The island of Naxos is famed for its amazing possibilities ranging from exploring the ancient ruins dotted throughout the island to engaging in exciting watersports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. Naxos Island is the biggest island in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea and boasts a rich history going back thousands of years. The landscape of the island is an attraction in its own right, offering visitors the chance to explore the rugged mountainous terrain, picturesque coastlines and lush green valleys. The capital on the island is the town of Naxos City, known by locals as Chora, with a population of around 7,500 people.
Outdoor lovers will enjoy the wide array of exciting opportunities the island and its coast offers. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are particularly popular on the island owing to its coastal winds, while the crystal clear waters off the coast are the perfect place for visitors to go scuba diving and experience the rich marine life and multiple shipwrecks to be found. Naxos Island has an eventful history that is evident in the many ruins and heritage sites such as the Portara gateway, or visitors can enjoy concerts beneath the full moon at Dionysus’ temple near Glinado village. Within the town of Naxos, the old walled city, known locally as the Castro, is one of Greece’s most picturesque old towns with many winding streets and alleyways.
Getting onto Naxos Island is possible by ferry from a number of destinations including Piraeus and Santorini. The regular ferry service from Santorini only takes around two hours, although faster catamaran boats are available for those wishing to make the journey with greater haste. From Piraeus, the journey is a little longer, with regular ferries taking six hours and catamarans taking around four hours. For those flying into the region, an ideal airport to fly into is either Santorini International Airport or Mykonos Island International Airport before hopping on a ferry. On Naxos Island, local bus services offer passage in between towns, while most towns are small enough to traverse on foot easily.
The history of Naxos Island stretches back thousands of years, and it has played an important role in world history. The island was once a Greek city-state before becoming the Duchy of Naxos under Venetian rule. The entire island was under control of the Ottoman Empire for over 250 years but shows little Ottoman influence as it was never settled on mass by Turks.