Whitewashed houses, blue windows, small fishing ports, sandy beaches and many windmills - this is the landscape of Paros. This attractive island of the Cyclades had kept its secrets until the beginning of this century when mass tourists discovered it and photos of the island started to appear in magazines and websites. Today Paros is a popular destination and photos of its scenic port of Naoussa can be seen in all articles about the Cyclades group.
Although it looks compact, Paros has a lot to offer with its numerous beaches and authentic old villages. The island is well prepared for tourists and you can choose among plenty of hotels, villas and places to eat.
General information about Paros
Traveling around Paros is easy because it has a good road network and a coastal road which encircles the entire island and provides fast access to all beaches and villages. The distance from the northernmost to the southernmost part of Paros is about 30 km.
The capital Parikia is the most populous village and main port of the island, located on the west coast. It is lively and charming, with beautiful old town and a sandy beach, but Naoussa is the place that you see on most photos. Naoussa, the second largest village, is famous for its picturesque fishing port with a line of restaurants and the Venetian fortress. It is also a place popular among artists and craftsman, with plenty of shops for hand-made souvenirs and clothes.
The small island of Antiparos lies just 1 km off the coast of Paros. Due to the nearby location and regular boat rides many people consider it part of Paros but it is a distinct place with its own character and secluded blue beaches. Boats to Antiparos leave from the port of Pounta every 20 minutes and the journey is very short, allowing you to visit the islet for a day and see the beautiful Kastro of Antiparos built within the walls of a Venetian castle.
Where to stay in Paros
Parikia and Naoussa have everything you may need for your holiday but they are suitable for accommodation mostly if you do not have a car or if you plan to spend just a day or two on the island. Many of the hotels there lack parking spaces, unless those in the outskirts or the nearby beaches. Other popular seaside villages are Aliki and Piso Livadi but lots of hotels are available around all the larger beaches like Chrissi Akti, Santa Maria, Livadia etc.
The area of Piso Livadi and Logaras has the best location if you want to explore the entire island because it is at almost equal distances to Naoussa, Parikia, to the most popular beaches of the island and to Pounta, the place from where ferries to Antiparos depart. It is also close to the inland villages of Marpissa, Prodromos and Lefkes, all highly recommended for a walk.
Beaches of Paros
Paros is very rich in beaches and almost all of them are sandy, with shallow water. There are both organized beaches with beach bars, entertainment and water sports, like Santa Maria, Livadia, Chrissi Akti and Marcelo, and more isolated ones where people rarely come (Molos, Glyfa, Trypiti). The beach of Kolympithres is famous for its interesting rock formations and extremely shallow water around the shore.
Paros is considered one of the best Greek destinations for kite- and windsurfing. Pounta on the southwest coast of the island is a hub for kite surfers, and the two long beaches of Chrissi Akti (Golden Coast) to the east are popular among windsurfers.
What to see in Paros
- The Old Town of Parikia with the Frankish castle
- The old harbor and the Venetian Fortress of Naoussa
- The authentic villages of Lefkes, Marpissa and Prodromos
- Agios Antonis Monastery near Marpissa, with panoramic view of the entire island
- Paros Park with the hiking trails, the natural stone arch and Monastiri beach
- The island of Antiparos
- The Butterflies Nature Reserve close to Parikia
- The small peninsula in the northeast part of Paros with a number of beaches
How to get to Paros
Paros is located in the middle of the Cyclades group and it is very close to Naxos. It has daily ferry connections with the ports of Piraues, Rafina and Lavrio on mainland Greece, and with many other islands of the group. There are also direct links to the Dodecanese island of Astypalea (a few times per week in the summer) and to the port of Heraklion, Crete.
You can also reach Paros by plane, the small airport of the island is in the south part and it serves domestic flights, mainly from Athens.
Island hopping from Paros
Paros is well connected with all islands of the Cyclades group (though not daily with each of them), so you can easily hop to the world-famous Santorini and Mykonos. But those who want to include less touristy islands in their holiday may combine Paros with Naxos, Syros and Tinos. Naxos is the closest island to Paros, as the ferry ride takes only 30 minutes via the conventional ferry.