Right in the center of the Aegean sea, Paros has turned into the main hub of Greece for those discovering the wonders of the Cycladic islands. Whitewashed houses, solitary churches, ancient monasteries, and archaeological sites make it a unique destination in the Mediterranean.
- Paros Itinerary Best things to do in Paros
- What to do and see in Paros
- Moving around in Paros
- Essentials for your trip to Paros
- Best places to see in Paros
- Paroikia, the capital
- What to see and do in Paroikia
- Best beaches around Paroikia
- The Valley of the Butterflies
- Where to eat in Paroikia
- Where to stay in Paroikia
- Naoussa Village
- Explore Naoussa, in Paros
- Best beaches near Naoussa
- The archaeological site of Koukounaries
- Where to eat in Naoussa
- Where to sleep in Naoussa
- South of Paros: Ambelas, Logaras and the Golden Beach
- Mountain villages of Paros
- Where to eat in Lefkes
- Spend the night in Lefkes
- More villages to visit in Paros
- General information about Paros
- How to reach Paros
- Spend a few days on the island of Antiparos
- What’s the weather like in Paros and Antiparos
- Other day trips from Paros
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Best things to do in Paros
I’ve written this guide to show you some beautiful places on the island of Paros, I’ll take you to bizarre beaches and tranquil villages. You’ll also find tips about local food and where to stay.
Paros has a mountain landscape that blends with the turquoise waters of the sea. Here, colorful bougainvillea gives life to the whitewashed houses and picturesque hidden alleys.
Those ready to explore other islands can combine Paros with a short stay in nearby Antiparos, to experience quiet beaches and walking paths in the mountains.
Enjoy a Mediterranean scenery made of exotic landscapes and solitary chapels where wildflowers and aromatic herbs combine with crystal waters. Experience an authentic Greek character. Sail away, enjoy the best things to do in Paros!
What to do and see in Paros
Paros is a very popular island of Greek Cyclades and a favorite destination among Greeks. However, Paros has recently seen an increasing number of foreign tourists.
Situated right in the center of the Aegean Sea, it attracts an eclectic range of visitors. From solo travelers to water sports fans, families with kids, groups of friends, and honeymooners.
Local traditional villages include the beautiful port of Naoussa, the capital Paroikia, and the central village of Lefkes.
Stone-cobbled streets and alleys, white cubic houses, and blue-domed churches are at the core of the Parian facade.
Exotic beaches such as Kolymbithres or Santa Maria are popular with those who love crystalline waters and soft sand.
The southeastern part of the island, with beaches like Chryssi Akti (also known as Golden Beach), attract hundreds of windsurfers every year.
The local gastronomy is foodie heaven. Paros is famous for its seafood and cheese, and an excellent selection of local wine.
To try a beloved dish from Paros, I recommend a short trip to the mountain village of Lefkes. Here, local tavernas are famous for the snails with skordalia, a cream made with potatoes, garlic, and olive oil.
Moving around in Paros
Car rental is always a good idea on the Greek islands. It’s usually cheap and convenient, allowing freedom of movement and last-minute decisions. If you rent you won’t depend on public transport schedules.
Always check in advance what kind of driving-license you need. Europeans can drive with the European Driving License but drivers from other countries might need an international permit.
Bigger Greek islands, such as Paros, Naxos or Mykonos, have an efficient bus service, convenient to reach different beaches and villages. Buse rides go from 1.80 to 2.00 €. Here you can check the bus schedules for Paros.
Taxis are also convenient on Paros, as well as in many other parts of Greece.
Essentials for your trip to Paros
Never forget to bring a packable beach hat and an abundance of sunscreen, especially if you travel with kids. Prices of those two essential items can be really high in coastal villages so it’s always better to buy them in advance.
When venturing in long hikes among the mountains, water is also essential. Do not underestimate midday sun in the Aegean, it can lead to extreme dehydration and painful sunburn.
Best places to see in Paros
Paroikia, the capital
The best way to start your first morning in Paroikia (sometimes spelled Parikia) is with a visit to the Chora, the old town.
This ancient village is a maze of alleys and squared Cycladic houses, with imposing Venetian buildings in the heart of the historic district.
Reach the impressive Medieval fortress or Frankish Castle, which stands above the village overlooking the sea. Next, discover some of the old chapels built inside the walls of the fortress.
This corner of the island offers spectaculars views of the bay and the port.
Thanks to the wide accommodation offer, the number of bars and restaurants, and the animated nightlife, most visitors tend to forget that Paroikia is a rather small village.
Even with the recent boom in tourism, it has managed to maintain its tradition and unique architecture, two characteristics that locals are proud of.
The squares, the big windmill at the port welcoming tourists, but also the seaside promenade, are always bustling with traffic and people.
Paroikia is one of the best places to stay, there are banks, supermarkets, pharmacies, touristic offices, and a hospital.
Things to see and do in Paroikia
Panagia Ekatontapoliani and the museums
A perfect visit for your first afternoon in Paros is the church of Panagia Ekatontapoliani (or the Virgin of the Hundred Doors). This religious complex of the Byzantine era is enclosed by a fortified wall.
The legend says that only 99 doors have been found. The hundredth one will only be found when Istanbul becomes Constantinople – and therefore Greek – again.
The entrance to the church is free. There’s also an important Byzantine Museum in the complex, (open between 07:00-21:00, entrance fee, 2 € – closed between 14.00 and 16.00 in the low season). The Archaeological Museum of Paros is located behind the church. Among its famous exhibits, there is a Winged Victory Statue from the 5th century BC.
The ancient cemetery of Paroikia
The Ancient Cemetery of Paroikia is an important archeological site not far from the port. There, you’ll be able to see tombs belonging to different historical periods, and a mysterious mass grave, unique in the Aegean.
Not far, on a hill towards the south of Paroikia, there is the Sanctuary of Asclepius, from the 3rd century BC (open between 8.00 and 15.00, closed on Mondays, entrance 2 €).
Best beaches around Paroikia
If you are not the type who enjoys museums and history, consider spending your day on the beach.
Among the ones close to the city center, Piso Livadi often gets very crowded. The village of Piso Livadi is well worth a visit as well. In the restaurants of the port try the mussels and cuttlefish.
For a more peaceful spot, Souvla, also known as Delfini, is a good beach close to the Sanctuary of Asclepius.
Head further south, to visit the bay of Agia Irini. This beach has a unique tropical flair thanks to the palm trees that surround it, offering a very different landscape from what you would normally experience in Greece.
The Valley of the Butterflies
In the area nearby, about 3 km towards the center of the island, there is a place worth a visit, the Valley of the Butterflies. Also called just Petaloudes, it’s a little paradise of gardens and paths with an environment unique only to Paros and to the island of Rhodes (Dodecanese).
Petaloudes is a rich environment, very similar to a rain forest due to the lush vegetation of ivy plants. A butterfly species known as Jersey or Jersey Tiger usually lay their eggs in August while it’s possible to see thousands of red and black butterflies in Spring.
Where to eat in Paroikia
The Little Green Rocket is a trendy venue in the heart of Paroikia. They serve delicious local food and knowledgeable staff is always available to suggest the best dishes.
I recommend you to taste their mushrooms filled with feta cheese and any other seafood dish.
Happy Cows is the place to go if you can’t do without red meat. They also serve good salads and a variety of pasta.
For a romantic dinner with a view, Magaya is known for traditional Mexican dishes. A great seaside place also for a quick lunch.
Where to stay in Paroikia
Accommodation in Paroikia
This little town, relatively new to mass tourism, is a top place to visit during your holidays in Paros.
Once a quiet fishermen’s village, Naoussa has turned into a cool area, loved by locals and tourists alike. There are several beaches to visit in the area too.
This picturesque village is towards the north of the island, on a wide bay just 10 km from Paroikia. Considered one of the prettiest villages in Greece, Naoussa managed to keep its authenticity despite the increase in tourism.
Naoussa is an authentic Cycladic settlement. Common views include the well-known Greek chapels, little houses adorned with blossomed flowers, and a maze of stone-paved alleys.
Everything you need to move around in Paros is in the main square of Naoussa. There are taxi stops, buses, and car rental services. At the square, there are also ATM machines and touristic offices.
Less busy than the capital, in Naoussa is yet possible to enjoy a unique nightlife thanks to the many bars and nightclubs, usually open until dawn.
Explore Naoussa, in Paros
The best way to start your day in the village is by heading to the quaint fishing port. Here, enjoy a nice breakfast in Sousouro Cafe Bar, famous for the espresso and its Greek yogurt with honey and fruit.
After breakfast, simply walk around
The Venetian Fortress of Naoussa
At the port, you can see the old Venetian Fortress of Naoussa, partially sunk but still impressive. The fort is connected to the land through a small rocky path.
The fortress is a characteristic spot in the village. It was built in the 15th century by the Venetians, and it was used as a watchtower to defend the island against pirate attacks.
The fortress was a front line in times of war thanks to the perfect location to surveil the Aegean Sea.
Its unique architecture made it difficult for the enemies to approach the port where commercial ships used to dock.
Only a few parts of the fort are still standing today, originally there was a second watchtower that no longer exists.
Just opposite the fortress, you can visit the church of Agios Nikolaos, with a typical Cycladic blue dome. The rest of the village continues towards a tiny fishing marina, with bars, ouzeries and fish taverns located were the Venetian storehouses used to be in the past.
Here is where the colorful caiques (boats) dock, adding a romantic touch to the place. Choose a taverna in the area for a quick lunch.
Paros Wine Museum
For a great afternoon, take a break and go for a glass of wine. Naoussa is home to the Paros Moraitis Wine Museum and Winery, an interesting place to visit on the island.
In the museum, you can see the underground aging cellars and check the wine tasting hall.
The third-generation of the Moraitis family seeks to preserve the authentic quality of the local vineyards which has roots in the ancient Cycladic era (3,200-2,000 BC).
The museum offers an overview of the Parian wine-making history. It also portrays different pieces of equipment and other agricultural tools. The museum is a wonderful display of the history of Greek wine.
Definitely leave the late afternoon for one of the most significant visits, the beautiful church, and the monastery of Agios Antonios.
This construction has a traditional architectural style, with two domes and Ionic columns to support the altar. The church is at the top of the Kephalos Hill, and it dates back to 1500. The monastery is one of the oldest monasteries on the island.
This whitewashed complex of buildings retains the true charm of Greece. The church is held with much reverence by the locals, Parians sincerely believe that the church of Agios Antonios watches over them when they leave to fish at sea. During the season the monastery is open to the public.
Best beaches near Naoussa
Naoussa Bay is home to Kolimbithres, not really a beach but a series of different bays divided by unusual rock formations. The rocks have been eroded by the water and the wind, stones a very peculiar shape and a smooth surface.
These are shallow bays, safe for kids, with crystal clear waters. Do include Kolimbithres in your Paros itinerary, spending the day here is a relaxing, unique experience.
To visit Kolimbithres you can use your car or choose one of the tiny boats at the port of Naoussa (departures every half an hour).
Just 6 km East of Naoussa, another beach popular among families is Santa Maria, also loved by surfers. Santa Maria is probably the most popular beach in Paros; however, given its vastness, it never feels too crowded.
This beach is easy to reach both from Paroikia and Naoussa, even with the regular public buses.
In the same area, small bays, all of them going under the generic name of Santa Maria, offer more quiet corners to spend a day in complete peace.
The archaeological site of Koukounaries
Very close to Kolimbithres, Koukounaries is a hill home to a Mycenean Acropolis (1200 B.C.). Here, check out the wonderful temple in honor of the goddess Athena, dating back to the Geometric period.
Koukounaris is listed among the most ancient Acropolis in the Aegean, the area presents fantastic panoramas and truly spectacular rock formations.
Where to eat in Naoussa
Best places for lunch & dinner
Paros has a clear gastronomic tradition that relies on tasty fresh products and old-time recipes.
In the old fishing port of Naoussa, different seaside restaurants will attract your attention.
If you don’t mind paying extra for a view, try Mario, they serve good seafood and abundant fish platters.
However, if you prefer an inexpensive solution, one of the best places in town is Yemeni Wine Restaurant.
Where to sleep in Naoussa
Accommodation in Naoussa
- Madaky Hotel is in the center of the village, close to the beach and the port, and with a pleasant atmosphere.
- For romantic couples, Porto Naoussa Adults Only offers great accommodation just a few meters from the port of Naoussa.
- One of the coolest options in Naoussa, with a unique swimming pool, is Maryo Village.
South of Paros:
Ambelas, Logaras and the Golden Beach
Going even further towards the south, the village of Ambelas is home to Ambelas beach, the first of a long series of beaches you will find on your way. Ambelas is ideal for kids because the cove is protected from the winds.
Aspro is a nice beach club to have a bite or a three-course meal – totally up to you! They offer a laid-back environment with sunbeds and bar service on the beach.
In the area of Ambelas, you can also spend the day in one of the little shores of Glyfada, Tsoukalia or Molos.
Twenty kilometers south of this point, there is another favorite beach, Logaras, popular for the many bars, taverns, and hotels.
Keep driving towards the south, for about 4 kilometers, to visit one of the hottest beaches, loved by young people, couples and families alike. Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti) is one of the most beautiful of the island.
This long, sandy beach is fully organized, with windsurfing facilities, beach bars, and tavernas. If you are into windsurfing or would like to give it a try, check rates and services here. In the area, there are plenty of hotels and rooms for rent. Several buses departing from the capital get to the beach during the season.
Golden Beach is better-known for its ideal wind conditions, every August the beach hosts the Professional Windsurfing World Cup, gathering many windsurfing celebrities.
Mountain villages of Paros
It’s a good idea to begin a day in Paros by driving towards the mountains. About 10 kilometers from Paroikia lies Lefkes, the first capital of Paros.
Lefkes is a gorgeous village surrounded by a stunning pinewood. Here, traditional whitewashed houses and a unique landscape call for peaceful walks. Don’t worry, though, if you get tired: take a coffee break in one of the many old-time kafenia, or village cafés of Lefkes.
Spend some time to visit the Municipal Hostel of Lefkes, this building has been transformed into the House of Literature, a unique initiative by the Municipality of Paros and the European Translation Center.
They provide accommodation for writers, translators, and other artists that come to Lefkes to work and create in this peaceful environment.
In the background, you can spot the sea and the nearby island of Naxos. As a matter of fact, the first residents of this village were immigrants from Naxos and the more distant Greek island of Crete.
But many others were locals that built the village at a considerable altitude to seek protection against pirate attacks. The hills surrounding the village host restored traditional windmills, a postcard-like landscape that attracts many visitors.
The church of Agia Triada
This imposing church dates back to the 19th century. It rises behind the white houses of the village and it’s the second-largest church of Paros after Ekatontapiliani.
Agia Triada is a three-aisle basilica with a raised center aisle. There are two beautiful marble bell towers on the left and right sides of the main gate
Traditions of Paros: Gastronomic festival of Lefkes
If you visit Paros in summer, you can’t miss the Feast of Karavolas, a moment of social gathering for locals and visitors alike (normally held at the end of August).
The most important tradition of Lefkes has to do with its culinary roots. In the village, try the Karavoles, big snails served with skordalia (a local sauce made of garlic and potatoes).
Lefkes is also known for its cheese production, the chickpeas in the oven, and the local wine.
The marble quarries of Marathi
If you still have time during your visit to the village, choose the inner road that connects Lefkes and Marpissa to visit the famous Marble Quarries of Marathi.
Parian marble has always been preferred by renowned Greek sculptors because of its consistency and transparency. Famous masterpieces, like the Venus de Milo, have been sculpted using the marble from Paros.
As you walk along the pathway that leads to the quarry, check the abandoned buildings that used to belong to a French mining company operating in the area.
Moving around in Lefkes, Paros
The only way to go around Lefkes is on foot, there are two parking lots at the entrance of the village, where you will have to park your car.
Where to eat in Lefkes
Flora has a fantastic view that faces the whole village, the sea and even the island of Naxos, this traditional restaurant has been serving, for about 20 years, a wide choice of dishes, both local and international, and specializes in grilled meat.
In the heart of the village, Lefkiano is a small restaurant with a friendly atmosphere. The fresh food has given the place a fantastic reputation.
Try their traditional fried calamari with a glass of ouzo or a shot of the local drink,
Spend the night in Lefkes
Choose the mountains of Paros as your place to stay on the island
- Boutique Villa Katerina is a magnificent place, with an elegant atmosphere. It’s sometimes hard to find a place, and it’s ideal for couples.
- Stay at a Windmill! Try this unique experience booking at Paros Traditional Windmill.
- Traditional Stone House is a one-of-a-kind experience, don’t hesitate to book this 200-year-old villa if you have the chance!
More villages to visit in Paros
Aliki and Agairia Villages
Aliki is a fishing village on the southern coast of the island, rather close to the Airport. Piso Aliki is a white-pebbled beach in the area where to spend the day. Choose one of the several bars or taverns for lunch and try a dish called, gouna made from sun-dried fish (usually mackerel).
From Aliki, it’s possible to visit another picturesque village closer to the mountains, Agairia, where you can go for a walk and discover the Cycladic architecture. It’s no more than 3 km from the coast.
Wonderful turquoise waters are the perfect excuse to spend a day in the ancient port of the island, Drios. You can find this green and lush village on the southeastern coast. It’s a very laid-back location, ideal to spend a holiday away from more busy cities. Accommodation is good, some of the best villas of Paros are here.
For those interested in sightseeing, check out the Cave of the Demons and the shipbeds where the ancient Parians would house their boats. Right above Drios, the little village of Aspro Chorio is also great for a walk and a traditional Greek coffee.
General information about Paros
Where to start your day with a good cup of coffee
Meltemi is probably one of the best coffee bars in Paros. Ideal both in the morning for a cup of coffee, and in the evening to relax sipping your favorite cocktail.
What to eat in Paros
I’ve already mentioned the snails with skordalia from Lefkes. However, that’s not all. Paros is famous for the different varieties of cheese, squid, mussels, and octopus.
In Naoussa, fried calamari and grilled octopus are another of the gastronomic staples. When in Paros, don’t miss a shot of
How to reach Paros
Paros is easy to reach from Athens either by sea or with a flight. Since it’s one of the most important islands in the Aegean, boats to Paros depart not only from the Port of Piraeus but also from Rafina (another port in Athens, near to Athens International Airport).
Getting to Paros by sea
Paros port is easily accessible from Athens through the ports of Piraeus and Rafina, whereas there is also a connection with other islands. The trip from Athens lasts 3-5 hours, depending on the type of boat.
Paros is on the route of the ferries reaching the Cyclades, but can also be reached from Crete and the Dodecanese. It can take from 3 to 5 hours to get to Paros from Athens (depending on the ferry service you choose).
Companies traveling to Paros include Blue Star Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways, and Sea Jets.
Fly to Paros
The newly-restored airport of Paros is not far from the center, and many hotels offer airport transfer too. Companies flying to Paros include Olympic Air, Sky Express and Astra Airlines.
Check the best ferry routes, schedules, and book tickets here. For further great travel ideas in the Cyclades, check out the Greek Islands section.
Spend a few days on the island of AntiparoS
This small but bright Greek island is located right across Paros. At first sight, traits and colors picture a typical Cycladic landscape: made of whitewashed houses, light blue doors, and church domes.
However, unlike many other Cycladic islands, there are no massive groups of tourists. It’s a heavenly and lonely landscape. Laid-back and quiet, Antiparos is nothing but a hidden paradise. In complete harmony with nature, Antiparos is great for detoxing from city life.
Where to stay in Antiparos
How to reach Antiparos from Paros
To reach Antiparos, take a ferry from Paros island. Boat departures become more frequent during the high season. Drive to the port of Pounda where ferries depart for Antiparos every 30 minutes. The crossing takes only 7 minutes and costs less than 10 € each way. You can also take a boat from Paroikia, with the same frequency.
If you are eager to know more about Antiparos, read the following guides to the small island:
Start your day with a good glass of cold coffee (frappé). Feel free to choose any of the tiny bars near the small port of Antiparos. For something more traditional, choose one of the Greek kafenia on the main square, they are picturesque spots with tables spread around a centennial eucalyptus.
A quick bite
It’s a great idea to enjoy a picnic on the beach. Get all you need from the supermarket across the port. Bear in mind that it has a very limited stock. Once you have all you need, head to explore the beaches close to the main village.
What’s the weather like in Paros and Antiparos
Just like in the rest of the Aegean, Paros enjoys mild weather in spring and autumn. These are the best months to visit. The weather is hot and dry during summers. The Meltemi, a northern wind that most tourists dislike, helps endure the high temperatures.
Winters in the south of the Mediterranean are mild, with few showers and some very cold days. Not many infrastructures remain open in winter. Choose May, June or September to avoid extreme heat and crowded facilities.
Other day trips from Paros
Popular islands of the Cyclades are fairly easy to reach since Paros is located in the center of the Aegean. There are daily ferry services to Amorgos, Ios, or Naxos, but also to the more exclusive Mykonos and Santorini.
If you have limited time in Greece but want to make the most of it, definitely check the ferry schedules. It’s not a bad idea to also check out the day trips offered by local tour agencies.
If you decide to visit, check the following guides:
- One day itinerary of Naxos and Guide to the best beaches and archaeological sites of Naxos Island.
- Best itinerary to visit Santorini and Tips for photography in Santorini.
- Places to see in Mykonos with kids and A detailed guide to the windmills of Mykonos.
What would you like to experience on the island of Paros?
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About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round.
I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete.
I’m a beach freak and on this island, I’ve found heaven on earth!
The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog