Paros

The gem of the Cyclades
© iStock.com/lemonan

Useful hints and travel information for a Paros holiday

Paros is situated directly in the centre of the Cycladic Archipelago. Together with many small, rocky islands it forms a local community in the Southern Aegean. It has ca. 13,700 inhabitants, out of which just under 4000 live in the capital of Parikia.



The capital of Parikia is seen by many holiday-makers as a place that you merely pass through. Its pretty white-washed houses and the little side-roads are a real highlight, but most hotels tend to be situated outside Parikia. There are many picturesque lanes with taverns, boutiques and cafes, though, and the bay of Parikia does have some beautiful hotels as well. The harbour is served by all major ferry companies which gives tourists the opportunity to explore other islands while island hoppers are practically guaranteed to wind up in Parikia on their travels. The fishing village of Naoussa is the most beautiful place on the island of Paros and a favourite with many tourists. Even today the romantic old harbour is reserved to local fishing boats and is said to be the prettiest harbour in the Cycladic Islands. 



Parian marble was famous in ancient times and is still being quarried on the island. When a lorry with a cargo of marble drives onto a ferry, the waterline rises visibly, even with large ferries.

Most of the beaches on Paros are beautiful and not overcrowded.

There is a variety of water sports with excellent surfing conditions and a well-known kite surfer beach between Paros and Antiparos. The island is quite pricey and holiday-makers should not under-estimate additional expenses. A cocktail in Naoussa will cost you at least 10€ - a lot of money, even if the scenery is included. 


Pictures from Paros

Villages of Paros

Aliki

The village of Aliki is a pretty coastal resort in the south-west of Paros that has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years, without however losing its rural structure and traditional atmosphere. Approximately 13 miles from the capital of Parikia, Aliki is famous for its excellent cuisine and its large number of outstanding taverns. The beaches in this region are very popular with surfers, and there are many little bays that are practically deserted, even during the peak season. Not far from Aliki is the tiny airport of the island of Paros, too small to be noisy, but convenient for those who don’t want to travel by ferry.

Chrissi Akti

The Chrissi Akti Beach, dubbed “Golden Beach” by the international surfer community, is a real gem on the coast of Paros, to the south of the island’s capital of Parikia. It extends over approximately 700 metres and is blessed not only with golden sand but also with perfect wind conditions for surfing. There are regular international surf-slalom competitions held here. The beach is partly managed, with deckchairs and sunshades during the peak season, but mainly natural and affords a lovely view of the neighbouring island of Antiparos. The water is crystal clear and of a shimmering turquoise colour.

Dryos

The village of Dryos is approximately 25 kilometres from Parikia, the capital of Paros. It is the perfect place for those who want a relaxing holiday on the beach with water sport facilities. The village itself is quite small, with about ten taverns and a few shops for daily essentials. The small beach of Dryos is right there, and so is the famous “Golden Beach” of Chrissi Akti, the best beach on the island. The village is too small to have cash machines, but most credit cards are accepted in shops and taverns. Most people feel at home straight away, because the local population is very friendly and welcoming. In the Agkyra Tavern holiday-makers feel as if they were part of the family, and the local food is delicious.

Lefkes

Lefkes is one of the most picturesque mountain villages on the Cyclades Island of Paros, and one of the insider hints by the locals. Hidden away in the central mountain region, this village affords a breath-taking view of the valley and the surrounding area. If you visit Paros, Lefkes should be at the top of your favourites list, as it has a particular Greek charm that reveals itself to those who wander through the narrow lanes. Some houses have windows and doors so small that it makes you wonder if anyone could possibly live there. The secret garden of the village is a hidden cemetery right next to the gigantic cathedral of “Agias Trias”. After a long walk in the Greek mountains, most people are ready for a rest and some refreshments at one of the village taverns. Greek coffee and a piece of home-made cake are an excellent pick-me-up. Afterwards a visit of the Lefkes pottery is on the menu, a unique experience for both young and old.

Naoussa

Whoever arrives at the little village of Naoussa on Paros is in for a surprise. There are many trendy bars, cafes, restaurants and boutiques, a few old-fashioned souvenir shops as well, but in general the atmosphere in the former fishing village is distinctly modern. The peak season is very busy, with tables and chairs set out all the way down to the harbour, inviting holiday-makers to enjoy the traditional food and drink under the starry night sky. There is always fresh fish on the menu, but most restaurants create new varieties of the old-style cuisine. There is a variety of beaches to choose from as well, and every morning holiday-makers can take a boat to a different bay where they can spend a few hours before they are collected again. Directly above Naoussa there is a small Mycenaean acropolis in Koukounaris where more than 35,000 ancient pottery fragments have been discovered. Another historic event takes place on the 23rd of August every year, when the village celebrates the end of the occupation by pirates with fireworks and all-night parties.

Parikia

If you board a ferry in Piraeus to travel to the Cyclades you will most likely get to the port of Parikia to start with – either to change ferries or to start a tour of the Cyclades on the beautiful island of Paros. Parikia is the capital of the island of Paros, has a population of approximately 3000 and is situated exactly where the ancient seafaring town of Parikia was located. The harbour region is flat and sheltered, with rising hills in the background. Near the harbour is a roundabout with a whitewashed windmill, from where all roads in all directions go. Turning right gets you onto the road to Pounda, the island’s second ferry port that connects it with Antiparos. The left turn leads to the busy road towards the very popular Livadia Beach where most hotels and rooms for hire can be found. The historic and ancient centre of Parikia is located further inland, and is definitely more interesting than the less attractive seafront. The 13th-century Venetian Fortress is the landmark of the capital; the way up to the fortress leads past fertile gardens and over-flowing flower pots that decorate the picturesque houses built along winding lanes. Accommodation in this part of the town is more expensive than it is in the southern, less touristy part. Interesting sights include the ancient Byzantine Panagia Ekatotapilani Church and the archaeological museum of Paros.

Piso Livadi

Within a few decades, the haphazard fishing village of Piso Livadi has been transformed into a busy tourist centre of the popular holiday island of Paros. Nowadays there are countless taverns, hotels, apartment complexes and private guesthouses along the beach of Piso Livadi. Many tourists come to Piso Livadi because of its relaxed atmosphere and its proximity to other beach resorts, e.g. the attractive beach of Logaras or the famous “Golden Beach”. Piso Livadi is also an ideal starting point for excursions to the inner part of the island such as Lefkes, the most picturesque village on Paros.

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