The Greek Island of Paros
The Greek Island of Paros is located on the Aegean Sea. With almost 200,000 square kilometres, Paros is the third-largest island of the Cyclades after Andros and Naxos.
Due to its valuable marble, Paros used to be highly regarded worldwide. Today, most stone quarries are closed, and the island mainly thrives off tourism. So, if you want to know which places you should visit on your travels, then keep reading! In this article, we will list all the interesting cities and villages, Paros has to offer.
Parikia is the capital of this charming island. Yet, despite its rather modest size, the city has a lot to offer. From the old town, with its captivating labyrinth-like layout, to cosy cafés and little boutiques, each day here will dazzle you.
In the labyrinthine streets of the historical centre, there are various Cycladic homes. The image of the city is shaped by cubical houses, which strike the eye with their blue doors, window shutters, and balconies. In addition, the streets are paved with marble, giving a grandeur character.
You might think it’s impractical to have a such a maze-like inner city, but there is actually a reason for this. Designed by the Venetians, the old city was meant to confuse possible intruders, such as pirates.
In the past, Parikia was the most important commercial harbour on the island. Here, amongst other things, the famous marble of Paros was shipped to the Mediterranean area. However, you barely find any buildings from this time any more. Most houses in Parikia today were built above the ancient city. Though, you can still admire traces of the ancient city at the local archaeological sites.
Sights in Parikia
Other notable sights include the landmark of the Parikia: the windmill. Located in the roundabout in front of the ferry port, this unique Cycladic windmill is still operating today! Additionally, you can spot the well-known Venetian castle from the 13th century on top of the hill. The marble stones used to build this castle originates from an ancient temple that once stood there.
Another interesting sight is the Panagia Ekatontapyliana, which is a beautiful church. Built in the 3rd century B.C., the structure is actually not a singular church, but three different churches in one. The biggest of them is the Agios Nikolaos, which is considered one of the most beautiful churches of the archipelago of the Cyclades, thanks to its Parian marble pillars. We recommend visiting the Byzantine Museum to see a collection of artefacts from Panagia Ekatontapyliana.
Not feeling up for a museum tour? Then, you only have to drive 10 minutes out of the city to find a beautiful beach. By the bay of Parikia, you find the crescent-shaped Marcello beach. Prepare to be impressed by its crystal-clear water! Aside from a few wakes made by the ferries, the sea is peacefully calm here. The beautiful mountain scenery surrounding the beach completes the view.
The little port city of Naoussa is located in the north of the island by Plastira bay. Due to excavations, like the early Cycladic burial ground, archaeologists assume that this place was already inhabited in the year 2,800 B.C. However, Naoussa rose to prosperity in the Roman Age, when the Parian marble was transported from there throughout the Mediterranean.
All in all, Naoussa has roughly 3,000 habitants. The city is located about 10 kilometres northwest of Pariki. After the capital, Naoussa has the second-biggest port of the city. It is designed for fishing and cargo ships, so you won’t find any ferries here. Though, Naoussa still wows with its beautiful, narrow alleys and Cycladic houses.
Here, one of the most impressive sights is the circular tower stemming from the Venetians. It is riddled with casemates and was built at the beginning of the 16th century, to resist the threat of the Ottomans.
A little further from the city, you find numerous beaches and bays inviting you to relax. Many boats sail around these beaches from the port. More specifically, the Kolymbithres beach is very beautiful. However, is not a single beach but several sand bays that are separated by granite rocks. What further adds to the uniqueness of this area is how the granite rocks were carved out by the wind. You will find many interesting shapes and views here that transport you to a whole new world. It is almost as if an artist crafted them by hand.
On your way back, bring the evening to an end in one of the numerous cafés and bars. If you are looking for some relaxation or a way to satisfy your hunger after an exhausting day of sightseeing, there are also many cosy restaurants.
Paros Park is located further north of Naoussa, on the peninsula of Agios Ioannis Detis. If you are travelling by car, it only takes 10 minutes to get there. In this park, you find impressive caves, breathtaking beaches, and fascinating rock formations. To explore it fully, walk on one of the three hiking trails and admire the wonderful landscape. The view of the bay will surely leave you speechless.
Inside the park, you can explore many interesting sights, including a monastery, lighthouse, and a museum. Besides that, there is an old theatre where festivals take place regularly.
Lefkes is a beautiful village situated in the centre of Paros. The village sits on a 300-metre-high hill that belongs to a part of the mountain Agios Pantes; the highest mountain of the island. Although it may be a small village, it used to be the capital of the island during ancient times.
While visiting Lefkes, you will be shocked by how few tourists there are. This is oddly surprising, as this idyllic place invites you to stroll through the alleys and enjoy the shade they offer. The rustic taverns and traditional bakeries are some of the yummiest locations to take a break.
What’s more, the town is home to yet another impressive church – the Agia Triada. Built out of Parian marble, the church features two majestic bell towers. When you extend your gaze to the hillsides, you will find mountain scenery dotted by classic little windmills. On a clear day, you can even see the neighbouring island, Naxos off in the distance.
If you arrive by the end of August, check out the Karavolas festival. While there is no set date for the festival, it takes place in the second half of the month. At the festival, you will get the chance to meet locals and try out traditional Parian dishes.
What’s more, Lefkes is an ideal starting point for various hiking tours. The Byzantine trail, which runs from Lefkes to Prodomos, is a very popular choice among the options. Depending on how fit you are, this hike takes around one hour.
Marpissa is a picturesque village, located 20 kilometres southeast of the capital Parikia. It is built on a hill like most other small towns of the Cyclades and will enchant you with its white, houses that hug the narrow alleys.
Perhaps, one of the few authentic villages of Paros, the lack of accommodations may explain the absence of tourist by the masses here. However, Marpissa compensates for this with its adorable charm.
If you would like to spend some time at the beach, Marpissa is the ideal spot. Numerous beaches, like the ones of Logaras, Drios, and the Golden Beach, are located near the village. The waterside promenade is perfect for a stroll. Naturally, you can spend some time sightseeing as well. Here, you find ruins of an old monastery and a castle.
Expect an extraordinary adventure when you’re visiting Paros! You will certainly look back on this experience with fond memories. The divine beaches and idyllic villages are sure to leave you in awe.
We hope you put the two biggest cities of Paros, Parikia and Naoussa, on your bucket list. After all, in the past, these two ancient cities were export centres of the world-famous Parian marble and have much to behold.
Though, if you prefer small villages, we recommend Lefkes and Marpissa. Their tranquillity and few tourists guarantee the perfect holiday to recuperate from a busy work life. Plus, both villages are very authentic, as you meet many more locals here than in the larger cities.
Of course, there are other places you can visit on Paros. It does not matter where you travel to, this Greek island is going to enchant you! You will surely want to stay longer in this beautiful place.