Ever-popular as a summer holiday island, Paros hides a quiet and authentic side known only to the lucky few. Away from its famed beaches and the towns of Paroikia, Naoussa and Antiparos Town are villages with alleyways so narrow that cars are unable to pass, and where traditional crafts are still handed down through the generations and beautifully tended shops, homes and churches are bright with geranium-filled courtyards. We’re sure that you’ll agree with us that they’re definitely among the best places to visit on Paros:
For its small size, Paroikia packs a punch. It is the island’s port town and capital, and its labyrinthine Old Town is pristine and filled with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. You’ll also find a handful of impressive archaeological sites, a waterfront crammed with tavernas and bars, first-class accommodation, and sandy stretches of beach – particularly popular is Livadia, a short walk north of town. Tour the ancient cemetery, the 13th-century Venetian castle, or the Archaeological Museum with artifacts dating back to the Neolithic period. And, you can’t miss the spectacular Panagia Ekatontapyliani (Our Lady of a Hundred Doors). It is considered one of the most important sacred sights in Greece as the oldest remaining Byzantine Church. Legend has it that 99 doors have been found in the Church and the 100th will be discovered only when Constantinople is Greek again.
Live it up in charismatic yet traditional Naoussa! You have not really seen Paros if you haven’t walked the white-washed cobblestone alleys of the Old Town in Naoussa which lead to its picturesque port. A trademark of Paros’ identity and local architecture, these little, narrow maze-like passages may be peaceful and quiet during the hot summer mornings, but as soon as the night comes they team with people and life. You’d never imagine that this traditional fishing town with one of the most beautiful ports in Greece, was once one of the busiest pirate dens in the Cyclades. The music echoing from the bars, the perpetual motion of restaurant tables and chairs, young crowds that want to live every night to the full, all combine to create a cinematic ambience. Take the opportunity to sit in one of the numerous bars and restaurants that place their tables outdoors to enjoy the island vibe and indulge in some fishing boat or people-watching.
Lefkes is one of the prettiest and best-known villages of Paros, built on a verdant hill in the heart of the island, surrounded by pine and olive trees and the smell of oregano and thyme. This was Paros’ first capital, with houses built in tiers up the hill like an amphitheatre. You’ll find Cycladic architecture, neoclassical buildings and boutique accommodation all coexisting harmoniously.Get there by bus or taxi or park your car and walk, wandering through its peaceful alleys admiring the flower-filled patios. You’ll find plenty of little shops selling local goods (pottery, honey, figs etc) on the main street, called Ramnos, and a couple of folk museums. The view from 300m up is one of the best on Paros, and the island you can see is neighbouring Naxos. Don’t forget to explore the amazing Byzantine road, a 1,000-year-old marble-paved path, built to connect Marpissa with Parikia.
Alyki is a charming fishing village with a small port, overlooking the island of Antiparos. It is 16 km south-west of Paroikia close to the airport. Aliki’s own long sandy beach is truly a delight with crystal clear waters, but the village is also conveniently close to a few of the most popular and most beautiful beaches on the island.
Alyki is renowned for its wonderful taverns on the coastal road and you should not miss the chance to sample the delicious fresh seafood and delightful local wines. There are several lovely hotels, restaurants, coffee bars in Alyki, and it is home to the popular Scorpios museum which was founded by a local fisherman and displays a collection of miniature boats and other relics that recall the past. Another ‘must see’ are the ruins of an ancient city found at the bottom of the sea in Alyki. Get those snorkels out!
At Prodromos, the entrance to the village is a vaulted roof and steeple. Admire the traditional Cycladic theme of sugar-cube houses, flowers and tiny churches (which can be reached from Lefkes by following a paved footpath dating to Byzantine times). You’ll find traditional cafes (where better to enjoy a local delicacy?) set amongst the houses. And just outside the settlement are windmills that have been renovated into houses. Together with the village of Marmara, the residents are known as the Arhilohos community, named after an ancient Parian poet. The village itself is named after the icon-filled 17th-century church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos.
First of all, no trip to Paros is complete without a visit to superb Marpissa. Built amphitheatrically on a low hill, quaint Marpissa and its surroundings will delight you. Its older houses date to the 16-17th century and there are four windmills in the main square. Amongst its attractions the Church of Metamorfosis tou Sotiros (Transfiguration of the Saviour) stands out, as does the Museum of Sculptures of Perantinos. A bonus is to walk up to the Monastery of Agios Antonios, built by a small medieval city and a Venetian castle. Only the ruins of the castle remain, but a 30min hike is all the more worth it for the impressive view.
Named after the marble integrated into the houses and churches and the nearby ancient deposits, Marmara is a semi-mountains farming village, with around 500 residents and plenty of water, surrounded by orchards. There are more blues and whites to enjoy and a windmill that greets you as you enter the village. The main building of the village is the 17th-century church of Taxiarchis. Don’t forget to visit the cheese factory and try the local products in the cafes in the village square.
There’s nothing to stop you nipping to the beach after visiting other villages, but coastal Piso Livadi has the advantage of being close to some of Paros’ best-known swimming spots (Golden Beach, Pounda Logaras). But before you do that… Piso Livadi’s many fishing boats supply locals with the freshest seafood. So take a seat in one of the seafront tavernas. You’re in for a treat. You can also catch a day trip to other Cycladic islands from here (Naxos, Ιos, Santorini and Amorgos).
Located in the hilly interior, Kostos is a village that locals refer to the ‘balcony’ of Paros. The view from here of the bay of Molos and Naxos is, indeed spectacular!
The village of Drios is a quaint traditional Cycladic seaside village located in a beautiful green environment just 21 km south east of Parikia. It boasts a charming port where fishing boats moor, and exquisite views of the island of Drionissi and the Aegean. It gets popular in summer due to its location close to the popular beaches on Paros, such as Glyfa, Golden beach and New Golden beach.
Today, Marathi is a tiny mountain village a mere 5 km from Parikia with a few delightful ‘kafenios’ and rooms to let. However, it was once the primary source of wealth of whole island due to the ancient marble quarries which can still be seen today in the hollows of the rocks just above Marathi. A modern path has been built which guides visitors to the ancient quarries. The modern aspect of this ancient art of marble extraction is discovered a few hundred meters higher at the peak of the mountain, where operational quarries continue to extract the world-famous marble of Paros.
Antiparos Town or Chora as it is known by the locals, is the beautiful capital of Antiparos and the heartbeat of the island. With it’s typical narrow alleyways, beautiful squares and a main street looks like a scene from a postcard – all pink bougainvillea, vine-shaded terraces and blindingly white walls, – Chora is best explored on foot. In the centre of the village stands Kastro, the remains of the Venetian castle constructed in 1440 to protect the inhabitants from the pirates.
There are plenty of traditional Greek taverns and cafes along the seafront and most of the town is pedestrian-zoned with cobbled streets and many small shops waiting to be discovered. In the main square a vibrant nightlife hub has evolved surrounded by picturesque bars and traditional cafes.
AGIOS GEORGIOS – Antiparos.
Situated on Antiparos’ stunningly beautiful southwest coast, the area known as Agios Georgios is surrounded by a NATURA national park and is located opposite the historical islet of Despotiko. This tiny village is 11km’s from Antiparos port.