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Our family (adults plus 21 and 17 year old kids) will be visiting Greece for 16 days in early-mid June. Have flights into and out of Athens so trying to finalize plans.

Want to visit an/some islands. We prefer places that aren't overly developed so thought Naxos with taking a flight there right on arrival. How long would you suggest spending on Naxos? Worth using Naxos as a base to go to other islands? Should we be thinking of another island instead? Having a nice beach for at least part of the island stay is required by my younger son.

We do want to spend a few days in Athens as well as other places around Greece that we can get to by bus or train. Driving there on our first visit makes us nervous. So not the entire trip in the islands.


Posted by
942 posts

Naxos is not overly developed. It is larger than other islands and has more diversity, from rolling hills, villages, sand beaches (many beaches in Greece are rocks), etc. I recommend renting a car to take all of this in. We stayed for four nights 20 min. bus-ride south of Chora, or the main town, on Plaka beach. We drove into the mountains to see the village with marble walkways (Apeiranthos) and churches with frescoes near the village of Halki (a lovely walk on a dirt trail to these very old churches). We also found a rock for my 14yo to cliff jump (google "cliff jumping in Naxos") and the kids did some water sports on Plaka beach. We also went into Chora and walked around, but didn't send a lot of time there. In short, you get a good overview of Greece in Naxos and it is very family friendly. I would not, however, use it as a base for other islands, except for Paros, which is next door. If you are interested in another island, I would plan to stay on that other island. With 16 days, I would stay on Naxos 3-4 nights, but it really depends on your interests.
There are many places to visit for a few nights a bus-ride away from Athens. Nafplio is charming and has several wonderful ruins nearby. People generally spend 3 nights there. Delphi is another. We didn't go there but I believe people spend anywhere from a day-trip (long day) to 2 nights in Delphi.
Are you doing a lot of reading? Its hard to answer your query without knowing what you are interested in.

Posted by
2 posts


Naxos is a great base for your holidays in my opinion. Easy connexion by ferry with Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Delos, etc.

Your younger son will be very happy with Plaka or Prokopios beach as they are the most famous beaches of the island (because of their beauty of course)!

NIghtlife is not over present, so this is still a quite place, but your older son will find some places to go for a drink (Swing bar for example:

There are a lot of activities available to you there:

  • Car rental to go to the village and enjoy breathtaking views (Don’t forget the less known Koronos. It’s high in the mountains, beautiful view, and great little village. No car there, all narrow streets, and a beautiful little taverna on the village main square)

  • Water sports session in plaka ( for example). SUP, windsurfing, etc Kids will be happy.

  • Naxos Sailing tours: a beautiful day sailing from Naxos to the small cyclades islands. OUt of the touristic mass, very friendly crew and amazing food.

That’s on top of my mind for now, but ask any question you may have and I will complete

Posted by
735 posts

Mid-June will be a good time as it's just before the High Season so the heavy tourist presence will be reduced.

Athens deserves a minimum of 2 days with 3 being better. That would leave you with 13-14 days for the islands and/or the mainland.

Combining islands and the mainland can be a more trickier in planning but certainly is doable.

Naxos is one Greece's nicest islands with something for everyone. I spent 9 days there and could have stayed longer. You can do day trips from the island like Delos/Mykonos or possibly to the Small Cyclades.

If you want a mainland experience to combine I would recommend Nafplio one of Greece's nicest towns and a great base to explore the entire area with some of the best World Class archeological sites in Greece.

You would have to ferry/fly back to the mainland and rent a car and drive to Nafplio or take the bus.

I think renting a car on an island and the mainland will provide you with more opportunities to go to more out of the way and traditional areas. Bus service can sometimes be limited or run at times that may not always work. Trains are even more limited in where they service.

Driving is very easy except in Athens so it's not as bad as you may think or heard. Once you get out to more rural areas you may have the road to yourself.

Depending on your country of origin you'll need an International Driving Permit. You drive on the right side of road like you do in American but unlike in England.

Posted by
741 posts

You have received good feedback.
We have been to Naxos 15 times each time for a minimum of a week and once for two weeks. We are still finding new things to see and do. I would suggest that you plan a week in Naxos. That is a good time frame to see lots of the island.

There are excursion boats that do day trips to Santorini, Mykonos and the ancient site at Delos, and a trip to a couple of the small Cyclades islands. You can do a day trip to Paros from Naxos by conventional ferry. To do those one day excursions from Naxos you might want to add a few extra days to Naxos.

Be sure to keep Athens for the end of your trip. Its important to be on the mainland at least one night before your return flight.

Here are some images of Naxos.
Naxos Town

Trip around Naxos

Naxos trip 2019

Naxos sunsets

Posted by
40 posts

@stanbr - So would you recommend using Naxos as a sleeping base for the Cyclades and just ferrying around to Santorini, Mykonos, ect, just for a day each? Or should one sleep on those islands as well?

Posted by
741 posts

Sorry I have not been monitoring the forum recently. Island hopping from one island and returning in the evening is not particularly efficient. My suggestions were based on excursion boats which do allow you to use Naxos as a base. If you plan to use the ferry system then I would suggest you take the ferry to your next island and stay on each one as long as you want. If in fact you can make this trip in 2020 you can have max flexibility to stay on any island as long as you want and it should be pretty easy to take a ferry to another island. You probably do not need hotel reservations as the whole tourist industry is going to take some time to get into full swing again.