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When to visit Paros
Like most of the Greek Islands the months between April and November are when Paros is at its best and when ‘the season’ is underway with all the shops, tavernas, hotels and activities open for business. July and August are peak season and it can get crowded in parts as well as more expensive but it can also be a lot of fun.
There are over 6000 people that live on the island and there are schools, businesses and services that operate year round for the local community in particular. We think the very best time to visit Paros is June when the water is warming up, the prices are reasonable and everyone is getting geared up for the high season.
How to get to Paros
Another great thing about Paros is its accessibility. There is a new domestic airport with daily flights from Athens, more in Summer, but no international flights ( yet). It is often the first port of call to the Cyclades from Athens on the Ferry route before the ferries move on to Mykonos, Naxos and beyond and those islands are easy to visit as day trips too. The high-speed ferry to Piraeus port in Athens takes 3 hours and the slower Blue Star Ferry takes just over 5.
You can also connect with the Western Cyclades islands like Milos and Syros and the ports of Rafina and Lavrion on the mainland.
How to get 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.
Hiring a car is highly recommended as it opened up a world of opportunity and spontaneity. You can discover deserted beaches, old-world villages and even pop over to Antiparos next door.
There are a number of hire car places on the island. We like the guys at Sixt – they have stored our luggage and gone out of their way for us a number of time.
Most 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 and many have offices at the Port and/or can meet you at the airport.
Read our complete guide to Driving in Greece!
Private Tours and Guides on Paros
There are a couple of excellent experiences you can do on Paros with local residents.
Apart from sailing trips ( see below) which really should be mandatory for all visitors at least once there is a wonderful Farm to Table food experience with a local Chef that people rave about. Learn how to make local zucchini balls and enjoy your cooking watching the sunset over Antiparos – amazing!
Also, given the rich past that Paros has with Ancient History and pirate activity a great way to spend an hour is walking through Naoussa with local resident Konstanino who will explain various insights including why the buildings are all white and why the town is a crazy labyrinth.
Towns and Villages of Paros
The capital and main port of the island, Parikia is also the commercial and business hub. There are many restaurants and cafes along the waterfront and through a maze of alleys and narrow whitewashed streets in the old town.
All of the major banks and services are located here as are laundries, supermarkets, the hospital and various tourist services.
This is where you will also find interesting historical monuments and points of interest such as the Byzantine church and Windmills.
Naoussa is located at the very north of Paros 15 minutes drive from Parikia. Still a working fishing village it is quieter than Parikia during the day but really comes alive at night when all the bars and restaurants can be at capacity and some stay open until sun up.
Much of the nightlife revolves around the small compact harbour where it’s also the most expensive, but there many mid range and cheap and cheerful places in the winding back alleys. There are also some great boutiques and shops and a lovely square, Church and beach. The many ducks who live in the creek near the bridge are quite iconic.
Lefkes is a small medieval town nestled in the mountains behind Naoussa with stunning views over Naxos. It’s very quaint and very cycladic with whitewashed buildings, blue doors and pink Bougainvillea at every turn.
You can expect to find some excellent handmade local pottery, jewellery and other crafts on sale as well as honey, produce and figs sold by the roadside. Its a lovely place to visit for lunch and a stroll around and it is possible to stay there as well. At night it is mostly just locals.
Piso Livadi is a a small and picturesque fishing port on the south-east coast of the island. It is a working fishing village and some of the big charter boats leave from here as well.
There are a number of small excellent tavernas famous for their local seafood dishes.
The local bus service stops regularly at Piso Livadi and there are a number of small accommodation options too.
Located towards the southern end of the island Drios and was once the ancient port of Paros. It has a couple of lovely beachfront tavernas overlooking the beach and its a great spot for a late lunch and a swim as there are nice big shady sea pines on much of the beach.
There is a small pier on the beach and a number of places to stay. Lolantonis beach just south of the village is particularly nice with turquoise water and plenty of shade.
Located near Lefkes on the eastern side of the island, of which Piso Livadi is the port.
Marpissa is a large village and home to four windmills in the main square. A path leads from the square to the monastery of Agios Antonios on Kefalos Hill,an extinct volcano, where the view of the sea and the surrounding islands is among the best in Paros.
Its a great place for a long lazy lunch and swim.
Aliki means ‘salt-marsh’ in Greek and this village is named after the adjoining salt marsh at the southern end of the island.
Close to the airport in Aliki there are some lovely small tavernas and cafes as well as the Cycladic Folklore Museum. Many cultural events are held in Aliki such as the feast of St. John of Klidonas in June, the feast of Christ the Savior on the 6th of August and the feast of the Holy Cross in September.
Paros beaches are quite beautiful and there is a lot of variation – some are wide and deep, others are shallow and sheltered. You can find large rocks and white sand and everything in between. Many are well serviced and are easy to access and several are perfect for a long lazy lunch or early dinner even if you don’t want to swim.
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.
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.
Its is a wide sandy beach which is surrounded by a number of excellent hotels and villas and looks over the bay towards Paros Park. There are a few umberellas 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 at the very south of the island it can get very windy here especially when the Meltemi ( strong summer wind) is blowing. There are some good hotels and tavernas and couple of places to rent windsurfers, kayaks, stand up paddle boards and wakeboards. There’s even a couple of funky shops and boutiques.
Tradtitionally it has been very popular with Scandanavian families but is getting more popular with all visitors each year especially younger people who are attracted to the water sports and the beach bars, some of whom have DJ’s late into the night.
There is large camp ground called Surfing Beach Paros which also has a ( rather strange) mix of cabins and motel style accommodation. There are a number of luxury villas available around the area.
Marcello is located directly opposite Parikia and is a calm, protected beach with good swimming conditions. There are a couple of beach bars and several places to rent chairs and umberellas if you wish.
Its a great place to spend a few hours watching the ferries and sometimes the cruise ships come and go.
You can get there by car ( there is some limited parking), a 30 minute walk along the beach tracks or there is a small ferry that departs Parikia every 30 minutes in summer and also services nearby Krios beach too.
There are a couple of small rooms for rent and otherwise it is often frequented by locals. Its very clean and great for kids.
This is a great beach for families with no bars and only one restaurant at one end, although it is only a short walk around the headland if you want more.
The water is clear and calm and generally quite warm compared to some. The beach is mostly pebbles but there are some sandy parts as well.
Hidden away on the southern coastline you will be rewarded with a few wrongs turns when you finally stumble across this beach. Calm and clear with soft sand the water quality here is excellent.
There is only one taverna which also services the sunbeds and it has some really beautiful gardens as well. There is not a lot of accommodation around here but rather the sort of place you come to spend the day.
If you’re traveling with children one of the best beaches on Paros is Monastiri in the Paros Park reserve. Here the water is calm and shallow and the beach is protected from any wind. There is a small bar and restaurant and it costs 12 Euros for two lounges and umberellas. You can drive or get the taxi boat from Naoussa for 7 Euros and it takes 15 minutes.
Wineries on Paros
There is a also a unique way of growing the grapes on the Cyclades islands. Due to the wind the vines are shaped into circular wreaths on the ground instead of on trellises and this, and some low stone walls, protect them from the strong summer winds.
They have excellent whites, reds and rose and you can also buy a light meal or snack at the complex.
Asteras is small family owned winery located about 5 minutes outside the town of Naoussa near the turnoff to the village of Glifades.
They use Asyrtiko and Malagouzia grapes grown both locally and at Monemvasia.
Shopping in Paros
Parikia and Naoussa are filled with small boutiques, souvenir shops and specialty stores and there are a couple of large supermarkets including a Carrefour. Contemporary jewelry, accessories and homewares are particularly good and there are some excellent pop up style shops in Summer particularly in the more popular beach areas.
Historical sites on Paros
For public transport check the local bus timetables.
The Church of one hundred doors
Also known as Panagia Ekatontapiliani
This is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece. Built originally in the 4th century legend has it that 99 doors have been found in the Church and that the 100th will be discovered when Constantinople (Istanbul) is returned to Greece again.
Entrance is free
opening hours (at publication) are 7am‑10pm.
In the low season: 7am‑2pm and 4pm‑8pm. ( check before you go as this can change)
The Frankish Castle
The Frankish Castle is located in Parikia just behind the port road. It’s tucked away between a few narrow streets but ask a local and they will point it out.
The castle was built in the 1200’s by the Venetians from an assortment of marble remnant from ancient sanctuaries that were scattered around Paros. It’s incredible to see the intricate stonework and solid engineering including the circular edifice that was used as the apse for the castle’s in-house chapel, which can be seen at the back facing the sea.
You can also see the foundations and some remnants of ancient houses that joined the castle.
Day trips from Paros
Ferries from Paros to Antiparos depart every 30 minutes from Parikia and the trip is about 15 minutes.
If you have a car, you can catch the car ferry from the township a little further south of Parikia called Punda and the trip takes 7 minutes.
Antiparos is a small unassuming island yet is famous as being home to a number of celebrities particularly Tom Hanks and his Greek wife Rita Wilson who are much-loved by the locals and participate in many local events when they visit each summer.
Read our complete guide to Antiparos for much more information.
Delos & Mykonos
Delos and Mykonos. One is favoured by the rich and famous and known for its high scale resorts and beach clubs whilst Delos was once thought to be the birthplace of Apollo. It is uninhabited and home to significant ancient ruins.
Read our guide to Delos for all the information about the birthplace of Apollo!
On Paros, it’s possible to do a wonderful sailing trip from either Naoussa or Piso Livadi to explore the neighbouring island of the Small Cyclades. This is a group of spectacular islands at the southern end of Naxos which include Koufonisia and Donousa.
The cost of a day out varies dramatically depending on the size and style of the boat and the time of year.
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