Sparkling seas, sugar-cube villages, cliff-hanging hamlets, ancient temples, delicious Mediterranean food and mesmerising sunsets – the Greek Islands offer so much. Just ask Shirley Valentine.
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Destination guide for Paros
Paros, Greek Islands, Greece
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.
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.
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.
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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