Paros is an incredibly laidback and relaxed island located in the west of the Cycladic group. Rich in natural beauty and ancient history, the island has is best known for its traditional villages and food. It may not be the island your friends told you to go to, but here you can experience authentic Greek life, stunning beaches and some of that Greek Island famous nightlife too.
The local church in the heart of town is over 1700 years old, with its bells ringing a cute melody each morning, and the town square is often filled with elderly women gossiping about their neighbours. It feels like people actually still live here – unlike its busy, tourist-filled neighbours of Mykonos and Santorini.
How to get there
Direct flights run regularly to Paros from Athens. The airport is located 9km from the main town of Parikia and buses connect only once or twice daily. A taxi into town will cost between €10 – €15.
However, the most common way of reaching Paros is via ferry, taking up to 4 hours from Athens or as little as 1 hour from neighbouring island Naxos.
Check out Direct Ferries to compare latest schedules and times.
How to get around
Buses run throughout the island connecting most major sights and villages, however just like most Greek Islands, the buses can often be a little unreliable and full. Schedules change every season and buses are usually never on time, but to give you an idea, check out the timetables here.
Alternatively, the best way to see the island at your own pace is to rent a quad bike. There are plenty of hire shops on the island, mostly near the ferry terminal.
Where to eat
Happy Cows: A little pricy but justified. Serves a selection of gourmet dishes made from organic ingredients.
Chaniotis: Cheap and cheerful, good bang for buck meals located in the main square.
Jack Eat Naan: Great selection of naans and baked potatoes with delicious toppings – super filling and cheap, starting from just €4.50.
SiParos: Excellent menu especially for seafood lovers. Located towards the north end of the island.
Sweet Smelling Kitchen: Excellent traditional Greek food located in the mountain village of Lefkes. It’s a little more expensive but the quality is amazing.
Where to stay
For the best value-for-money without skipping on the homey comfort and friendly environment, you can’t go past Hostel Festos. Stav lives downstairs and is super welcoming and hospitable. He makes home cooked meals every night costing between €5 and €10 depending on what he cooks. He also puts on a great free breakfast of fresh bread and spreads but also offers an upgrade of yoghurt and honey, pancakes and omelettes for a small fee. Rooms are comfy and clean and the hostel is super central.
Example budget for one day in Paros
€45 per day
– Hostel: €15 per night
– Free Breakfast at Hostel
– Baked Potato: €5
– Return bus ticket to Lefkus: €5
– Dinner at Sweet Smelling Kitchen: €15
How long to spend here
Paros is such a relaxed and naturally beautiful island it is easy to spend a week on this island. Give yourself at least 4 days to explore the many villages and beaches on offer.
What to see and do in Paros
Aliki: A great little seaside town on the south coast
Naoussa: Fishing village located on the north side of the island.
This is the best place to go if you are after seafood restaurants.
Parikia: There are plenty of bars in this neighbourhood, head
towards the main port, turn left and walk along the coast road
to find a string of outdoor restaurants and bars. Sativa Bar is a
popular chill spot, or Paros Rock is popular amongst backpackers
for some rowdy fun and karaoke.
Lefkus: Picturesque mountain village located in the centre of the
island – I recommend stopping in for an afternoon and enjoying
dinner at Sweet Smelling Kitchen.
There are plenty of beaches for everyone on Paros, whether its long stretches of fine golden sand or secluded little coves. At popular beaches such as Golden Beach, Pounta Beach and Santa Maria you will find bars, music and watersport activities.
Parasporos, Krios or Kolimbitheres are all perfect to enjoy clear blue water in a family-style environment.
For smaller, quieter beaches I would recommend Ag Eirini or Kalogeros Beach – Kalogeros is very picturesque, located under clay cliffs looking real Planets of the Apes-y, located on the east side of the island.
This small island is located just 15-30 minutes away by boat.
Passenger boats leave the main port every hour and cost €5
(just look for the signs at the port), or catch a bus to Pounta and
hop on the large car ferry, which costs a few euro and leaves
every half hour. Once in Anti Paros, be sure to stroll through
the cute little main town, take a dip at the many beaches within
walking distance from the town, and catch the bus to The Cave
of Antiparos, which contains inscriptions from visitors dating
back to 680BC. Entrance is €5.
Buses run to beaches and the cave roughly every hour – you will
find the latest schedule at the bus stop near the port.
Panagia Ekatotapiliani: Also known as the Church of 100
Doors, it is 1700 years old and really is a spectacle!
Ancient Graveyard: This is one of the most important ancient
cemeteries of Cyclades. Archaeological evidence show that it
was in use from the 8th century BC to the 3rdcentury AD.
Ag. Pantes: This is the highest point of the island, amazing
view and you can see several of the other Cycladic Islands.
Snorkelling, bicycle tours, donkey tours, island cruises and water sports such as kite surfing, wind surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and jet skiing, are some of the activities you can get up to on the island. Hostel Festos can book most of these for you direct and has plenty of brochures for prices and information.