The 2 Best Tours in Paros
- Full Day Sailing Cruise in the Small Cyclades
Snorkel, sunbathe, and learn sailing basics on this all-day cruise to through the Aegean. Exact itinerary varies according to the weather but can include snorkeling around a WWII plane wreck at Iraklia and swimming off the coast of Schinoussa, Koufonisia, Naxos, Antiparos, or Despotiko Islands. Greek lunch with wine included. Departs from Piso Livadi.
- Delos and Mykonos Full Day Boat Trip
Independent, all-day trip to Delos and Mykonos. Begin the morning at Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and among the most important archaeological sites in Greece. Hiring a guide or joining a small group tour at the entrance is highly recommended. Next, head to Mykonos for 3-hours of free exploration in the afternoon. Stroll, snack, and shop the charming lanes of Little Venice, the Old Port, and the Kato Mili windmills.
The 19 Best Things to Do in Paros
1. Paros Park
An 800-acre park at the northwestern tip of the island, Paros Park offers a taste of everything: three hiking trails, a stunning rocky landscape, lively and secluded beaches, a picturesque lighthouse, an all-day café, a historic monastery (now a cartography museum), an ancient amphitheater (now hosting festivals and events), and an open-air cinema (free admission, movies start at 9:00 p.m.) The main beach, Monastiri, has sunbeds and umbrellas for rent during the summer, and there is a lifeguard during July and August. The park is free to enter and open 24-hours a day all year long. Paros Park can be reached by car, the water taxi from Naoussa port, or by bus (about a 30-minute walk from the Kolymbithres Beach bus stop).
2. Kolymbithres Beach
Paros’ best-known natural wonder is Kolymbithres Beach with its moon-like granite rock formations sculpted over millennia by the wind and sea. Set in a southeast-facing bay, Kolymbithres is naturally divided into two main beaches, each with casual beach clubs offering sunbeds and umbrellas for rent. The rocks further break up these beaches into even smaller sections, so if you’re lucky to get there before the crowds, you can claim your own tiny private beach. At the south end of the beach, there is a sailing center offering windsurfing and small sailboat rentals and lessons; farther north there are kayaks and SUPs for rent. Kolymbithres Beach can be reached by car, bus, or by a fun water taxi ride from Naoussa’s Old Port.
Dating to the 4th century A.D. the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, aka the Church of 100 Doors, is among the most important churches in Greece. The original chapel is believed to have been founded by St. Helene and after her death built into a larger church and monastery by her son, Emperor Constantine. A dome was added in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. The complex has been well-kept over the centuries and showcases art and architecture from the Paleochristian, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine eras, with many of its construction materials sourced from the marble ruins of even older temples. According to legend, the church has 99 visible doors, and a 100th door will appear when the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul becomes Orthodox again. In reality, the church has nowhere near 99 doors. The small Byzantine Museum of Paros is located inside the complex, with rare icons, relics, and ecclesiastical items, mostly dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Panagia Ekatontapiliani is located in Parikia, about a 3-minute walk southeast of the ferry port and about a 5-minute walk from the Parikia bus stop.
The village Naoussa blends Cycladic tradition with worldly sophistication in a compact, walkable space dotted with beaches in a natural bay. Fishing boats bob in the sea next to a half-sunken Venetian castle in its charming Old Port. Inside the village, a warren of cobblestone lanes brims with top tier restaurants, stylish cocktail bars, all-night dance clubs, luxury boutiques, a winery, and picturesque, domed churches. Three sunny, swimmable beaches (Piperaki, Piperi, and Agii Anargyrii) sit on either side of the port. Being a popular vacation spot for Athenians, Naoussa has managed to hang strong to its Greek identity, despite its glamorous, international reputation. Naoussa sits on the north side of the island, about 9 km from the ferry port in Parikia (under 20-minutes by bus) and about 20 km from the airport.
Parikia is the capital and largest village on Paros. Most travelers to the island will arrive and depart from the ferry port here. As the main harbor and commercial hub over the centuries, Parikia has the majority of Paros’ most important landmarks, including Panagia Ekatontapiliani, the Frankish Castle ruins, and the Archaeological Museum, plus amazing restaurants, craft workshops, boutiques, and lively bars, many with sunset views over the sea. As in Naoussa, Parikia’s port is flanked with beaches on either side, Livadia and Marcello circling around north to the north, a small, nameless beach to the west, and Delfini and Parasporos Beaches at the westernmost outskirts. Architecture is a mix of tidy, whitewashed Cycladic homes and centuries-old neoclassical mansions, a style favored by descendants of the Venetians who once ran the island. Parikia is located in a gorgeous bay on the northwest coast of the island, about 9 km from Naoussa (a less-than-20-minute bus ride) and about 10 km from the airport.
6. Kalogeros Beach
Kalogeros, the Mud Beach, is a quiet beach set in a small cove beneath towering rocks on Paros’ east coast. Its sand and pebble shore and crystal blue water are similar to many other beaches here, but what sets Kalogeros apart is the cliffs on its eastern edge. The grey cliffs are made of a special clay with softening and exfoliating properties. Break off a handful, mix with seawater to make mud, slather it on, and let it dry. Jump in the sea to rinse off for super smooth skin. Kalogeros is an unorganized beach with no restaurants or sunbed rentals, so bring your own snacks and gear. Molos Beach is just a 5-minute walk north for a sandier, more traditional beach excursion. Plan on driving here or taking the #1 or #5 bus to Marmara, Marpissa, or Piso Livadi and walk 30 minutes to the beach.
7. Day Trip to Naxos
The largest Cycladic island, Naxos, is only a 40-minute ferry away and offers a rustic contrast to Paros’ cosmopolitan vibe. There is no shortage of great things to do in Naxos. The island is filled with farms, dairies, olive groves, ancient ruins, and marble quarries. Traditional villages are scattered through its mountainous interior, many connected by hiking trails that pass by some of the island’s over 200 Byzantine churches. Its coastline is wrapped in dreamy, sandy beaches lined with fresh seafood tavernas. The main village, Naxos Town, is built like a maze at the base of a 13th-century Venetian castle with boutiques, bars, and tavernas spreading down the hill. The ruins of an ancient temple devoted to Apollo sit on a small islet accessible by a raised footpath over the sea. Take in stunning sunset sea views over the marina and temple from one of the many rooftop or balcony restaurants or bars perched above the charming port.
8. Naoussa Old Port
Naoussa’s Old Port is the village’s main attraction. The port sits in a gorgeous natural bay with fishing boats docked in the marinas and a wide esplanade lined with open-air restaurants and cafes. At the easternmost tip of the port is its most recognizable landmark, the partially submerged Venetian castle ruins. Built as a fortress in the 14th century with two watchtowers added in the 15th century, the castle’s sea walls are completely underwater now and only one of the towers still stands. From the Old Port, there is a water taxi that runs 3 routes: to Kolymbithres Beach, to Paros Park/Monastiri Beach, and the Laggeri Beach. Water taxis run about every hour from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the summer.
The postcard-perfect Lefkes is the highest elevated mountain village in the most fertile part of Paros. Located near the center of the island, many points in the village offer panoramic views over the land, sea, and the nearby island of Naxos. As the ancient agricultural hub of the island, the village boasts a well-preserved stone pathway, the Byzantine Road, dating to 1000 A.D. that connects it to Prodromos village (3.5 km away) before heading to the busy port of Piso Livadi (another 3 km). This popular hike takes about 90-minutes one way to the sea or about 2 hours to hike to Prodromos and back. During the Middle Ages, Lefkes was the island’s capital and richest village, and echoes of its past can be seen in its architecture, with Venetian, neoclassical, and Cycladic buildings coexisting, much of it dating from the 15th through the 17th centuries. Towering over the village is Lefkes’ landmark and most popular sight, the Church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), built in 1830. Lefkes can be reached by bus, either by taking the #1 from Parikia or (if you’re a champ) by taking the #5 from Naoussa to Prodromos and hiking the 3.5 km up. Lefkes is easiest to reach by car.
10. Moraitis Winery
Family-owned and operated for over 100 years, Moraitis is the leading winemaker in Paros, with more than 100 acres of vineyards spread throughout the island. The renovated winery sits on top of the original 1910 cellar, where barrels are still aged. Varieties include Assyrtiko, Mandilaria, Monemvasia, and rare grape strains indigenous to Paros. The winery is open 6 days a week for tastings and self-guided tours from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Moraitis is located in Naoussa, about a 10-minute walk from the bus stop and 5-minutes from Agii Anargyrii Beach.
11. Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
Like most islands in the Cyclades, Paros catches the strong meltemi winds coming from the north, but its proximity to Naxos island boosts these winds, making this one of the best windsurfing and kitesurfing spots in the world. The best windsurfing beaches are on Paros’ southeast coast, especially Chrissi Akti (Golden Beach) and Nea Chrissi Akti (New Golden Beach, pictured above). Both of these sandy beaches have water sports centers with equipment rentals and lessons, plus dive centers, beach clubs, and wonderful tavernas. Nea Chrissi Akti is the location for the annual Professional Windsurfing World Cup in August, so reserve ahead for travel during this time.
12. Day Trip to Antiparos
Just a 10-minute ferry from the port of Pounta on the west coast of Paros, little Antiparos Island makes for a perfect little day trip. Antiparos offers a relaxed atmosphere in its traditional villages, charming marinas filled with fishing boats, idyllic beaches, and authentic Greek tavernas. Ferries from Paros arrive at the harbor of the main village, Antiparos Town, with its whitewashed, blocky houses and bougainvillea-lined pathways. Only steps from the port are the ruins of a 15th-century Venetian castle, built to defend the island from pirates (very little of the castle remains intact). From the port or castle, visitors are between 5 and 15-minutes’ walk of 5 beaches wonderful beaches (1 with a beach club, 3 with nearby tavernas, and 1 secluded nude beach with no amenities). But the best beaches are farther south at Soros (on the way, check out the Cave of Antiparos with stalagmites and stalactites) and Saint George, with sunset views. Heading in or out of the port, grab a meal at To Stathero, the best seafood restaurant on the island.
13. Santa Maria Beach
Paros’ most famous beaches are prided for their striking landscape and unusual features, but Santa Maria Beach is the all-around best for its simplicity: a long, wide stretch of soft, golden-white sand, fantastic swimming in calm, clear, aquamarine water, and views of Naxos island to the east. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, and windsurfing are available here, along with low-key beach clubs and delicious tavernas. Most amenities are along the north end of the beach, while the south end tends to be quieter. On windy days, head to nearby Mikri Santa Maria Beach (Little Santa Maria) about 1.5 km north in a protected cove facing south and sheltered from the breeze. Mikri Santa Maria has a dive center, a beach club with sunbed and umbrella rentals, and two lovely tavernas nearby.
14. Fishing Villages
For a glimpse of local life, relaxed beaches, and outstanding seafood, visit one of the island’s fishing villages. The most charming are Aliki and Piso Livadi. Aliki is the largest of the fishing villages with 3 small beaches (Aliki Beach in the center behind the marina, Piso Aliki outside the marina to the east, and Agios Nikolaos in the bay to the west). Aliki is popular with families and boasts a playground, a little windsurfing, and the tiny Museum of Cycladic Folklore, featuring handmade replicas of traditional boats. Piso Livadi, pictured above, is a historic port town with a bustling marina filled with fishing boats, small ferries, and pleasure boats for day cruises. There is a strip of amazing restaurants and bars on the marina next to the main Piso Livadi Beach; every restaurant is great here, all owned by the local fishermen. South of the marina are two more beaches, chilled-out Logaras Beach and trendy Punda Beach.
Excellent museum with indoor and outdoor exhibits of artifacts, statues, and sarcophagi found on the island. Originally founded to house the findings from the nearby Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliai, the now-expanded museum is filled with antiquities from as far back as the Neolithic era and including Mycenaean, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine art. The most important works here include the 6th-century B.C. marble Gorgon statue, the 5th-century B.C. colossal marble statue of Artemis, and the oldest Greek statue of a seated figure, dating to the 8th century B.C. The museum is open year-round every day (except Tuesdays) from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Admission is only €2.
16. Nightlife in Paros
Paros offers excellent nightlife for all occasions whether you’re looking for romantic sunsets, all-night dancing, or trendy cocktails. The vast majority of the island’s bars and clubs are in Parikia and Naoussa, though there are a handful of beach parties and casual bars open late in the fishing villages. Naoussa is the main nightlife hub with sophisticated cocktail bars overlooking the waterfront and Old Port and lively dance clubs and after-party spots in the heart of the village. The best bars in Naoussa include Fotis All Day Bar , Kosmos, and Sommaripa Consolato. Parikia offers a more casual nightlife scene than Naoussa, with a string of rooftop bars offering direct sunset sea views and small bars inside the village with live bands. The best bars in Parikia include Bebop (where the above photo was taken from), Pirate Bar, and Sativa Music Bar.
17. Dining in Paros
Paros has no shortage of restaurants serving fresh-caught seafood, hearty Greek comfort foods, and contemporary haute cuisine. Some local delicacies include gouna (sun-dried mackerel), mizithra (white goat cheese), and kakavia (fish and veggie soup). A handful of vineyards produce red and white wines, while the local spirit is souma, a grape-based distillate. The best restaurants in Paros include Taverna Glafkos and Yemeni in Naoussa and Stou Fred and Ela in Parikia.
18. Frankish Castle
Tucked away in the winding, narrow lanes of Parikia are the remains of the Frankish Castle, a fort built by the ruling Venetians in the Byzantine era. Not much remains of the castle, just a tower and a couple of walls, but its unusual construction makes it worth a visit. The 13th-century A.D. castle was built from the marble ruins of a 6th-century B.C. temple of Athena and a mishmash of materials scavenged from ancient residences and sanctuaries.
A visit to Butterflies Valley makes a nice little detour on the way to or from the Antiparos ferry. Despite the name, there are no butterflies here. This green oasis is home to the Jersey Tiger Moth, a daytime moth that appears on the island beginning in June and disappears in August. These small moths have black and white striped forewings and brilliant orange back wings. Outside of the moth season, the park offers a pleasant, shady escape from the heat of the day. The park is open from June through September from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with an entry fee of €2.50. Located about 5.5 km from Parikia and 4.5 km from the Pounta port.
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