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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 07 January, 2023
Expert travel writer: Rachel Howard

In the centre of the Cyclades, Paros is a fairly large island that still has plenty of local colour despite the summer crowds.

Unlike Mykonos and Santorini, it’s also a popular destination among Greeks, who come for the variety of organised beaches, nightlife (centred around Naoussa and Parikia) and world-class windsurfing scene. Inland, there are charming medieval villages, organic farms, pottery workshops, and biking and hiking trails to explore.

Paros is also gaining a reputation for its dining scene, which covers everything from high-end hotel restaurants to cute tavernas tucked away in the hills.

Orientation

On first impressions, Parikia, the main port, can seem like one big traffic junction. But wander into the whitewashed alleys and you’ll discover sweet little cafés and intriguing boutiques, as well as the island’s landmark church, Ekatontapiliani.

 

The other main hub is Naoussa, a picture-perfect fishing port on the northeast coast, which has morphed into a 24-hour shopping, dining, and drinking scene.

All-day beach bars are centred around Kolybithres, Faragas, and Golden Beach, a famous destination for windsurfing.

For a more low-key, family-friendly vibe, head to the pretty port of Aliki or the inland villages of Lefkes, Marpissa, and Prodromos, classic examples of Cycladic architecture and charm.

Food & Drink

Paros produces a fair amount of produce, with a growing organic farming scene on the island. Ask for soft local mizithra cheese, rather than feta, on your Greek salad.

Other typical dishes are revithada (baked chickpeas), gouna (sun-dried mackerel), and cuttlefish stewed with wild fennel. Souma, a type of eau de vie, is often offered as a complimentary digestif.

Also see our round-up of traditional Greek foods to try in Greece for some other foodie delights you’ll no doubt come across while you’re there.

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

Fishing tours on the Regina
Experience

Fishing tours on the Regina

Aiki, Greek Islands, Greece

The Regina is a wooden kaiki (fishing boat) available for slow cruises from Aliki. The skipper, Dimitris Skiadas, comes from a long line of local fishermen and knows the Aegean inside out. You can try fishing using traditional nets, and grill your catch on board, or just snorkel around hidden coves and sea caves.

Best for ages: 8+ | £20 | 3-7 hours

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Kiteboarding at Pounta Beach
Experience

Kiteboarding at Pounta Beach

Paros, Greek Islands, Greece

A wide, sandy beach on the narrow strait between Paros and Antiparos, Pounta is the island’s kitesurfing centre, thanks to the steady sideward winds. Even if you aren’t a kite boarder, it’s entertaining to watch the action from the comfort of a sunbed.

Best for ages: 13+ | £40 | 1-3 hours

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Panagia Ekatontapiliani
Experience

Panagia Ekatontapiliani

Paros, Greek Islands, Greece

This huge church, whose name derives from the Greek for ‘100 entrances’, has architectural, artistic, and historic interest. Look out for the 11th-century frescoes and 4th-century sculptures taken from the temple of Demeter nearby. The Byzantine Museum on site has an interesting collection of icons and wood carvings.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Golden Beach Hotel

Paros, Greek Islands, Greece

Seaside digs on the Greek islands don’t come cheap, but this 3-star hotel offers real value for money. It’s right on Golden Beach, a half-mile expanse of sand popular with windsurfers and families.

Official star rating:

Seven Santa Maria

Paros, Greek Islands, Greece

An intimate, compact hotel right on a sheltered sandy beach, far from the madding crowds of Paros. It’s an ode to Cycladic simplicity: white-on-white minimalism and a no-fuss, friendly vibe.

Official star rating:

Summer Senses Luxury Resort

Paros, Greek Islands, Greece

A 100-key resort set in pretty gardens with three pools and excellent in-house dining options. It’s a short walk from lively, sandy Pounta beach.

Official star rating:

Parilio

Paros, Greek Islands, Greece

A slick design-led hotel with a fabulous pool, great food, and efficient, helpful staff. The look and feel is Cycladic minimalism with a contemporary edge.

Official star rating:

When to go

The prime summer season extends from June to September, when the island is often at peak capacity. For a gentler pace, emptier beaches, and quieter roads, opt for spring or autumn.

Paros has is a sizeable year-round population, including an expat community, so there are plenty of places to eat and drink even in the winter; but most hotels close from November to May.

Getting there and away

Paros has a small airport, with frequent flights from Athens (40 minutes). You can also fly direct from the UK to Santorini or Mykonos, and then take a ferry to Paros.

Ferries from Athens (Piraeus or Rafina port)  to Paros take between 3-5 hours, depending on whether you travel by high-speed catamaran or a conventional ferry.

Getting around

If you don’t rent a car or motorbike, there is a very decent local bus service, which covers the most popular destinations, as well as more off-the-beaten-track villages.

There are plenty of taxis on Paros, but demand outstrips supply during the summer, so it’s best to book in advance using one of the radio taxi companies.

Parking in Parikia and Naoussa is a nightmare in high season.

Where to stay

It really depends on what kind of holiday you are looking for. If you want to lie on the beach or by the pool, opt for Kolybithres, Santa Maria, or Golden Beach.

If late-night partying and people-watching are your priority, choose Naoussa. More serene hotels and guesthouses are scattered all over the island.

Parikia makes a good, all-round base if you’re only planning to stay a couple of days.

Where to eat or drink

The most sceney seafood restaurants are concentrated in and around Naoussa (try Kapari and Siparos for refined Cycladic fare). Aliki is a quieter alternative for exceptional fish restaurants, such as Thalassamou and Mouragio.

For more traditional Greek home cooking, head to Lefkes village; Klarinos is especially good for local mezze and meat.

There are a handful of local wineries on Paros; Moraitis winery in Naoussa is our pick for wine tasting.

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