Discover the ultimate guide to experiencing the best of Paros! Our meticulously curated list showcases the absolute must-sees and must-dos on this enchanting Cycladic island. From captivating attractions and pristine swimming spots to thrilling activities and immersive tours, we’ve got you covered. Indulge in delectable dining at renowned restaurants, unwind on picturesque beaches, and feel the adrenaline rush of kitesurfing at Pounda bay.
In a nutshell, don’t miss the charming villages of Naoussa, Parikia, and Lefkes, and be sure to explore the hidden gems that embody the island’s authenticity and emerging trends. Embark on an unforgettable journey and immerse yourself in the wonders of Paros.
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1. Stroll around cosmopolitan Naoussa
Naoussa, a vibrant town in Paros, is a must-visit destination. As the second largest town and the nightlife hub, it offers fine restaurants and luxury hotels. Despite the rapid growth of tourism, Naoussa has managed to preserve its traditional architecture and authentic essence, showcasing its Cycladic charm. The town is centered around its picturesque port and boasts a wide array of excellent shops, seafood taverns, bars, and activities. To truly capture its charm, it is best to visit in the early morning hours when the colorful fishing boats and the blue-domed chapel of St. Nikolas create a captivating sight. Don’t miss the sun-drying Gouna fish at the restaurant entrances or the photogenic white and fuchsia Linardo bar. Naoussa is also surrounded by sandy beaches, including Monastiri, Kolympithres, and Santa Maria, which are easily accessible by local bus routes or by caique, a small traditional boat, from Naoussa’s port.
2. Stroll around Parikia village
Parikia, the capital town and main port of Paros, serves as the vibrant hub of commercial and cultural life. Despite its status as the largest town on the island, Parikia has managed to preserve its authentic Cycladic architecture, which is a true delight to behold.
The charming neighborhood of Kastro will captivate you with its whitewashed cubic houses, adorned with wooden doors, nestled in narrow alleys. Bougainvillea trees gracefully add a vibrant splash of color to the picturesque scenery.
As you wander through the streets of Parikia, you’ll encounter enchanting boutique shops, centuries-old churches, remnants of the Frankish castle, and notable museums, including the Archaeological and Byzantine museums. Not to be missed is the iconic Panagia Ekatontapiliani monastery, a prominent landmark situated near the port.
To cater to visitors, a myriad of hotels, restaurants, and cafes can be found along the port and in Parikia’s charming neighborhoods, offering a truly delightful experience.
3. Kolymbithres & other beaches
Exploring the stunning beaches of Paros is a must-do when visiting the island. Not only will you find silky sand and crystal clear waters, but also unique rocky coves that add to the landscape’s charm.
There are beaches that offer watersport facilities and exciting sea sports, while others remain untouched and perfect for exploration. Let me introduce you to a few remarkable ones:
- Kolymbithres: This beach stands out with its shallow turquoise waters and a rocky lunar scenery, creating a breathtaking backdrop for capturing beautiful photographs. Located conveniently close to Naoussa, it has gained fame for its smooth, eroded granite rocks and small sandy coves nestled in between.
- Santa Maria: If you’re seeking a bay with azure waters and shimmering golden sand, look no further than Santa Maria. Situated on the northeastern part of the island, it consists of two beaches facing Aliko bay of neighboring Naxos. Santa Maria offers both watersport and camping facilities, and it’s highly recommended for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Accessing it is easy, whether by car, local bus, or boat taxis departing from Naoussa.
- Marcello: For a clean, accessible, and relaxing bay to spend the day, Marcello Beach is an excellent choice. Located less than 5km from Parikia, this golden sandy beach invites visitors to explore its eroded rocky coves and frolic in its crystalline waters. The nearby campsite adds to the experience, providing a flexible vacation option. Marcello’s coves also make it a nudist-friendly bay, accessible both by land and sea from Parikia.
Don’t miss the chance to discover these stunning beaches and create unforgettable memories on the beautiful island of Paros.
4. Explore the exquisite gastronomic scene
Paros boasts a remarkably diverse and exceptional gastronomic scene. Throughout the island, you’ll find a plethora of taverns and restaurants serving meals crafted with love using fresh local or Greek ingredients. The towns of Naoussa and Parikia house the majority of these culinary gems, with elegant seafront establishments and cozy taverns tucked away along charming paved alleyways. Whether you opt for a traditional or modernized Greek or Mediterranean dish, rest assured that the flavors will captivate every palate. Prices are moderate, with a handful of more upscale options available as well.
While indulging in a seaside tavern or restaurant, don’t miss the opportunity to savor local seafood delicacies such as Gouna (sun-dried and roasted mackerel) or Kakavia (fish soup). Treat yourself to the culinary delights of Thalassa mou, Mario, Siparos, and Soso, where you’ll find exquisite Greek seafood dishes. For those who enjoy exploring a variety of cuisines and flavors, the island’s main towns offer exceptional international restaurants with diverse menus ranging from Italian and French to Thai or Japanese.
5. Explore the island with your own car
Optimize your stay in Paros by considering the option of renting a car or moto. This will provide you with the flexibility to explore the island at your own pace, without being tied to strict bus schedules or relying on taxi availability. Paros boasts numerous hidden gems, particularly on the mainland, that are worth discovering. Many tourists choose to rent a car for just a few days to embark on these unique explorations. We have partnered with DiscoverCars to offer you the best prices, ensuring a seamless experience during your visit.
6. Explore the cultural heritage of Paros
Paros, an island with a rich history dating back to ancient times, offers a glimpse into its glorious past through its museums and archaeological sites.
Ancient marble quarries, conveniently located on the mainland, provide easy access for visitors. These quarries yielded the finest Parian marble, which was used to create some of the most remarkable sculptures of Greek antiquity. If you have a passion for ancient Greek art, a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Parikia is a must. Here, you can marvel at archaeological findings discovered on the island.
For those seeking archaeological wonders, Paros has much to offer. The ancient cemetery, situated by the sea in Parikia, the sanctuary of Asklepios, and the Mycenaean Acropolis are all sites of great historical significance that are well worth a visit.
If you’re interested in Byzantine art, the Byzantine Museum in Naoussa houses a remarkable collection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, crosses, and ecclesiastical items.
Lastly, immerse yourself in the local life of Paros’s recent past by visiting the charming village of Lefkes, where you’ll find a small Folklore Art Museum that provides a fascinating insight into the island’s cultural heritage.
7. Sail around Paros and its neighboring islands
With its membership in the Cyclades, Paros and its neighboring islands offer pristine waters and a captivating underwater landscape. Embarking on a cruise allows you to indulge in daydreaming on the deck of a boat amidst the Aegean Sea, while also taking refreshing dips in the inviting waters. Explore the depths with an underwater tour to a sunken plane, and savor a delightful meal onboard. Escape the bustling crowds and immerse yourself in a memorable day at sea, elevating your Greek summer experience! Don’t miss out, book your sailing tour now.
8. Visit the traditional Lefkes village
For an authentic village experience in Paros, look no further than the charming settlement of Lefkes. Once the capital of Paros during the Middle Ages, Lefkes is located just 11km southeast of the lively town of Parikia. With a population of around 500 residents, it is the perfect destination for those seeking tranquility.
Perched at an altitude of 300 meters, Lefkes offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and the Aegean Sea on the horizon. The village showcases the iconic cubic, whitewashed Cycladic architecture, complemented by Venetian buildings, churches, and landmarks that highlight its rich cultural heritage. Take the time to explore its hidden corners, engage with the friendly locals, and savor a Greek coffee or a glass of ouzo at the photogenic kafeneio in the picturesque central square.
Curious about how to reach Lefkes? Simply book your car with us to enjoy the best rates and embark on a memorable journey to this enchanting village.
9. Day excursion to Mykonos & Delos
During your vacation in the Cyclades, one of the most delightful activities is to embark on a day trip to the enchanting islands of Delos and Mykonos. Located just a short boat ride away from Paros, visitors can spend three hours exploring the historical wonders of Delos, including its numerous monuments and the esteemed Archaeological Museum. Delos itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, underscoring its immense historical significance.
Following the visit to Delos, another brief boat journey will transport guests to the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos, where they can enjoy approximately three hours of exploration. It is highly recommended to make the most of this time by meandering through the captivating streets of Chora, admiring the iconic Windmills, strolling along the picturesque alleys of Little Venice, and indulging in some retail therapy at the charming boutiques.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to book the Delos tour and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of these remarkable islands.
10. Visit Antiparos island on a boat ride
Located just a nautical mile southwest of vibrant Paros, you’ll find the serene islet of Antiparos. In contrast to its bustling sister island, Antiparos exudes a tranquil ambiance that accentuates its Cycladic charm and traditional way of life.
This idyllic destination is perfect for day trips and even a few overnight stays, offering a delightful summer getaway. Accessible by boat from Parikia and Pounda port on the western side of the island (not to be confused with Pounda bay on the east), Antiparos boasts a comprehensive ferry schedule with hourly routes throughout the day. This allows travelers to plan a leisurely itinerary and immerse themselves in relaxation. What’s more, the fare is incredibly affordable at just 1.50€ per person, and children can travel free of charge.
If you’re looking for other fantastic islands to explore on day trips from Paros, there are plenty of options waiting to be discovered.
11. Visit the Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani
One of the must-see attractions in Parikia is the Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, dating back to the Byzantine era. Located just a few steps away from the port, its unique architecture and vibrant colors make it easily recognizable. Constructed predominantly with stone and marble, the monastery features intricate archways that connect the Church of the Virgin Mary with several chapels, monk cells, and a baptistery.
According to folklore, the church is said to have 99 integrated gates, with the belief that a 100th gate will materialize if Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is once again dedicated as an Orthodox church. This legend adds to the cultural significance of the monastery, which holds great importance for the Christian Greek Orthodox community and attracts pilgrims from far and wide. Every year on August 15th, a grand religious festival is held in honor of the Virgin Mary, drawing people from all across Greece to Paros. The festivities include a procession of the icon through the streets of Parikia, as well as traditional celebrations known as “panigiri,” which take place from the 13th to the 15th of August. These events provide a unique and immersive experience with deep-rooted folklore elements.
Visiting Panagia Ekatontapiliani offers a serene and enlightening glimpse into the island’s ecclesiastical heritage. Take the opportunity to discover the beauty and historical significance of this remarkable monastery.
12. Experience the lively nightlife of the island
Paros, much like its Cycladic counterparts Mykonos and Ios, boasts a vibrant and lively nightlife. The island’s posh bars and exquisite clubs offer an unforgettable dancing experience and are particularly popular among Greek youths. These establishments are predominantly situated in Parikia and Naoussa, nestled along the seafront and tucked away in charming alleyways. With their unique designs, energetic music, and extensive drink selections, the party continues until the early hours of the morning. In Paros, and throughout Greece during the summer, it is customary for bars to remain open late into the night, encouraging bar hopping. Pounda Beach bar stands as a hub of all-day partying, located on the stunning Pounda beach. Complete with DJ sets, a spacious dance floor, palm trees, lounges, and even a swimming pool, it offers a truly immersive experience. Even if clubbing isn’t your primary reason for visiting the island, sipping a cocktail while enjoying the sounds of some of Europe’s finest DJs will undoubtedly add a special touch to your Parian getaway.
13. Enjoy activities at Monastiri beach & Paros Park
Located on the northernmost peninsula of Paros, just a short distance from Naoussa, is the Environmental and Cultural Park. This pioneering recreation park spans over 800 acres and has been hosting carefully curated cultural events and a multitude of environmental awareness activities for over a decade. Operated mainly by volunteers, the park offers high-quality experiences to all its guests. Accessible by road and sea, with water taxis departing from Naoussa, it is a convenient destination for enthusiasts of geology, culture, history, and those seeking a leisurely stroll in a well-preserved natural area. As one of the most diverse places on Paros, it is a must-visit during your Greek vacation on the island.
Adjacent to the expansive Paros Park, you’ll find the charming little bay of Monastiri, surrounded by captivating rocky hills. Part of the Agios Ioannis shore, the bay is home to the homonymous church of Agios Ioannis Detis on its right side. Equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas available for rent, the beach is complemented by a sizable tavern overlooking the stunning views. In the summertime, visitors can enjoy numerous events and concerts held in this picturesque setting.
14. Visit Agios Ioannis Detis church
Agios Ioannis Detis is a picturesque church that seems like it’s been plucked straight from a postcard. Nestled within the Environmental and Cultural Park, this charming whitewashed chapel with its iconic blue dome stands proudly overlooking the sea at Monastiri beach. It comes as no surprise that this Cycladic gem is one of the most captured churches, thanks to its irresistible allure and photogenic charm.
15. Swim or Windsurf at Golden Beach
Nestled along the southeastern coast, the exquisite Golden Beach (Chryssi Akti) stands out as one of Paros’ finest bays. Accessible by bus or vehicle, this coastal gem offers a haven of relaxation. Fully equipped with beach bars, sunbeds, and renowned windsurfing facilities, it has rightfully earned its reputation as a windsurfing hub. Indulge in the allure of its crystalline waters and velvety golden sands, and treat yourself to an idyllic day of unwinding.
16. Learn Kitesurf at Pounda bay
Apart from enjoying the crystal-clear waters and basking in the sun, visitors can also indulge in the exhilarating sport of kitesurfing. The Paros Kite center offers comprehensive sessions for both beginners and advanced enthusiasts, ensuring professionalism, top-notch equipment, and utmost safety throughout. Whether you prefer short or long sessions, private or group, there are various bundles available to suit your expectations perfectly.
Pounda bay boasts perfect wind conditions during the high season, making it a beloved kitesurfing hotspot among thousands of enthusiasts. As one of the most thrilling summer experiences, it comes highly recommended for every traveler’s itinerary.
17. Full-day sailing cruise to the Small Cyclades
When vacationing in Paros, especially during the summer, a delightful activity to indulge in is a full day of sailing around the picturesque islands of Small Cyclades. This enchanting island complex consists of Donoussa, Schinoussa, Iraklia, and Koufonisia, which interestingly belong to the nearby Naxian municipality. These islands can be easily reached from Paros through a single-day sailing cruise, where you can immerse yourself in approximately 10 hours of crystal-clear turquoise waters, tranquil seascapes, and pristine islands.
Furthermore, guests have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of sailing, bask in the sun on the deck of the yacht, and savor local delicacies and beverages. Don’t miss the chance to enhance your Parian vacation with the hidden gems of the Small Cyclades this summer!
18. Shopping in the villages of Paros
Before you bid farewell to the island, set aside some time to immerse yourself in its vibrant shopping scene. Prepare to be captivated by the treasures that await you! As you wander through the enchanting whitewashed labyrinthine streets of Parikia and Naoussa, you’ll stumble upon charming boutiques offering a plethora of delights, including designer souvenirs, exquisite ceramics, traditional wares, elegant Grecian-style accessories, artisanal leather sandals, and much more.
19. Watch a movie under the stars
In Greece, it has become a beloved summer tradition to enjoy movies under the starry sky. On the island of Paros, two open-air cinemas offer this enchanting experience: Cine Rex in Parikia and Cine Enastron, nestled within the scenic Environmental and Cultural Park on Monastiri beach near Naoussa.
Cine Rex presents two screenings daily, with the first starting around 21:00 and the second around 23:00. Here, you can delight in the latest releases, showcased in their original language with Greek subtitles.
On the other hand, Cine Enastron focuses on showcasing timeless classics and the best part? Admission is free!
20. Explore the Butterflies valley
Petaloudes, the Greek word for butterflies, is the local term used to describe this truly extraordinary place in Paros. It serves as a biotope that undergoes a remarkable natural phenomenon each summer when the valley becomes lush and green. The entire valley becomes home to the Jersey Tiger Moths, a species found only in a handful of locations worldwide.
As you wander through the exquisitely designed park, you will be greeted by thousands of these magnificent creatures, while also gaining insightful knowledge about this rare occurrence.
For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the Butterflies Nature Reserve is an absolute must, deserving a prominent spot on your bucket list.
21. Scuba Diving & Shipwreck exploration
Experience an unforgettable diving adventure at Santa Maria, a must for passionate divers. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the underwater world with the X-Ta-Sea Diving Center. Discover captivating shipwrecks, intricate reefs, and fascinating sea caves. With convenient morning and afternoon sessions, you can easily fit this exhilarating experience into your itinerary. Prepare to be amazed by the KT 18 Pelican vessel, a WWII German navy shipwreck, as well as the Express Samina vessel and Marianna ship, all just a short 20-minute drive from the shoreline.
For advanced divers seeking a challenge, explore the Santa Maria Anchor, Kouronissi, and Beaufighter aircraft excursions. These thrilling dives are sure to satisfy your sense of adventure.
Make your summer vacation extraordinary by adding a dive to your plans. It’s an opportunity like no other!
22. Experience the local life of Marpissa village
While Paros can become crowded with visitors during the summer months, there are tranquil and authentic settlements on the island that can offer a balanced experience. One such gem is the charming village of Marpissa, nestled in the hills of southwestern Paros. This hidden Cycladic village exudes simplicity with its pristine white buildings adorned with vibrant accents, and it has managed to maintain its character without succumbing to excessive tourist development. Located just a short drive from Naoussa and within proximity to the picturesque beaches of Piso Livadi, Logaras, and Punda, Marpissa provides the perfect escape for those seeking a serene morning exploration. It comes highly recommended for anyone interested in observing the daily lives of the locals and immersing themselves in the rich local heritage showcased by the various cultural institutions available.