Paros Situated in the centre of the Cyclades islands, Paros is the very picture of a traditional Greek island. There is much to see and do on the island, the Parian wine is famous and of course, there are wonderful beaches.
Many travellers prefer to stay in the island's capital Parikia, which is a beautiful village with sparkling white houses and little streets you can wander around in. The harbour is very busy, since almost all ferryboats make a stop here. For obvious reasons, this makes Paros a perfect place for
Others prefer the smaller villages, especially the little fishing village Naousa. The
fishing boats are everywhere, since fishing is the traditional source of income for the islanders. The Parian marble is famous since ancient times, and has also provided the island with a good income.
Paros developed its tourist industry in the late 1960s and it is, today,
one of the most visited islands in the Cyclades. Paros has almost
everything that a holidaymaker to a Greek island expects. For instance,
a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with intensive nightlife combined with
ancient monuments, monasteries, churches and, most of all, wonderful
sandy beaches. There are also many areas which maintain a tranquil and
traditional pace of life, together with all of the above, Paros has it all.
History Paros has been inhabited since at least 4000BC. It
started flourishing around 3000BC, and all over the Cyclades the Parian
marble can be found from this time. The island was then called Minoa which
indicates that the island's civilization was Minoan (Cretan) then. Later
on, the Parian marble was to be used in Delphi, Delos and the temple of Poseidon
The earliest people we know of living on the island was a tribe from
Peloponnesos, the Arcades. Mixing with the Ionians they became a strong
force in the area of the Cyclades. They traded their marble with the
Phoenicians, and until the 6th century BC they had great power in the
Aegean sea, with colonies on Thassos and other places.
Paros was defeated by Naxos at this time, and lost its position. It still
held a strong cultural foothold though with a school for sculptors. When
the Persian wars began, Paros initially fought with the Persians against
Athens. After the Persian defeat at Salamis, Paros joined the Athenian
Towards the end of the Classical period Paros was ruled by Sparta, then
the Macedonians and finally the Romans. Chistianity came to Paros around
AD300. St Helen (Ag Eleni) then had a church built to the Virgin Mary,
Katapolianis. You can still see the first baptismal font there. This
church is also called the church of 100 doors and according to an old
legend Greece will conquer Istanbul when the 100th door is found.
During the Byzantine period Paros continued to be an important place
because of its marbles, but around 900 the island was totally deserted
when the Arabs invaded. It was repopulated though and came under Venetian
rule in the beginning of the 13th century.
During the Turkish rule the islanders were heavily taxed, but allowed much
freedom. The islanders built many churches and monasteries during this
time. Paros took a strong part of the Greek revolution against the Turks
in 1821 and was soon freed.
The two most famous names from Paros are Archilochus,
lyrical poet in the 7th century BC, and Scopas,
sculptor & architect from the 4th century BC.
What to See in Paros Parikia is the capital town of Paros and lies on the northwest side of the
island. It is the landing point for all visitors arriving from Piraeus and
neighbouring Greek islands. The coastal road which spreads either side of the
port is pleasant but
quite busy with nearly all the buildings along the road
given over to the tourist industry in one way or another. Here you will
find a huge variety of accommodation as well as car and bike hire,
restaurants, cafes and bars. The harbour itself is dominated by a charming old
windmill that stands in the middle of the main road and a bit further by the
small white church of St Nikolaos. There are good
beaches, mostly to the right of the harbour (facing the sea) towards Livadia and
Krios. To the south,
you can follow the road that will take you to the small river and the hill of Ag. Anna. All along the
sea front are cafes, bars and restaurants where you can admire amazing
sunsets especially from the spot with the palm trees. From Ag. Anna you
can enjoy the stunning views that stretch into the far distance. That road has many restaurants and taverns, several
fashion shops, souvenirs, and supermarkets. Bordered with wide sandy beaches
with tamarisk trees, well organised with plenty of facilities to choose from.
Parikia, however, is not just seafront and harbour. Behind the main
seafront road lies the old town, full of little alleyways, with small
traditional Cycladic houses huddled together and competing for space with the
many beautiful 18th century mansions that flaunt their elaborate carving and
marble balconies quite unashamedly. Nestling amongst this you will come across
tiny churches like the church Agios Konstantinos built on top of the ancient temple
of the goddess Demeter and the remains of the Frankish castle right at the heart of the
old town. This fascinating castle, which is now a semi-ruin, was built using
material from the ancient Temple of Demeter and broken columns and pieces of the
ancient temple can be easily identified in its structure.
The Church of Panagia Ekatontapilliani or Katapoliani
is one of the oldest, best preserved and most important churches in
Greece and is constructed on the ruins of an ancient temple, it is one of the earliest Christian churches in Greece and is
found in Parikia's park. According to tradition it was built by St Helen
around 300 AD and its baptistery belongs to the original building.
It has an interesting Byzantine Museum which is situated in a peaceful
courtyard garden. The little wooded copse of pine trees behind the
church is also interesting as you can easily see the force of the
Cycladic winter winds with all the trees bending at the same acute
angle. is worth strolling around in. There is also an interesting museum
with various findings from different periods in Paros history.
Naussa is a picturesque town on the north side of the island.
Here there exists the ruins of a a Venetian citadel from the 15th
century . Around the port and promenade you will find many taverns,
restaurants and cafes.
If you are on Paros on the 23rd of August don't miss when the people of
Naoussa celebrate the victory over the Turkish pirate Barbarossa by
reacting the events: 100 boats imitate the battle and the celebrating goes
on until the morning after.
is a little picturesque mountain village around 16km from
Parikia. The village itself is charming and full of historical
interest, with traditional Cycladic houses and narrow paved
roads. It boasts many churches that date from around the 16th
and 17th century as well as the ruins of a Venetian Castle.
There are some typical Cycladic windmills and a folk museum
sited in St. Nicholas square at the centre of the village. .
Livadi:About 8km south of Naussa is the wonderful resort of
Piso Livadi, with a small harbour frm where you can visit the
neighbouring island of Naxos. Here you will find cafes, fish
tavernas and restaurants as well as accommodation in beautiful
lodgings that are built around the port. There is a small sandy
beach with tamarisk trees and not far away is the larger beach
About 23km from Parikia and 1 km from Chrisi Akti is the village
and beach of Drios. The main road to Drios beach is small and
winding util you reach a free car park where you can leave your
vehicle and walk the short distanct to the beach. The paved lane
leading down to the seafront is very well kept, bordered on both
sides by Oleander trees with a good selection of studios and
apartments to rent.
For nature lovers a few kilometres outside Parikia is the Valley of the
Butterflies and there are organized tours to this area. Close to this
valley is the nun's Monastery of Christ of the forest. At Marathi you
can visit the caves of the nymphs. They are two by number, and
by the entrance of the first there is a sculpture of the nymphs.
At Dilio are the remains of the ancient temple to
Apollo, and about 11km outside Parikia is the famous
Asclepio, the temple to the
god of medicine where the ancient Greeks sought remedies for
What to Do
:There are various water sports around the island and you can also go scuba diving, which is quite unusual in Greece. You can also go biking or jogging quite easily since the island is basically
flat. Among other things that have made Paros so popular is that
the island is ideal for windsurfing and every summer Paros hosts
windsurfing competitions. There are many sporting facilities on
the island, most of them located in the larger hotels. The
island also has diving and snorkelling schools and there are
many places where you can enjoy these activities, either as part
of a group or independently. Fishing is another activity that
many enjoy and the island boasts plenty of places to do this.
Paros has many beaches and it is difficult to say which are the best.
For families, the Kolymbithres
beach is considered ideal .This is an amazing location with fine
sand and a
rock formation which resembles a lunar landscape, unique and
enchanting. Especially out of high season when it is deserted. Close to Nausa on the north coast are the
beaches with the quaint names of 'large and little piperi'. Also
there is the beach of Lymnes, the beaches of Santa Maria, Xifari,
Lageri and, a little further to the south is the beautiful beach
At the Golden Beach the sea can get quite rough, but the winds attract windsurfers from all over.
Chrisi Akti in Greek or the Golden Beach is possibly the most
popular beach on Paros due to its glorious fine golden sand. It
is a wide beach, dotted with sand dunes, culminating in the
crystal clear turquoise sea of the Agean. It is well
organised with umbrellas, several taverns cafes and bars that
parties. There is a large area of free parking.
You will also find a good selection of rooms and studios to rent
near by. The Golden Beach is popular with wind surfers and the
beach has excellent sporting facilities for this and a well
known wind-surfing competition is held here every August with
competitors arriving from all over Europe. The region of Chrisi
Akti is very fertile with many fields of tall rushes. The road
from here to Drios is very fertile and verdant. There are
Cypress and Palm trees, olive groves, vine yards and orchards
all along the route. Piso Livadi on the east coast has golden sands with very good
tourist facilities and also some good hotels and other forms of
accommodation. A few minutes walk from Piso Livadi is the beach
of Logaras well organised and sandy.
Paros Nighttlife:Just like anywhere else in Greece, you will find little bars and taverns even in the smallest village on Paros. If you really want to party, it's best to stay in Parikia - that's where the clubs and discos are.
There are also many places with live Greek music. Naoussa as well has a
lively nightlife. There are also summer cinemas in Parikia where you can
see English films with Greek subtitles.
When I first visited Paros in
1971, I came as a musician playing with my group at a nightclub near to Parikia
(at Souvlias beach) and later the same summer in Livadia at the restaurant Argo that today is
converted to a hotel. During those good old days the spot of the
nightlife in Parikia was the Discotheque Fishermen where I worked as a DJ for
This summer I visited Paros again after almost 30 years and the
old Disco was converted to a cafe, but my nostalgia was transformed to
happiness when I met again my good old friend
Gianakos with whom we
worked together at his uncles Gianni's Disco , the Fishermen.
Today Gianakos owns with his brother
George the spot of the nightlife in Parikia, the music bar Saloon d'Or,
right on the seafront towards Agia Anna and a bit further under the hill
the famous Dubliner dancing club with a complex of bars and clubs that during the high season can
accommodate more than 3000 people !!!! with all kinds of music and many
Food-Paros restaurants are very varied, and you can get traditional Greek food or more international meals.
In Parikia you will find most of the restaurants and taverns at the right
side of the port towards Argo beach and further to Krios. There are also
many eateries, ice cream parlours and fast food places around the Mando
square and inside the old town. To the left of the port the long promenade
is bursting from cafeterias, pizzerias, music bars and snack bars. Here you
will find the oldest restaurant of Paros the Hibiscus as well as one of the
oldest cafes of Parikia the Stelakis cafe that today you can eat the best
Galaktobouriko. For the largest portions of food ever seen in a Greek
restaurant try the Balkoni in Alyki !!!!!
Shopping: Most shops are in Parikia, and here you can get everything from cheap souvenirs to antiques and jewellery. Marble from the island in various shapes, local wine & embroideries are nice present for yourself or friends.
At the Mando Square under the police headquarters located the shop of the
farmers association of Paros here you will find local products like honey,
wine and other original bio products, there are also many supermarkets,
bakeries and green grosser shops. The same kind of shopping you will find as
well in Naoussa and Marpisa.
Getting Around There are fairly good roads on Paros connecting all the major villages on the island. You can rent a car or a bike, take taxis or use the local buses.
The road infrastructure is excellent and you can make the round of Paros
within few hours on a bike or a car.
Getting There:Paros has its own airport with daily connections to Athens, and as mentioned there are excellent Ferry connections to the whole of Greece from here. Many charter companies choose not to land here, but fly to Mykonos or Santorini instead.
Where to stay:
Hotel - Parikia, Paros.
A warm and friendly welcome is to be found
at this charming, recently refurbished hotel, La Selini. The Canadian
owner, Lou Ann Loveday came here a few years ago to follow her dream of running
a hotel in Paros. Her dream has been realised in this delightful hotel where
your every need is provided for with care and professional commitment. Located
just 400 metres from the port of Parikia and only 45 seconds walk to the sandy
beach of Argos, La Selini is in a quiet tree lined street with
ample free parking. The accommodation comprises 17 comfortably
furnished rooms and studios, each with private shower and WC,
air-conditioning, TV and refrigerator. Contact details:
Tel:+30 22840 23106 email:firstname.lastname@example.org website:
|Facts about Paros*
|| Phone numbers*
| Size: 195 sq km
||International code: 0030
|Population: about 8000
||Local code: 22840
|Cash machine: Yes
||Health center: 22500-3
|Internet cafe: Yes
||Police (Parikia): 21221
||Coast guard: 21240
|Tour Operators: Argo, Apollo, Ving
||Tourist Office: 25301
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.