Paros Island

Paros, Greece

Páros – while one of the most popular tourism destinations in Greece – has managed to hold on in large part to its local color, customs, and traditions. Balancing between its tourism development and its local traditions, beautiful Paros plays host to the holidays of thousands of visitors who come each summer.

Paros is an ideal destination for those who enjoy the sea, water sports, long beaches, and nightlife. All of this, served up with a picturesque Aegean background, is to be found in Paros. The main port of the island is Paroikiá. The visitor’s eye focuses right away on the beautifully restored windmill at the port, which presents an unmistakably Greek picture, that could have been on any one of thousands of postcards that happy visitors to the island send to their friends and relatives.

Lying in the centre of the Cyclades island group, Paros is one of the most popular tourist islands in Greece . Paros has many sandy beaches, a fertile landscape and charming villages where one can explore or relax. Paros was famous for its marble used on Napoleons tomb, and from which the famous statue of Venus de Milo was carved.

Parikia standing on the site of a former city the towns was the centre of the marble trade on the island. Earthquakes have destroyed many of the earlier Ventian and roman buildings in the town. Modern day Parikia is a thriving resort with its waterfront packed with ticket offices for the many ferry’s that call on the island. There also a number cafes and bars to in which you can sit and watch the life on the waterfront. The streets behind the harbour are typical Greek with small lanes and houses covered in flowers.

Panagia Ekatontapyliani (church of a hundred doors) is one of the most impressive in the Cyclades , and one of the oldest still in use in Greece . The church consists of three churches, and together there are 99 doors in the building, when the 100th door is found, the city of Constantinople ( Istanbul ) will be reunited with Greece . Inside the church, there is a footprint set in stone, said to be that of the islands patron saint, Agia Theoktisti. Greeks place their feet in the footprint believing it will bring them good fortune.

Archaeological Museum is behind the church and among its many display is the part of priceless Parian Chronicle, carved on marble, recording the artistic achievements of ancient Greece up to 264 BC. Sadly, to say most of the chronicle ended up in the Ashmolean museum in Oxford , England . Some of the other displays are plaster cast copies, as the originals are in museums around the world.

Kastro the remains of this fortress built in 1260 AD lies at the top of the main street of the town. Near by is the 300-year-old church of Agia Elani and Agios Konstantinos with its blue dome.

Naoussa situated on the north coast of Paros , is a delightful resort. Though very popular, it has not lost some of its charm when it was a sleepy fishing village. There are some good restaurants where the food is excellent and some good shops. The two museums in the village are worth visiting. The best beaches are at Monastri and Kolimvythres. The ruins of a Ventian castle are slowly sinking into the sea forming a breakwater. On 23rd of August every year, fishing boats lit by torches re-enact the battle that took place in 1536 between the islanders and the pirate Barbarossa, this festival is concluded with music and partying.

Lefkes this charming hillside village and former capital of the island, has retained its charm with small shady squares lined with cafes, shops and restaurants overlooking the valley below. The shops in the village sell a wide range of local weaving and ceramics. Along the hillside are old windmills. The church of Agias Trias is splendid and dominates the village. Nearby are the abandoned marble quarries, from here came the marble for Napoleons Tomb. In the area are small hamlets worth visiting, Prodromos, Marmara and Marpissa.

Petaloudes or the Valley of the Butterflies is a short distance from the capital, and during the months of May to August, huge swarms of Jersey tiger moths settle on the foliage. Nearby is the 18th century convent of Moni Christou tou Dasos, though only women can enter the sanctuary it is a nice walk.

History of Paros

According to archaeological finds, the first inhabitants of Paros appear to have occupied the islet of Saliagos, a region which, at some point in the past, connected Paros to Antiparos.

On that islet an important neolithic settlement of the 5th – 4th millenium BC has been discovered, which makes it one of the most ancient settlements in the Aegean Sea.
Furthermore, archaeological excavations have brought to light very important finds, such as the Proto-Cycladic settlement at Paroikia, the temple of Athena at Delio, the temple of Apollo and Artemis, and the Mycenaean Acropolis just outside Naoussa.

Sightseeing

Paros provides dozens of attractions that are sure to delight every visitor. Whether of an ancient nature or simply one of the natural beauties of the island, they are certainly a special bonus to your visit. Simply be sure to take the time to enjoy them all!

The first kafeneion (coffee shop) in Paros. Can be found at Scorpios Museum

Archaeological Museum of Paros
Other Attractions
The Virgin of the Hundred Doors (Panagia Ekatontapyliani)

What you need to know about the island

At the port, you’ll undergo a classic Greek hassle: avoiding the rented-room touts. Many people will try to convince you to go to their hotel or room. Keep your sense of humor and make a deal (offer them 30% less than what they ask). Paros is quite a draw for young people all year round, and is the headquarters of Greek windsurfers and kitesurfers. It’s thought to be the 2nd best spot for windsurfing in Greece, which explains why the world-wide tournaments in windsurfing and kitesurfing take place here. We should stress that there are strong winds all summer long in all of the Cycladic islands, 3-5 Beaufort and sometimes as strong as 8.
The island songs of the Aegean (“nisiotika”) are strongly tied to the island of Paros. (If you like them, buy the CD by Giannis Parios, “Nisiotika,” one of the most well-known singers from the island.) At the local festivals, the locals dance the Agerano (a type of song), in a circle. These traditions are supposed to be connected with the coming of Theseus to the island, and for that reason the dancing groups resemble the labyrinth.
Paros is famous also for its excellent wine. Both red and white wines are cultivated on the island.
The most important product of Paros is the famous Parian marble, a transparent, white marble which was called “lychnite” in the ancient world, and out of which were carved the Hermes of Praxiteles and the Venus de Milo.

Regions and Villages to Visit

Paros has noteworthy villages that you must not miss. Aside from Paroikia, which is built amphitheatrically around the port, and year by year climbs higher up the mountain behind, there is also the town of Naoussa.

Naoussa is a particularly picturesque fishing village with many little tavernas, especially around its traditional little harbor. Over the last few years, due to an increase in tourism development, many night clubs have poppedup as well.

 

Despite this, the external appearance of these clubs remains traditional and in no way damages the picture of the island and its traditional color.
Lefkes is a mountain village with an excellent view of Naxos. Here you will find traditional windmills that tame the wind. Furthermore, you can walk from Lefkes to Prodromos along the Byzantine road. If you want quiet, head for Piso Livadi, where you will find rented rooms, several hotels, and a few tavernas. In Pounta you will find a very beautiful and quiet environment with a view of Antiparos.

The ferries for Antiparos set off from here. Don’t confuse Pounta with Pounta Beach, which is the most cosmopolitan beach of the island. It has beautiful sand and turquoise water, but you will not easily find a place to lay down your towel. Other places worth visiting are Dryos, Alyki and Ampelas.

Beaches

A vacation in Paros must include carefree relaxation such as is to be found at the island’s beaches.

Most visitors to Paros spend up to half a day at the beach. If you want to get into the Greek vacation schedule, keep in mind that people go to the beach after noon because they were up all night the night before!

There are dozens of beaches to choose from. The most popular ones are located in the northern and eastern coasts of the island. However, the best beaches, as far as the locals are concerned, are those found on the uninhabited islets around Paros.

Marpissa – Pounta beach

The most cosmopolitan beach of the island, is bound to satisfy those visitors who like to combine the sea with entertainment (loud music, intense beat). There is a beach bar with a huge pool, where dancing and drinking goes on until sunset. The beach is covered with fine sand and has all the expected comforts

Golden Beach and New Golden Beach

Beaches with, of course, gold sand. These beaches are long, and fully organized. Ever since 1990, there is the annual world-wide tournament in Windsurfing and Kitesurfing at New Golden Beach; these are good spots for wind- and kitesurfers of middle to advanced level. There are many schools and rental operations for both windsurfing and kitesurfing, so if you are interested you can easily be provided with the appropriate equipment. There are lessons in English, French, German, and Italian. Both of these beaches have been awarded Blue Flags by the European Union.

Farangas

One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Farangas is located in the wider region of Alyki. The beach of Farangas is loved for its extremely clean water, its rocks, and its isolation. The bather can put down his towel on sand dunes, he can take advantage of the shadow of the trees on the beach, or he can rent a chaise and umbrella. In the region there is a restaurant for visitors to the beach.

The Beach in the village of Pounta

The beach in the village of Pounta is also a large sandy beach. In the area there is a kitesurfing center and it is an ideal place for novices of the sport. Since it is directly opposite Antiparos, the sea rarely has waves. The fact that it is a closed-off spot makes it even more safe for novice kitesurfers.

Kolymbithres

Kolymbithres is one of the most famous beaches on the island, located on the western side of Naoussa, on the road as you go toward Paroikia. It is actually a collection of several small sandy beaches which are decorated by large rock formations. Kolymbithres draws the interest of Greek and foreign visitors who are not looking for isolation. These beaches are fully organized with umbrellas, chaises, cantinas, and bars.

Santa Maria

Santa Maria, a beach with golden sand and blue-green clear water, has managed to keep its beauty secret. Whoever know it have an unforgettable time here on the sand, whereas surfers enjoy the little bay sheltered from the wind.

How to get around

The local bus system (KTEL) is well-run with frequent itineraries; it covers the a wide majority of the regions and beaches. Using the bus gives you time for socializing, but you have to have patience, because, since the buses stop at every village, it takes some time to get from place to place. For greater independence, you can choose a scooter for transportation: rentals from 15,00-20,00€ per day.

Places to eat

Paros has a wide variety of cuisine (from Mexican, Italian, to even Chinese). In every village there is a plethora of restaurants and tavernas with meat and fish, as well as fast food places and souvlaki restaurants. Aside from the tavernes, that you can easily find all over Paros, the rest of the restaurants are to be found in Naoussa, and especially, in Paroikia. You can get food at all price levels in Paros. Be sure to try fresh fish. Mediterranean fish are among the most delicious in the world and you will be eating fish caught that day or the day before.

Where to stay

In Paros you will find hotels, rented rooms, and camping facilities. Prices for rented rooms range from 20€-40€ per room; hotels from 30€-100€; and camping 7€ per person.

Ilida Villas, Santa Maria

Free camping is not permitted on the island. In Paros you can find camping at Paroikia (Koula Beach), at Naousa, at Piso Livadi, at Santa Maria, and at Alyki. Camping on the island is fully organized and has all the comforts you would expect.

Nightlife

Paros has a lively nightlife. Everyone is centered in two places: Paroikia and Naoussa. Paroikia used to be the main center of entertainment, but lately Naoussa has come into its own as the center of nightlife on the island. In Naoussa you can find many Athenian nightclubs which move to the islands over the summer. Aside from the clubs you will also find impressive appearances, men and women (as if the heat from the summer wasn’t enough), as well as many bars which play more relaxed music and rock music, etc. Aside from nightlife, Naoussa also has a water park, great for excitement or relaxation. It is fully outfitted with slides of various levels as well as many pools (tel.: 22840-53721).
In Paroikia, you will find many clubs of international chains like Hard Rock Café and Irish Bar. For those who wish to go to the bouzoukia, there are such available in Paros – clubs that play traditional Greek music, but without the local tradition of smashing plates, which has been replaced by the clearly more European throwing of paper napkins. Good night; see you tomorrow at the beach!

Visits during the Low-Season

Tourism starts earlier on Paros than on just about any other island. Due to its location, Paros is one of the most well-connected islands, which makes it easy to come here for a few days before heading back to your home country. Most of the hotels open in March and remain open through October, and there are also some hotels that are open all year. Apollon Hotel in Paroikia is open year-round (tel.: 22840-22364), in Dryos, the Hotel Anezina (tel.: 22840-41037), and in Lefkes, the Hotel Pantheon (tel.: 22840-41646)

Connection with other islands

Paros is connected with almost all the other Cycladic islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos, Serifos, Kythnos, and others, as well as Ikaria, Fournoi, and Koufonisi. It is also connected to Rhodes, Thessaloniki, and Irakleio, Crete.

How To Get There How To Get There

  1. By airplane: There are frequent flights from the Eleutherios Venizelos Airport (Athens) to Paros. The flight lasts 30 minutes.
  2. By ferry and high speed ferry:
    – (Peiraias): From the last station of the subway Line 1 (Peiraias), leave from the central exit and turn left. Cross the street and directly in front of you is the harbor. Go parallel to the harbor to Gate E9, for Paros. From Peiraias to Paros with a ferry (95 nautical miles): 6 hours, 30 minutes.
    – (Rafina): From Rafina to Paros with a ferry (82 nautical miles): 5 hours, 30 minutes.

Useful Paros Info

  • Paros Community: +30 22840 21222
  • Tourism Police : +30 22840 21673
  • Hospital: +30 22840-22500
  • Paros Port Authority: +30 22840 21240
  • Hotel Network of Paros: +30 22840 21367
  • Paroikia KTEL (bus): +30 22840 21395
  • Naoussa KTEL (bus): +30 22840 52865
  • Naoussa Taxi: +30 22840 53490
  • Paroikia Taxi: +30 22840 21500
  • First Aid/Medical Emergency: +30 22840 22500
  • Paros Airport: +30 22840 91257
  • Olympic Airlines: +30 22840 21900
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