Exploring the best of the Greek islands
Naxos is the upcoming destination among the Greek islands. When people think of the Greek islands, Mykonos and Santorini tend to spring to mind – both of which are among our most popular destinations.
And therein lies the problem. In peak season, Mykonos and Santorini are very busy and expensive – even by premium luxury standards. Naxos has an awful lot going for it. You just won’t have to form a queue when you’re watching the sunset.
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Hotels in Mykonos and Naxos – which are better?
The best hotels in Naxos have all the classic design elements you associate with Greece: whitewashed walls, Aegean views and chic minimalist rooms. You’ll find larger resorts, such as Medusa Beach Resort, as well as quaint boutique hotels like Boutique Hotel Glaros.
Naxos’ hotels might not be as bouji as the hotels in Mykonos, but there are plenty of great ones to choose from and your money goes much further. And we mean much, much further – like miles beyond the horizon. In Mykonos you could find yourself spending five times more per night.
The hotels on offer in Mykonos are next level. With so many luxury travellers flocking to the island, the market is there. Mykonos boasts some of the finest boutique hotels in Europe. The infinity pools go on forever in Mykonos. In Naxos they might not quite go on forever, but you’ll still be in a very glamorous setting.
Why is Mykonos so expensive?
It just is. If people are willing to pay a month’s rent on a plate of calamari and a glass of wine, then that’s what you’ll get. Mykonos is very much a seasonal destination. Many businesses won’t even open out of season. The economy is largely built around tourism. Mykonos’ famous windmills are no longer used to fuel gran production. They are a backdrop for influencers to generate Instagram content.
Naxos is far more affordable than Mykonos, as we’ve already established. It is an increasingly popular destination so you’ll find plenty of bars, clubs and beaches to frequent.
Is Naxos touristy?
Naxos has become increasingly touristy. That being said, it’s nowhere near as touristy as Mykonos or Santorini: the most popular Greek islands. Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades. You’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants and even nightclubs to explore in Naxos town.
Be sure to visit Kástro, the old town. Here you’ll find houses and churches from Naxos’ Venetian and Byzantine past. It will be busy in peak season, but Mykonos is likely to be overwhelmed in peak season. As it’s so touristy, Mykonos is geared towards sustaining a lot of people.
When to visit Naxos and Mykonos?
Naxos will be the busiest in the summer months. The crowds begin to arrive in late spring and the climate is at its most temperate. Towards the end of September prices in Naxos will be much lower, but many businesses will be closed as the crowds subside. Spring and summer are definitely the optimal times to visit Naxos.
Mykonos is very much a seasonal island. The tourist season runs from May up to the end of September. It becomes quite the party island in spring and summer. By September, prices will drop, the party people will be gone but some businesses will close.
If you want to experience nightlife then visit Naxos and Mykonos is peak season. Supposing you’d like a quieter and more wallet-friendly trip to the Cyclades, then September is a great month to travel.
Naxos or Mykonos – which island is more gay-friendly?
Both Naxos and Mykonos are very welcoming to gay travellers. Clearly, Mykonos is the party island of choice. It’s sort of like an unofficial gay protectorate. It’s nominally independent but it knows its economic future is dependent on the pink pound and divine dollar. All gay travellers should visit Mykonos at least once in a lifetime.
Naxos doesn’t really have a gay scene, but it does have a gay bar and some hotels that are billed as very gay-friendly. The ancient Greek’s practically invented homosexuality. You’ll surely have a gay old time in Naxos or Mykonos.
Naxos or Mykonos – which island is more beautiful?
That’s an impossible question to answer definitively. Let’s explore it though. Naxos is the largest and most verdant of the Cyclades and it’s located right in the heart of the Aegean. As well as exploring the historic sites, you can explore the stunning landscapes of Naxos.
Perched above the main town of Chora you’ll find a beautiful Venetian castle. The most famous historic site in Naxos is Portara (or temple of Apollo). It’s by the port and it’s the jewel in Naxos’ crown. At the peak of ancient Greece’s power, Naxos’ then ruler Lygdamis ordered a great temple to be built. It could have been the biggest temple in Greece but war broke out with Samos and the temple was left unfinished. When the Venetians took over Naxos they largely dismantled the temple, but the gate remains today.
Mykonos is one of the most aesthetically pleasing destinations in Europe. The whitewashed buildings of Mykonos Town are the icons of many travel brochures. You’ll find world-class beaches, beautiful people and endless Aegean views.
Mykonos isn’t really home to many ancient ruins. If that’s what you’re looking for, be sure to take a day trip to Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo. It’s like a time capsule of the ancient world. You can’t stay on Delos – it’s uninhabited. Delos is an open-air museum. A pirate raid in 69 BC brought life on Delos to an end. What the people of Delos left behind is truly extraordinary and a highlight of any trip to Mykonos.
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Can I combine Naxos and Mykonos in one trip?
You certainly can. We love Greek island hopping. Plotting your own island hopping trip can be tricky. You have to sort out multiple transfers and you’ll be at the mercy of Greek ferry timetables. We can organise the perfect Greek island hopping itinerary around Naxos, Mykonos and beyond.
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