Welcome to Paros, one of the most astonishing spots across the Cycladic complex of islands, with long history to date back in millennia, archaeological sites, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Cycladian style towns, a traditional village life, wonderful beaches and lots of activities.
Visit the most popular while picturesque traditional villages of Naoussa and Parikia of wonderful architecture, to see how the heart of the island beats, with their commercial, touristic along with historical aspects. A stopover at the peaceful settlement of Lefkes or Antiparos, pay back a quest for tranquility and beauty. Churches, ancient or medieval monuments, castles and museums provide all the information to reflect the glorious past of the island. Around the coastline, several beaches can offer relaxed or entertaining moments, with amusement and catering facilities. Paros offers luxury accommodation settlements with fully equipped conference facilities in hotels, spa hotels and traditional villas with magnificent views of the surrounding area to satisfy any taste, providing high standard services and excellent facilities to serve large scale conventions and congresses.
Paros is must destination when visiting the Cycladic complex of islands with wonderful beaches ideal for water sports, yachting and sailing, while hosting an international windsurfing championship on an annual basis. Suitable for relaxed and family holidays, religious tourism and archaeological tourism as well as fun vacations offering the suitable infrastructure for sports and leisure, Paros has a lot to give to every single visitor of this magnificent island.
Paros being a massively visited island can be accessed both by air or sea. The national airport of the island connects regularly with Athens Santorini or Mykonos and some European capital cities with charter flights during the summer period. Frequent ferry boat services link the island with the ports of Piraeus and Rafina, worth mentioning that Paros is ideal for island hopping as with only a few hours boat trip visitors can find themselves in Amorgos, Anafi, Ikaria, Ios, Samos, Koufonisi, Mykonos, Naxos, Rhodes, Santorini, Schinousa, Skiathos, Syros, Tinos, Crete, as well as the city of Volos and Thessaloniki. Within the island, local bus services provide easy transportation to most of the popular villages and beaches well available for your visit.
Visitors of Paros, although having a plethora of options in terms of getting to small villages around the coastline or the mainland, there are three main settlements to attract the majority of tourists of exceptional beauty and numerous choices for cultural as well as entertaining indulge. Naoussa is a picturesque fishing village; a great example of Cycladian architecture with cube style white washed houses, blue shutters, wooden balconies and colourful
flowers and stone paved narrow streets. With numerous chapels scattered around the village, historic remains of previous conquers and wonderful beaches around it, Naousa is the place to be. On the other hand, Parikia as the capital of Paros island and its commercial and cultural centre, still retaining some parts of traditional Cycladian architecture. The most important archaeological findings, churches and a wonderful butterfly valley are situated at this part of the island along with long sandy beaches to be easily reached. Finally Lefkes, the initial capital of the island is located in the heart of Paros, a wonderful car-free traditional village located on a hill full of olive pine trees to present excellent buildings of Venetian architecture, a Folk Art Museum, old churches, windmills and dovecots, while having an excellent view of Naxos island.
Once reaching Paros, as short even daily visit to Antiparos is a must being only 4 miles away from the coast of Paros. A half hour boat trip well rewards those who pursue to leave the crowds of Paros, ideal for relaxed and family vacations. This small island is surrounded by wonderful beaches, while over the hill one can find the widely known Cave of Antiparos which is full of steep and astonishing stalactites and stalagmites, worth the visit.
SIGHTSEEING & MONUMENTS
One of the most significant monuments of Christianity is the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani (Our Lady of a Hundred Gates), being one of the most important Byzantine monument around Greece. Located only 200 meters from the port of Parikia, this legendary church actually consisting of three linked churches was named after the large number of doors set in the building. The church's history begins in the 4th century AD during Saint Helen's quest for the Holly Cross and Paros was one of her stopovers, where she promised that once finding it, she would build a grand church in Virgin Mary's name, a promise kept by her son Emperor Constantine the Great. The church includes unique domes and vaults, old Byzantine icons and religious artifacts, along with an Ecclesiastical museum and shop.
Right behind the Ekatontapiliani church is the Archaeological Museum of Paros, where the history of the island unfolds in front of its visitor's eyes. Important findings from the prehistoric settlements of the area dating from the Neolithic Era, the Archaic Period, the Classical Period and the Roman Era are exhibited, such as vases, pottery, marble idols, grave stones, inscriptions, and sculptures, as well as collect information for important persons such as poets and artists.
In the heart of the island is the small village of Marathi to host the Ancient Marble Quarry dating back to the 3rd millennia BC. After crossing a marble path between old buildings visitors can se the entrance of the quarry with its corridors, stoas and some inscriptions, where the legend of Parian marble
revives since it was used in the manufacture of the greatest greek masterpieces such as Aphrodite of Milo, the Maidens of the Acopolis, the Niki of Delos and the Hermes of Praxiteles, as well as the Sifnian Treasure and the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, the Temple of Zeus in Olympia and Temple of Apollo in Delos.
On top of that, as Paros offers a vast selection of sites and monuments, several other attractions are worth the visit. The 13th century Frankish Castle in Parikia with its walls to house the Archaic Temple of Athena as well as small chapels, the unique across the Aegean Sea Ancient Cemetery near Parikia's port, the 15th century Venetian Castle of Naoussa located at the edge of the port, the Acropolis of Koukounaries and Kolymbithres, along with ancient sanctuaries, an ancient shipyard, remains of castles, churches and monasteries.
THINGS TO DO
Visitors will be amazed by the large variety of activities available in the island, offering modern infrastructures and facilities. Lovers of sea sports can enjoy wind surfing, water ski scuba diving or even snorkelling or kids diving. Several travel agents organize tours with fishing boats or sea discovery programmes, while families can amuse themselves in aqua parks. Tennis courts, beach volley courts, a horse riding centre, a fine arts and a yoga centre, can all emerge to create the ideal holiday experience in Paros. Fast paced enthusiasts can choose from Bungee Jumping, mountain biking or go-kart. Finally the island is ideal for sailing and island hopping as daily tours are available in order to reach the rest of the Cyclades islands.
Every Greek island is utterly co-related with its beaches and Paros with its lacy coastline with deserted coves or large beaches all easily accessed, offer countless options for swimming. At the surrounding area of Parikia, the enormously wide beach of Livadia is a central spot to attract large numbers of visitors, while Krios is harder to reach, offering amazing views of the port, catering and sports facilities. Finally Agia Irini is a small sandy beach is ideal for relaxation among a scenic background of palm trees. On the other hand, those settled close to Naousa, can enjoy its central beach Piperi to offer amazing view of the picturesque village. A little further away is the rocky beach of Kolympithres to create small, almost private little coves, as for those seeking for a lively sandy beach; Monastiri is the place to be, especially for youngsters who look for beach parties. The same age group should not miss a visit at Punda beach, a tropical and exotic spot, ideal for ongoing parties and extreme sports such as bungee jumping. The long spotless sandy Golden beach hosts the World Cup of Professional Windsurfing on an annual basis due to its ideal weather conditions, while Santa Maria beach is the place to be for those whishing to chill out at one of the sandy beaches of the area
The traditional forms of Paros diet, used to be based entirely on the local products as a self – sufficient island often hardly connecting with the mainland, therefore consisting of fresh greens and vegetables, oil, traditional cheese, wine, seafood and only small quantities of meat. Actually an UNESCO search revealed that the habitants of Lefkes are among the longest living ones in Europe due to their balanced health diet. Nowadays, this touristic island of Cyclades has to offer all kinds of food, still though maintaining its traditional specialities. Fresh vegetables and fish are of exceptional taste widely available to all restaurants and taverns, while the local diary products are not to be missed. Soft goat cheese “mizithra”, dried mackerel “gouna”, “karavalous” snails, traditional sweet “petimezinia” and the local pumpkin pie are some local delicacies definitely worth a try. Finally, the Parian wine which is particularly good and quite renowned around the country for its fine taste and aroma, is an integral part of a meal
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Port Authority of Paros: +30 2284021240
Paros Bus Services: +30 22840 21386
Paros Police: +30 22840 23333
Paros Tourist Police: +30 2284021673
Paros Health Care Centre: +30 2284022500
Archaeological Museum of Paros: +30 22840 21231
Church of Ekatontapiliani Museum: +30 22840 21243
Antiparos Police: +30 22840 61202
Antiparos Medical Services: +30 22840 61219