While some zip by to Ios or Santorini after having visited Mykonos, Naxos deserves a look. As the largest island in the Cyclades, it has a great coastline and a spread of villages to see. Let your first stop be Hora, the main town.
Besides customary cafes, bars and restaurants by the water like those found on many other islands, Naxos boasts a beautiful Venetian heritage that is still seen throughout Hora in the Kastro, the oldest area that sits above the town within the walls of what was once a castle/fortress with Venetian homes from the 13th century. Visit the Archeological Museum, Venetian Museum, or the Catholic Cathedral. Down below is the area of Burgos where the Greeks lived during this time. Be prepared to shop! I really liked the ironworks and jewelry!
If you’re staying in Hora, the most accessible beach is Agios Georgios. This sandy beach is the perfect option for families traveling with children- it’s not far from the hotels and restaurants and the water isn’t very deep. For something a little less crowded, travel by bus 5km to Agios Prokopiosto where you can rent chairs and umbrellas or 7 to Agia Anna.
The Portara of Apollo, built in 522BC as the doorway of an unfinished temple of Apollo, is also a must-see in Naxos and best marvelled at during sunset. One of the things I love best about Naxos is the doorways!
As one of Greek’s most fertile island, you’ll see here plenty of olive groves and vineyards. Trekking and hiking is excellent on the island; you’ll soon find yourself winding past old churches and orchards- just be sure to plan ahead as the island is large and bus access through certain towns may not match your own schedule. The towns of Apiranthos, whose citizens enjoy streets paved in marble, and Filoti, with its whitewashed houses cradled along the hillside, are worth a look.
Unlike some other places, Naxos isn’t party central- it’s a place to truly enjoy Greek island life. Families, couples, and the 40+ set are likely to enjoy this island most of all.