To put it simply; the whiteness of the timeless Paros, its ancient marble quarries, the coastal haven for water sports and the tranquillity and the unknown corners of Antiparos. Unrivalled natural beauty, crystal clear waters, unrivalled Byzantine footpaths connecting traditional villages and breathtaking landscapes make Paros, located at the heart of the Cyclades, one of the best loved holiday destinations in Greece.
Parikia, the capital of Paros, is a beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed cubic houses and impressive neoclassical mansions. When the ferry ties up in the port, you first see the two trademarks of the island. The first is the (most pictured) windmill, and you can’t miss the capital’s important ecclesiastical monument, the 6th century church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani. A perfect occasion to visit the island is during the celebrations on August 15th, when cultural events are organised around the church.
A well preserved 13th century Venetian castle stands proudly on a hill at the centre of the village offering an amazing view of Parikia. As a well known Greek singer once said: "If you do not walk the narrow alleys of Parikia, you will never grasp the feeling of this island".
Don’t miss the chance to visit the baptistery (4th century AD), one of the best preserved baptisteries in the Orthodox East, and the Byzantine Museum (housed on the ground floor of the church), or Archaeological Museum. Displays exhibit the island’s monuments (the Sanctuary of Asklipios and Pythios Apollonas, Delion etc.), including part of the "Parian Chronicle", a chronological table of the 3rd century BC.
The marble quarries at Marathi, where the famous Parian marble used to be extracted, were its galleries and are still preserved and can be visited.
Parikia, like every capital, has a bustling shopping centre, numerous shops, tourist offices, rentals, banks, and health centres. You will find many hotels and each corner reveals local taverns or restaurants, all the way up to the castle. You will experience a magnificent sunset, buy souvenirs from the small shops, and when the last light is lost, enter a loud and crazy nightlife.
Driving on the northeast of Parikia, the road will take us through beautiful traditional villages to Naoussa, a colourful village, where the ruins of a Venetian fortress stand at the entrance to its small harbour. It’s where the cosmopolitan heart of the island beats.
Have your coffee in the morning at Karino’s or Ameli, or enjoy fresh fish or local cuisine picking one of the many places by the harbour. Traditional white tables, blue chairs, grate flavours (at Barbarossa, Mario’s, or Rigani) together with colourful boats, lined up with the traditional wooden fishing boats, look like Theophilo’s painting or a movie set.
At night, the place is full of all ages, walking around with a drink or a beer, moving from Linardo to Barbarossa, then to Agosta, or Shark. For Greek music lovers, you can get a table at Flegomenos Ellinas (Flaming Greek).
But that’s not all. Lefkes is located at the highest point of Paros, has very well preserved Cycladic and neoclassical buildings, beautiful squares, narrow marble alleys and enjoys stunning views of the island.. The Museum of Aegean Folk Culture at Lefkes offers a tour of the culture of the Archipelago.
Marpissa, is a traditional village with a distinctive medieval character. It is located on a hill, a few kilometres away from the famous beaches of Logaras and Pisso Livadi. You can also visit the hill of Kefalos, where the ruins of a 15th century Venetian castle stand enjoying a wonderful view of the sea. Petaloudes is an area of stunning beauty, rich in vegetation and running water, with tall plane trees, laurels, wild olive trees, and carob trees covered in ivy that play host to the butterfly species Panaxia quadripunctaria.
Sun-drenched beaches, like Chrissi Akti, Santa Maria (the small is for families, and the big one for all-day dance, cocktails and beach parties) where you can eat at Siparos and Pounda (for kite surfers), welcome sun-loving visitors who want to enjoy the crystal clear sea, the sun or even their favourite water sports. Chrissi Akti is the venue for the annual Windsurfing World Championship. Enjoy the natural landscape (impressive white rock formations) on Kolymbithres beach, or Kalogeros, surrounded by red and green clay rocks offering a really effective spa for free. Cover your body with clay and let it dry in the sun; after a while rinse yourself in the sea and your body will feel softer than ever.
Alternatively, you can discover the island on horseback. There are two horse-riding centres, one by the sea, at Ambelas (with excellent restaurants), and one at Ysterni. Ride around the coast, along the sandy beaches or take a detour inland – a great way to see for yourself some of the most beautiful spots on the island.
Religious festivals are the perfect occasion for many types of festivities. If you find yourself in such an event, don’t forget to taste the sweet smelling wines produced in the island’s vineyards.
Extra tip: visit the small islet of Antíparos, lying southwest of Paros. Take one of the small boats from Pounda or Parikia.
The Hora (Main Town) with its stone paved streets, the whitewashed alleys, the houses decorated with thriving pink and purple bougainvilleas and the central square in the shade of eucalyptus trees create an enchanting atmosphere. On Agios Ioannis Hill lies the cave of Antiparos, distinctive for its marvellous stalagmite and stalactite formations. Sun-kissed beaches like Kaloudia, Theologos and Psaralikes offer unforgettable moments of serenity, and then grasp a slice of pizza (the best in Greece) at Lollos and a summer cocktail at Boogaloo.
- Paros is connected by ferry to Piraeus, Rafina, Lavrio and the rest of the Cyclades.
- You can reach Paros by aeroplane from Athens and Thessaloniki
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