Paros is a Cycladic island located in the heart of the Aegean Sea. Paros island has the romance of Santorini without the crowds, the glitter of Mykonos without the hard-partying club scene, and pockets of authentic Greek life to add texture. It's no surprise that this island has become the ultimate summer getaway, with its breathtaking natural beauty and stunning beaches. A slew of luxury hotels in Paros is putting the island firmly on the map, adopting the island's laid-back attitude, providing their guests with exceptional service during their stay in Paros. So if visiting Paros this summer is in your bucket list, you will sure need this short travel guide, especially if you are a first-timer to Greece!
The island's rich history
The island's rich history is overshadowed by the island's modern-day glamorous edge. Around 3200 B.C., Paros was first inhabited and later settled by the Cretan. The Minoans and Mycenaeans ruled Paros until the Ionians conquered it around 1100 B.C., followed a century later by the Arcadians. During the Byzantine era, several churches were built on Paros, the most important of which is Panagia Ekatontapiliani, which was allegedly founded by Saint Helene, Constantine the Great's mother.
The must-see towns to visit
Paros is glamorous, arguably the most alluring of the Cyclades island complex, with its charming, colorful harbor, a plethora of high-end boutiques, and a diverse range of excellent dining options. There is no better place to live your Cycladic dream than on the towns of Parikia and Naousa with the white washed houses that are vibrant with bougainvillea. Allow plenty of time to visit Paros' towns and get lost in the maze-like streets of Parikia and Naoussa.
Parikia is the island's capital and one of its oldest settlements, and Venetian balconies line the enchanting pedestrian-only lanes of old town Parikia. The historic Panagia Ekatontapiliani, the Frankish Castle (built by the Venetians out of marble taken from an ancient Apollo temple), and the Paros Archaeological Museum are some must-see attractions.
Exploration is the only way to discover the true spirit of the islands, and the stunning port town of Naousa is a must-see for first-time visitors. Despite significant tourism growth, Naousa has gracefully maintained its traditional architecture and authentic essence. Naousa is the most cosmopolitan village on Paros, with plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from, upscale cocktail bars, dance clubs and boutiques.
Lefkes is probably the most well-known mountain village on Paros, and it's worth spending some time exploring its charming alleyways! This village has retained the serenity and traditional color charm of a bygone era.
Explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the Greek islands
Paros is surrounded by crystalline waters and azure seas. With its golden sands and emerald waters, Parasporos is without a doubt one of Paros' best beaches. It is most famous for being the "party destination" and many of the beach bars here host late-night parties.
Kolymbithres beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It's quite a sight, with its endless golden sands, turquoise waters and unique geological formations. Due to its fascinating geology, Kolymbithres is perhaps Paros' most famous beach. The granite rock formations are millions of years old and have created a one-of-a-kind scenery.
Santa Maria has two beaches, Santa Maria and Little Santa Maria. Both offer breathtaking views, pristine golden sands, and crystal-clear waters, making them ideal for a relaxing beach day. Watersports are also available along the main beach.
Golden Beach in Paros, located south of Parikia, is regarded as one of the island's best swimming and water sports destinations. Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti) is one of the most popular windsurfing spots in the Mediterranean for its ideal wind conditions. For many years, the Windsurfing World Championship was held there.
Monastiri beach is a sophisticated and well-organized beach located west of Naousa. This romantic bay is surrounded by gorgeous natural landscape and beautiful green waters, making it a more laid-back option.
Activities and day trips from Paros
While on Paros, you must visit the neighboring island of Antiparos, which has grown in popularity due to its laid-back atmosphere and off-the-beaten-path location. It is accessible via a 10-minute ferry ride from Parikia (Paros) to Pounda (Antiparos). Alternatively, the island can be explored by boat. You can also take a boat to the sea caves for swimming or snorkeling, or spend the day on Naxos or even visit cosmopolitan Mykonos and ancient Delos on a day trip.
How to get to Paros
Paros checks all the boxes on a vacation wish list, and its central location in the Cyclades island group makes Paros easily accessible by ferry and plane. Ferries from Athens to Paros take between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the type of vessel. Paros and Naxos are connected by a 30-minute ferry ride. Ferries from Paros to Mykonos, Ios, Milos, Folegandros, Santorini, and Crete frequently make multiple stops.
Yoga retreat in Paros
Paros is one of Greece's most popular tourist destinations, known for its traditional Cycladic architecture and enchanting sandy beaches with clear waters. Restore, rejuvenate, reset is a retreat that provides a much-needed reset as the season transitions from summer to autumn; a powerful time to pause, reflect, and recharge. Join this luxury yoga retreat and experience a bohemian Greek summer while dipping your toes in the sand and gazing out at the Aegean's clear azure waters.