Myconos and Santorini are two of the most famous Greek islands and especially during the high season can be very crowded.
But, there is an island that although it doesn’t have the fame and the nightlife of Myconos and the – out of this world – beauty of Santorini, it has its own fans – and I am one of them!
And this is Paros island!!
I admit that Paros is one of my favourites for many reasons and also it has one big plus! It’s for everyone!
It has beautiful beaches, sports activities, trendy bars and clubs, tasty food, wineries, traditional architecture, paths for trekking and hiking etc. The list as you might understand goes endless!
That’s why if you go to Paros, you notice the variety of ages that visit it, from young people and students to families and older couples. This creates an amazing mix that gives this island an extra dimension!
Update: Due to Coronavirus, there will be many changes this summer. We wrote an article (more information here!) where we explain the current measures and situation and we will update it as often as possible!
The months May, June and September are the more ideal, as the island is quiet and the rhythm slow as it should be!
At the end of the post, you will find a detailed map with all the mentioned places and beaches, so you will have an idea about the island and where all the basic points are!
Before revealing all the tips, let’s go and present all the things that you cannot miss when you visit the island.
Visit Antiparos: You will wonder why I start the must-visit list with a suggestion of another island!! That’s a very good point! Antiparos was really an island for total isolation and relaxation, but the recent years that has changed a little bit as it attracts more tourists every year! Still, it is a picturesque island located very close to Paros and it is ideal for a one day trip.
Ferries from Paros to Antiparos depart very frequently from Parikia or Pounta, in case you want to get a vehicle with you (not entirely necessary for one day trip).
Parikia and Panagia Ekatontapiliani church: Parikia is the main harbour and it isn’t the most beautiful village in Paros, but it has its own beauty with alleys, little shops, an open- cinema (check here the programme) and the famous and historic Byzantine Church, Panagia Ekatontapiliani church, which was built back in 4 century in the port town of Parikia. This church is known as the “Church with 100 doors” and is one of the most important preserved churches of Greece! There is a legend, which claims that 99 doors have been found in the Panagia Ekatondapiliani, but the 100th will be discovered only when Constantinople (Istanbul) will become Greek again!
Water sports: If you like water sports, then Paros is a great choice for you! You can do various sports like surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, kayaking and canoeing, kiteboarding, etc at Golden Beach (our favourite beach for water sports), New Golden Beach and Santa Maria.
Naoussa: Just get lost in its alleys, as it is a very beautiful port. Ideal place for food, coffee and of course drinks!
Paros Park: This is a protected area with walking trails, different rock formations, caves, where you can relax some beautiful views. Paros Park has an outdoor amphitheatre and runs the summer Festival at the Park, with concerts & plays. There’s also a free open-air cinema by the sea with summer film showings! There you will find some easy nice trails!
You can try the Lighthouse and Cape Almyros. Especially I recommend the Lighthouse route before the sunset as the scenery is even more stunning! More details here!
Paros is also famous for its beaches. So, don’t forget to visit:
Kolymbithres: Small beaches trapped between big rocks and the water provide for a beautiful setting! There you will find sunbeds and clear water. It is ideal for families with children. And just have in mind. Don’t stop at the first bay, but check the others as well! Warning: In July and August can be very crowded!
Santa Maria: Santa Maria beach starts quite shallow – which is great for children (!) and then gently gets deeper. There are a few beach bars and restaurants and even some water sports available for rental. It is close to Naoussa and it is served by a bus service. Maybe it isn’t ideal for the peak season if you are looking for a quiet and relaxing place!
Golden Beach: This is one of my favourite beaches but perhaps I am a little biased as I have spent some lovely summers there! It has deep blue waters, golden sands and the beautiful Cycladic landscape! Also, there, you will enjoy from coffee to cocktails at the beach and from sandwiches to romantic dinners! If you are a surfer don’t miss this location. One of the best places for wind-surf and amazing wind!!
Monastiri: Lovely beach, well organised with shallow and clear water and it is ideal for families! You can follow the rocky path (around 20′) toward the boats and you will find a peaceful cove beach that is not organized and that is nude friendly.
Faragas: The lovely setting and the clear, light blue water makes this beach to be high on my personal list. It has a nice beach restaurant, where you can have lunch or simply refreshments.
Protected from the north wind which is quite common in Paros island.
…and many many more. We give an extra tip for a beautiful beach just below!
Now, the other big question comes to our mind.
Where to stay
The main towns that you can stay in are Parikia, Naoussa, Piso Livadi and Drios. Lefkes is also a good and affordable choice, especially if you don’t mind to stay on the mainland of the island.
You can find here a complete list with the best hotels in Paros Island and a detailed map.
Now that we highlighted the top points for Paros, we will give some extra tips, some extra secrets!
Almost 15 minutes away from Paroikia (the port) there is a place known as “Butterfly Park”, an idyllic landscape with dense vegetation. The park is open from June to September from 9 am to 8 pm. During the summer the butterflies cover the leaves of the trees! It is amazing to see them flying because the colour under the wings is bright red, unlike the rest of the body which is dark! Visitors are amazed by this heavenly place which is quite uncommon in the Cyclades and dry islands.
Lefkes is probably the most famous mountainous village on Paros island and really it’s worth spending some time wandering the alleys. But if you leave your car there, your watch and your stress, then you can follow one of many trails of the Paros island that goes to village Prodromos. This village keeps the serenity and the traditional colour of an era that has been passed. Get lost at the white colour of the village and get the paths to the two monasteries. One of them, the Central Baptist Church celebrates on 27th July with a great festival!
There are many beautiful beaches like Chrysi Akti, Pounta Bar Beach, Santa Maria, but also Faraggas and Aliki. But, close to Naousa you will find a lovely beach Laggeri with white sand and spectacular dunes, and cedars trees offering the requested privacy for the lovers of unspoiled nature.
And when the night comes, we have another suggestion to make. We love Parikia and especially Naousa’s nightlife because they have very trendy bars and clubs and many young people gather there every night. But, if you are looking for a nice atmosphere and music then you should go to the Golden Garden Bar. This is a meeting point for those that love chill out and funky music. Enjoy your cocktail in the amazing garden or around the big bar, which is an ideal place to meet people and relax.
You can find at the below map our extra tips.
How to get there: You can go to Paros by ferry from Piraeus port (there is a choice between a slow ferry and a fast and more expensive one) or fly at the new international airport. Personally, when I have enough time, I prefer the ferry. It might take longer, but I am on holiday so I am not in a hurry and also I like so much to smell the sea and enjoy the view from the deck of the ship!
The best platform for ferry tickets is the Ferryhopper. It is really easy and user friendly to check prices and book online tickets.
Transportation: This is an island that you will need a car as it has quite a few places that you can visit. But, if you prefer not to drive at all during your holiday, then I would like to inform you that the bus connection in Paros is one of the best in the Cyclades!! You can check here for timetables, tickets etc. Note that during July and August can be quite busy, so bear this in mind. Also, there is the option to get a taxi.
Do you have anything secret to share with us about beautiful Paros? Just leave us a comment!