One of the most popular Greek islands is Paros.
Despite being one of the largest islands in the Cyclades archipelago it can be fully explored even during a short vacation. It is also easy to reach by ferry from Mykonos or by plane from Athens (about 40 minutes by flight).
But why people love it so much? Mainly for its lovely towns and the great beaches.
But Paros is not all about sunbathing and relaxing on a beach. The island has museums and archaeological sites, people can play different sports, there is no shortage of shops and restaurants and the nightlife is lively.
In other words, it is an island that can make tourists of all kinds happy.
According to mythology, the history of Paros started in 3200 BC, when the Cretan King Alceo founded the city of Parikia. Over the centuries the Venetians and then the Ottomans dominated the island, until 1821 when it became part of the Greek state.
Until the end of the 19th century, Paros was famous for its marble; the temple of Apollo in Delos and the Venus of Milos are made of this stone. Today the marble industry is almost dead. Some families carry on the tradition more out of passion than anything else. However, people can still visit the old marble quarries of Marathi, located between Parikia and Naoussa.
Parikia is the main port of Paros, its capital and also the town where visitors disembark or land.
Given its long history and recent tourist vocation, there are many things to visit in Parikia.
As for the historical monuments, it is worth visiting the museums, the ancient city, the kastro, the ancient cemetery and the church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani, called the church of 100 doors.
Then there are all the shops and restaurants you can desire.
Finally, from Parikia it is possible to reach Livadia beach in 15 minutes on foot.
The town of Naoussa has a different a different, more chic atmosphere.
It was once a small fishing village and now is the best place for shopping or finding the best restaurant in Paros.
There are no relevant historical monuments in Naoussa, however it is very nice to walk through its alleys or along the promenade. Furthermore, there are several beautiful beaches nearby.
Lefkees is the ancient capital of Paros and is located on the slopes of Mount Agios Pantes, the highest mountain on the island. Its position makes the town perfect for trekking lovers; from here many paths start, including the Byzantine Path that connects Lefkes to Prodromos.
If you love trekking, you can find other great trails within the Paros Park, an area of 80 hectares north of the island and west of Naoussa. There are 3 routes to follow to explore the park and all of them offer great views of the coast and the Korakas lighthouse. It takes about 2 hours to walk through all of them.
Piso Livadi is less touristic than Parikia and Naoussa. The atmosphere here is quiet and authentic and the food is probably the best of all Paros.
Speaking of food, during a holiday in Paros you should definitely try 3 local products; Mizithra, Gouna and Petimezinia.
Mizithra is a soft goat’s milk cheese used in salads instead of feta. Gouna is fish dried in the sun and cooked on the grill. Petimezini are pumpkin sweets, not very easy to find but really good.
The beaches of Paros are what made this island famous.
There are beaches of all kinds! Large or small, wild or equipped, with rocks or sand, suitable for families with children or perfect for water sports lovers. All with an incredibly blue and clear sea!
Here are just a few of them.
– Kolymbithres Beach is characterized by huge white rocks that resemble those on the beaches of the Seychelles;
– Naoussa Beach is close to the town, it’s very easy to reach and lively;
– Lividia Beach is a stone beach, not particularly large but easy to reach from Parikia;
– Lageri Beach has fine sand and transparent waters;
– the beach of Santa Maria is long and well windswept, perfect for windsurfing;
– Punda is most famous for its beach club, it’s the right place if you like parties;
– Pounta is great for kitesurfing;
– Messada is a beach frequented by naturists;
– the Golden Beach is one of the largest and most famous beaches in Paros. The Paros Wind Odyssey, an international windsurfing competition, takes place here.
When choosing which beach to visit, it is best to control the wind. The local wind, the Meltemi, is sometimes so strong that certain beaches become inaccessible or hard to enjoy.
For other wonderful beaches and towns you should then visit the nearby island of Antiparos.