Sunny skies, long sandy beaches, and the smell of jasmine fill the scenic cobbled streets painted in the traditional Cycladic shades of white and blue. This is what Paros is made of. If you want to get an insight into the top 5 things to do in Paros and learn tips only locals know, all you have to do is keep reading!
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Paros is arguably one of Greece’s most beautiful islands, a jewel of the Cyclades, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists year after year. However, there is so much to do and see, that it can become overwhelming for visitors. Lucky for you, we are here to offer you insight into the 5 top things to do in Paros. We like to keep it short and sweet!
1. Swim in Kolybithres beach
Beach of Kolybithres - credits: http://www.arttravel.gr
As one would imagine, there is much debate among locals regarding which of Paros beaches is the best. For us, and I promise we’re not alone in this, the popular vote goes to the beach of Kolybithres. Due to its fame, it can get a bit crowded in the summer months, however, if you can look past that, you will be rewarded with crystal clear waters that keep their serene calm even on the windiest of days. For the more adventurous visitors, Kolybithres offers an optimum scene for surfing. But even if surfing is not for you, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to swim next to surfers?
2. Walk on the cobbled streets of Naousa
Street of Paros island - credits: Svetlana Ryajentseva/Shutterstock.com
Naoussa is a city of Paros located on the north coast of the island. Its image is directly associated with the fishing boats tied to its port, with their colors and names reflected on the sea. Scenic cobbled alleys with their beauty enhanced by the traditional Cycladic white and blue colors lead to the Venetian castle, on the beach of Naoussa, called Kastelli. When walking along the dashing and lively harbor full of cafes, bars, and restaurants, resist the urge to stop there. Instead, stroll further into Naoussa’s square, decorated naturally with eucalyptus trees and bougainvillea plants, to get the full Greek island experience.
3. Visit the temple of Ekatontapyliani
Temple of Panagia Ekatontapyliani - credits: www.wikipedia.org
Even if religion is not your thing, it is still worth paying a visit to the temple of Panagia Ekatontapyliani, to infuse your trip with a bit of culture. Its imposing architectural structure is a sight not to be missed. With the temple having been restored between 1959 and 1966 by archaeologist Anastasios Orlandos, Ekatontapyliani is one of the most well-preserved monuments of Byzantine tradition. Your 6th-grade teacher would be so proud.
4. Eat at Paradosiako Patisserie
Traditional Loukoumades - credits: foodlove/Shutterstock.com
A personal favorite, Paradosiako Patisserie offers the best hangover cure: the traditional Greek dessert of loukoumades. Loukoumades are reminiscent of doughnut holes, which are topped with honey syrup and cinnamon if you really want to indulge in tradition. Going against tradition, a new topping for the classic dessert is Nutella, a combination that is exactly as magical as it sounds. Anyone with a sweet tooth would be rewarded by a visit. If however it’s four in the morning and you think you've had one too many shots, you need to go there. I’m pretty sure it's prescribed by doctors.
5. Drink at Sommaripa Consolato
View from the balcony of 'Sommaripa Consolato' - credits: www.moregreece.com
Whether you’re up for a relaxed drink or a wild night out, Sommaripa is the place to be. While its name might not be Greek, everything else in it is, from its delicious cocktails to its atmosphere to the friendly and helpful staff. A little stone house with a balcony view of the Aegean Sea, Sommaripa combines the island’s heritage with a contemporary aesthetic that reaches an audience of all ages and tastes.
6. Walk in the Valley of Butterflies
The Valley of Butterflies is located in the area of Psychopiana and to get there you take the ring road that starts from Parikia heading southwest. It is a must-visit attraction, especially if you are a fan of nature. Wild olives, figs, mulberries, pears, and dozens of other trees have been flooded by butterflies, which, hooked to the trunks, enchant even the most demanding visitor.
It is a green, almost spooky, habitat with a small spring, covered by dense vegetation. In this "earthly paradise", thousands of butterflies, including the Tiger moth, for which it is an ideal place, cover the trunks of trees! The butterflies appear from late May to late July, while disappearing in August to see you again in September.
7. Go all the way up to Lefkes
Lefkes village - credits: villaaethra.gr
At an altitude of 250 meters, which for the Cyclades it is considered rather mountainous, Lefkes is a picturesque village built in the 16th century by Cretan and Peloponnesian refugees on the island. Its alleys are everything you can dream of, with their picturesque aesthetic and relaxed vibe. The village of Lefkes is perfect for afternoon walks and a stop for traditional Greek coffee and dessert in the cafe of the square, while the folklore museum of the village is definitely worth a visit.
8. Take a windsurfing course in Chrysi Akti beach
Chrysi Akti beach - credits: Bill Anastasiou/Shutterstock.com
Watersports are admittedly a lot of fun, no matter how irrelevant you are to an athlete lifestyle. What’s more, in addition to being entertaining they are also completely safe; that is, of course, as long as you know how to swim.
The beach of Chrysi Akti in particular, is the paradise of fans of windsurfing, thanks to the ideal weather conditions and the air that blows there almost all of the time. The beach itself boasts a beautifully colored, fluffy sandy beach that stretches for almost a kilometer, with crystal clear waters that make swimming there a treat!
9. Rent an ATV and go around the island
ATV in Paros - credits: Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock.com
If you want to do something a little different, and a bit adventurous, all you have to do is rent an ATV from one of the countless rentals on the island and go around the island. It will take you a maximum of 1 hour without stops, while you will see magical landscapes that will remain for a long time in your memories.
If you want to make several stops for food or swimming, you are more than welcome to do so. In this case, however, this adventure will turn into a full-day activity, which we highly recommend!
10. Have a natural spa day in Kalogeros beach
Kalogeros beach - credits: parospages.com
Next to the big sandy beach of Molos, is the smaller beach of Kalogeros, which you will reach, through a dirt road, the "neck" of the small peninsula, which rises above the sea. The beach got its name from the legend that wants a monk -known in Greeks as ‘kalogeros’- to have committed suicide there, falling from a rock into the sea. The trademark of the beach is the special color of the sand, due to the clay rocks of the area.
There, you can swim in the waters or indulge in a natural spa! On the right side of the beach, there is natural clay on the rock, which you mix with water from the puddles formed by the rocks and spread it all over your face and body. Don’t be shy, you’ll find out that most of the beach’s visitors do so with reckless abandon and without a smidgen of embarrassment.
11. Explore the Ancient Marble Quarries
The Ancient Marble Quarries in Paros - credits: parospages.com
You will come upon the Ancient Marble Quarries on the road to Lefkes, as soon as you leave the village of Marathi. There is also a sign on the road that you can follow. As soon as you reach the Ancient Marble Quarries, you will realize that there is no designated parking space, but there is room for a few cars on the side of the road.
The Parian marble, the famous ‘Lychnitis’, was a source of wealth for Paros from antiquity until the 19th century when mining stopped. Its uniqueness was due to its incredible transparency. The light penetrates the Parian Marble up to a depth of 7 cm, when Penteliko marble, another popular Greek marble, has a transparency of only 1.5 cm.
A large number of marble masterpieces were made of Parian marble. Among them, the most significant ones are the Aphrodite of Milos, Hermes of Praxiteles, the Daughters of the Acropolis, the Victory of Samothrace, the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Victory of Delos, and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.
12.Try the local flavors
A traditional tavern in Paros - credits: Aetherial Images/Shutterstock.com
The gastronomy of Paros is full of traditional recipes that stand the test of time and are still being cooked in all the Parian houses but also in many restaurants that respect the tradition and the identity of the island.
The traditional food of Paros, made from few and local ingredients that respect the cycle of nature, are healthy and many of these recipes, whether they are sweet or savory, are 100% vegetarian. In other words, seafood, vegetables, greens, herbs, cheese products, legumes, cereals, poultry, and to a lesser extent meat are used, with an emphasis on goat or ‘rifaki’, as the locals call it.
13. Take in the view from the Frankish Castle of Parikia
The Frankish Castle of Parikia - credits: greeka.com
Built on the highest point of Parikia in 1260 by the Venetian Duke of Naxos, the Frankish Castle catches the eyes of visitors, thanks to the impressive, panoramic view it offers. It consists of clusters of ancient temples, while the purpose of its creation was to protect the island from pirate attacks.
The castle of Parikia or Frangokastelo is located on the site of the ancient citadel of Paros and is one of the most important castles in the Cyclades. The construction of the castle was made with marble from ancient Greek temples. Inside the Frankish castle of Parikia, there is the Christian Orthodox Church of Agios Konstantinos.
14. Admire the Venetian Castle of Naoussa
The Venetian Castle in Naoussa
The Venetian Castle of Naoussa, also known as Kastelli, is a fortified, Venetian building from the 15th century, which, although half sunk, bears witness to its history and remains an attraction-jewel for the area. The observatory of the Venetian castle is half-submerged, however, the building remains a charming attraction that blends wonderfully with the blue of the sea and the shops of the port.
15. Explore the capital of the island, Parikia
Parikia - credits: Sven Hansche/Shutterstock.com
Even if you have decided not to stay in Parikia, a walk in the Cycladic capital is a must. Parikia, which also serves as the main port of Paros, is a magnificent labyrinth of streets and passages with marble floors and Cycladic houses with blue doors, balconies, and shutters. Geraniums, bougainvillea, and other potted flowers give splashes of color to the white walls of the city.
Parikia, with the Mill as a trademark and its cobblestone alleys, which give the feeling of a charming, atmospheric, authentic, and beautiful region, is a sight to behold. It boasts a variety of choices for food and drinks throughout the day. It is one of the most central and noisy regions of the island, and it is definitely one of the ideal places for a walk, especially at sunset.
16. Shop on the commercial Lohagou Fokianou Street
Commercial street of Paros - credits: johnnyafrika.com
The main street of the island’s market, Lohagou Fokianou Street, is the perfect place to indulge in a shopping free for yourself and your loved ones! With its shops, has an atmospheric shape, where the old architectural buildings in excellent -usually- condition coexist with the commercial shops and the original shops.
17. Take a local cooking class and get insight into Paros’ cuisine
Cooking class - credits: luk_Thailand/Shutterstock.com
If you want to explore the world-renowned Greek cuisine, what better way to do so than by joining a hands-on cooking class in an authentic Greek kitchen on the island of Paros? Discover time-honored recipes that have been passed down through generations. Gain insight into the culinary culture of the island from a local chef and use the local, organic produce in order to create mouthwatering and highly nutritious delicacies.
At the end of the Paros Traditional Private Cooking Class, you will have the opportunity and taste your prideful creations in a congenial atmosphere that will leave both your tummy and your soul satisfied!
18. Live it up in luxury through a sailing experience
Sailing in Paros - credits: Milan Tomazin/Shutterstock.com
Give yourselves the chance to explore the riches of Paros and the Small Cyclades with a Paros and Small Cyclades full-day sailing adventure in the deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. With the island of Paros as your base, start from Piso Livadi and get ready to visit some of the most impressive seascapes of the Cycladic region.
On your way to Iraklia, dive into the location of a WWII-wrecked plane. Continue by swimming in the turquoise-colored waters in Schoinousa or Koufonissia, as your crew prepares for you a delicious lunch on board. Swim in the waters of south Naxos or, if the winds make it tricky to cross over to Naxos, round up your experience by reaching the coasts of Antiparos and Despotiko islands.
19. See the best of what Paros’ has to offer in a highlights tour
Naoussa through a window - credits: Aerial motion/Shutterstock.com
Cherish the most all-inclusive experience on the magical island of Paros by joining a Paros Highlights Tour that will take you around the most beautiful, popular, and noteworthy regions of the island. In just 4 hours, you will get to see what the hype around this Cycladic island is all about.
Your local tour guide will be at your side every single step of the way during your Paros Highlights Tour, answering your questions and narrating Paros’ history, culture, and other fun facts that will make this experience an unforgettable one!
20. Paros Aqua Water Park
Paros Aqua Water Park 0 credits: paros.gr
If you’re visiting Paros with kids, you should not forget to include in your itinerary a visit to Paros Aqua Water Park. It is located in the bay of Naoussa, north of the island, in a wonderful spot between 2 wonderful beaches, Kolimbithres and Monastery. They operate with seawater and most slides end up in the sea.
It is an ideal place for very young children that will ensure they have the fondest of memories when looking back to their Greek vacations!
21. Keep fit with fun summer activities
Cliff-jumping - credits: EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock.com
Fans of physical activity are in for a treat in Paros. If you’re a fan of hiking and your mood and physical condition depend on it, you’ll be glad to know that Paros has a variety of routes that cross the island!
Paros is also suitable for cycling, leisurely walks, or even difficult mountain routes. If you do not have your own bike, you can rent one along with the necessary equipment in many of the rental centers that exist on the island.
What’s more, horseback riding enthusiasts will enjoy their walk in western Paros with horses available for rent from organized stables, while there are also yoga schools throughout the island that offer summer lessons for guests.
22. Drink the local, award-winning beer of Paros
56 Isles beer - credits: greekgastronomyguide.gr
The '56 Isles Aegean Wit' from Paros was titled as ‘one of the six best beers in the world’.The Paros Microbrewery, won three stars, the highest distinction, at the internationally renowned British institution’s Great Taste Awards.
This Parian Microbrewery was created in 2014 by two young entrepreneurs, Marinos Alexandrou and Nikolas Pavlakis. It is one of the largest investments in recent years in the Cyclades in the manufacturing sector. Having started with a relatively small production, the Paros Microbrewery is planning new investments to cover the growing demand from Greece and abroad.
If you like beer, then don’t miss the opportunity to taste this one; it won’t disappoint!
23. Stroll the Paros Environmental and Cultural Park
Paros Environmental and Cultural Park - credits: parospages.com
Paros Environmental and Cultural Park is a theme park that stretches over a peninsula of 800 acres. A pioneer of its kind in the Cyclades, Paros Park is based on volunteering, and welcomes visitors all year round for a variety of environmental and cultural activities or just for a walk in this natural place.
In the park, there is an open-air theater, an open-air cinema for movies under the stars, hiking trails, a cafe-restaurant, and free beaches. The park works for the protection and promotion of the peninsula of Ai Giannis-Detis. There, by the sea, is the beautiful church of Ai Giannis-Detis that gives the name to the peninsula.
24. Appreciate the rich history of Paros
Paros Archaeological Museum - credits: parosrentals.gr
Overlooking Delos, outside Parikia, there is a sanctuary dedicated to Delios Apollo and Arteia, dating back to the 5th century BC, which housed the cult statue of Arteia, which is now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Paros.
What’s more, in Agia Anna, on the road to Aliki, you should visit the sanctuaries of Pythian Apollo and Asclepius, dating back to the 4th century BC, where the whole kouros of the Louvre Museum and many Psarian relics come from.
Of course, the Archaeological Museum of Parikia is one of the most important museums in Greece, due to its exhibitions found in excavations in Paros and Antiparos, most famously the Victory of Paros, the archaic Psarini Gorgo, the poet Archilochos, and others. As a result, you must not overlook a visit to it, along with a visit to the Folklore Museum in Marpissa, where you will admire old furniture, looms, utensils, and various other traditional objects.
25. Take a boat to the neighboring island of Antiparos
Antiparos - credits: Christophe Anagno/Shutterstock.com
It is worth dedicating a day to visit the neighboring Antiparos. Boats often leave from Parikia and Pounta. From the port, you can take your car with you to tour the whole island.
The ticket price is just under 2 euros. If you want to get your car you will pay depending on the size of the car. The journey from Pounta is about 5 minutes while from Parikia, it is about half an hour.
Antiparos is a small rocky inhabited island in the South Aegean in the heart of the Cyclades, which is less than a nautical mile from Paros. The shores of Antiparos are distinguished for their golden sands and crystal clear waters and that is why the island attracts tourists during the summer months. If you visit Antiparos, do not forget to admire the Cave, a real wonder of nature that dates back hundreds of years.
While in ancient times Paros was known for its fine marble, used in statues and temples, today it is known for its breathtaking beaches and quality way of life and its impeccable Cycladic aesthetic that inspires poetic thoughts even to the most die-hard cynics. If you’re thinking about booking a holiday in Paros, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. With Paros, you couldn’t go wrong even if you tried!