Activities on Naxos and the Small Cyclades
Updated: May 3
As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Naxos and the Small Cyclades, here's a selection of outdoor adventure activities in these beautiful islands.
There's a wide range of outdoor activities throughout Naxos and the Small Cyclades. The gorgeous aquamarine sea and strong steady winds make this one of the best places in the Cyclades to get out on the water for windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing. Inland there are plenty of trails for cycling as well as marked routes for hiking.
The most enjoyable way to travel around the coast of the islands is by boat, and there are plenty of boat operators that can take you to hidden coves, sea caves and inlets, and small fishing villages. Jump overboard and wade through the warm waters to pretty tavernas set back off the beach where you can feast on delicious fresh local produce.
Google map: shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Naxos & the Small Cyclades:
Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities
Activities in Naxos & the Small Cyclades
Walks on Naxos and the Small Cyclades
Walking trails on Koufonissi, Greece
Ano Koufonissi is small enough (5.7 square miles) to walk around the coast in a day – and you can reach many of the island's beautiful beaches on foot. The Municipality of Naxos and the Small Cyclades proposes a route that goes around the island from Chora to Gialos via Loutro, Parianos, Limenari, Xylobatis, Pori, Platia Pounta, Fanos, Finikas and Charakopou. Alternatively, there's an inland route from Chora to Pano Meria via Prohpitis Ilias that leads to the highest point of the interior.
Walking trails on Donousa, Greece
There are several established walking routes on Donoussa, most are signposted to help you find your way and enjoy wonderful views of the Aegean Sea as well as the interior, dotted with local attractions, such as villages, the remnants of age-old settlements and industry. The Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades proposes the following routes: Stavros-Kalotaritissa (4.4km), Kedros-Messaria (1.1km), Merssini-Livadi (0.9km), Kedros-Kato Mylos (1.8km), and Stavros-Limni-Aspros Cavos (2.1km).
Hiking on Iraklia, Greece
One of the charms of walking on the island of Iraklia is that as well as the superb views, you are likely to spot rare birds as the island is part of the Nature 2000 network of natural habitats. There are several marked trails across the island, the loveliest of which are in the southern part of the island. The longest hike that you can do on the island follows a route to the stalactite-studded cave church of Agios Ioànnis, possibly one of the most beautiful caves in Greece. Another follows a coastal
Cycling on Naxos and the Small Cyclades
Flisvos Sports Club, Naxos, Greece
Windsurfing and watersports centre with beach café, seaside studios and apartments conveniently located to the south of the main town of Naxos. As well as windsurfing boards and sails for hire, there are mountain bikes (you can also hire an experienced mountain bike guide to take you to some of the best places for cycling on the island as well as show you the best of the local sights), beach volleyball, catamaran sailing tours and lessons, as well as kite surfing at its Flisvos Kite centre Mikri Vigla.
Thoosa Rent-a-Bike, Koufonissi, Greece
This local bike hire place on the island of Koufonissi rents out bikes by the hour, day, or for longer spells. Set right by the beach and harbour on this Small Cycladic island, the friendly outlet have a range of bikes, from mountain bikes to road bikes, as well as bikes for children. The island is a fantastic place to explore in the saddle; at just 6km long, you can visit the whole island in a day, whilst the reasonably good roads shouldn't prove too tricky for the average cyclist. There are some more taxing trails into the interior of the island for those after something a little more challenging.
Watersports on Naxos and the Small Cyclades
WayOut Adventures, Schinoussa, Greece
This team of friends behind this outdoor activity provider will take you on a tour of Schinoussa's pristine waters by kayak, hiking into the remote hills, stand-up paddle boarding along some if the island's picture-perfect coastline, or on a climbing adventure further inland.
Plaka Watersports, Naxos, Greece
Windsurfers will have a hard time resisting the urge to take to the water along popular Plaka beach, renowned for its flat waters, steady winds and aquamarine waters. The friendly, professional guys here will set you up with all the equipment you need, whether you're a pro or new to the sport. They also run a series of courses to suit all ages and abilities, from private 1-2-1 training to group lessons. They also hold waterskiiing and wakeboarding lessons, and kids can have fun messing about on the water in a banana boat or tube. Kick back in the super cool chillout bar afterwards with a cocktail or tasty burger.
Donoussa Magissa Boat Trip, Donousa, Greece
Charming Loukas has been running boat trips from the harbour at Donousa for over ten years. He and his small crew follow the island's coast, stopping off at beautiful beaches, coves and villages along the way – you can hop off at any time, and there are plenty of opportunities to leap overboard in to the clear, warm waters. Loukas will regale you with intriguing seafaring tales, such as the pirates who inhabited the sea caves to escape their enemies (the boat stops here for a swim), and is a font of knowledge on the history of the island – he's lived here for most of his life.
Island hopping around the Small Cyclades
One of the joys of visiting the Small Cyclades is that, due to the happy fact that there are no airports servicing them, good old-fashioned island hopping is the only way to get around the archipelago. There are regular ferry crossing between the islands but the best way to see them by far is to join a small boat stationed at harbours across the islands. The islands are all within a few kilometres of each – except Donousa which is flung out further north – making this an easy way to visit the archipelago on daily boat tours.
For more information on nearby characterful places to stay, where to find local food and drink, and local attractions, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Naxos and the Small Cyclades