The island of Paros is situated in the very heart of the
Cyclades island group. With an area of 165 km² and 10.000
inhabitants it is one of the bigger islands. It is popular
with backpackers and package holiday makers alike. The
highest mountain is Mt. Agios Pantes (771 meters); in fact
the whole island is one big mountain.
Local capital and port is Parakia on the west coast of
the island. It is one of the busiest tourist destinations
matched only by Thira (Santorini) and Mykonos. As a result
the town not only has loads of restaurants, shops and bars
but also a busy night life. Most of the amenities are along
the shore. The old town is somewhat hidden behind this shiny
modern town but it is worth visiting. Most popular is the
market lane. As a result you don't always get the best deal.
There is plenty to see on Paros. For a start there is
Naoussa. It is a small fishing village up north.
Unfortunately during season it gets invaded and literally run
over by busloads of tourists. Best stay away in high season.
Popular is also Lefkes in the heart of the island. It is a
cute mountain village and like an open-air museum for
Cycladic architecture. One of the most spectacular places on
Paros is the Petaloudes valley. In late spring / early summer
there are thousands and thousands of butterflies. Another
popular place to visit is Antiparos a small island 2 km off
the coast of Paros. It has one of the most fascinating
stalactite caves in Greece. The local village there is a good
alternative to Parakia if you like it a bit more quiet.
Paros is famous for its marble. Parian marble is of
the highest quality and as such first choice for artists all
over the world. Most famous are the Venus of Milo and
Paros is a relatively green island with enough water. There
still is a lot of agriculture. Farmers mainly grow grains,
fruit olives and - needless to say - grapes.
The best beaches are on the east coast near Piso
Lovadi and Drios. Golden Beach is considered the best beach
for surfing. Most popular with the young and hip is Pounda.
The beaches near Parikia and Naoussa on most islands would be
considered excellent. On Paros simply is just too much
competition for them to be noted.
Busses on Paros
The bus system on Paros is excellent. There are four lines.
The schedule below is from May 2008 (low season). During
season there are even more busses.
Line 1: From Parikia via Lefkes and Piso Livadi to Drios
Going there: 8, 10, 11, 12:10, 14, 16, 18 (weekdays)
Going back: 7:30 (from Lefkes), 9, 11, 13:10, 15, 17, 19
Line 2: From Parikia to Naoussa
Going there: 8, 10, 11, 12:10, 14, 16, 18, 20
Going back: 7:40, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30,
16:30, 18:30, 20:30
Line 3: From Parikia via Petaloudes valley (butterflies) to
Going there: 7:10, 9, 11, 12:10, 14:10, 16:10, 18:10
Going back: 7:35, 9:20, 11:25, 12:30, 14:40, 16:40, 18:40
Line 4: From Parikia to Pounda (boat to Antiparos)
Going there: 7:10, 9:10, 11:10, 12:10, 14:10, 16:10, 18:10
Going back: 7:55, 9:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 16:30, 18:30
The ferry to Antiparos goes every 30 minutes (more or less).
It is even mre frequent in high season. It lands in the main
village on Antiparos. The boats cost next to nothing
(1.20-1.90 Euro) one way. The bus stop is close to the small
port. From the main port in Parikia keep left.
The schedule above is for weekdays. On weekends there are
fewer busses, especially in the morning.
Besides the public transport option you can avail of private
charters. Most travel agencies will offer round and day trips
for about 25 Euro pp.
Parikia is the biggest ferry port in the island group and one
of the busiest. Besides the regular ferries most fast ferries
will stop here. They are twice as expensive but also twice as
fast as regular ones.
There are 3-8 ferries a day to Athens and 3-6 to neighbouring
Naxos, Ios and
Santorini. 2-4 Ferries go to Mykonos but these
are mostly fast ferries. During season there even is a daily
boat to Crete which is rather unusual.
Still frequent are ferries to Sikinos,
Icaria, Samos and other islands, making
Paros the ideal hub for travellers. From here you even get to
Already mentioned are the small ferries to Antiparos that go
at least every 30 minutes.
Paros has a small airport. The only flights are domestic
meaning Athens. To get there from the UK best go to Mykonos
and take a ferry. From overseas your best option is to change
planes in Athens.
night on Paros
There are numerous hotels, pensions, holiday homes and
private rooms on Paros. Besides that there are no less than 5
camp sites. In Naoussa you even find a hostel. In the capital
of Paros Parikia my favourite places are Pension
Alexandas (very cheap, good rooms, nice staff) and
Pension Helliniko (also good price).
For more infos click on the hotel name.
(hier freier WLAN-Internetzugang).
Parikia is the local capital. It is one of the busier tourist
centres in the Cyclades. It may be no match for Mykonos but
the local night life does have a reputation. It is popular
even with people coming from Athens.
In the past 30 years Parikia turned into a typical tourist
destination with all its advantages and disadvantages. Cafes
and clubs are open until 6 in the morning, you even find a
Hard Rock Café here. The variety of restaurants and food
stands is impressive. You can find pretty much everything
from Chinese to Indian. Prices are above average which is not
surprising. There are cheap alternatives though. Souvlaki
pitas are cheap and good, there is no local MacDonalds but
the Greek version of it: Goodies.
The old town is pretty. Most popular is the agora (literally
translated: market). While you should visit it don't bother
shopping there. It is a tourist trap. More interesting for
hunting gifts are the small side streets. They are less busy
with tourists and you might be able to find a good deal
there. Don't rely on it. Paros is just the wrong place for
grabbing a bargain.
In Greece the town is most famous for the gigantic church.
Paragia Ekatontapiliani is one of the oldest churches in the
whole country. It's not always open but admission at least is
free. You should be able to get in before noon and between 4
pm and 8 pm. The area is enclosed by a wall and there is more
than one church. Most impressive are the marble pillars and
art work. The church is probably your best chance to have a
close look at Parian marble.
Typical for Greece the old town is built on a small hill. On
top is a small castle. Countless tiny little alleys invite
There are plenty of places to stay. You should get a basic
room from about 40 Euro. In low season prices go down. With a
bit of luck you should get a double for 25 to 30 Euros. There
are quiet a few rather expensive places. Most of them would
be occupied buy package holiday makers. The accommodation
bureau at the port is actually quiet good.
The bus stop is only a few meters from the port. From there
the four bus lines start that bring you to Naoussa, the east
(Lefkes, Piso Livadi and Drios), Poubda (Antiparos) and Aliki
in the south. All bus lines go frequently.
Naoussa represents pretty much everything you'd expect in a
typical village on a Cycladic island. The narrow alleys, the
white houses and the sheer number of churches make it look
like a museum. Most visitors consider it the most beautiful
village on Paros.
In Naoussa you can rent a room in one of the immaculate white
houses along one of the narrow alleys. There is no traffic
and you feel like you've been sent back in time. During the
day you can visit one of the nearby beaches, in the evening
you dine in one of the restaurants at the romantic fishing
port. Highly recommend is the fresh fish. Afterwards you can
stroll through the village and visit one of the cosy bars. No
wonder Naoussa became so popular. It sounds like a perfect
day on a Greek island. The downside of this is a growing
popularity. During high season the town is packed with
tourists. The numbers might be lower than Parikia but Naoussa
certainly is not a "best kept secret".
The local port is considered one the most beautiful in whole
island group. Unlike other islands the number of fishermen is
not going down. There are still plenty of fishing boats.
Prices in the local restaurants have not gone down either.
Quite the opposite; I wouldn't call them steep but they
certainly aren't cheap either. If you are looking for a
bargain stick to the Souvlaki stands on the main square.
Hotels in Naossa you find
Busses Naoossa: The bus station is – together with the
tourist info – on the main square. Depending on the season
there are 8-20 busses a day going to Parikia (10 kilometres).
During season there are also busses to the popular places
east namely Piso Livadi and Drios. In low season there is
only one bus a day though.
Spending the night in Naussa: The Young Inn is the
unofficial youth hostel. The place is run by a German lady.
With 8 Euro per bed it is probably the cheapest place to
crash on the whole island. They also got a double room for 20
Euro a night. The place is chilled out. If you call in
advance the owner will pick you up at the port. This might be
a good idea since the place is a little difficult to find.
Also check their homepage.
2 km outside of Naoussa is a camp site. It is directly
at the sea which isn't bad at all.
Other than that there are plenty of rooms to rent in town.
Lefkes on Paros
Lefkes, situated in the very heart of the island, is
considered the most beautiful village on the island. On daily
basis hundreds of tourists visit the village. As a result the
narrow alleys are packed during the day. During high season
this can be challenging.
There is a bit of competition between Naoussa and Lefkes when
it comes to the title of the most beautiful village on Paros.
At the end of the day Lefkes wins because the surrounding
landscape. Also hiking is a lot better here. If you only look
at the village itself they are pretty much even.
Lefkes most prominent features are the churches and the
houses in the architectural style that is typical for the
Cycladic islands. All the houses are renovated whereby
tradition was adhered. In the small white houses you will
find small Kafenions (coffee houses) and shops. Particularly
interesting is the butcher just beside the main square
(Platia) and the bakery. The latter is surprisingly
reasonable. Try one their Tiropita (cheese pastry).
There are a number of restaurants in Lefkes. Prices are
average unless you stick to the local wine. That is delicious
and seriously cheap. Some say that most tourist are "tipsy"
when going back to their hotel and I have reason to believe
Lefkes used to be quite big. At some stage 4.000 people lived
here. Times have changed though. Most people left for more
prosperous places. Today some of the expats return since
tourism provides some opportunities to make a living.
The village is dominated by the church Agias Trias (the three
saints). Worth visiting are the cemetery just behind the
church and the local museum.
Busses to lefkes go every hour from Parikia in the west and
Drios and Piso Livadi in the east. From the bus stop walk
about 10 metres and then follow the cobbled road.
Petaloudes on Paros
Every year hundreds of thousands of butterflies come to the
valley of Petaloudes. It is a spectacular sight. The whole
valley is covered with them. They all seem to be the same;
orange with black and white wings. In summer hundreds of
people come every day to observe the spectacle. During the
day the insects cling to the trees. They only fly at night.
Despite the admission fee and the fact that they don't
actually do much during the day it does worth a visit.
Petaloudes is a unique place. To see the butterflies come
between June and September.
To get there take the bus from Perikia to Aliki and ask the
drive to drop you near the valley. There is no official bus
stop. From the road it is a 500 meters walk.
Agios Pantes is the name of the highest mountain on Paros. It
rises up to 750 meters which – for a small island – is a lot.
To walk (or drive) up there wait for a clear day. Otherwise
there is no point. From the top you can see more or less all
the entire island group, assuming that it is a clear day.
Bring a map and you can play the "what's this island" game.
From Lefkes there is a road to the summit. We recommend
walking up there. The easiest way up is from Lefkes but there
are many ways up the hill. Don't forget to bring plenty of
water and some food. 750 meters doesn't sound like much but
it is different with the heat.
Piso Livadi and
the east of Paros
Piso Livadi is a small village in the east of Paros. It has
everything one could possibly ask for and on top is cheaper
and more laid back than the bigger and fancier Parikia and
Piso Livadi is nothing but a few streets with a small port
and an excellent beach. There are loads of rooms to rent, the
restaurants along the waterfront without and exception are
fantastic and even better all of the above are 20-30% cheaper
than in the west of Paros. Why would you go anywhere else?
Actually; quite a few people asked the same question and for
this very reason Piso Livadi grew considerably in recent
years. In many ways we dislike the recent development but on
the other hand we can't blame them. If we were living them we
would probably do the same. Fair play to them; Piso Livadi
still is a very, very cool place to go.
If you can do without luxurious hotels and night life this is
your destination of choice. A perfect place for the family
In summer there is a small ferry going from here to
really only is a stones throw away. There are frequent busses
to Drios and Parikia via Lefkes. Depending on the season
there are 6-15 busses a day. During high season there are
also direct busses to Naoussa.
Drios / Golden
Beach on Paros
mainly famous for the nearby Golden beach. Other than that it
is a quiet village with a number of hotels. Especially in
recent years they seem to spring up like mushrooms. It's
quite annoying. At least there are a bunch of good
restaurants, supermarkets and even a disco. The latter is
packed with the kind of people that come to a place like
Drios: surfers. And guess why that is! The Golden Beach is
the magic word and quite literally.
The name really does give it away. Golden beach is the best
beach on Paros and one of the best in all Greece. The name
derives from the golden colour of the sand. It is most
popular (and famous) with surfers just mentioned. Even some
world cup events take place here.
There is a constant wind from the north which is quite
annoying when you want to chill on the beach but is excellent
when you wind surf. Not surprisingly the surfers are the
There are some restaurants, rooms to rent and lately also
some package holiday hotels. We actually used to like the
place. It's a crying shame what's becoming of it.
Golden beach and Drios share the busses with Piso Livadi.