If you’re looking for a cosmopolitan yet relaxing destination in Greece, then Paros is the place for you. Beautiful crystal clear waters coupled with elegant and chic cocktail bars and restaurants, calls for the perfect combination to forget about all your worries back home and enjoy an escape in the Cyclades you certainly will not forget.
How to get to Paros, Greece
Ideally, the best time to visit Paros is between May and October where the weather allows for swimming in the water. You can get to Paros either by ferryboat or by plane. Although, the airport first opened its doors a year ago, it is easy to find connecting flights to and from Heraklion (Crete), Athens, and Thessaloniki. This is especially ideal for visitors from other countries that are looking for a quick and convenient way to reach the island. The ride is about 50 minutes from Thessaloniki, and only about 35 minutes from Athens. From the airport, you can take the shuttle bus that goes to the capital, Parikia. Of course, there are also taxis and rental cars available to take you to any destination on the island. If you choose to reach Paros by ferryboat from Athens, you have the option of taking either the high-speed ferry that is about 2:45 hours or the regular ferry that is about four and a half hours long. For more information on the ferries click here.
Getting around the Island
Paros has a great public bus system that can take you to most beaches and towns on the island. This is especially convenient for anyone on a budget, as the bus ride is only 1.80€. You can find the bus timetable with all the routes here. As mentioned above, rentals are also commonly found on the island where you can rent cars or scooters. Lastly, if you are staying in Naoussa there are daily boat rides from the port to nearby beaches for a very low cost. Renting a car is ideally the best way to go because you have the freedom to explore the beaches that public transportation doesn’t reach. However, during my stay in Paros I relied solely on buses and boats to get around the island and didn’t feel like I missed out on anything.
Where to stay
Although Parikia is the capital of Paros, Naoussa is the place to be. After Mykonos, and Santorini, Naoussa is the most lively and cosmopolitan destination for the summer. Because cars are not allowed in the town, I recommend booking a hotel near the center. In the center of Naoussa, you can find countless boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs – you name it. The labyrinth of little narrow white alleys call for wandering and exploring. During the night hours the town is packed with tourists shopping or looking for a place to eat or drink. In my opinion it is worth exploring the town also in the early morning when the streets are empty. This is especially essential for all those photographers out there who want to shoot without tourists getting in their way.
Things to do and see in Paros, Greece
If time permits, I highly recommend trying out horseback riding. I chose to partake in the sunrise beach route at Kokou Riding Center and it did not disappoint! Although waking up super early to catch the sunrise was not fun, once we started riding the horses and approaching the sea side, it made it so worth it. The guides, who speak both French and English, are very informative and helpful. For a first timer, I felt very comfortable and at ease. All the horses were very well trained and could adjust to any rider. This is also the only tour where you get to swim with the horses. Kokou Horse Riding Center also offers sunset tours, but the sunrise tour is definitely a unique experience.
Lefkes is a small little village hidden between the mountains, perfect for escaping the loud tourist areas by the sea. This beautiful village, also the former capital of Paros, is full of white houses, narrow stone streets, and Venetian architecture. You can find traditional restaurants, shops, cafes and a classical Byzantine church dating back to the 15th century in this town. Lefkes is perfect for visiting after a long day at the beach to watch the sun set behind the mountains.
For all my athletic, thrill seeking readers out there, you will be pleased to know that Paros is a great destination for wind surfing and other water sports. Indeed, the Windsurfing World Championships were actually held for many years at the Golden Beach found in Paros. You can find sports like surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, scuba diving and more at beaches like Golden Beach, New Golden Beach and Santa Maria.
Yoga & Meditation
Although Paros has a lively nightlife, sometimes it is nice to wind back and relax during your vacation. In that case, there are several yoga and meditation centers on the island for that job. Specifically, the Tao’s Center offers free meditation classes ever morning as well as Buddhism, yoga and pilates classes. Okreblue Yoga Center and Yoga Shala Paros also offer yoga classes throughout the day.
Antiparos, the sister island to Paros is just a 10 minute ferry ride from Pounda (7km from Parikia, the capital). Ferries run every half hour until late in the evening. Antiparos is a quite and calm island ideal for anyone who is seeking a relaxing escape. Filled with little traditional taverns and secluded beaches, this island offers a serene atmosphere. Just a short walk from the port you can find several beaches including the famous Camping site beach. Here, you can find people playing volleyball on the beach, others playing music with newly found friends, while others chose to sunbath in the nude. This laidback beach is a famous destination for young people looking for an alternative to touristic beaches. On the southern side of the island you can find an impressive cave with stalagmites known as the Cave of Antiparos. Daily boat excursions around the island can also be found at the local tourist office.
- Kolymbithres: Just a short boat or car ride from Naoussa with crystal clear waters. You do not want to miss this one!
- Golden Beach: Blue flag beach ideal for water sports due the strong winds on that side of the island.
- Punda Beach: Daily beach parties can be found here; ideal for young adults looking to have fun.
- Monastiraki Beach: A small secluded beach that can be reached by boat or car from Naoussa. I recommend climbing over the hill to reach the beach behind the old church. The waters are cleaner than the crowded beach in front of the restaurant.
- Santa Maria: An organized sandy beach close to Naoussa. Ideal for families or watersports.
- Other nice beaches include: Logaras, New Golden Beach, Farangas and Ambelas.
Other useful information
- For dessert: Try homemade ice cream at Nonna Crema or Μπατίστας Bakery for freshly made island treats covered with chocolate.
- For gyros: Βy far the best gyro I’ve had in my life: “O Κάργας” (O Kargas).
- For cocktails: Agosta, Barbarossa, Linardo, Vavagias’s, or Big Blue: all can be found in the same picturesque square near the old port. This is the place to be once nighttime arrives.
- For seafood: Ouzeri Ton Naftikon, Siparos and Taverna Glafkos.
- For shopping: La vie en rose, Planet Mushroom and Blue Dot Concept Store.
You can read more about my travels here!
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