Paros or Naxos – Where to Go

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Updated: October 2, 2020

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Naxos and Paros are two of the Best Greek Islands. When people ask what island to visit in Greece, my first answer is Santorini and my 2nd is usually Naxos or Paros (with Crete close behind – though Crete requires at least one week to explore). Both Paros and Naxos have better beaches than Santorini. Both Naxos and Paros are a short ferry ride from Santorini and Mykonos. If you’re considering visiting another island after Santorini or Mykonos, then Naxos and Paros should be at the top of your list.

Paros or Naxos – Summary

  • Naxos is slightly more family-friendly, while Paros is slightly more romantic.
  • Both islands have charming villages by the sea, gorgeous traditional villages in the hills, and smaller beach resorts around the coasts.
  • Both Naxos and Paros have some of the Best Beaches in Greece and the islands are famous for their wonderful sand, great swimming, and sunbathing. Naxos has kilometers-long stretches of golden sand beaches, while Paros has smaller, craggier, and more unusual beaches. Both islands have secluded, nude beaches.
  • Both islands are known for windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing, and sailing. Both have great hiking trails, though Naxos has better hiking in general.
  • Both have amazing restaurants that serve fresh, local food – especially seafood. Naxos tends to have more casual tavernas, while Paros has more stylish restaurants, even a few fine dining spots.
  • Both islands produce high-quality olives, olive oil, wine, dairy products, and local spirits. Naxos is the agricultural heart of the Cyclades, known for its potatoes, cheeses, and meats.
  • Paros has better nightlife (though not too wild) and feels a little trendier with more shopping and boutique hotels. Naxos has just a little nightlife but more historic churches and archaeological sites.
  • Paros has better public transportation linking its main villages to nearby beaches. Naxos has frequent buses in the high season from Chora (Naxos Town) to the most popular beaches, but you’ll need to rent a car to visit the mountain villages.
  • Naxos and Paros have good roads for driving. Paros is a flatter island with a ring road around it, making it easy to explore the whole island. Naxos is mountainous with steep roads heading over the mountains rather than going around. Most of the smooth paved roads are on the busier, western side of the island; the less populous eastern side has lots of zigzagging dirt roads and rocky trails.
  • Both islands are well connected to Athens and neighboring islands by ferry. Paros has a better airport than Naxos and offers more frequent flights from Athens and Thessaloniki. Neither island has an international airport.

Where to Go – Paros or Naxos?

Paros is a lively island with 2 fun and completely different villages to split time between, great food and nightlife, and unique beaches. Naxos is a laid-back island wrapped with long beaches, with a charming main village, traditional villages to explore, and lots of hiking trails.

If you have the time (at least 5 days) visit both; they are only 40 minutes apart by ferry. If you’re splitting time on Paros or Naxos with time on Santorini, either island compliments a trip to Santorini well. If you’re splitting time on one of these islands with Mykonos, Naxos (rural, traditional) offers more of a contrast than Paros (busy, cosmopolitan).

Go to Naxos for sandy beaches, traditional mountain villages, local crafts, hearty food, natural beauty, historic churches and ruins, adventurous hiking, sailing, family vacations.

Go to Paros for unusual beaches, gourmet restaurants, buzzy nightlife, charming seaside villages, boutique shopping, beginner hiking, sailing, romantic vacations.

The Weather in Paros and Naxos

Paros and Naxos sit side by side, around 10 km apart. There is no major difference in their weather patterns. The best weather for both islands is from late May to early October. For swimming and watersports, June through September is best. For sightseeing, dining, and nightlife, April, May, and October are wonderful, too.

Visiting Both Paros and Naxos

Naxos and Paros are very close together but different enough that visiting both is worthwhile and easy to do. The islands are only 40 minutes apart by Greek ferry and have small, straightforward ports, so traveling from one to the other is easy. There are about 8 direct ferries a day in summer between Naxos and Paros, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

You can buy ferry tickets for the route between Naxos and Paros, but you will rarely need advance tickets outside of July and August. If you’re already in Greece you can buy tickets from any travel agency a few days in advance of your ferry trip.

Day Trip to Paros or Naxos

Since Paros and Naxos are so close together, day trips are a great way to explore the highlights of both islands. Both islands offer sightseeing bus tours to the main villages and cultural highlights. Naxos offers fantastic boat trips to visit the harder-to-reach beaches and sea caves. Paros has boat tours visiting the nearby islands of Antiparos and Despotiko.

Paros vs Naxos in Photos

View of Naxos Town from the Apollo Temple ruins

Naxos has one main village, Naxos Town aka Chora, which is where the bulk of the island’s hotels, restaurants, and bars are. The ruins of Apollo Temple are connected to Chora by a raised path through the sea.

A shaded lane in Parikia, Paros

Paros has 2 main villages. The capital Parikia, seen here, has the main ferry port, casual dining, and lively bars throughout its narrow lanes…

Venetian castle ruins in Naoussa, Paros

…while fashionable Naoussa boasts the charming Old Port, trendy bars and clubs, gourmet dining, and boutique shopping. These are the Venetian castle ruins at the Naoussa port.

Plaka Beach in Naxos

Naxos has long, wide, golden beaches with excellent swimming and plenty of room to spread out on the sand. Plaka Beach, seen here, is the longest on the island, stretching out for 4 km along the west coast.

Kolimbithres Beach in Paros

Paros has smaller, more unusual beaches, like the oft photographed Kolymbithres Beach with its weird rock formations.

Farms and mountains in Naxos

Naxos is the breadbasket of the Cyclades with farms, olive groves, vineyards, and dairies in its interior and traditional villages in the mountains.

Lefkes village in Paros

Paros has fewer villages, though they are no less impressive. This is Lefkes with its stunning church.

Bars at the port in Naxos Town

Most bars in Naxos are located in a little cluster of Chora, many with sunset views over the port.

Consolato Sommaripa bar in Naoussa, Paros

Paros has better nightlife with several wonderful cocktail bars in Parikia and Naoussa.

Zas Cave and trail in Naxos.

Naxos has better hiking. This is the trail leading up to Zas Cave, Zeus’ childhood home, according to myth.

A shop in Naoussa, Paros

Paros has better shopping, with more local products and crafts in Parikia and more high-style boutiques in Naoussa.

The Kitron distillery in Chalki, Naxos.

The local spirit of Naxos is Kitron, a citrus liqueur. This is the distillery in Chalki village, operating since 1896.

Moraitis Winery in Naoussa, Paros

Paros has a wonderful, little winery in Naoussa.

Naxos: A Photo Guide

View of Naxos Town from Apollo Temple

Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades. Its main village is Naxos Town (aka Chora), where you’ll find the ferry port and the bulk of the island’s restaurants, bars, and hotels. This is the view of Chora from ruins of Apollo Temple.

Sunset at Apollo Temple in Naxos

These are the temple ruins, commonly called the Portara. Apollo Temple is open to visitors 24-hours a day, but it is most beautiful at sunset.

The Tower of Glezos in the castle of Naxos

Naxos Town is made of a tangle of narrow, pedestrian lanes leading uphill toward the 13th century Venetian Castle. This part of the castle is the Tower of Glezos.

Naxos castle walls and steps

The castle walls and steps.

The archeological museum in Naxos Town

A small archaeological museum is at the top of the hill.

The Old Market section of Chora, Naxos

Chora is densely packed with restaurants and boutique shops tucked under archways, in tunnels, and stacked over multiple levels. This area is called the Old Market.

Bars in Naxos Town

Almost all of Naxos bars are in a little cluster in Chora, many with views over the sea. 520 Cocktail Bar and Like Home are the two most popular bars in the island.

Doukato Restaurant in Naxos Town

Among the best restaurants in Naxos Town is Doukato, serving traditional Greek fare in the tree-shaded courtyard of a former monastery.

Naxos port at sunset

Naxos’ main port is west of the castle and faces toward the sunset.

Octopuses drying in the sun at Naxos port

Several tavernas line up alongside the port serving freshly caught seafood with wonderful views, though restaurants in this area (generally) aren’t as good as the restaurants inside the village.

Boulamatsis Restaurant at the port in Naxos

The best restaurant at Naxos Port is Boulamatsis (written on the sign as Μπουλαμάτσης), located on the second-floor balcony above the red sign. The entrance is on the back side of the building.

Agios Georgios Beach in Naxos

Heading south from the Old Port and Chora leads to Agios Georgios (St. George) Beach, the closest beach to Naxos Town. This family-friendly beach offers tons of restaurants, beach clubs, and a water sports center at the south end.

The open-air cinema in Naxos

Farther inland from the beach is CineNaxos, an open-air movie theater.

Agios Prokopios Beach in Naxos

Beaches in Naxos tend to get better the farther south you go. Agios Prokopios is a fantastic beach with plenty of beach clubs, restaurants, and hotels. This is the easiest beach to reach by bus from Chora.

Agia Anna Beach in Naxos, Greece

Agia Anna Beach is just south of Agios Prokopios Beach and a little quieter, though still with plenty of food and hotel options. Agia Anna is also well-connected to Naxos Town by bus.

Plaka Beach in Naxos, Greece

Plaka Beach is the longest beach on Naxos and the most beautiful. Most of the beach clubs and restaurant are at the northern end, while the southern end has long stretches of seemingly endless sand and sea.

Aliko Beach in Naxos, Greece

Aliko Beach is one of the more interesting spots on the island, located in a cedar forest.

Murals at the hotel ruins at Aliko Beach, Naxos

At the north end of Aliko Beach, you’ll find the ruins of an unfinished, abandoned hotel, which is now filled with amazing graffiti murals.

Panagia Drosiani church in Moni, Naxos

Beaches and dining are great in Naxos, but what makes the island so different from others in the Cyclades is its heartland, filled with farms, mountain villages, and Byzantine Churches, like the 6th-century Panagia Drosiani, seen here, near the village Moni.

The Temple of Demeter ruins near Sangri, Naxos

Near Sangri village are the ruins of the Temple of Demeter, goddess of agriculture. There is a small archaeological museum on site, too.

A cafe in Chalki village, Naxos

Naxos has several traditional villages in the mountains. Chalki, seen here, is the most charming of these.

A traditional craft workshop in Chalki, Naxos

In Chalki there are a handful of workshops selling artisanal cheeses, local products, and crafts all made in the traditional way.

The Moni-Chalki trail in Naxos, Greece

The interior of Naxos has several amazing hiking trails, passing by farms, olive grove, and about 200 Byzantine churches.

A Byzantine church in Drymalia Valley, Naxos

A Byzantine church on the hiking trail between Moni and Chalki.

Drymalia Valley in Naxos

Drymalia Valley has over 400,000 olive trees.

Inside Zas Cave in Naxos, Greece.

A view from inside Zeus’ Cave on Zas Mountain.

Paros: A Photo Guide

View of the port and marina in Parikia, Paros

Paros has two main villages, Parikia and Naoussa. The ferry port, seen here behind the marina, is in the capital Parikia.

Panagia Ekatontapilian in Parikia, Paros

Parikia is the historic center of the island and home to the Panagia Ekatontapiliana, aka the Church of 100 Doors.

Inside the Panagia Ekatontapiliani in Parikia, Paros

This Byzantine church dates to the 4th century A.D., and is believed to have been founded by Saint Helene, mother of Emperor Constantine.

Archaeological Museum in Parikia, Paros

There is a small archaeological museum just steps away from the church, and at only €2 a ticket, it’s well worth a visit.

The Frankish Castle in Parikia, Paros

Wandering through the pedestrian warren of Parikia, you’ll find the ruins of the Frankish Castle, a fort built by the Venetians in the 12th century A.D. out of the ruins of a 6th century B.C. temple and various elements of later residences.

Steps by an old church in Parikia, Paros

Parikia is a pleasure to get lost in, made of cobblestone paths, old stairways, and ancient churches.

Symposium Cafe and a pedestrian tunnel in Paros

There are even a few pedestrian tunnels, like this one that passes under the charming Symposium Café.

Stou Fred restaurant in Parikia, Paros

The best restaurant in Parikia is Stou Fred, run by renowned French chef Fred Chesneau and hidden in a narrow lane. Make reservations in advance.

Bebop bar in Parikia, Paros

Parikia has excellent nightlife. Bebop, seen here, is the best spot for a sunset cocktail.

Yria Ceramics workshop in Parikia, Paros

Shopping is great in Parikia, with several souvenir shops, clothing boutiques, a perfumery, and a few artisan workshops, like Yria Ceramics, seen here.

View of Naoussa's old port from the pedestrian bridge

The other major village in Paros in Naoussa, situated in a natural bay at the north end of the island with a charming old port. This is the view from the pedestrian bridge.

The pedestrian bridge in Naoussa at night

The bridge at night.

Water Taxi ticket booth at the old port in Naoussa, Paros

From the old port, you can catch a water taxi to three of Paros’ best beaches: Kolimbithres, Monastiri, and Laggeri.

Main pedestrian street in Naoussa

Naoussa is a more modern village than Parikia and has a wider footpath fronting the port and heading into the village.

A church on the main street into Naoussa village

A more modern style Orthodox church sits in one of Naoussa’s large squares.

Shopping in Naoussa, Paros

Naoussa offers a more cosmopolitan shopping experience than Parikia with several boutiques selling fashion and accessories by Greek and international designers.

Naoussa old port marina in Paros

Naoussa is filled with stylish cocktail bars and a few dance clubs. This is the view over the marina toward the Venetian Castle ruins and the Old Port as seen from the balcony of Sommaripa Consolato cocktail bar.

Crowds of diners at Naoussa old port in Paros

Though the area near the port offers excellent views and drinks, the restaurants here can get over crowded for dinner service. This photo was taken during the shoulder season; it’s even busier in summer.

Taverna Glafkos in Naoussa, Paros

For a more romantic dining experience with seafront views, head west of the old port to Taverna Glafkos. Definitely make reservations in advance; this is one of Paros very best restaurants.

Yemeni Restaurant in Naoussa, Paros

Yemeni is another amazing restaurant. Its tables sit along the footpath inside the village. You’ll want reservations for this spot, too.

Piso Livadi fishing village in Paros

The best, authentic seafood tavernas in Paros are on the east side of the island in Piso Livadi. This little fishing village has several restaurants owned by fishermen, who cook the fish they’ve just caught themselves that morning. Literally, every restaurant in the strip seen here is amazing. There are also 3 small beaches here, making Piso Livadi a wonderful place to spend a day.

Kolymbithres Beach in Paros

Paros is best known for its unique beaches, especially Kolymbithres with its lunar landscape. This is one of the beaches accessible by water taxi from Naoussa.

Kalogeros Beach in Paros

Kalogeros Beach is another fantastic beach, known for its natural clay, which visitors use to make a full-body mud mask. You’ll need a car to get here.

Laggeri Beach in Paros

Laggeri Beach is a popular, clothing-optional beach accessible by water taxi.

Monastiri Beach at Paros Park

Monastiri is the third beach accessible by the Naoussa water taxi. This family-friendly beach is part of the amazing Paros Park.

The lighthouse at Paros Park

Paros Park is a large environmental and cultural park with a museum, café, historic monastery, open-air cinema, live music and events, and 7 km of hiking trails. The lighthouse here is at the end of Walking Path 1.

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  1. Which Greek Island To Visit

    Dave

    I’m traveling to Greece in mid May. Starting in Santorini and heading to Milos. I’m torn between Naxos and Paros but would like to stay on one of those islands for three nights before heading to Mykonos. I’m going solo on this trip and do not want to rent a car, and would much rather walk or take public transportation or taxi. I’m interested to experience the culture, tour villages/town/historical sites, hike, sunsets, beaches, etc. I really want to soak up the beauty of the islands! I’m a foodie too! Can you please tell me which island you would recommend? What hotel on the island would you recommend?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Naxos, Sifnos, Folegandros would all be great.

  2. Differences between Naxos and Paros

    Personally, I find Naxos more attractive due to the family-friendly atmosphere you mentioned. We visited it three times with my family and enjoyed it so much, that we decided to buy a house in Naxos just to have some constant place to go to. Now we go there at least three times a year. The main reason for loving this place for me is the best beaches even in comparison to Paros, whose beaches are also good.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Agreed! Good luck with your new house.

  3. Which Greek Islands To Visit in April

    Hi Dave,

    Love your site. I have been following this for planning my vacation But need a suggestion.
    We are visiting Greece in the first week of April. We are confused whether to visit Mykonos or Paros or any other place (for two days). We initially planned to visit Mykonos for the party scene but later learned that Mykonos will be quiet in April. So can you please give us recommendations for places to visit. Is it ok to visit Mykonos in April or Paros will be a better option? We would like a place which is not too quiet. Parties will be better in Mykonos or Paros in April?
    We will be immediately visiting Santorini after this so any place closer to Santorini will be good.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Crete and Santorini are the best off-season Greek islands to visit. The first ferry of the year between the two islands runs April 5. Mykonos will be very quiet in April. (So will Naxos and Paros but both have a bit more of a local vibe that’s interesting.) Mykonos is wonderfully green in April which is great. The first ferry between Mykonos and Santorini runs March 19, so you’re fine in that regard. None of the islands will have any parties in April though the clubs in Fira will come closest to having a bit of nightlife.

  4. Itinerary for Greek Island Hopping

    Hi Dave,
    Need your suggestion. Going to Greece July 20 – August 4. My husband and myself, 58 yr & 62 yr olds.
    Here is what I have till now, 3 nights Crete, 3 nights Santorini at the beginning. At the end 3 nights Mykonos and 1 night Athens. Then this is what I’m confused about: would like to do 2 nights Milos and the other 2 nights on either Naxos or Paros. I’m leaning towards Naxos since I hear it has better beaches, what is your opinion? We are beach people for sure, nice diners at night, not looking for nightlife. Am I doing too much in 2 weeks? I just want to get the most in for the time we have, this is a lifelong dream of mine, don’t know if I will be able to go back. But I also don’t want to be hopping around and not really see anything. What is your honest opinion, really appreciate it.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Paros is a little trendier with good nightlife. Both have great beaches but the beaches on Naxos are a slightly higher quality. So Naxos sounds like a better fit for you. You do have a busy two weeks. Doable, but busy. If you were to cut any island I’d make it Crete. It’s a great island but a difficult to experience in 3 days as it’s quite a bit bigger than the others.

  5. Island Hopping in Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you for this fabulous site, so much invaluable information. My husband and I are flying into Santorini from Rome mid September for 3 nights then we have 14 more nights to island hop before needing to be in Athens October 2 for an October 3 flight. We’re thinking of splitting our time equally between Naxos and Paros with day trips to Mykonos and Antiparos. We were thinking of flying from Paros back to Athens the day before our international flight home but I read in one of your posts that you think it’s better to catch the ferry? Do you think there’s another island we should consider as well. Additionally what weather should we expect mid to late September and do we need to pre-book accommodation and ferries? This is the tale end of a six week trip that will have been full on so we were not wanting to arrive home totally exhausted!
    Thanks so much for all your great advice.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Sounds almost perfect. Weather should be good to great. You could have some coolish non-beach days as you get into October but beautiful sunny weather is more likely. Only change I’d recommend is to add a night or two for Mykonos at the end of your island itinerary. A day trip to Mykonos is not worth the time or effort and it probably wouldn’t workout with ferry times anyways. Better to make an overnight trip and it’s on the route back to Athens so will shorten your final ferry leg as well. (Day trip to Antiparos is well worth it though.) And yes, I’d rather ferry than experience the hassle of another flight. And it’s quicker/easier to get from the ferry port to central Athens than from the airport to central Athens.

  6. Itinerary for Santorini, Naxos, Athens

    Hi Dave! I am really enjoying your website. I am writing for your advice. My husband and I are two active people who enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, wine and food, and beautiful scenery, and art and history. As far as Athens, my husband really just wants to see some of the archaeological sights. I want to take a photography tour on Santorini. I have been dreaming of going there for a long time. We tend to seek out the local restaurants when we travel to see what the people really eat in a location. We are arriving in Athens on May 7 and flying back out early May 20th. We are coming from Texas, so it will be a considerable travel distance. This is what I am considering:

    May 7: continue travel with flight Athens to Santorini, arrive around 5pm local time
    May 7-May 14: Santorini (7 days, 8 nights)
    May 15: Leave in the morning and travel to Naxos (ferry or flight?)
    May 15-17 Naxos (3 days, 3 nights)
    May 18 Fly from Naxos to Athens in the morning
    May 18, and 19 Athens (2 days, 2 nights)
    May 20 fly out for home

    My concern is with jamming too much into a trip. We don’t want to have a tight schedule and be super tired when we get home. We are considering just staying on Santorini and really exploring and spending one more day in Athens and cutting out the Naxos portion. Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,
    Alyse

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      That sounds like a great itinerary. The good news is that either way you do it (with Naxos or without) it will feel like the perfect decision. “Oh, I’m so glad we got to see Naxos – it was so different than Santorini,” or “I’m so glad we spent those extra days on Santorini – I wouldn’t have wanted an hour less.” That’s not much help, I know, but there’s no right answer. Naxos has some great beaches (better than Santorini) and amazing inland villages and hikes. You won’t be sorry if you go. Also, some really incredible local restaurants. One thing I would do if it were my trip is to ferry from Naxos to Athens instead of fly. It does cost you a few extra hours (depending on whether you go Blue Star or the smaller/faster/rougher Sea Jet) but to fly you have to taxi to the airport, lineup for baggage ticketing, lineup for security, wait some more, fly, taxi into the city when you get to Athens. Whereas if you’re staying in Naxos Town you can walk to the ferry port 10 minutes before your ferry is set to arrive. I find it much more relaxing.

  7. Where To Eat in Paros

    Hi Dave, fabulous website! Do you have any restaurant recommendations in Naoussa, Paros?

    Orso

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Taverna Glafkos.

  8. Naxos or Paros in October

    Hi, thank you for this very useful piece. We just came back from a week in Santorini and I’m planning to go again in October for school break, just two moms and a couple of kids. We’ll have a car. Which would be better in October, Naxos or Paros? I’m leaning towards Naxos but open to both. You mentioned that both islands are year-round ones. Thanks, Andrea

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Perhaps a slight recommendation for Naxos but both would be great in October. (Early October should still have beach weather, late October will likely be too chilly to swim but fine for hikes and sightseeing.)

  9. Best Ferry to Naxos from Athens

    Hi Dave
    Great guide to both islands. I’m staying in Naxos with family in late August. Our plan is to catch an early ferry from Rafina and get into Naxos by noon. It’s a fast ferry (Sea Jet), and I’m wondering if we’re better off taking a Blue Star ferry from Pireaus instead. I’ve read varying opinions about the ferries, with some saying the fast ferries are terrible, you can’t see anything, etc. I’d prefer to spend the night in Rafina and catch an early ferry as opposed to staying in Athens and rushing to get to Pireaus in the am. Any advice for a newcomer to Greece?
    Thanks
    Peter

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The (SeaJet) Champion Jet1 that does the Rafina to Naxos route in August is a good ferry (better than the smaller SeaJet). Staying in Athens is far more interesting than staying in Rafina but the ferry itself from Rafina is a fine choice.

  10. Greek Island with Best Beaches

    Hi Dave,

    My husband and I have 3.5 days in Greece, quick getaway. We have never been and want to go on an island with the best sand beaches. We will be spending the day on the beach and night eating out. What is your suggestion? Thanks!
    Galina

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Both Paros and Naxos have great beaches. In Naxos the beaches are close to little beach towns with tavernas and restaurants. In Paros beaches are away from the towns. Both are wonderful islands.

  11. Family-friendly Beach on Paros

    Hi Dave
    Very helpful thank you.
    Many years ago we frequented Myconos and stayed on Ornos beach in the small studios which we loved.
    My family of 4 and my mum who is well but elderly are travelling from afar back to Greece after many years.
    I tried to book the same studios on Ornos but no luck and can’t seem to find anything close by that’s affordable.
    I am thinking of going to Paros and I hope you can help us with which beach will be our Ornos. We need an organised family beach with preferably BnB studio or hotel on the beach or at least close easy access. I loved the bus from Ornos to town and the vibe after a day in the sun. Where would you recommend we will find something similar on Paros or any other close island? I’m struggling to work out the sandy organised less windy easy access beach and close accommodation. Also on a budget due to our sadly week currency. Thanks a mill spent hours searching!

    Dimitra

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The days when you could lodge economically are long gone, let alone sleep for free on a beach for two weeks as many who are old enough to remember Mykonos in the 70s did! With upwards of $300 for a night of sleep on what is undoubtedly an attractive island, a trip to Mykonos these days requires a sturdy and well-filled wallet. That said, Ornos Beach is still – in theory – offering reasonably priced lodgings but as you seem to have done the homework and calculations, it may be time to move on. That may be a good move as it can be hard to capture the memories of the past by coming back to try to relive them.

      Paros is a good option and it shares with Mykonos that Cycladic style and look – rocks, sandy beaches, white walled houses and cosy tavernas that beckon you in invitingly. It is a larger island; it has an airport and a busy boat port so getting there is easy. So far so good. Now taking into account your age logistics – young and old and somewhere in between, it sounds as though you need a modicum of facilities, and you won’t want that dastardly Meltemi (northern) wind that can play havoc on many of the Cycladic islands.

      Paros’ main tourism infrastructure is focussed in and around its two main towns: the port of Parikia and the former fishing village (and now traveller magnet) of Naoussa. They are both perceptibly bigger than Mykonos’s Ornos, so you may still be looking for that touch of coziness that you remembered from Ornos. A little smaller, but a village no less is Piso Livadi on Paros east coast you can rent a place literally on the beach if you desire. It’s compact yet cosy and has that ‘just for me’ atmosphere.

      A little more out on a ledge but on a better (and more sheltered) beach is the rather scattered community of Chrysi Akti or Golden Beach. This is really patchwork of agricultural roads all leading to a beach that really does sparkle like gold on a sunny day with an equally scattered community of rooms, villas and apartments. This place comes into its own when the north wind blows with barely a ripple flecking its crystalline waters. The Golden Beach Hotel at the west end is more of family place with a restaurant attached from which you can literally step out and onto the sand. Louridis Golden Beach Hotel is a little more organised and has nice sea-facing studios for up to five persons.

  12. Day Trip to Paros

    Hi there,

    Have read your site avidly – so much more helpful than anything I can find on the net or in guidebooks. My family of 4 are staying on Mykonos from 19th July to 2nd August. I’ve already booked us a ferry trip and short stay on Santorini as wanted to make sure we don’t miss out on tickets, but would really appreciate your advice on a day trip from Mykonos to Paros (would particularly like to see Naoussa if possible). Are there any boat excursions we can book from Mykonos (haven’t found any yet) or is doing it ourselves the best option? If the latter, 1) what ferry company is best, 2) is there any preferred day of the week to go on? 3) is it necessary to book ferry tickets this far in advance as I have for Santorini? Would really appreciate your expert advice as I want to make the most of the time we have on these beautiful islands. Thanks so much!!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s easy to take the regular ferries to get to Paros (and any day trip excursion that you bough would use the same ferries). On most days there are a couple boats that will get you to Paros by 10:30. The last ferry from Paros back to Mykonos leaves at 6pm – so that will give you 6+ hours on Paros. Plenty enough to wander around Parikia and then get to Naoussa for a look around and late lunch/early dinner. The bus from Parikia to Naoussa leaves from the “bus station” directly beside the ferry port, so it’s very convenient. No need to book these tickets in advance. Wait until after you arrive and retain your flexibility to change your dates or mind.

  13. Surest Way to Buy Naxos Ferry Tickets

    I am going to Naxos in July. I am wondering what the best way is to handle the ferry tickets from Athens to Naxos and back again. I want to take an early ferry to Naxos and then back again to Athens and there are 5 in our party. I am a nervous sort so I’d like to know the surest way to get the tickets with the least stress and bother.

    Kakia Hall

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      If you want to leave nothing to chance then buy in advance on the Blue Star website then pickup from kiosk at Piraeus ferry port (close to the metro station and easy to find – just get there at least 45 minute before your ferry).

  14. Paros and Naxos on a Budget

    Thanks so much for the article! My sister and I are planning on visiting Greece in early October of this year. We are trying to figure out the cheapest options since we are traveling on a budget. Is there a big price difference between Paros and Naxos? Would we still be able to take a day trip to Santorini in October? Or would we need to plan an overnight in Santorini because it is off season? Thanks so much for your help!

    Bonnie Smith

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Paros and Naxos are both good for budget travelers – plenty of nice, family run hotels with small clean rooms. Many include some sort of free breakfast, though nothing elaborate. I’d definitely recommend staying overnight in Santorini for at least one night. In October you should be able to find some fairly inexpensive accommodations. A day trip to Santorini is hard to make work even in high season. (One reason for this is that the port at Santorini is a good distance from the main towns so just getting to and from the port can eat up one hour each way – and the bus returns to the ferry port well in advance of departing ferries so that’s more like 90 minutes.)

  15. Santorini, Sifnos, Naxos, and Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for this very helpful guide. I was hoping to get your advice on what you think of this following itinerary: we’re arriving in Greece on May 31st and will leave in mid-June. We are planning 5 nights in Santorini, 4 nights in Sifnos, 4 nights in Naxos, and 2 nights in Athens. Do you think 4 nights in Sifnos is too long? What do you think of the island? If we were to reduce it to 3 nights in Sifnos, we would extend our # of nights in Athens to 3 instead of 2. Thanks so much for your help!

    Carolyn

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Sifnos has great beaches and a slower pace than both Santorini and Naxos. With that much island time, yeah, I’d probably trade another island day for a day in Athens but I wouldn’t say 4 nights on Sifnos was “too much”.

  16. Paros or Naxos with Kids in Early May

    Hi Dave,

    Really useful post, thanks a mill. My wife and I have done a good bit of travelling around the Greek Isles back in our ‘youth’, working in Paros as university students for a few summers, travelling latter years when gainfully employed around Paros, Naxos, Santorini, Serifos, Sifnos, Milos and Amorgos (over the course of a few trips/years). We got engaged in 2007 in Santorini! We are looking this year for first two weeks in May to introduce our two kids (5 & 3) to the delights of the Greek Isles.

    Paros feels like our spiritual home, I always loved Naxos too. I know both will be pretty quiet in early May. Just wondering if you have any thoughts on what might be a better fit for us/the kids? I presume weather wise, there is little to choose; it seems, given its bigger population that Naxos might have a bit more ‘buzz’ about it at that time. I’m all for a quiet holiday, but don’t want a ghost town/beach feel.. Santorini feels like a bridge too far as regards ferry times from Pireaus for the small ones and (as we are on a tight budget) beach time is our option, rather than somewhere swanky with a pool.

    Any insight on this would be gratefully received!

    ευχαριστώ!

    Niall Manley

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I think Naxos has a little more to see and explore, and a little more history and culture – so it makes a better fit for the quieter months. Since it is shoulder season you’ll want to stay in one of the larger towns so it’s not completely dead and Naxos Town has a better beach than either Parikia or Naoussa. But be prepared for weather that is not completely beach-friendly. And the sea is chilly (even with nice weather) until mid-June.

  17. Athens, Santorini, Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you so much for providing all of this information. My husband and I are planning a trip arriving to Athens at 9 am 8/26. I was thinking to take a flight straight to Santorini stay for 3 nights in Oia then ferry to Naxos for 3 nights then ferry to Paros for 2 nights. From Paros we would go to Mykonos for 2 nights then ferry to Athens for 2 nights. Do you believe this possible. My husband and I love beaches and exploring towns do you believe this is a good mix? Should I cut an island out? Thanks so much!

    Maria

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Sounds busy but very doable and a great mix of islands. There always a trade off between days in one place and how many islands you see. Invariably, they’ll be something that in hindsight you’d tweak – I wish we stayed longer there and skipped that place – but you don’t know until after you’ve been there.

      They’re all great islands.

  18. Milos or Naxos?

    Hi! My boyfriend and I are planning on visiting the start of Sept so far the plan is Santorini > Milos or Naxos by ferry > Mykonos by ferry > Athens by plane. I need help picking between Milos or Naxos? Or is there another island you would suggest? How many nights would you recommend on each island? We only have 10 days so don’t want to spend too much time travelling! Thanks!
    Terri Smith

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Both Milos and Naxos are great islands but Naxos has much better ferry connections with Mykonos. From Milos to Mykonos there are 6 ferries per week in early September and they take 5 to 6 hours. From Naxos to Mykonos there are several ferries per day and they take about 40 minutes. If you’re on a limited time frame the choice is clear.

  19. Golden Beach on Paros

    Hi Dave!

    I am planning a trip in mid-August with my boyfriend to Paros and we are staying on Golden Beach. I was wondering if you could tell me if this is a good location to stay and what are some fun activities to do in this area? We are in our mid-20’s so we are looking to do more than just bum at the beach!

    Angie

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Great beach and a good spot for learning how to windsurf. But there’s not much around here beyond a few hotels and restaurants. Certainly no nightlife. If you wanted shopping and a restaurant scene then stay closer to Parikia or Naoussa – or at the very least, rent a car.

  20. Fastest Ferries between Greek Islands

    Hi Dave
    My partner and I will be in Santorini in early June for a wedding. Below is a rough idea of our plans. We plan on catching the fastest ferry between islands. Are there any days the ferry companies don’t operate and are there any luggage restrictions? I went on the Blue Star Ferries website and it seems they haven’t updated their timetable yet. Is there a ferry company you highly recommend based on our itinerary?

    Mykonos – 2 nights (flying in from Athens in mid May)
    Paros – 3 nights
    Naxos – 3 nights
    Santorini – 6 nights
    Athens – 2 nights on the way back.
    Thanks!
    Georgina

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Lots of ferries running that route so shouldn’t be a problem in early June. No need to book in advance. Buy your tickets when you first arrive in Mykonos. But if you want to be certain then go to Seajets, Hellenic Seaways, and Blue Star to purchase directly (you’ll then pick up tickets on the islands). The only luggage restrictions are what you can carry on board.

  21. Naxos Delos Mykonos Tour

    Hi. Can I do the Naxos/Delos/Mykonos tour and get off on Mykonos to stay there?
    Linda

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes. Not sure what their allowances for luggage are. If you don’t have much you should be fine. The boat gets to Mykonos about 5pm and stops at the Old Port right by Mykonos Town.

  22. Paros and Naxos

    Hi Dave.

    My wife, my daughter and I are thinking of spending 7 nights in Paros in late June visiting Naxos on a day trip. Is this ok or should I spend 3 nights in Naxos and 4 in Paros? I have already visited Santorini and Mykonos.
    Robert Raniti

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s much better to spend some time on Naxos than to do a day trip. When you do a day trip you don’t get to enjoy the towns in the early morning or evening – the two times when the island is at its best.

  23. Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos

    Hey Dave,

    Great site! Love all the info. QQ for you, I’m heading to the Greek islands next May 19-30th. My initial itinerary looks like this, get into Athens morning of the 19th, head straight to Mykonos for 4 nights, then onto Santorini for 5 nights, then Athens for 2 nights and back to the States on the 30th. I’m going with my gf and we’re both in our late 20s. I’d really love to check out Naxos, but wasn’t sure if I had enough time. Do you think that I should cut out a day from both Mykonos and Santorini and do Naxos for a couple nights in between? Or stick to the original itinerary?

    Thanks in advance!
    Mike

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s a tough call but yes I would probably make time for Naxos. You can even do Naxos for just one night. There’s an early morning ferry from Mykonos to Naxos which gets you there at 10:30. Then a late afternoon the next day at 15:25 or an evening ferry (but not on Fridays or Sundays) at 7:55pm so you could almost have 2 full days and only lose one night on Mykonos. (It’s nice to break up the trip from Mykonos to Santorini too as the only direct Myk-Santo ferry is a small high speed ferry that can be choppy.)

      1. Mike

        Awesome! Thanks so much for the reply. Yeah, after some more research I think 4 nights in Mykonos is more than needed anyway. We definitely want to check out the party scene for one night, but that’s really it. I’m going to look into going to Naxos for two nights.

  24. Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Milos

    Such a helpful comparison! I’m heading to the greek islands next August for my Honeymoon and thought id decided on Paros, Santorini than Milos before heading back to Athens, however now im thinking both Paros and Naxos then Santorini? Or do you think I should skip one to include Milos? We just really want to relax and swim. Not big drinkers but like good food.

    Candice

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      All are great islands so you can’t go wrong. Naxos and Paros are somewhat similar so if you wanted something different then Milos is a good candidate. To do Milos right you need to do a boat tour around the coast of the island – not sure if that’s appealing to you. Naxos and Paros are easier to explore on your own (either by bus or rented car) and they’re also easier to get to and from Santorini. Milos is a little out of the way (though in August there are so many ferries it should still be pretty easy to do Naxos – Milos – Santorini).

  25. Paros to Mykonos Day Trip

    This site rocks – thank you! Like a number of folks on here, it seems, we are planning a trip for late May and trying to decide the best itinerary. After doing some initial research, here is my thinking.

    Arrive Sunday May 22 and take flight straight to Santorini – arriving around 2PM Greece time
    Stay in Santorini 3-4 nights
    Ferry to Naxos and stay there 2-3 night
    Ferry to Paros and stay there 2-3 nights
    Ferry to Athens for rest of time (3-5 nights) before flying back on Fri June 3 – travel day.

    Your suggestion on the best mix of nights in each? I figure we will at least do a day trip to Mykonos on one of the days we are on Paros or Naxos (I think I saw that option). And I have read good things on Hyrda, which I think could be a day trip from Athens but that might be too much traveling. Any insight is appreciated. Upper 30s, no kids, looking for most relaxing on the islands with some wineries in Santorini and then doing the tourist thing seeing the sites in Athens. Thanks!

    Bob

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Your itinerary looks good. And smart to leave Athens to the end of your trip. You can do a day trip to Mykonos from Paros by taking the Seajet (leaves Paros at 10:50am and returns at 6:15pm giving you about 6 hours on Mykonos). Be sure to take the small Seajet as that will drop you at the Old Port – walking distance from Mykonos Town. The larger ferries use the New Port which then requires taking a bus to town.

  26. Athens and Greek Islands in January

    HI Dave,

    Thanks for doing this site! I have booked an 18 day stay in Greece mid – January. I am 40-something solo woman traveling and this is the time off I had! It is my dream to travel to Greece and so I thought to do it right away. I am thinking of sailing with BLUE STAR to Santorini, Paros, Naxos and wish to walk the trails, eat in local taverns and stay in small family run places, perhaps AirBNB. Looking forward to a 3/4 nights in Athens as well and tour the street art and local food and wine scene. I really welcome any of your suggestions as I am a bit nervous about traveling off season. Thanks alot Dave!
    Terra

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I’m sure you know this but have a warm winter jacket. With the wind and rain it can be cold on the islands. That said, I’m sure you’ll have a great trip. The islands are great in the off season – especially if you get lucky with the weather. You’d be fine not booking accommodation in advance and waiting to find something on each island. If there’s no one at the boat to greet you ask around at the restaurants near the ferry port and they’ll invariably know someone who rents out there place.

  27. Itinerary for Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,

    Your site is great! I had no idea where to even start when thinking about visiting the islands but this is great!
    My husband and I are looking to travel to Greece late May/Early June. We are looking for a mainly relaxing trip with some exploring (we love hiking) and of course a lot of eating, we also Won’t say no to a few nights of partying. Here is what we are thinking:

    Saturday – Arrive Athens
    Sunday – Ferry to Naxos, stay 4 nights
    Thursday – Milos, 2 nights
    Saturday – Ios, 2 nights
    Monday – Santorini, 5 nights
    Saturday – Santorini to Athens
    Sunday – Fly home

    I’m not too bothered with essentially spending no time in Athens as I am more interested in the Islands. It has always been a dream of mine to visit Santorini – but is 5 nights too many? I know the beaches aren’t the best there, but our first week will be mostly beaches so I’m not bothered about that. More so looking to end the trip with a lot of romance and relaxation in Santorini.

    How does this itinerary look? Any advice is great! Thank you so much!!

    Alison

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      This sounds great. Santorini is wonderful and deserves 5 nights. 4 nights in Naxos is good too – lots to see and great beaches. Ios and Milos are both deserving of visits. I’d get an early morning flight from Santorini to Athens which will give you almost a full day in the city. Athens has lots to see but most of it is fairly close together and many of the top sights are open until 8pm, so if you got there mid-morning you could see a fair bit.

  28. Naxos and Paros with Kids

    Hi Dave,

    Just looking for your advice please if possible.

    We are a family of 6, looking at taking our 4 children aged between 2 and 6 to Naxos and Paros next August for 16 nights. We have found accommodation in Parikia and Agios Prokopios and flights via Athens both ways. Would you suggest we spend longer on one island than the other with us having young children? We just need a nice beach, possibly a local playground, a couple of excursions during our stay. We won’t be renting a car so will be relying on public transport/taxis.

    Thanks so much, any advice you can give would be great, I haven’t been to Paros and Naxos in years!

    Lindsay Cregan

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Those are 2 great places and a nice mix. Agios Prokopios has a great beach and is a fun beach town. Parikia is much larger with more places to eat and shop, lanes and streets to wander about, but lacks a really good beach – for that you’ll have to take a bus or one of the small boats that depart from the port every 30 minutes or so (it makes a fun outing). And from Parikia it’s also easy to take the boat to Antiparos which has wonderful beaches. As I say, I think it’s a good mix of beach (where after a week you’ll probably want a little more to do) and town (where after a week you’ll probably want to be steps from a beach instead of a bus or boat ride away).

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