Home Destination Guides Accommodation 27th January 2020



Island Connections      
     Paros commands a central location in the Cycladic islands, a short ferry trip, approximately 1 hour, to the west of Naxos.  The island is smaller than Naxos but large enough to offer an excellent mix of good sandy beaches, pretty whitewashed villages, fascinating scenery, plus a great capital with an active nightlife.  It is probably the best island of all for the serious island hopper. Because of its central location there are an unprecedented number of ferries that include Paros on their schedule. Paros epitomises the traditional Cycladic Island with its whitewashed houses, blue painted shutters and doors, domed churches, narrow streets and colourful fishing boats bobbing in the harbour, yet also offers the best of holiday activities, including windsurfing, scuba diving and horse riding.
     The island’s capital and main port is Parikia. Located in a bay on the western side, it is sometimes just referred to as Paros by tour and ferry operators. Parikia started life as a small village but with the advent of tourism it has spread outwards along the coastline, with the old town in the west and the modern section with smart hotels to the east.  The main focal point of the town is the waterfront, which is one long promenade of tavernas, restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.  Being on the western side of the island the waterfront has fantastic sunsets.  This is definitely the place to be, with a drink in hand, as the sun goes down and the action begins - because the nightlife in Parikia is buzzing and the town becomes extremely busy during the high season.  On a headland at one end of the promenade is a windmill and in the middle is the ferry harbour and marina.  The town’s beaches are spread out either side but they can be crowded in high season.  However there are a group of lovely sandy beaches across the bay from Parikia at Krios, and these quieter beaches are easily accessible by boat.  Boats to the beaches run frequently from Parikia harbour, or you can follow the coastal road by taking a local bus from the bus station opposite the marina.  The neighbouring island of Antiparos is also very popular, with great beaches and boats that run there on a frequent basis.  Paros harbour is extremely busy in High Season with ferries queuing to berth and it is advisable to buy tickets in advance if you are hoping to travel on any of the smaller ferries.  Whilst the waterfront is the main attraction, don’t miss out on the charming backstreets and the notable Cathedral Church of Ekatontapiliani, which was built in the 6th Century AD and is one of the most important churches of the Cyclades.  Parts of the church were Roman and a section of Roman pavement is on display, together with other artefacts, in the Archaeological Museum situated just behind the Church.  A short stroll from the harbour and also worth a visit is the Venetian Kastro (castle).
    On the northern coast is the pretty resort of Naoussa, which was once a small fishing village and is now the island’s second resort.  Naoussa is smaller than Parikia, retaining its original fishing village charm and whilst it is still busy in the High Season, the nightlife is more laid back.  The lovely central square is shaded with eucalyptus trees and there are shops and boutiques throughout the narrow back streets.  The main attraction is undoubtedly the harbour area, awash with tavernas, whose tables cover the quayside and if you get there early enough you can watch the local fishermen unload your evening meal. On a hillside dotted with windmills, a grand Orthodox Church overlooks the traditional whitewashed houses spreading out from the centre of the village.  Whilst Naoussa has a shingle beach with some watersports, there are better beaches further round the coastline and beach boats leave the harbour on a frequent basis.  To the west there is Kolymbithres, which has some unusual rock formations and round the headland at Santa Maria there are fantastic beaches of fine golden sand.  As well as the beach boats you can hop on a local bus to reach these beaches and for the more energetic it will take approximately 40 minutes to walk to Santa Maria.  
       The best beaches on Paros are on the eastern side of the island and there is a fabulous stretch of soft golden sand at the aptly named ‘Chrisi Akti’ - translated as Golden Beach.  Close to Golden Beach is the small resort of Piso Livadi. This is a charming village with a lovely harbour where you can pick up a ferryboat to the nearby island of Amorgos. The ferry operates several times a week depending on weather conditions.  The villages of Logaras and Punta lie between Golden Beach and Piso Livadi and are attracting more tourists because of their proximity to Golden Beach.  Punta’s small quay is the destination for the car ferries from Antiparos.  Also rapidly embracing tourism is the village of Drios, south of Golden Beach, where new hotels have been built in recent years.
       On the south coast is the small village of Aliki with great views across the narrow sea channel to Antiparos.  This peaceful village has a lovely beach and is the perfect hideaway for those looking for total relaxation.  During peak season there is also a taxi boat that runs to Antiparos, sometimes taking in the islet of Despotiko, although the frequency of these boats is somewhat erratic.
      Inland is the picturesque village of Lefkes, a popular stopping point for tour buses, with its traditional houses and sleepy atmosphere.  The views from Lefkes are panoramic, across the coastline to the Aegean island of Naxos. You can wander the narrow streets taking in the Church of the Holy Trinity made from white marble.  In years gone by Paros was noted for the quality of its marble as it had a translucency that made it sparkle more than marble from other areas of Greece.  Outside Marathi the marble quarries still exist, though not many tourists visit them.  The highest point on the island is south of Lefkes at 725 metres and on this hillside is the Agios Ioannis Monastery.
      Inland, Paros also has a Valley of Butterflies, but like the Valley of Butterflies on Rhodes Island, these ‘butterflies’ are millions of rare tiger moths that rest in the valley from June to September.  The moths come to the valley to mate and the numbers are now in decline due to disturbance from well-meaning tourists.  Some organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about this decline in numbers and would like visitors to avoid the valleys during these months.
South of Parikia is the small satellite island of Antiparos and one of the Cycladic islands best kept secrets, as this picturesque island has everything.  Antiparos was once part of Paros, but became separated from Paros following an earthquake in around 550 BC.  The sea channel between the two islands is so narrow and shallow that the larger ferryboats cannot sail through the straits.
    There is only one inhabited village on the island, which is Antiparos Town on the northern tip.  This charming town is surrounded on three sides by good beaches and sparkling seas.  Nestling in the centre of the town is a small medieval Kastro built in the 1400’s.   The outside walls of the Castle are painted white and the entrance is on the south side through an appealing Gothic archway.  The quaint fishing harbour is another attraction and the whole town has bags of atmosphere and a friendly feel.  There is a bank, medical centre, plenty of shops, super markets, boutiques, restaurants and tavernas to wander around by day and at night there are plenty of bars and a couple of discos, offering good entertainment without going over the top.  The beaches are spread around the town; the town beach by the harbour is sheltered from wind and is great for families; those looking for peace and quiet tend to head for Sunset beach; windsurfers congregate on the Camping Beach opposite Diplo island, some 20 minutes walk away.  It is worth noting that a section of this beach has been designated as an Official Nudist Beach, one of only a few in Greece.  The other major attraction on the island, other than the beaches is the fascinating Antiparos Cave.  This Cave is not for the faint-hearted or those suffering from vertigo as there are over 300 steep steps leading down into the bowels of the earth.  But for those who dare, the Cave has an intriguing assortment of stalagmites and stalactites, though some of these have been damaged over time.  To visit the cave you can take a local bus from Antiparos Town, join a tour bus or hop on a tour boat.  These take you around the coastline, to berth at the quay of Apandima, close to the Cave.  There are refreshments at the entrance to the Cave and Apandima has a great beach with tavernas.  To the south of Antiparos lies the tiny islet of Despotiko. 
Package holidays are available from Greek specialist tour companies, with charter flights to Santorini or Mykonos and onward travel by ferryboat to Paros.  The ferry will take approximately 2 hours from Mykonos to Paros or 3 and a half to 4 hours from Santorini.  Olympic Airways offer scheduled flights from the U.K. to Paros via Athens, or you can travel with any airline to Athens before taking either a ferry or domestic flight onwards.  Timings will vary depending on how long you need to wait for the connecting flight to Paros.  The Olympic Airways domestic flight time from Athens to Paros is approximately 40 minutes and Paros airport is located a short drive from Parikia.  Ferries from Athens to Paros take between 2 and a half to 5 hours depending on how many other islands the ferry is calling at prior to Paros and the weather conditions.  It should be noted that between July and August the ‘Meltemi’, a strong wind, blows across the Aegean and whilst this wind brings relief from the midsummer heat it can cause chaos with ferry and flight schedules.  Paros has ferry connections to most of the other Greek islands, though these will not necessarily be direct connections.

The foregoing information was last reviewed in November 2006. Things change, and whilst we are often travelling in Greece we do rely to some extent upon others to provide updates in order to keep the site as current and accurate as possible!  If you have updates or information that you think should be included here, please mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.


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