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Situated within the Cyclades close to Mykonos and Santorini, the Greek island of Paros might be less talked-about than its more famous neighbors, but it is every bit as lovely. The main city of Parikia is stylish and busy with both locals and tourists, while the island’s rural villages are filled with whitewashed houses with traditional blue domed roofs. Although quiet, there’s plenty to do on Paros: visitors will find fantastic beaches, good walks in gorgeous surroundings and plenty of watersports. Paros has also played an important role in the art world – the Venus di Milo was crafted from Parian white marble over 2,100 years ago.
Paros is at its best in late spring, when the weather is warm and sunny but before the influx of tourists that arrives in peak summer. By mid-September, many businesses will close for the year and storms can be frequent. While there is a small airport on Paros that is serviced by a few Greek airlines, it is generally easier to fly into either Athens or nearby Mykonos and then travel on to Paros by one of the many ferries which dock in Parikia.
The scenic fishing village of Naoussa is situated in the northeastern corner of Paros, around seven miles from Parikia. Although it can get very busy at the height of summer, the village has managed to retain plenty of its original charm and character – think labyrinthine cobbled passageways, whitewashed houses, churches and chapels and a delightful old port filled with fishing boats. A fortress built in the 15th century by the Venetians is a particular point of interest, as is the watchtower which was built to protect from pirates. After a day of sightseeing, pull up a seat at one of the village’s many tavernas to enjoy some fantastic fresh fish or grilled octopus.
As you might expect, the major attraction on Paros is the island’s beautiful beaches and the crystal clear waters that surround it. One of the best beaches in Paros is at Livadia, just steps from Parikia, Paros’s main town, while a mile or so further along the road will take you to Martselo, which is a great option for families thanks to its calm waters and sheltered location. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for winds, head to the beach at Pounda, which is one of the best kite-surfing spots in the whole of Greece. Watersports enthusiasts will also want to check out Chrissi Akti, or golden beach, which is famous for its windsurfing and, on calmer days, kayaking and paddle-boarding. The most famous beach on Paros is probably Kolymbithres, near Naoussa, where huge granite rock formations dominate the landscape – and clothing is optional.
Paros is perfect if you enjoy walking or hiking, with trails to suit all abilities. One of the most popular spots on the island is Paros Park, an 800-acre protected area with well-marked trails, fantastic vistas, stunning rock formations and some fascinating historical sights. The most popular trails lead to a handsome, British-built lighthouse at Cape Korakas, while other paths will take you past the 17th-century monastery of Ai Yiannis Detis. Away from the park, many of Paros’s other hiking trails take in the island’s marble quarries, the most famous of which are clustered around the village of Marathi. It is even possible to enter the now-abandoned mines if you’re feeling adventurous enough, but be sure to bring a torch.
Less than one nautical mile off the coast of Paros, you’ll find the smaller island of Antiparos, which despite seeming wonderfully unspoiled is actually something of a haven for A-list stars. As well as Tom Hanks, who has a house here, Bruce Springsteen has been spotted in one of the local bars and the island is also popular with European royals. Nevertheless, Antiparos feels very understated and relaxed, and its beaches and archeological sites make it a perfect choice for a day trip from Paros. The most popular attraction on the island is the cave of Antiparos. One of the most famous caves in the whole of Greece, it is filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites and is well worth a visit. The island’s best beaches are at Glyfa and Soros on the eastern coast.
The capital and main port of Paros, Parikia is every bit the typical Cycladic town, with narrow, cobbled streets and white-and-blue houses. You’ll find plenty of traditional restaurants and tavernas here, as well as bars, cafes, and shops. Ourvillas in Parikia offer fabulous views of the bay, as well as the sacred island of Delos. Large terraces with swimming pools and patio dining areas are ideal for relaxing outdoors and admiring the gorgeous Grecian sunsets.
Situated on the southwestern coast of Paros around eight miles from Parikia, Aliki is a pretty fishing village with a small port and easy access to a number of lovely beaches. With a laid-back atmosphere and fewer tourists than the northern part of the island, the Aliki area is a great place to stay if you’re looking to escape it all. If this sounds like your idea of a perfect vacation, then check out our selection ofAliki villas . Our properties are modern yet in keeping with traditional Greek architecture, with clean, white interiors and infinity pools.
Located in the southwestern corner of Paros, just west of the village of Aliki, ourrentals in Makria Miti offer a stylish and luxurious base for anyone looking to explore the island. With plenty of space for up to 12 guests, these elegant homes would be perfect for families or groups of friends looking to enjoy the sunshine together.