Naoussa is a lively fishing village at the north of the island of Paros, a perennial favourite with visitors, especially in Summer.
Naoussa is the 2nd biggest town on the island and is slightly more upmarket, and more expensive than Parikia. It has many excellent bars and tavernas around the main square at the port and lovely shops and boutiques, as well as a winery.
People say Naoussa reminds them of Mykonos 20 years ago but we think it’s even better. The Old Harbour means it is geographically blessed, there are good beaches, a vibrant nightlife and there is a lot to do. Many people find they really have no need to leave the town at all!
Further reading: See our Paros Page!
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When to visit Paros
July and August are peak season and Greeks themselves have holidays in August and head to the islands along with many other Europeans.
Outside of these months, visiting in the autumn or in springtime means lower prices for accommodation and mild weather.
The Meltemi wind can pick up between August and October, but it isn’t so bad that it will ruin your vacation. If it’s a windy day in the Cyclades we head to a protected beach, usually south facing. Every island has them!
Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Best sightseeing weather: March to June and September/October
Further reading: When to visit Greece ( a month by month guide)
Where is Naoussa, Paros?
Naoussa is the 2nd largest town on the island of Paros in the Cyclades group of islands.
It is located in the north of the island, about 15 minutes from the Port and 25 minutes from the airport.
How to get to Naoussa
There is a fairly new domestic airport on Paros and flying is an easy 30-minute flight from Athens. Otherwise, the ferry is popular and fun.
Flying from Athens to Paros
If you book early enough flights can often be cheaper than the Ferries and it is certainly quicker. The airport is quite new but small and there are only two gates so plan your visit carefully.
Flying to Paros from other destinations
At this point, the airport runway is not big enough to take large planes, although plans have been approved for this to be extended.
If you want to fly to Paros from another island or destination you have to connect via Athens or Thessaloniki. Sometimes in Summer smaller charter flights have arrived from places like Geneva but they are infrequent.
Ferry Athens to Paros
You can travel by ferry to Paros from mainland Greece through the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion in Athens. The main port of Paros is Parikia which is located on the western side of the island.
The ferry route from Piraeus to Paros runs regularly with 2 ferries a day in the low season and up to 5 in Summer. The ferry trip from Athens to Paros takes between 3 and 7 hrs depending on what ferry you book.
You can book online at Ferryhopper or you can buy a ticket in Athens at either the port or one of the many ticketing agents you will see around the city.
If you are traveling in July, August or during one of the many religious festivals or public holidays it pays to book ahead.
Ferry to Paros from Santorini and other islands
Paros is well connected to most of the other islands in the Cyclades group. Mykonos, Naxos, Syros, Ios and Serifos all have regular direct services and they, in turn, connect to other islands such as Santorini, Milos, Folegandros and Sifnos.
Again, check the Ferryhopper box below for schedules and prices.
How to get to Naoussa
Once you have arrived on the island, at either the Port or the Airport you have 4 options to get to Naoussa.
Either catch a Taxi or Bus, hire a car – all covered in detail below, or ask your hotel to arrange a private transfer to pick you up ( this is our preferred option especially if its your first time. Sometimes the Hotels can be hard to find!).
Getting around Paros
There is a good bus service on Paros that services the entire circumference of the island and many of the interior villages. Be sure to check timetables first.
There are a few Taxis on the island but they can be hard to get in Summer. They can usually be found at the Port for ferry arrivals but it can pay to book in advance by phone if you need one.
Car and Scooter rental
Hiring a car is highly recommended on Paros so you can discover for yourself the many things the island has to offer or even pop over to neighbouring Antiparos next door.
Many Hire cars are manual and it is best to get a small one as parking can be very tight in many places! Most places will deliver to your hotel in Naoussa and many have offices at the Port and/or can meet you at the airport.
We use and recommended RentalCars for car hire.
There are a number of water taxis that take people out to some of the beaches. In Naoussa you can catch the boat from the harbour over to Kolimbithres/Paros Park and Lageri Beaches, several times an hour in summer.
Further reading : Driving in Greece
Naoussa hotels and houses
It’s important in Naoussa to choose your location carefully.
The Old Town is car-free and the big public carpark in the centre of the town is no longer operating, so if your hotel is not within walking distance you will likely experience parking issues.
If you stay TOO central and near the bars and clubs you may find things are very noisy, especially late at night.
We love to stay at Paliomylos Spa Hotel. It’s a stylish, cycladic hotel with exceptional service as hundreds of our readers can also attest to. Chrys is a Greek Australian who truly understands what being in the hospitality industry is all about. The hotel is high on the hill back from the centre of town which means it is very quiet, and there are great views over the district and Piperi Beach as well as good parking, something that many hotels in Naoussa struggle with.
If you are happy to splurge and are looking for an adults-only experience then Lilly Residence and Parian Boutique Hotel are both stunning while great cheap and cheerful options include Irini Rooms and Hotel Iris both of which have rooms with balconies and sweeping views.
If you are after a fully self-contained house that can sleep at least 6 people then you can rent both a one-bedroom and two-bedroom house at Villa Helena right near Piperi Beach. Its a quiet spot yet only a 5 minute walk into town and Kristos will look after your every need.
For a bit of a splurge check out White Cliff which oozes Cycladic-chic and even has an outdoor jacuzzi, with great views and super stylish interiors.
Further reading: Should you book a Hotel or Airbnb in Greece
Paliomylos Hotel room view
Lilly Residence – Adults Only
Naoussa dining & Nightlife
You can bascially divide the dining precincts of Naoussa into 4 groups. Keep in mind many of the these are open between April and October.
1. The Old Harbour.
This is the most popular dining destination and certainly the most photographed.
It is the heartbeat of the village and where you will find hundreds of tables lined around the harbour belonging to excellent tavernas such as Mario, Sigi Ikthios and Tsachpines.
Some of the best bars in the town are also here and as people move to them after dinner the harbour becomes somewhat of a laid back nightclub until the wee hours of the morning.
Our favourite bar is Agosta while Linardo and Methystra are very Insta-famous!
2. The New Harbour.
Adjacent to the Old Harbour to the west is where you will find the Marina. Along the harbourfront are a string of restaurants and some are very good such as Archipelagos and Bluefish.
The ones to the left of the harbour are fairly quiet as there is no through traffic, cars or pedestrians, whereas the ones to the right, near the entries to the Old Harbour usually have waiters hawking for business outside and are very touristic.
3. The Back Beach.
On the other side of the Old Harbour to the east is a pebbly beach. Not really suited to swimming but lined with more tavernas and bars and a place a lot of first timers often miss. Along here you will find some excellent seafood tavernas such as Statheros and Taverna Glafkos as well as Come Back and Fotis All Day Bars.
4. The alleys and back streets.
In amongst the winding alleys you will also find numerous culinary delight and some of the best wining and dining on the island. We love to dine at Soso, Yemeni, Safran and Open Garden, which, as its name implies has a lovely garden setting.
The Meat Bar is great for carnivores and Kafeneion is very popular for good reason.
Sante Cocktail Bar is one of the prettiest bars in the village and set around a large weeping willow in a small square in the centre of the maze. Kosmos, Ohia and Trickster Bar are all close together, just behind Come Back, which creates a mini outdoor nightclub feel late at night.
We think the best Souvlakia is at Souvlakia Kargas which is where we seem to have a quick lunch at least once every visit while Sousouro and Cafe Carino are excellent coffee shops. Heading back over the bridge to the west Kiranos Cafe is also great and Ragoussis Bakery is a must do!
For something very authentic, laid back and often with live music head to To Takimi which is right at the back of the main dining area and is a great night out.
Don’t forget to get some Loukamades (greek donuts) at To Paradosiako, which make some of the best in Greece. We often buy these to eat on the walk home. Highly addictive!
Barbarossa and Linardo
The amazing Loukamades shop
Things to do in Naoussa
The beach at Kolymbithres is one of the most famous in Paros. It is located west of Naoussa in Plastira Bay and is surrounded by huge boulders of granite that have been worn away over the centuries into smooth platforms used by tourists to sunbake and relax.
The water here is shallow and crystal clear and there is a great Taverna right next to the beach called Anemons which does great home-cooked food.
To get to Kolymbithres you can drive and park along a number of sandy tracks or catch the small ferry over from Naoussa.
It is made up of a monastery, a museum, an open-air theatre, a number of walking/hiking routes and a couple of lovely beaches.
One of those beaches is Monastiri which now has a very good modern taverna and beds and umbrellas for hire.
The cove here is protected from the wind and the water is very calm making it an excellent spot for families with young children in particular. Make a day of it and explore the whole park. There is ample parking on-site and entrance is free.
The main beach of Naoussa, Piperi is located at the southern end of the town and is about 200 metres from the main fishing port.
It is a wide sandy beach which is surrounded by a number of excellent hotels and villas such as Paliomylos Hotel, Adonis and Sea House that looks over the bay towards Paros Park or over the town towards the Harbour.
There are a few umbrellas but no beachfront tavernas. It can get choppy when the Meltemi wind blows in which case you are better off heading over to Monastiri ( above) or the beaches in the South of the island.
Located to the West of Piperi Beach is Piperaki a tiny version of its big brother with rocky platforms for swimming. A good option if it’s very hot and you dont have the time nor the energy to get to the better beaches.
This is a nice beach on the eastern side of the town which has a wide, shallow beach that is popular with families in summer.
There are a number of tavernas on the waterfront and umbrellas and sunbeds for hire. The only drawback here is that it is very exposed on windy days when it is best to head to Lageri, Kolymbithres and Monstiri.
Lageri is the most eastern beach in the Naoussa harbour and you get there by either car or water taxi. It is very sheltered so a popular choice in summer, especially if it is windy. The water is calm and very clear but it is unorganised and it is popular with naturists so not very family friendly.
Naoussa Venetian Castle
One of the main landmarks of Naoussa and likely to appear in almost every photograph is the old Venetian Castle in the Harbour.
Built in the early 14th century by the Venetian Duke of Naxos the castle was a fortress that protected the town from hostile invaders. You reach it simply by walking along the sea wall that protects the Old Harbour and you can walk right into the round bastion where cannons were once positioned in the gun holes. Much of the Castle is now underwater and it is in disrepair but is rarely crowded and affords some of the best views of the harbour. Go early in the morning.
Old Port of Naoussa
This is the heartbeat of the town and the central point of all activity. In fact, it would be safe to say that the Old Harbour has become the trademark of Naoussa.
Still a working harbour lined with fishing boats the harbour is now fringed with tavernas, bars and cafes and is the social focal point of the island in Summer and on important holidays.
It’s a lively and colourful spot and one of the prettiest fishing harbours in all of Europe.
Agios Faneromeni Church towers over the town and is a striking landmark from a distance.
This is the parish church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and it was built in the Byzantine Era. It is very beautiful inside and worth a few minutes to see. If there is a religious event then this is where you will find all the townfolk and the bells tolling in the bell towers.
Monastery of St. John of Deti
This small, isolated monastery has a history dating back to the 16th century. Original called Agios Ioannis ( John) the monastery was abandoned during Ottoman rule and restored in the 1960’s by a Dutch artist.
Today it is popular with hikers and photographers.
Officially called the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros, Paros Park is located at the far eastern end of the harbour and is accessible by car or water taxi. There is plenty of parking.
Covering over 800 acres on the peninsula the park consists of the Monastery ( see above), a nice, calm beach with a great taverna and sunbeds, extensive hiking paths, a Museum and an amphitheatre that hosts the Annual Summer Festival each year. Events during the Festival include Opera, theatre, a Triathlon and other musical performances.
Paros Park Ampitheatre
Shopping in Naoussa
Woven through the maze of narrow alleys and cobblestone back streets are a myriad of shops, boutiques, galleries and food outlets.
The quality of retail is generally very good, actually some of the best in the Greek Islands. Small artisans stores selling stunning handmade jewellery, crafts and artwork can be found next to cheap and cheerful boutiques and souvenir shops as well as high-end fashion stores.
You’ll also find optometrists, tobacconists, shoe shops, beauty salons and some excellent homewares stores too.
Be sure to check out Sendouki and Lotus for homewares and gifts, Eclectia, Alkimini’s, White in Paros, Letos, Knots and Gorgo for fashion and accessories and Greg and Alenia Jewellery.
Other things to do in Naoussa or nearby
Aegean Tennis Centre
Located just 6 minutes drive out of Naoussa is the Aegean Tennis Centre where you can play Tennis and Padel Tennis. Courts can be hired by the hour and you can take lessons as well.
On the outskirts of town just behind the main Church is a small but very good winery. Moraitis grow their grapes just outside Naoussa on their 10-hectare vineyard but the winery in Naoussa serves as their cellar door and cafe. Here you can do some wine tasting ( and purchasing!) as well as learn about the history of the winery, the types of grapes grown and the winemaking process ( the Cyclades are quite unique in this regard). You can also enjoy a light meal and grazing plates in their very charming cafe.
Kokou Horse Riding Centre
Horse riding enthusiasts will love doing a tour with the Canadian founders of Kokou, who have licensed guides to take you on a morning swimming tour or an evening coastline tour with their 25 lovely horses. What a great way to see some of the less visited parts of Naoussa’s surrounds and get some fanstastic photos too.
If you are looking for wellness and relaxation on your vacation then Tao’s is your place. They offer Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Dance, Massage and more and even have long stay and group hosting programs. Located just outside Naoussa in a tranquil, rural setting.
Sailing & Boats
One of the very best activities you can do when visiting the Greek Islands is spending time on the water and a sailing trip is guaranteed to be a highlight of your trip. We highly recommend this cruise that goes over to the neighbouring islands of Antiparos and Despotika or this excellent cruise to fascinating Iraklia and stopping at beautiful Schinoussa on the way.
Or hire your own boat! Explore the many bays, beaches and coves and caves around Naoussa under your own steam. A great day out for the whole family.
Right next to the pedestrian bridge on the harbour you will also find Pantasoulas Daily Cruise who do trips around the island and sometimes further afield of weather is permitting.
If you want to learn how to sail the Cyclades is the place to do it! The Naoussa Sailing Team have a fleet of training dinghies and qualified instructors to show you how to master this great water sport.
Indulge yourself with a lovely facial, massage or other spa treatments at one of the excellent salon’s in the town. We love the small Spa at Paliomylos Spa Hotel with its personalised service and indoor spa pool. You can also find great treatments at Faena Beauty Salon, Exymno Anatripsis and Vivians Nail Boutique.
Sailing in the Aegean
Paliomylos Hotel Spa
Important holidays and festivals on Paros
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Paros during an important religious holiday or festival then you are in for a treat.
The Parians love to celebrate and are infamous for their partying ways especially on Easter Sunday when it is not uncommon for fireworks to go off and people to dance on the roofs of the buildings lining the old harbour.
Be warned however that it is important to have your accommodation and ferry tickets prebooked for these days as they often completely sell out.
January 6th – Epiphany: This is when the young men of the island gather at the ports and dive into the chilly Aegean sea to get the Cross (Stavro).
Mid January – Carnival: A huge feast marks the start of the costume parties held at the cafés and bars across the island and ends with events hosted by island associations, the largest of which are the ones in Naoussa, Parikia and Marpissa.
January/February ( 6 Mondays before Palm Sunday) – Clean Monday: A public holiday across Greece this is when sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods are left behind and Lent begins.
25th March – Independence Day. This is celebrated with great fanfare all over Greece and recognize the events that liberated the country in 1821. The celebratory Doxologia mass takes place at Ekatontapiliani, while students participate in parades at all villages on Paros including Naoussa. It is a very important public holiday.
March or April – Easter. Easter in Greece takes place at different times each year depending on the Julian calendar. Generally, the date for Easter is set on the first full moon after both the Spring Equinox and Passover, which usually occurs around the middle to the end of March. This means every year Orthodox Easter takes place between one and four weeks after Catholic (Western) Easter.
Celebrations for Easter is an entire week called Holy Week and starts with processions and much candle lighting on Good Friday.
On Saturday the Ceremony of the Resurrection takes place in churches all over the country and the bells are rung for extended times. This is the pinnacle of Greek Easter and fireworks go off after a very important Midnight Mass.
Easter Sunday is the biggest religious holiday of the year. After Church, there is a huge feast where fasting is broken. In Naoussa there is a huge party around the fishing harbour with people dancing on rooftops until dawn.
23rd June – Kleidonas festival, which is marked by fires, music, dance, traditional delicacies and good wine with the lighting of the bonfire and the burning of the Mayday wreaths. Young people also make a show of jumping over the fires which is said to ward away evil spirits.
2nd July -the Fish and Wine Festival
17th July – Revival of the Bagpipes
23rd August – The Festival of the Pirates marks the anniversary of the pirate raid on Naoussa, led by Barbarossa in 1537.
Easter Sunday on Naoussa
Dancers during the Fish & Wine Festival