Paros

Paros Island – Much More than Meets the Eye

Hardly a day goes by without a tourist calling or emailing to ask about the Greek islands. The vast majority of people who visit the Greek Isles tend to visit again and again, with many of them waxing lyrical about the islands.

Whatever their reasons are for loving the islands, they just keep coming back. 

The Greek islands have a wealth of highlights and history, and Paros is just one of the fabulous Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. It’s a boating hub in the Cyclades region – not quite as frequented as Mykonos, but that’s a part of its appeal. 

In fact you could say that Paros will suit those looking for a quieter designation and who want to unpack some of the island’s colorful history.  

There are a number of ways to discover more about Paros Island and surrounds. If it’s not a certified boat trip to other islands where diving excursions can be arranged, it can be horseriding on the beach or walking-tours through towns, villages or vineyards. 

Another Day in Paradise

The hilly interior of Paros will ensure that for outdoor lovers, there is never a dull moment. Whether you want to tackle one of the many hikes there are, eat prawns or scuba dive around a coral reef, there is something for everyone on this awesome island.

What is winsomely appealing about Paros, is that there are still people living there that herd and fish, much like the old days. As you travel around the peaceful countryside and villages you also discover that on Paros the prices haven’t yet skyrocketed the same way they have on some of the other islands. 

So what are you waiting for? Don’t you want to go out and get a taste of Paros? It’s a region of awe-inspiring landscapes and countless attractions, and after you’ve savored all it offers, you know that it won’t be long and you’ll be back again.

When is the best time to visit Paros?

Paros can be a little bit unpredictable in terms of weather, but generally, temperatures feel comfortable all year long.  In fact, you can enjoy weeks at a time of good weather, and that’s good news for sun worshippers.  If you’re looking for the hottest weather, then June, July and August are your best bets! You can expect temperatures around 29/30°C during the day. 

When is Paros at its most Hectic?

If you don’t like sharing the island with throbbing crowds, stay away from Paros in June, as this is the busiest month for tourism, with May and June also being busy. You’ll pay a pretty penny for a bed over this time. 

There is a strong wind – the ‘Meltemi’ which whips up during July to September, and it attracts a lot of wind- and kite-surfers. Don’t let it put you off though, because there are some fabulously protected bays where you can swim and tan without being blown away. 

Krios is a small sandy beach where you can take shelter from the Meltemi winds and you’ll find umbrellas and sunbeds as well as beach bars and restaurant. 

Some of the other fine beaches in Paros

Souvlia

This is also a beach to escape to when the wind is blowing. It’s a relaxed beach with sunbeds and umbrellas as well as restaurant and bars. 

Kolymbithres

Kolimbithres is one of the most interesting beaches where you’ll find naturally sculpted rocks that seem they are out of a Salvador Dali painting. The coves at this beach are popular for people with small children as there are shallow pools with crystal clear water which are ideal for paddling. The beach also has sunbeds and umbrellas and there are a number of tavernas where you can refuel with drinks and eats. 

Santa Maria

This is a large, popular beach and it comes equipped with everything for a great day out. There are tavernas, bars, campsite, swimming pool and plenty of chances for water sports. 

How to Get to Paros

Paros has an airport – Paros National Airport.  The airport receives domestic flights from Athens for instance but also international flights. If you don’t want to make use of a ferry, you can also fly to Paros from Athens, making use of one of the small Aegean planes.

The island is also connected by ferry and there are ferries leaving every day from Piraeus, the main port of Athens. There are also ferries connecting Paros to many of the other Cyclades islands. You can book your ferry tickets online which is super convenient. 

By Ferry:

There are daily boats to Paros from the port of Piraeus. During the summer, there are also connections from the port of Rafina. Trip time is 3-5 hours, depending on the type of boat.

There are also connections from other Cycladic islands including Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos and Syros. In the summer, there is a ferry from the port of Herakion in Crete. For your ferry travel, I highly recommend Blue Star Ferries.

By Air:

Paros’ airport is near Alyki. Flights connect Paros with the Athens airport. Flights are 30 minutes.

How to Get Around Paros

With its good network of roads in Paros, one way or the other, it is easy to get around. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport and the bus stations are found in the town center of Parikia as well as Naoussa. During peak seasons, there are plenty of buses and routes. 

Taxis are convenient and are to be seen around the airport and port and you can also book one online.

Many people opt to hire a scooter or a car because of the independence they provide. You’ll find some of the leading car rental companies operating in Paros such as Avis and Hertz. To avoid a fine on the island, make sure you are driving with your international driver’s license.

Scooter hire for instance, offers a large variety of scooter choices and when you book online you simply stipulate the kind of scooter you want. Prices are all-inclusive with free delivery at the port or airport. A free helmet is usually included. 

What is the capital of Paros?

Parikia is the capital city and its harbour is a hub for ferries and catamarans. The houses in the city are built in the traditional Cycladic style, with their flat roofs, whitewashed walls and bright blue doors.

A riot of vibrant color comes from the vines, bougainvillea and pomegranates that grow around these houses. Tourists love the picturesque streets, the cafes, bars and restaurants, museums, churches and beaches.  

Shopping in Paros

You could say that Market Street is the place to be in the capital city, Parikia. The street provides the perfect opportunity for you to buy some souvenirs and to buy some gifts for those at home.

You’ll find shoe shops, jewelry shops, book stores, sweet shops, ice-cream parlors, clothing stores and much more. 

Wonderful Eating Places in Paros

Planning to eat out quite a bit in Paros? There are so many awesome restaurants, each one offering something unique. Whichever way you want to enjoy Greek dining, some places just stand out more than others because of the services they offer.

When some restaurants close for a couple of months towards the end of the year, Ephessus Restaurant, with its wide variety of dishes, is open the entire year. It serves a blend of  Greek and Anatolian dishes in a wonderful setting. It’s got a great, relaxed atmosphere and a fantastic setting as it looks over the bay towards the mountains.  Check out our post on Where to Eat on Paros Island

 

Where to Stay on Paros

Paros has all kinds of accommodation to offer its visitors. There are many hotels, some budget and some 5-star with every amenity you can dream of. Whatever your budget and whatever your style, Paros can accommodate you.

 

Hotel in Parikia

Argonauta Hotel 

This small family-run boutique hotel in the heart of Parikia, Paros’s capital is steps away from the main harbor and the bustling city life.

The guest rooms are built around the inner courtyard overlooking the narrow streets and the main square. The hotel features 16 guestrooms, decorated in grey and white tones.

Delicious breakfast is served at the Argonauta restaurant and cafe on the ground level. 

 

Budget Stays in Naoussa:

Svoronos Bungalows – These apartments are a fantastic base in Naoussa. The aparments are equipped with a kitchen, sitting spaces and balconies. The family-run atmosphere is friendly and the whole property itself is well kept with authentic local charm. Definite value for money.

Naoussa Hotel outdoor pool

Naoussa Hotel – These rooms and apartments are set right on the road before you reach Naoussa. Walking distance to beaches. The room I stayed in was spacious and had a small kitchenette. A simple and immaculate family run establishment. The owner Mr Harry is lovely.

Mid-range boutique hotels in Naoussa:

Kanale’s – These cozy rooms built in traditional Cycladic style are nice base in Naoussa. Walking distance from the harbor. The Piperetto restaurant’s dining balcony offers a perfect view. A plus on service here too. The Cycladic inspired pool with a bridge was my saving grace during a heat wave.

Paliomylos – A good friend of mine runs this fantastic boutique hotel. Set above the harbor it is within walking distance to all the good stuff in Naoussa. Known for its spa and excellent service.

Astir of Paros – For a luxury stay, head to Astir of Paros which is just outside of Naoussa. Beautiful pool and great service.

 

Outdoor Activities on Paros 

Hikes

One of the best ways to get out and about and to see the countryside of Paros is to meet up with a few locals and do a day hike. If this sounds like a great idea for a fun day out, you’ll enjoy the different day hikes. There are a few strenuous options for those who enjoy a challenge.

There are inland hikes as well as hikes along the coast – all giving you the chance to experience the natural beauty of the island. The hike from Kolimpithres to Cape Korakas & Cape Almiros is a splendid coastal route with a lighthouse as well as the chance to walk past the monastery of Saint John Detis. Altogether, the route is about 12 km long.

Whatever hike you do, most of the paths in Paros have been mapped and marked to make them easier to follow. 

Learn a new Hobby – Scuba Diving

There is nothing quite as invigorating as learning something new in an exciting destination and while in Paros, you can go snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact Paros has some excellent scuba diving centers. 

One of these is the Paros Diving Center at Golden Beach, on the South East side of the island. They are a registered Scuba Schools International or SSI Dive Center, offering courses for beginners right up to professional Divemaster level.

Just Some Interesting Sight-Seeing Highlights

The Church of Ekatontapliani or ‘Lady of a Hundred Doors’ is an imposing church in the Cyclades, thought to be some 1.600 years old. The church is open all day to visitors and there is a souvenir shop and museum. Each year on the 15th August there is a public holiday in celebration of the church with many activities and festivities.

A stroll in Parikia on Gravari Street will allow you to see all manner of neoclassic mansions dating to  Venetian times. Your walk will take you towards the  central market place and to the castle wall – part of a Venetian castle but nonetheless interesting to see. 

Butterfly Valley – 8km south  of Parikia
A green oasis of colorful moths and butterflies. Each year during Summer the lush valley with its fragrant trees attracts moths and butterflies, and for nature lovers it is a breathtaking phenomenon.

Feeling Sick in Paros 

The Paros Health Centre, situated in the center of Parikia  operates 24 hours. It provides a high level of medical services for a range of health issues for locals and visitors. 

There are a number of pharmacies in Paros and Naoussa, and they offer all sorts of products for headaches, colds, sunburn and cuts or scrapes. The staff are ready to advise locals and visitors on anything to do with their particular health issues. There is also a public hospital in Parikia where treatment is provided free of charge.

Is Paros a Special Events Venue?

Yes, through and through. It is perfect for all your social events – weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, baptisms, conferences – with accommodation to suit everyone and for any event. 

Get close to Paros and its Heartbeat

It’s time to pack your bags and get away from it all where you can relax and indulge yourself.

Visitors to Paros are always bowled over by their experiences on the Greek island and they leave it knowing full well that the hype about the island is fully justified. 

Where to Eat on Paros Island

There are fantastic choices when considering where to eat on Paros, one of the most loved Cycladic islands in Greece.

Photo Tour: Paros Island

Paros island is a beautiful Cycladic island with many things to do. Here’s a photo tour of some favorite travel experiences I’ve had in Paros over the past few years.