a trip to this kaleidoscope of colorful surroundings and diverse activities, travelers need to determine what vibe they’re looking for on a Greek vacation or island hopping experience

From tourist attractions to hidden spots to explore, these idyllic islands provide a different set of highlights and trademark characteristics.

Here are a few questions to mull over before embarking on an amazing Greek archipelago adventure:

  1. A buzzing island atmosphere or a quiet time away?
  2. Variety of sand hues or vast green landscapes?
  3. Luxury getaway or budget-friendly vacation?

Final Thought on Santorini or Naxos - The Verdict

couple in greeceCouple in Santorini - credits: Look Studio/Shutterstock.com

With an in-depth look into the key landscapes, landmarks, and compelling features of Santorini and Naxos, how do you decide between the two?

The answer is subjective to what type of Greek island adventure you are looking to experience.

For big families looking for a mix of fun and serenity, Naxos is the ultimate swirl of exciting activities and peaceful pleasures.

The budget-friendly accommodation options are also the perfect chance to include the entire family in a trip to Greece.

Santorini is an excellent option for travelers looking to indulge in the lavish luxuries an island paradise provides.

Whether it's sipping away on local wines or watching the world float by on the sandy coves of Santorini, this Greek island pick is a must for people craving the finer things in life. 

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Days Should You Spend in Santorini and Naxos?

Is Naxos Cheaper Than Santorini? 

Is Naxos Bigger Than Santorini?

How Can You Reach Naxos and Santorini?

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