Kavos Naxos

Ayios Prokopios, Naxos, Greece Book from Book from £127 per night

This small resort overlooking the sandy sweep of Ayios Prokopios has secluded studios, a sleek swimming pool and spadefuls of style
People often ask me, as someone who has been visiting and writing about Greece for 15 years, what my favourite island is. And I always answer Naxos, for its combination of gold-sand beaches and lush mountainous interior, of sleepy white pueblos and a lively seafront hora (capital). And my favourite beach on Naxos? That would have to be Ayios Prokopios, a long arc of sand and turquoise water placed just far enough from Hora to feel blissfully secluded, yet near enough (10 mins’ drive) to piggy-back on its engaging and unfancified restaurants, bars and boutiques.

And my top tip for where to stay? You guessed it: the beautifully designed and immaculately run studios and villas of Kavos, with their rampantly exotic gardens, their spacious Cyc-chic interiors and their private verandas looking down across a seamless pool and sparkling seas to neighbouring Paros. It's impeccably run by English manageress Barbara and her team, and very fairly priced. All of which, for a couple or family seeking a tranquil and stylish island escape, puts it squarely at the top of the heap.

Highs

  • The location, on a wind-sheltered slope above the limpid waters of Ayios Prokopios, with wine-red sunsets over the straits of Paros, is unbeatable
  • We loved having the freedom of a villa (our own kitchen, plenty of breathing space) along with the facilities of a small resort (restaurant, bar, local advice)
  • The gardens are stunning - fragrant roses, rampant bougainvillea all year round - and some houses have a lovely roof terrace
  • If you tire of swimming & sunbathing, they can arrange mountain-biking, horse-riding & hiking trips; and there's excellent wind- and kite-surfing nearby, too
  • Naxos is well served by planes, ferries and hydrofoils from Athens, and links well with Paros, Santorini, Mykonos or Syros

Lows

  • You’re not right on the beach, but 15-20 mins’ walk above (away from any road or bar noise)
  • Although you could manage without, life will be easier with a hire car, for shuttling to the beach and into Hora
  • The area can get windy in summer when the meltemi blows
  • Since our first visit, 2 resorts have opened between Kavos and the sea, but they are low-rise and relatively inoffensive

Best time to go

Try and avoid July-August if you can, when the island fills to bursting (though, being so much larger, not as bursting as neighbouring Paros, Ios and Mykonos). June and September are perhaps the best 2 months, with April, May and October being better suited for hiking, cycling and more active types.

Our top tips

If you plan to make your own breakfasts, you'll need to bring the wherewithal - teabags, coffee, milk (nothing is provided).

In the village of Halki, make sure to visit the lovely pottery, craft and jewellery shop, L'Olivier, as well as the sweet little shop-cum-museum of Valindras, where you can taste the kitro liqueur before buying.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 15
  • Restaurant; all rooms have kitchenettes
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Fitness room
Room:

Rooms

The first thing that jumps out at you when you enter the grounds are the colourful and well-tended gardens: red geraniums, roses galore, fanning palms, aromatic herb bushes and a pink halo of bougainvillea around every white-washed wall. This gives a sense of space and softness which is rare in Greek hotels, and ensures that each studio, villa and veranda is well screened from its neighbours.

Interiors are carefully styled with tones of Cycladic blue offset by cool creams and white. Overall, the feel is simple but stylish. You'll find a satellite TV, air-con and a private vine-shaded veranda with sea views, wooden furniture and occasional visits from one of the resident cats. Bathrooms gleam with local marble and shiny chrome fittings; separate showers and decent hot water pressure are proof that Greek plumbing need not always be a dampener on your spirits (and the floor and the toilet paper).

Studios suites are lovely open-plan rooms for 2-3, with a living area on the lower level (full-sized sofa bed, kitchenette with fridge, hotplates and kettle) and, up a few steps, a twin- or double-bedded sleeping area with shower room alongside. They may be the smallest, but are in no way the duff choice: they would be perfect for a couple, or a couple with 1 child.

Villas are free-standing bungalows (for 4-5 or 6) with 2 or 3 bedrooms, a living room (sofabed and French windows to the veranda), a fuller kitchen (including mini oven) and 2 bathrooms (one with bathtub as well as a shower, the other an ensuite with shower). Several of the villas also have spectacular roof terraces to enjoy a panoramic sea view to the surrounding islands. The Apartment has a large living room (2 sofabeds), a further open-plan kitchen-diner-lounge area and a double bedroom with shower room.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Kitchenette
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Since our last visit, the hotel has opened its new poolside restaurant, Stelida, which boasts to be one of the best-loved restaurants in Naxos. Open to visitors as well as hotel guests, the romantic restaurant serves creative Greek cuisine from morning through to the evening (with a special sunset happy hour offering Kavos Naxos’ legendary mojitos). There is plenty of choice – fresh grilled fish, interesting pasta dishes, locally sourced lamb and other meats – and an excellent selection of wines, too.

Breakfast, which is excluded from the room rates, is served until midday. You can order a cheese-filled omelette made with local eggs, a snowy mountain of Greek yoghurt and honey, even a jam pancake if you’re lucky; and, if that hasn’t kickstarted your taste buds, the fresh-pressed citrus juices will.

If you fancy eating out, Axiotissa in Kastraki (a 20-minute drive away) is a delight, with lots of fresh, home-grown ingredients combined in unusual Med-meets-Oriental ways. In the labyrinthine backsreets of Hora there are some delightful tavernas spilling onto the whitewashed cobbles and tiered rooftops. See our island guide for details.

Alternatively you can dine on your shady veranda (or, in some houses, on your own roof terrace): each suite has a small kitchenette with a 2-ring hob, a fridge-freezer, sink, kettle and basic cutlery and crockery and pans (villas and apartments also have a mini-oven). It's enough, say, to whip up a spag bol with Greek salad, but you would struggle to cook a moussaka (and, with their own restaurant a few paces away, this is understandable).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Fridge
  • Kitchenette
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The coast around Ayios Prokopios is basically a string of sandy beaches. Head south to Ayia Anna or Mikri Vigla if you want a change (or, in mid August, a bit more towel space); head north for the enclosed lagoon of Ayios Georgios, a perfect spot for windsurfers with its safe and shallow waters and its reliable afternoon winds
  • Just beyond that (10 mins’ drive) is Hora (Naxos Town), the island’s main town, a maze of cobbled lanes and over-arching white-washed houses behind a seafront which buzzes with ice cream parlours, waffle bars, fish restaurants and low-key night clubs. At the top of its hill is a Venetian citadel with a small archaeological museum and a lovingly-restored historic residence which is open to the public and hosts sporadic concerts of chamber and folk music
  • For any other exploration, you’ll need to hire a car or moped; staff can have one delivered to the door. Highlights include the hike up Mt Zas, the highest spot in the Cyclades at 1001m; the mountain village of Apirathos, with its small geological and natural-history exhibitions (it was once an emery-mining community); the sleepy village of Halki, with its kitro-tasting outlet and simple outdoor taverna; the fortified monastery of St John Fotodotis on its isolated perch between the two; and various ancient kouroi (statues of over-sized young men) which were abandoned in their beds of stone in mid creation
  • Or grab an Anavasi map and a bus (or cab), and hike some of the shady walled paths which thread between terraced olive groves and rugged mountainsides; our favourites include from Ano Potamia (lovely taverna) to the two kouroi statues of Melanes, and Moni-Halki on the fertile Tragea plateau, stopping to visit the low slung chapel of Panagia Drosiani en route. If you prefer to be guided, ask Barbara about the organised hiking holidays in spring and autumn
  • There's great horse-riding to be had along the beaches and flower-lined country lanes of western Naxos - just ask at reception. Mountain biking with or without a guide is also popular during the cooler months

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Nightlife
  • Painting holidays
  • Sailing
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Water-skiing
  • Windsurfing

Kids

Children of all ages are very welcome, and the various types of accommodation suit couples with 1, 2 or 3 kids. The beaches nearby are very safe: sandy, gently shelving, no tides, no signifcant currents, and rarely any big waves. One child is free if sharing a room with 2 adults. Baby-sitting can be arranged.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom villas are ideal for parents with 1-2 children (or 3 if you don't mind using an extra bed, though we'd recommend the 3-bedroom villa for that). Each studio can take one child (on the sofabed), but studios 5 and 6 interconnect to sleep 4-6 - handy if all the villas are full.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots, baby baths and high chairs are available on request, plus a few beach toys for kids to borrow.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities nearby:

There's a creche on the edge of Naxos Town, on the road towards Angidia.

Families Should Know:

There is no railing around the pool, and the drop is about 1m / 3ft in places.

Distances:

  • Airport: 10 mins
  • Hospital: 15 mins
  • Beach: 10 mins' walk
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 10 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We had a wonderful stay. Food and staff excellent. Spacious room. Excellent value for money. Could not recommend enough.

10/10,

We have just returned from a stunning break at Kavos Naxos and are planning our next visit there already. The property and it's location is our idea of heaven. Barbara and her team were so welcoming and couldn't do enough for us.

10/10,

Terrific place to stay on this fascinating island. Lovely spacious studios with verdant garden terraces. Great restaurant beside the pool. Highly recommended.

10/10,

Beautiful small hotel, stunning gardens, lovely pool area, and great food. First rate service by the whole team. Nice retreat away from busy local beach and restaurants.

9/10,

Such a wonderful hotel. The room was unbelievably spacious and clean, with our own private rooftop and ground floor verandas. Barbara the manager is a real delight, who warmly welcomes you and provides great information and tips on things to do on the island. The gardens are beautiful and the whole place is so peaceful. Highly recommend this wonderful hotel.

10/10,

Beautiful place with nice terraces outside in each appartment. Very kind personel. The bathroom is somewhat old-fashioned, which makes the price-quality rate somewhat lower than expected.

8/10,

Our stay at Kavos was a dream come true! It's a slice of paradise - located in the least windy part of the island - and a mere seven minute walk to a gorgeous, sandy beach with deep blue water and few tourists and mostly local Greek families- so peaceful- we went every day at 3pm and it was heaven. We ate so well at Kavos. The chef is Greek and cooks local, fresh and authentic dishes that look beautiful and taste delicious. The staff is so friendly and accomodating. We have a baby and we felt completely relaxed and welcome with our son. The other guests were so friendly too- we found ourselves becoming close to everyone in our 4 days there. I miss it already and we will definitely be back. Did I mentio we ate fresh figs off the tree outside our villa? Incredible!

10/10,

We loved the quietness of the area and the beautiful views. The rooms were beautiful.

10/10,

Just come back from 10 days at Kavos Naxos. We absolutely loved it. Everything about the wonderful service from Barbara and her staff that has already been said is true. Only remark we'd make is that the food is noted as a "low point" on the general review, although there is a comment about a new chef. The food now is absolutely delicious - fresh, changing and inventive menu, excellent value for the evening meals. We had a car for half the time. We had a 2 year old son, who just wanted the pool and the beach, so could only spend a little time exploring the island, but a car was still useful to try some other beaches when you fancied.

10/10,

I have nothing but praise for the Kavos Naxos - a perfect five out of five. I loved my little house and watching the sunset from the big and uncrowded pool. Barbara, Sarah, and Sotiris were the perfect hosts. The restaurant was a classy dining option - with some really nice wines - at prices only a little higher than those in the local tavernas. It is that rare thing in Greece - upscale boutique accommodation on an island other than Mykonos or Santorini.

10/10,

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Rates for Kavos Naxos