If Mykonos is considered to be the party island on the Cyclades and Santorini as the romantic one, Paros’ image seems still indefinite and all to be explored.
Like most Cycladic islands, Paros architecture is all about white houses and churches with blue rooftops. But besides picturesque villages, what else Paros has to offer?
1. It’s all about water sports!
Paros crystallizes as the sporty island: water sports can be done on nearly every beach of the island!
Kite surfing can be done in Pounta, Golden Beach and Molos, Windsurfing in Pounta, Molos, Antiparos, New Golden Beach (Tserdakia), SUP in Antiparos, Golden Beach, Paros Park (my favourite place!). Scuba Diving is offered in Pounta and Aliki.
Before heading to Paros, I read in many guides that “regular” surfing could be done in Paros. But: there was not one single surfable wave during 2 weeks!
However the very wide range of other eligible water sports compensated this first deception. If you are not that much into water sports, get a pair of goggles and discover the blue underworld of the sea by snorkeling.
2. Hiking & Swimming in Paros Park
The natural park on St. Ioannis Detis peninsula near Naoussa offers a wide range of activities: hiking to the lighthouse or a cave, discovering the headquarters of the Russian fleet, water sports at its finest or relaxing at the small Monastiri beach…
This remote beach is protected from the winds and is equipped with sunbeds for 3,50 € per day and has a beach bar offering light healthy food.
By night you can watch a movie at the open air cinema, or if you’re lucky see a concert at the open air theatre. All of this right next to the beach and respecting the idea of cultural and sustainable tourism. A unique place on Paros and most definitely one of my favorites!
3. Santa Maria: Town of Water Sports
It’s a center for watersports (diving, snorkeling and windsurf) and has a quiet, not yet crowded golden sandy beach with gorgeous views on the neighbor island Naxos.
If you walk a little along the coast, you may discover your own private beach, as I did.
Santa Maria figures among the best beaches on Paros Island.
If you don’t want to miss any of Paros’ hidden beaches, then I’d take a bus & boat Island Tour.
4. Go hiking… in spring!
In spring and autumn, when the temperatures are still to bear and the island not invaded by tourists, Paros is ideal for hiking. Hiking routes are well indicated and offer impressive views on the sea and the the neighboring islands.
I don’t recommend hiking in the summer months (June/July – September) since it gets extremely hot during these months and hiking in the mountains of Paros could harm your health.
5. Party in Naoussa!
After so much hiking and swimming, what comes better than a great Greek party near the sea?
Naoussa… this lively white port town is ideal if you’re looking for a night out. Many restaurants along the sea offer the catch of the day of the Mediterranean sea.
Enjoy your after dinner cocktail in one of the many rooftop bars before heading to one of the numerous clubs in town.
If you are looking for an original souvenir: Naoussa has also a lot of shops with beautiful Greek designer jewelry.
If you are looking for a day off the beach, Lefkes is a perfect option. Situated in a breathtaking valley, this white little town remains cool when Parikia or Aliki are boiling under the Mediterranean sun. Take the Byzantian Route to discover the hidden spots of this charming village.
Many public squares in marble invite for a “Frappé” (coffee with milk and crushed ice) and to watch the Cycladic daily grind.
On the way to Lefkes, you’ll pass along Marathi Marble Quarry where the famous Paros’ marble comes from. Many Greek masterpieces such as the Venus from Milo have been sculpted in this finest marble variety.
An elderly warm-hearted couple sells self made marble souvenirs. You should definitely pass by to say hello to them 😉
The Marathi Marble Quarry are quite difficult to reach with an ordinary car, but a guided visit is included in this
7. Rent a Scooter!
Although local public transportation is cheap and brings you the main spots of the island, a scooter will allow you to discover the hidden jewels of Paros. And it is definitely more breezy than a bus without aircon!
Stay away from the rental agencies at the port. If you walk for 10 min you’ll find scooters for 15€ a day a quads for 20€ i.e. on the Periferiaki street at Iannis’ car rental.
8. Eat out!
Eating out in Paros is cheap and it’s definitely a must to discover the local delicacies. My favorite place was, upon local recommendation, “Coralli”, near the camping at the end of the harbor bay in Parikia. I repeated twice!
Food was amazingly fresh and price-quality relationship was great: Tzaziki and fish roe salad for 3€ each, 1/2 l of local wine also 3€ and the best Greek yoghurt on the island was served with cherries for 0,60€! Don’t forget to try the local speciality: the sun-dried fish!
A little bit more expensive, but with great, if not unique views on a desert beach and its cristalline bay, is “Siparos” near Santa Maria. This seaside restaurant all in white gives you that special Ibiza feeling while degustating modern interpretations of the traditional Greek cuisine. Flavours are intense and all natural.
9. Sunset in Parikia