A pleasant retreat from some of the more touristy islands, Naxos is an ideal place to absorb authentic Greek island culture, meet welcoming locals and travel at a quieter pace. So, between sipping cocktails on the caldera in glittering Santorini and partying your way through Mykonos, it's worth planning in a few extra days to catch your breath and explore quaint island life on Naxos.
1. Visit the old town of Hora. A beautiful mix of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, its enchanting maze of passageways wind their way up to a historic castle.
2. Walk to St George’s Beach from Hora along the seaside promenade. It's a pleasant short walk ending in a calm sandy bay with a modest resort area. The beach is sheltered from the prevailing winds, making it a great place for a swim.
3. Discover the many local artisans producing high quality souvenirs in traditional materials such as bronze, glass and embroidery. Many of the artists run the shops themselves and are able to provide detailed knowledge about their work.
4. Below the old town, the port of Hora has its small fishing fleet nestled within a picturesque harbour. Opposite is a cluster of restaurants serving delicious seafood - the perfect place for kicking back after a day of sightseeing to enjoy the sunset.
5. Head to the countryside for the day where you'll encounter cliff hugging roads winding up the sides of steep rugged mountains. From the top you'll see magnificent panoramic views of the island, with its productive valleys and scenic villages. Apollonas, a small sheltered harbour with a sandy beach and a few waterside restaurants is a peaceful place to stop for lunch.
6. If you're on the island during the Summer Cultural Festival try to catch an outdoor evening Bouzouki performance in the courtyard of the Venetian Museum. It's the perfect setting to listen to traditional Greek music and sample the local wine.