Naxos is the largest and highest island in the Cyclades and the most fertile with many crops and orchards in the cultivated valleys. Miles of white sand beaches are the best in the Cyclades. They are certainly big and the sand often sugar white. But it can also be harsh, ball-bearing granules, and a splash in the sea can mean climbing over underwater rocks that line much of the shoreline. Salt flats back many of the best Naxos beaches, creating an air of desolation that is not everyone's cup of tea. The long empty stretches add to the attraction for those who don't like company, but it may feel a little lonely for those that do.
Everything is big - imposing -, compared with the rest of Cyclades islands. The extent of the island is 435 sq. km and the length of coasts 91 km.
The form is an ellipsoid and with a mountainous volume from North to South across the island.
In the backbone of this ridge dominate Za Mountain (1004 m.) and Fanari (908 m.) the highest in Cyclades.
The landscape of the island has many rotations. Plains succeed barren areas, marble mountains lead in deep shadowed glens, areas with vegetation host all white villages and sandy beaches meet the sea.
The coastline of the island is almost straight and not forming large natural harbours, which affected the occupations of residents from the ancient years. In the island from end to end beautiful and clean coasts are situated next to small solitary coves. The ground of island is blessed and provides self-sufficiency to life of this place.
The rich aquifer of Naxos offers drinking water to wells and streams of the island. The fertile land produces citrus fruits, olives, fruits, vegetables, potatoes Naxos specials and amazing wine.
Livestock-farming and the apiculture are particularly developed and offer exceptional quality meats, milk, cheeses and thyme honey.
From geological aspect the subsoil presents great interest because of the presence of emery, of marble and granite that are exploitable products. The rocks constitute solidly foundations of Naxos and make the island stable against earthquake.
In this imposing and big island of Cyclades, where mountainous volumes dominate, with the highest altitudes in the Aegean, - with the highest peak of Cyclades, the top of Za (1004 m.) - immediately gives a sense of security and "stable", in this turbulent marine state of Cyclades.
Naxos is at the hub of the Cyclades ferry system with other islands not far away, and Naxos is an ideal location for an island hopping holiday.
From the Greek mainland, ferries and highspeed catamaran services run daily from Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio. Naxos is a central hub in the sea transport system, and enjoys multiple connections in all directions. Ferry boats and high speed catamaran services, respectively costing around € 29 and € 45 one-way in economy class, run daily from Piraeus during high season.
Various shipping companies sail for Naxos (via Paros) including:
Blue Star Ferries
Aegean Speed Lines
NEL Lines also operates a highspeed link from Lavrio in Attica. This is a pleasant port to travel from if you have the option, as it is relatively near the airport and doesn't have the stress and chaos of Piraeus.
There is also the High Speed (Hellenic Seaways) which leaves from Rafina, closer to Athens airport than Piraeus and a pleasant place to have lunch if you have time before you board your ferry. The High Speed takes just under 4 hours and is around € 40 in high season.
In Naxos, ticket offices for ferries in all directions can be found along the quay in Hora. Ferries from Pireaus to Naxos are frequent, as many as half a dozen a day during the summer but generally two or more. The length of the trip does not require a cabin. Blue Star Lines is the most common carrier between Pireaus and Naxos. The ferry takes about 6 hours and the high-speed takes half that time and costs twice as much. Usually there are several departures at 7:30AM every day and then a high-speed and ferry at around 5PM and in the summer a ferry that leaves Pireaus at around 10PM. The Hellas Flying Dolphin High-speeds are catamarans and take about 4 hours to get to Naxos from Pireaus.