My wife and I are planning a two week trip to Naxos and one other island in late July and early August. Yes, we know that is a very busy time, but unfortunately that timing is locked in. We are into picturesque villages, hiking (easy/moderate) and beaches. We have been to Paros, Santorini and Crete. We are looking for a second island to go along with Naxos as a part of the two weeks. Or, a second option, should we stay on Naxos for the full two weeks. Your thoughts are most appreciated.
A week in Naxos is sufficient time to get to know it fairly well. Two weeks and you can go in depth. We have been to Naxos 15 times and find something new on every trip. Minimum visit of a week each time.
We normally stay at St George beach which is part of Naxos town. We have visited in May June and September but I suspect since you are high season its going to be crowded. One thing about St George is its over a kilometre long but only the first half of it is built up. At the far end of the beach you will find no services, small dunes and hardly any people so you can get away.
Naxos town is where the island transportation system originates. Naxos has a good bus system so you can get to most of the island on the bus. The bus company KTEL runs a round the island tour. We have not taken it but one day we ended up at a site when the tour arrived. I can say the guide really knew his stuff and gave a good talk.
Renting a car for a few days gives you lots of possibilities to get to more remote parts of the island.
There are lovely mountian villages to visit in Naxos. Highlights are Chalki with lots of hiking opportunities around the village and Aparanthos which has marble paved alleys. The village of Melanes is interesting, there are old water mills, a roman era small aquaduct, an abandoned Jesuite monastery in the hills beyond and two 6th century Kourous statues still lying in the marble quarries where they fell. Melenes is best done with a rental car.
If you are looking for a second location consider Plaka beach. Actually there are three west coast beaches, Aggia anna, Ag Prokopious both with villages. Plaka has no village but is serviced by a string of mini marts, hotels and tavernas across the road from the beach. We stayed at St George but found ourselves hopping on the bus and going to Plaka for a beach day so on our last few trips we split our time half at Plaka and half at St George. Check out three Brothers Hotel . Very friendly people ,a taverna dining on a dune by the sea, and most of the rooms have sea view.
You should be aware there are a few stretches of the beach where bathing suits are extremely skimpy.
If you really want to do a second Island consider Milos. Its lovely. The ferry hop to Milos will take up most of the day as the ferry does Milos Naxos in the morning, finishes its run then turns around and returns so you are going to burn most of a day making that
hop. Another option might be Amorgos it reminds me of Naxos in the 1970 but time has stood still in Amorgos since then.
Naxos town https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632094558042
Trip around Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634605629689
Naxos 2017 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157663620712358
Naxos 2019 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157711294807761
Plaka Beach Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157655106193251
Hike around Chalki https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157712247853233
Saint George Beach https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632113170279
Milos 2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632109429236
Thank you for your quick and extensive reply. MUCH APPRECIATED. I just read it and will now pull up the pictures.
Again many thanks.
I just looked at your photos. Photography is my hobby. Yours are EXCELLENT!
Consider Antiparos. Take the ferry to Paros and the local shuttle ferry the rest of the way to Antiiparos. There are some lovely beaches there and the port village is charming. Also consider Sikinos. It's small and should be relatively quiet, even in August.
Thanks for you kind words. I do love sharing my Greece photos, they tell our story.
Have you thought of Milos? We've been to Naxos twice and LOVED it, but two weeks there might be thin. Milos as great beaches, and interesting old town, and is the ferry stop right before Naxos, so it's easy to get to.
If the OP is still looking for options, I’d suggest Amorgos, a less-touristed island just a short ferry ride from Naxos. There are two ports on Amorgos — we chose Katapola and stayed at the wonderful Porto Katapola hotel with huge balconies overlooking the port. Amorgos is a great place for hiking; the main sight is the amazing Hozoviotissa monastery carved out of a cliff face.
Antiparos is a lovely little island and would also be a good contrast to Naxos. Not as much to do there, but it grows on you.
As for Milos, it is beautiful but unless there’s a new ferry route that I’m not aware of, Milos is not the ferry stop before Naxos. I believe it would take at least two ferries and several hours to get from Naxos to Milos.