It’s hardly surprising Paros was voted Best Island in Europe in 2020 by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Its myriad charms include traditional white Cycladic architecture, beautiful sandy beaches, pretty villages and harbours, plenty of good dining options, wineries, walking trails, and historical buildings and monuments. Moreover, Paros is just an 8-minute ferry trip away from the small picture-postcard island of Antiparos, with its very pretty town, beautiful beaches, and some tempting restaurants. Over the summer months, a ferry runs every 30 minutes from Pounta in the south of Paros, from dawn until midnight, enabling visitors to dine out on Antiparos and return to Paros for the night, or vice versa.
In ancient times, Paros was known for its fine marble used for buildings, as well as sculptures and statues, including the famous Venus di Milo (sculptured between 150 and 125 BC), which can be visited at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Remains of ancient marble quarries still exist on the island, and visitors can also visit various museums, including the Byzantine museum near the main town and port of Parikia. Situated in the northwest of the island, Parikia is also home to the Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, one of the oldest churches on the island, as well as the remains of a tower and walls from an ancient castle, in the pretty neighbourhood of ‘Kastro’. With its narrow streets and squares, typical white cubic houses and pots of colourful flowers and vines, as well as shops, restaurants, and cafés, Parikia attracts visitors by day and by night – as does the very appealing fishing village and port of Naoussa, a 20-minute drive away in the north of the island.
Naoussa is widely considered to be one of the most picturesque villages in the entire Cyclades group of islands, with its winding stone-paved streets, whitewashed houses, draped in bougainvillea, and a very pretty, historic port.Here, you can see the remains of the iconic 15th century Venetian Fort of Naoussa. Along the port and harbour, filled with traditional fishing boats and yachts, there is a good selection of bars and fish taverns, beautiful by day, and offering a magical experience by night when the fort is illuminated. Visitors can also watch the fishermen unload their fresh catch in the early mornings and evenings. There are beautiful historic churches to visit as well, including the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, which is located on the highest spot of the village, and the Church of Agios Nikolaos which houses a Byzantine Museum with icons from the 13th century. Naoussa is also home to the Moraitis Wine Museum, which has a vast collection of local wines and offers wine tasting (Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 18:00). The popular sandy beaches of Monastiri, Kolymbithres, and Santa Maria are also just a short drive from Naoussa.
For those looking for a quieter ambience than Parikia and Naoussa, we recommend exploring two small, traditional, and picturesque inland villages: Lefkes and Marpissa. Lefkes, situated 11 km south-east of Parikia, dates back to the Middle Ages and was once the island’s capital. As well as discovering the narrow stone streets and Venetian architecture, you’ll find traditional restaurants, shops, and cafes here, and a Byzantine church dating back to the 15th century. If you enjoy walking, consider taking a walk down the Byzantine Road, around two miles long, paved with Paros marble, and the oldest walking trail on the island. The Byzantine Road starts at Lefkes, with a downhill trail which is approximately a 45 minute walk. Marpissa sits in the south-west of Paros, on top of a small hill dominated by the Byzantine church of Metamorphosis. With its traditional white houses, the village is also home to a Byzantine Art Gallery, which includes many religious exhibits from the Byzantine and the Post-Byzantine times. In the heart of the village, there are four authentic windmills and a walking path leading up to the monastery of Agios Antonios, where you can enjoy wonderful views over the countryside to the sea.
If you fancy relaxing on a summer evening, watching a film under the stars, Paros has two open-air cinemas – Cine Rex, located in Parikia, and Cine Enastron, located in a large protected Environmental and Cultural Park at Monastiri beach near Naoussa, and known as Paros Park. Cine Rex tends to show the latest films (also with Greek subtitles) in the evening, with two showings, around 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Cine Enastron at Paros Park shows mainly classic films, at around 9 p.m., and the admission is free. Paros Park also has an outdoor amphitheatre, used in the summer to host a festival of concerts and plays, as well as catering for weddings and other private celebrations. You’ll also discover a network of walking trails, with views of the coast, hidden coves, and beaches. The central beach here has a cafe and watersports facilities.
Best beaches in ParosWhich of the many beaches to visit? Kolymbithres, just a short boat or car ride from Naoussa, is a local favourite thanks to its sandy beach and unusual rock formations. Golden Beach is ideal for water sports due to the strong winds (it hosts the Professional Windsurfing Association’s World Windsurfing Tour), and Pounda beach is famous for kitesurfing. Santa Maria is another sandy beach close to Naoussa – its shallow waters make it ideal for families, as well as offering watersports and beautiful sunset views. Other recommended beaches on the east of the island include New Golden and Ambelas beaches. In the south of the island, you’ll find the pretty village and port of Aliki with a white pebble beach and ideal for swimming. From its position in the Cyclades group of islands, Paros is also a great base for island hopping: ferriesrun regularly to many of the neighbouring islands, including Mykonos, Santorini, Syros, Sifnos and Naxos. We offer beautiful villas to rent on all the islands mentioned, including a lovely collection on Antiparos.
Recommended restaurants on Paros and AntiparosGlafkos Taverna, Naoussa. Serves traditional Greek dishes, which can be enjoyed in its lovely garden.Levantis Restaurant, Parikia. Located in the Kastro area of the old town in Parikia, in a pretty courtyard garden shaded by a two-hundred-year-old grapevine.Sante Cocktail Bar, Naoussa. Tucked away in a pretty traditional alleyway in Naoussa, shaded by a large eucalyptus tree – and serves excellent cocktails. Lefkiano, Lefkes. A lovely atmospheric village restaurant offering a mix of Greek and Mediterranean cuisines. Soros Beach, Antiparos. Beachside restaurant, offering light snacks or delicious seafood dishes – and comfortable sunbeds for relaxing.
Top villas to rent on ParosLooking for a large villa to rent on Paros? Feast your eyes on Paros Vista – a stunning 6-bedroom property, a short walk from sandy Kolymbithres beach.
Or if you’re planning a bigger gathering, the 8-bedroom Parasporos Retreat has wow factor in spades. Situated in a breath-taking location on the island’s beautiful west coast, it’s just a short drive from Parasporos Beach.
Seeking a chilled island vibe? Check into 3-bedroom Villa Athena 2, situated on the pristine southern coast of Paros, in a peaceful area with charming seafood tavernas and quiet beaches. Within easy reach of Alyki village and beach.
And if you’re looking for the perfect venue for a party, Villa Petaloudes is situated in a peaceful and picturesque location close to the main town of Parikia. This gorgeous 5-bedroom property offers ample space for entertaining, whether it’s for a family gathering or wedding celebration
Among the finest 4-bedroom properties is the new Villa Lefkes, located just above Lefkes, one of the most picturesque villages on the island.