The third largest island of the Cyclades, the chain of islands that lead the eye south from Athens, and more lush and green than its neighbours, some call Paros ‘the Jewell of the Aegean’ – and who are we to argue! It’s not as well-visited as some islands but the terraced hills, vineyards, olive trees and fruit groves have attracted poets, writers and artists for years. If you’re looking to hide-away for a week or two it has a rather majestic quality with a number of historic and archaeological sites and some lovely beaches.
That said the main two towns Parikia and Naoussa, which are also the main ports, have some great nightlife. Parikia is the main port and Naoussa (not to be confused with the Macedonian wine of the same name) is a beautiful little harbour with a stunning sunset – mmmm a glass of local wine in a harbour-side taverna as the sun goes down, what’s not to like?
So it’s a traditional Aegean island with interesting things to see and do, great places to kick back and do nothing, and a choice of accommodation from camping through luxury hotels to villas – sounds like one for your short list.
Paros has been inhabited since approximately 4000 BC but began to flourish 1000 years later due to a wonderful clear marble mined here which has been exported for centuries. Still quarried and sold today – you’ll undoubtedly buy some to take home as a souvenir – translucent Parian marble has made the island important throughout the ages.
Like most Greek islands Paros has been invaded, run and influenced by a number of different people and is a patchwork of cultures. Initially a tribe from the Peloponnese took strong hold of the Cyclades and went to island to trade the Parian marble. Near the end of the Classical Period Paros was ruled by Sparta, then the Macedonians and then the Romans. During the Byzantine Era a number of monasteries and churches were built on the island. This Era was followed by Venetian rule which began in the 13th Century then finally the Turks moved in.
Paros was finally free in 1821 after the Greek revolution
You’ll find some classic museums on the island covering Archaeology, the Byzantine period, Folklore and Sculpture. However the stand-out visit is the Wine Museum in the village of Naoussa owned and run by the famous wine making Boutaris family – it’s mainly or educational purposes but you can always try the wine in a waterfront taverna later. The museum is mainly for educational purposes.
It’s the main town and well worth a visit if only for the Church of Panagia "Ekatontapyliani" – one of the oldest, best preserved and most important churches in Greece. Constructed around 300 AD on top of the ruins of an ancient temple the courtyard is home to a Byzantine Museum. Any stroll around Parikia reveals tiny churches, ruins and other interesting sites – kep your eyes peeled for the Church of Agios Konstantinos, built on top pf an ancient temple of the Goddess Demeter (the goddess of fertility), and also the old castle which is now a semi ruin. The Castle was built using material from the same ancient temple on which the Church of Agios Konstantinos now sits.
A picturesque mountain village Marpissa has maintained a charming traditional Greek ambience. There are a number of churches from the 16th & 17th Century, the ruins of a Venetian Castle, a couple of museums, traditional Cycladic Style houses either side of little paved roads and iconic Cycladic Windmills.
Visit the Wine Museum to work up a thirst then walk around this beautiful little port and village and find a bar for a drink. The best time to go is in the afternoon so you can be there for a sundowner. If you happen to be here on 23rd August don’t miss the annual celebration of the village's victory over the Turkish Pirate Barbarossa.
If you have the time it is worth getting on a small boat and going over to see Paros’ little sister island for lunch and a swim and great views of Paros itself. Antiparos also has a choice of good accommodation and is known for its great hospitality. If you really want to get away from it all hop over for a night or three.
If you like Nature don’t miss the beautiful valley a few kilometers south of Parikia called the Valley of Butterflies. Driving or take the bus then you can walk to it or reach it by donkey. Stunningly scenic in its own right the valley exhibits a truly amazing natural phenomenon – during the summer months it is absolutely covered in butterflies. You do need to be on the lookout though as they camouflage themselves rather well.
Paros offers a wide variety and number of beaches so here is our Best of Paros guide to the Best of the Beaches. Fab for families Kolimbithres has crystal clear water so you can keep a close eye on the kids. Alternatively try Aliki where you can watch the kids run around and play in the water from the comfort of a taverna.
If you’re into water sports you’ve come to the right place - Paros is one of the Greek Islands people visit to Windsurf. Golden Beach is known for its windsurfing (and also has scuba diving). If you’re a beginner or would like to learn how to windsurf then try Tserdakia, a.k.a New Golden Beach, which has a school with very experienced instructors. Pounda Beach, located south of Pounda and near the port where boats leave for Antiparos, is also known for its windsurfing and kite surfing and also hosts a diving school. On the beach the partying goes on throughout the day on lovely sands with crystal clear waters. If you want everything all in one place Santa Maria is the place. The beach is huge and you’ll find water sports, umbrellas, sun beds, tavernas, bars, even a swimming pool. For relaxed swimming Farangas with its wide sandy beach and collection of small coves is relatively unknown but has a collection of bars and tavernas. If you like to pack a picnic and get away from it all, Voutakos and Laggeri are the beaches that can provide you with peace and quiet. But make sure you take drink and food with you as it won't be easy to get much within walking distance.
The best shopping is in Parikia and in Naoussa where you’ll find boutiques, souvenir shops, clothes shops, jewellery, antiques, wine, embroideries etc at a variety of prices. For local produce check out the Farmers' Association of Paros shop.
Eating-wise you’ll discover stylish modern restaurants, little cafes, family run restaurants and anything from cheap and cheerful to luxurious and more expensive in Parikia and in Naoussa. The other villages mainly offer traditional Greek cuisine.
There are some local specialties you should try:
Paros is a fertile island and a lot of the vegetables and fruit are grown locally and incredibly tasty and fresh. Don’t forget to try some of their local sweets and accompany your meals with either the local wine or local ouzo.
Parikia is party central on Paros with a variety of Bars and Clubs and has something for everyone. It’s a rocking little spot with bars on the sea front and bars hidden in the little stone streets playing all sorts of music including live Greek music and jazz. Nightlife in Naoussa is equally lively and there are lots of bars to choose from across the island. Whether you’re after an all-night party or a quiet evening the choice is amazing. There is also an open air cinema.
‘Yria’ in the ‘Small luxury hotels of the world’ family, is nestled in the magnificent bay of Parasporos
and is modelled on a 22.000 sq. metres village of dazzling cycladic houses.
The Astir of Paros 5 star deluxe beach resort in Paros is ideally situated only a breath away from the quaint village of Naoussa.
Contaratos Beach Hotel is a 4 star Paros hotel in Naoussa , a picturesque place surrounded by the enchanting view of the Aegean sea, next to the beach of Saint Anargiri, on Cyclades Paros island.
The Poseidon hotel in Paros is a 4 star hotel-apartment complex at the Golden beach of Paros Island in the Cyclades offering resort-style
amenities and comforts.
If you want to enjoy the most beautiful beach in Paros and relaxation away from the main villages then Poseidon of Paros Resort Hotel is just for you.
Villa Adonis is on the picturesque Island of Paros in Greece! This Greek Island is part of Cyclades Island complex in the Aegean! The Villa is just 2 km away from cosmopolitan Parikia Village & 70 meters from what is probably the best beach in Paros, Marcelo Beach!
Villa Icarus is a Luxury Holiday Villa located on the Cycladic Island of
Paros, a truly unique Greek Island!
Villa Icarus is designed with respect to the traditional Cycladic architecture for guests to have a comfortable stay in all five spacious bedrooms that most have been hand painted with the touch of famous Greek painter. A private pool & Spa will help you relax and enjoy your holidays in Greece
Villa Ioannis is a small but elegant villa on the Greek Island of Antiparos.
Antiparos is a small inhabited island in the Aegean, at the heart of the Cycladic Islands, which is less than one nautical mile from Paros Island.
A delightful Cycladic style 2 bedroom villa next to the Butterfly Valley with veranda and unobstructed views of the sea and Antiparos island
A splendid 2 bedroom villa next to the Butterfly Valley, with unobstructed views of the sea and Antiparos island
A spacious 3 bedroom Cycladic villa next to the Butterfly Valley, with unobstructed views of the sea and Antiparos island