A family paradise set in the heart of the beautiful Cycladic Islands.
If we had to pick one Cycladic Island to be the ultimate destination for families then we would definitely choose Naxos. This beautiful island features everything a family could ever want on their dream holiday.
Even during the height of the holiday season Naxos maintains its Cycladic colour and its family-friendly feel.
Endless sandy beaches, sparkling blue waters, delicious food, a rich ancient heritage, and breathtaking villages make for an unforgettable experience for parents and children alike.
The island’s coastline may be a whopping 40 km long, but never fear – the Kids Love Greece team is here to help point you in the right direction.
If you have young children, the Agios Georgios (Saint George) beach next to the capital city Chora as well as the Agios Prokopios (Saint Prokopios) and the Agia Anna (Saint Anna) beaches are a perfect choice. With crystal clear water and golden sand all three aforementioned beaches are particularly safe for children as the water deepens very gradually. If your children are older then we suggest a visit to Plaka beach where, if you’re feeling bold, all the family can take windsurfing or kite surfing lessons!
For water slide lovers, all roads lead to Stelida and the Aqua Fun Water Park. Kids and grownups can enjoy waterslides, swimming pools, a snack bar, a volleyball court and much more.
Do you like sailing and boating? The Naxos harbor features several boats that sail all over the island. Take a day out to discover hidden beaches that aren’t accessible by car. If you prefer something a little more posh, we suggest you rent a yacht for a family day out. You can rent a vessel in the harbor for 60 – 100€ per person (meals included).
How about horseback riding? Riding lessons are a unique experience for young and old. Check out the horse riding centres all over the island and explore Naxos on horseback. Most clubs provide ponies so tiny tots won’t be disappointed.
Naxos is famed for its beautiful mountain villages and archaeological monuments. Our first stop is Chalki, a picturesque hamlet with a few residents that has cobblestone alleys, elegant neoclassical buildings, and an ‘old town’ atmosphere. Beside the church of Panagia Protothroni you’ll find the historic Barozzi Grazia tower. Ask the locals to tell you about the legends surrounding the tower – stories the kids will love! In the village streets you’ll find Giannis’ traditional ‘EPA’ marmalade shop. Sweeten your palates with strawberry and orange marmalades and citron preserves. Don’t miss the ‘Vallindra Distillery’ for a taste of citron liqueur, known as the ‘Greek limoncello’. In an old manor dating back to 1896, the Vallindra family continues to distil the famous ‘Naxos citron’ in the traditional way. The manor also functions as a museum where you can enjoy a free tour.
A few kilometers from Chalki is Philoti. It lies at the foot of Za Mountain and is considered to be the most beautiful village on Naxos. Take a stroll in the streets adorned by whitewashed houses and charming churches. Stop for a rest in one of the traditional cafes or taverns in the town square under the enormous, centuries-old sycamore plane tree. If you happen to be in Naxos during the Dormition of the Theotokos (Most Holy Mother of God) on August 15th, don’t miss the festival in Philoti. You’ll find famous Naxos cheeses like kefalotyri and touloumotyri as well as delicious village sausages. Don’t forget to buy a jar of thyme honey – perfect for the kids’ breakfast (and maybe your own!).
Our third stop is the one-of-a-kind ‘Apeiranthos’ also known as the ‘marble village’. The houses, roads, churches, and squares are all made of marble. You’ll be enthralled by this gorgeous village with its Venetian architecture and arched cobblestone alleys. Your kids will be captivated by the locals’ tales of corsairs, battles, heroes, and the venerated village characters. Climb up the Venetian ‘Zevgoli’ tower and admire the fantastic view. Stop for lunch at ‘Ntembelis’ – juicy burgers for the kids, Greek salad with traditional ‘xynomizithra’ cheese, and local wine for parents. Does it get any better than this?
Heading towards the northern side of the island, stop at the seaside village of ‘Apollonas’. In the ancient quarry stands ‘Apollo’s Kouros’, a half-finished sculpture that is over 10 metres tall. In the village of Melanes, in the lush gardens of the Kondyli family, you’ll meet another Kouros resting under the shade of the trees – in the same place where the ancient craftsman worked. He is known as ‘Ellinas’ – the Greek – because of his size and the air of intense power that surrounds him.
Back in Chora, stop at nearby Eggares and visit the ‘Elaiotriveio’ (oil press) in the centre of town. Here, the kids can explore the traditional olive oil production process step by step. The museum offers an audio-visual to accompany the production process.
Also, whilst in Chora, walk up to the renowned ‘Portara’and ask a passerby to take a picture of your family with the amazing sunset in the background – a perfect picture to capture.
Continue your walk to the castle of Chora. Step through the Trani Porta and get whisked away to time gone-by. The Catholic descendants of the Venetians still live in the old manors there, and each house has a story to tell. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Naxos in the castle. Strolling about the pretty alleyways you’re sure to find art exhibitions and musical performances as well as shops, tavernas and small cafes.
We highly recommend ‘Maro’s Taverna in Protodikeiou Square. Devour home-cooked food in hearty portions – just make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your belly!
Where to stay: The Nissaki Hotel is the perfect base to come back to after your wonderful days out and about.
Families should know
- Naxos is a big island. To explore it properly and at your leisure we highly recommend car hire
- Naxos is a windy island, especially in August. Ask the locals about where to find the more sheltered beaches