General Information on Paros
The island of Paros is one of the largest of the Cyclades cluster. Its area is 165km² and the population is about 12,000 people. The island consists mainly of large valleys, while mountains occupy its central part. Paros is one of the most modern tourist resorts of the Aegean. Due to its size, the island meets any visitor’s needs, whether looking for relaxation or adventurous holidays. It is a typical Cycladic island with traditional villages full of whitewashed houses, narrow paved streets, flowered balconies, churches and many beautiful beaches.
History of Paros
Paros has been inhabited since 3200 B.C. According to mythology, the first colonist was Cretan Alcaios, who built the first city in the location where Parikia stands today. During those times, Cretans used Paros –called Minoa at that time– as a naval station because of its position –in the center of Cyclades– and its two safe harbours.
In 1100 B.C., the island started to flourish under the rule of the Ionians, who annihilated the Minoan civilization. One hundred years later, the island was taken by the Arcadians, and their leader, Parios, giving his name to the island. During the Persian wars, part of the Parian army fought beside the Persians and was defeated by the Athenians. In 338 B.C., Paros came under the rule of Philippe of Macedonia. Later, the island passed under the rule of Romans.
During the Byzantine period, a large number of churches, chapels and monasteries were built on the island. Between 1207 and 1389, Paros became part of the Duchy of the Aegean ruled by the Venetians. In 1537, it was conquered by the Turks until the revolution of 1821 when Paros, like the rest of Cyclades, became part of the new Greek state.
Towns & Villages in Paros
Parikia: is the capital, the main port and the biggest settlement of the island of Paros with 3,000 inhabitants. Despite the quick development over the last decades, Parikia kept its traditional beauty. Built amphitheatrically around the port with whitewashed and flat roofed houses, wooden colored doors and windows, separated by narrow white alleys forming a labyrinth, it is the cultural and commercial center of Paros.
Naoussa: is the second biggest village in Paros. Naoussa is considered one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades. The village is built amphitheatrically around a small lovely port. Like Parikia, Naoussa retained its authenticity and traditional atmosphere. Although Naoussa is much quieter than the capital, it also has bars and clubs which stay open until dawn.
Lefkes: is built 300 meters above sea level on the main mountain of the island. This village offers the most amazing view of Naxos island. During the Middle Ages, Lefkes was the capital of Paros and it is still full of traditional white houses mixed with Venetian architecture, small chapels, windmills and dovecotes.
Marpissa: lies about 15km away from Parikia. It is a picturesque village built amphitheatrically around a low hill. It is one of the most authentic Cycladic villages of Paros. There are few accommodation choices here and this is a constitutive element of its incredible charm and beauty.
Piso Livadi: is a small fishing port 1 km away from Marpissa. This village once was a calm and quiet place. Nowadays, it has transformed into a tourist attraction. It is an important holiday resort with many cafes, bars and restaurants.
Prodromos: is a small traditional village with white houses, small chapels and beautiful churches. The village was named after the 17th century church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos.
Drios: is one of the nicest villages on the island and lies on the east coast. It has a small beach with pebbles, off the road, that is full of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Aliki: is the southernmost village of Paros and the third biggest village after Naoussa. Because of north winds blowing in the region during summer, the beach is the perfect choice for surfing.
Pounda: is a popular tourist resort, located on the western side of Paros, and taverns, hotels and bars are everywhere.
Beaches in Paros
Kolimbithres: is known mainly for its turquoise water and incredible rock formations. It is located in the huge bay of Naoussa. Small sandy caves line one after the other, constituting the beach of Kolimbithres, which means small swimming pools. The beach is organized and there are also a few restaurants on the road that leads to the beach. You can go to Kolimbithres either by boat from Naoussa or by bus which stops about 3 km away from the beach.
Chryssi Akti (Golden Beach): is one of Paros most famous beaches and it is located south of Parikia. It is a long golden sandy beach extending 700 meters. Chryssi Akti is very well organized and it is ideal for people who like sea sports, as it is famous among windsurfers for its perfect conditions.
Tsendrakia or New Golden Beach: is a large sandy beach and pretty much a smaller version of Golden Beach. The development in Tsedrakia creates a less attractive setting.
Parasporas: is located south of Parikia, next to a campsite and is usually very crowded. It is an organized beach with emerald waters and golden sand.
Santa Maria: is located near Naoussa. It is a long coastline divided in two soft golden sandy beaches. Santa Maria is a fully organized beach suitable for windsurfing. Because of the nearby campsite (next to the beaches) they become really crowded during July and August.
Logaras: lies next to Piso Livadi and you can go there on foot (5min). It is a very long sandy beach awarded with the blue flag. Around the beach, you can find many restaurants and hotels.
Marchello: is located in Parikia bay. It is a popular beach, very long and well organized.
Pounda: it is just 2km from Logaras. It is not a very long beach, but it is well organized and offers a big tourist complex with many facilities. It is a paradise for young people as music plays non stop.
Agia Irini: it is a very small beach with palm trees which give a tropical atmosphere to the place. During summer, it can get crowded.
Farangas: is a beautiful sandy beach, 14km away from Parikia. Before you reach Farangas, you will see several small quiet beaches. Among them Farangas is the most popular. The road is not in a very good condition, but the beach will reward you.
Top Things to Do in Paros
1. Panagia Ekatontapyliani: On the west side of Parikia lies the church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani. It is the oldest remaining Byzantine church in Greece. According to the legend, 99 doors have been found in the church and the 100th will be discovered only after Constantinople becomes Greek again. The construction of the 100-gate church dates back to the 6th century, but the inspiration dates further back to the 4th century when it was founded by St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. The building is actually three distinct churches: Agios Nikolaos, the largest one, the church of Our Lady and the Baptistery.
2. Archaeological Museum: Behind the church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani, the archaeological Museum contains finds from Paros and the nearby island Antiparos, dating back to more than 6,000 years. Typically, some of the most exquisite pieces are plaster casts, as the original pieces are exhibited in museums in New York and Germany.
3. Along the waterfront of Parikia, to the north, there is an ancient cemetery dating to the 7th century B.C. Roman graves, burial pots and sarcophagi are floodlit at night.
4. Kolimbithres and Chryssi Akti Don’t miss the two most well-known and beautiful beaches of the island of Paros.
How to Reach Paros
Air: Regular services connect Athens and Paros, especially during summertime.
Sea: During summer, there are about several boats sailing daily to Paros. The trip lasts five hours. There are also connections to Naxos, Ios, Santorini, Mykonos, Tinos, Syros, and Amorgos, and less frequent services to Koufonisia, Sikino, Samos, Ikaria, Serifos, Sifnos, Milos.
Generally. Paros offers a variety of ferry connections to all of the Cyclades.
Getting Around in Paros
There are around seven buses daily from Parikia to Naoussa via Dryos, Chrysi Akti, Marpissa, Marmara, Prodromos, Kostos, Marathi and Lefkes, and frequent buses to Pounta, Aliki. Also there are few buses which go directly from Parikia to Naoussa.
Weather in Paros
The climate in Paros Island is similar to the rest of the Cyclades. It is sunny and hot in the summer months and particularly mild in the winter months. In the evenings it can get cool and humid. During July and August, meltemi wind is particularly strong in the island, due to its location in the middle of the Cyclades cluster.
Top 10 Destinations in Paros
All Destinations in Paros
Map of Paros