Heading to Greece this year? Perfect time to visit the Cyclades – the island of Paros to be exact!
Warm weather and laid-back vibe are what keep tourists coming back to this spot in the Greek Islands. As one of the bigger Cycladic islands, it’s no wonder that Paros is also big in natural scenery, history, culture, and flavors.
Famous for its beautiful beaches and vibrant night life, Paros as A LOT more to offer. From stunning villa complex accommodations down to adrenaline-pumping activities, staying in Paros will never ever leave you bored. If you plan to add Paros in your itinerary, check out these things to do and places to see — that will make your trip richer and definitely more fun.
1. Ocular the Old Town
Also known as Parikia, Paros’ old town is the center for culture and business of the island. Exuding an old-world charm, the town is home to ancient white-washed Cycladic architecture (as this is the same site of the olden city), traditional houses, centuries-old mansions, and cobblestone streets.
To get a better feel of the place, walk around the narrow streets and visit the quaint shops that offer local products. Take time to enjoy the beauty sitting at one of the cafes enjoying a warm cup of coffee as the day unfolds.
2. Fun at the Port
One of the highlights of Paros is its port, with its trademark windmill. If staying at the town center, you can reach this by bicycle or if you’re up for it, a leisurely walk. The place is lined up with bars and restaurants where you can drink in the view and go people watching. The port can get a bit busy, so it’s recommended that you drop by during lean hours, do this and you’ll definitely have a blast.
3. Charm of Churches
Paros is a melting pot of cultures and religion is one of its foundations. The island is home to around 450 charming chapels and churches — big and small — which you can find at every corner. These structures date back as far as the 16th century, some even outlasting temples and other ancient architecture. One church you shouldn’t miss is Parikia’s Our Lady of the Hundred Doors, an important Byzantine structure honoring the Virgin Mary.
Other must-see is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin at the town of Naoussa, built at the area’s highest point. There’s also the hilltop monastery of Jesus of the Wood and Paros’ largest monastery, Longovarda. You should also include Church of Agios Georgios, Church of Agia Triada, and Church of Agios Ioannis in your itinerary.
4. Vibrant Villages
Visiting Paros won’t be complete without exploring some of its vibrant villages. This one-of-a-kind cultural immersion will give you a glimpse these towns’ unique centuries-old way of life. There’s the pretty fishing village of Naoussa with its authentic traditional allure complete with stone streets, colorful ferries, and white-washed houses. Lefkes, on the other hand, found at the center of the island boasts lovely villages, lush olive groves, and Venetian-inspired architecture.
Other municipalities worth exploring include the unspoiled Marpissa Village, the coastal foodie paradise of Aliki, and the resort town of Piso Livadi.
5. Amazing Antiparos
The Cyclades is composed of 220 islands, and one of the nearest islands to Paros is just 2 minutes away by ferry – a place that you should definitely visit. Perfect for a day of excursion, some of the activities you can enjoy at Antiparos include beaching, caving at Agios Ioannis Hill, and church hopping as the island is home to many.
6. Cinema Under the Stars
Feeling romantic? Watch a movie with a loved one under the Greek stars when you visit Paros. This dreamy affair is complete with the sweet smell of the ocean and the magical star-studded sky. The island’s cultural park hosts night film screenings at their theater venue for free. Just the perfect place to take off your shoes and have a relaxing time after a day of touring.
7. Magical Music
Every year, Paros Park also hosts a music festival featuring local and foreign artists and musicians. It is held at the park’s Archilochos Theatre, a majestic 700-seater open air theater with a view of the Naoussa bay. Visit around June until the end October to witness this one-of-a-kind showcase that is unique to Paros.
8. Pristine Park
If there’s a place in Paros that’s teeming with spots and things to do, it would be Ai Yiannis Detis or Paros Park. This nature lover’s paradise is an 80-hectare venue for both environmental and cultural activities, featuring an outdoor amphitheater as well stunning landscapes, colorful flora, coves and beaches, and Cycladic wildlife. Cars and vehicles are not allowed in the area to maintain the cleanliness and ecological purity of the place. Best thing of all? Visiting here is free of charge!
9. Beach Bliss
Some of the best beaches in the Cyclades are found in Paros. Each spot offers a different experience that’s why you will never run out fun under the sun during your stay. If you’re up for a day of tanning and relaxing, there are many beaches to choose from – if you want somewhere near unique granite rock formations, head on to Kolymbithres just a short distance from the town of Naoussa; for golden sand and view of Naxos island, go to Sta. Maria; for parties and all-around good time, Parasporos is the beach for you.
10. Extreme Excitement
If you’re a sports buff and after some action during your holiday, visit during the summer to join Paros Park’s Triathlon. It takes place at the park and include cycling, running, and swimming at the surrounding bay. It is action-packed and definitely not for the faint hearted. It is open to both adults and teens (13 years and above).
11. Foodie Paradise
Paros is not just a beach destination, it’s also a foodie paradise. The island is littered with bars and taverns offering the most sumptuous dishes using the freshest local ingredients. From Parikia and Nauossa down to Lefkes and Aliki, each town has their own string of restaurants where you can taste delicious delicacies and international cuisines that will please your palettes. There are also hole in the wall spots in these towns for light snacks and cheap eats.
12. Winning Watersports
If you’re done with sunbathing and beach hopping and crave action and adrenaline-pumping time, drive to Golden Beach or New Golden Beach for crystal clear water and exciting watersports and windsurfing. If you want to discover the underwater wonderland of Paros, try diving and snorkeling at Sta. Maria. For other water games like water ski and wakeboarding, head on to Pounda.
13. Shopping Spots
Another thing to add to your itinerary when visiting Paros? Shopping! Towns like Parikia and Naoussa houses boutiques and shops for clothes, jewelries, art, and souvenirs. Explore every corner for unique finds and bring home hand-made trinkets from one of the sidewalk shops. From luxury to affordable, Paros has got it all.
14. Hungry for History
If you’d like to learn about Greek history, Paros is a great spot to start. The island has many museums, villages, and galleries that are reflections of the life and history of the Greek islands’ ancient times. The best museum in the Aegean, Archaeological Museum of Paros, is home to important Neolithic and Roman artifacts that include statues, sculptures, and other treasures. For glimpse of the island’s Byzantine History, there’s the Byzantine Museum at Parikia for valuable relics and Byzantine Art Museum in Marpissa for religious exhibits.
15. Villa Vacation
The best way to enjoy your vacation in Paros is booking the most awesome of accommodations which is a villa complex. Everything you could ever need for an unforgettable vacation is inside the compound – large and cozy rooms, lush greens, tranquil ambiance, and a big swimming pool where you can spend lounging and enjoying the Aegean sun. It’s like you have your own Greek village just with exclusivity, privacy, and topnotch service.
16. Calming Corner
If you’re tired from all the walks and excursion, treat your body to a relaxing session offered at your villa complex accommodation. Soothing services include massages, meditation, and even pampering pleasures like refreshing facial, manicure, and pedicure. This is an on-call service that you can avail anytime you want during your stay.
17. Pumped-up Party
Come sundown, the activities don’t stop in Paros. The island has an exciting and vivacious night life with its string of seafront bars and clubs. Both Parikia and Naoussa have venues that offer the liveliest party scenes where you can drink and dance the night away.
18. Cyclades Tour
A different take to tours, a yacht cruise is a great way to see the beauty of the Cyclades. You can not just see tour the whole island, you can also add to your itinerary the neighboring areas like Mykonos, Delos, Santorini, and Koufonisia. As you’ll be spending the whole day under the sun aboard a sleek yacht, don’t forget to bring sunblock to protect your skin and some snacks and drinks to keep you full and hydrated all throughout the tour.
19. Milestone Memory
Achieved a milestone? Birthday trip? Just got engaged? Celebrate these wonderful occasions by going on a vacation to Paros. The island is the perfect backdrop for important achievements and there are a number of ways you can revel even just at the comforts of your villa accommodation. Request a private chef for a romantic dinner or a fun picnic or have a pool party overflowing with drinks. Just request and your villa will make it happen just for you.
20. Say I Do!
Paros isn’t just about vacations, it’s also a spot for romance and happy endings. The island has stunning scenery and locations that can be the perfect for your wedding. Even your villa complex can transform into a fairytale venue, all with the help of a Greek wedding planner. Paros is complete with all the necessary suppliers including caterers, florists, stylists, and photographers that will ensure that your big day is an unforgettable one.
Before you say yes, have a chic pre-wedding photo shoot in Paros! From hilltops to olive groves to beaches, you will never run out of locations where you can document your love. Lover of architecture? The island’s ancient structures can complement your theme. You can even do a shoot aboard a yacht while sailing the Aegean. So many options, so many picture-perfect possibilities!
22. Fish Be with You
Another treat specially to outdoor enthusiasts is a day of sea excursion. There are charter and tour companies that offer whole day services that include swimming and fishing activities around the island. These tours already include equipment and guide, just make sure that you go on a fine weather as to ensure safety and enjoyment.
23. Horse Play
Want a unique way to explore Paros? Go on horseback for a thrilling ride! With a trusty and well-trained horse companion, you can ride through the hills or the beach along with a guide. This activity is perfect for kids and adults alike, a nice way to get closer to nature while you’re in Paros.
24. Butterfly Beauty
Away from the town near the hilly side of Monastery of Jesus of Woods lies the Butterflies Valley, home of the Jersey Tiger Moths, endemic only to Paros and Rhodes. It’s a natural phenomenon that is a must-see – something you can do by riding a donkey! As you’ll be coming near protected fauna, it’s recommended not to disturb them and destroy their habitat.
25. Art Appreciation
If you’re looking for creativity and craftsmanship, you can spend a day at some parts of Paros for art appreciation. There are galleries around the island that feature curated contemporary works and exceptional exhibits by local and international artists.
26. Castles of Cyclades
One of the perks of going to Naoussa is seeing the town’s ancient Venetian fortress. This 15th century watchtower used to serve as the local’s front line during the war. Half of the castle is now submerged underwater and now only serve as a tourist spot. If you’re in Parikia, something you shouldn’t miss is the 12th century Frankish Castle of amazing stonework and majestic towers.
27. Savor Some Seafood
Paros is not just rich in history and natural scenery, it’s also got the freshest and most delicious seafood caught by local fishermen. There are a number of seafood restaurants in the island where you can taste freshly-cooked catch of the day like shrimp, squid, fish, and octopus.
28. Not-to-Miss Naxos
Just a ferry ride from Paros is the Cyclades’ biggest island, Naxos. Going here for sightseeing is wonderful experience as the island has special spots which will take your breath away including Portara, an ancient architecture overlooking Delos, Agios Prokopios for some relaxing beach time, Mount of Zeus, the highest peak in the Cyclades, and the Temple of Demeter, another archeological marvel, among others.
29. Wine-derful Experience
Greece is known for its wine and vineyards and you can find some in the island of Paros. Spend a day touring these farms and tasting excellent bottles of wine paired with local cheese. You can also buy some bottles to bring home.
30. Sweet Sunset
Nothing’s more beautiful than the Greek sunset and you can chase and watch in Paros. You can do this at the beach or at one of the seafront bars or taverns in Parikia, drinking in the beauty as the sun takes another majestic bow, while sipping a glass of wine.
31. Local Taste
Paros has flavors uniquely its own. Visiting here is not complete without trying out local delicacies like Gouna or roasted mackerel or Mizithra, the local cheese made from goat’s milk. Other must-eats include Karavalous, or boiled snails in garlic sauce, their take on pumpkin pie called Petimezinia, and of course, freshly caught seafood.
32. Mountain Moment
There are a few trails in Paros where you can take a leisurely hike. There’s one from Lefkes traversing all the way to Prodomos, and one from Agrikia to Kamari. This is a special experience as you get to explore on-foot and you will witness off-the-beaten path pleasures like tourist-less traditional villages, quaint farm houses, and local flora and fauna. Best to do this during cooler weather as summers in Greece can get a bit hot.
33. Ceramic Collection
Another thing you can bring home from your trip to Paros are delicate and fine porcelain and stoneware. From platters and bowls down to vases and display pieces, each work of is handcrafted with passion and creativity.