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Naoussa, Paros, Greece | © docnic/Flickr
Naoussa, Paros, Greece | © docnic/Flickr
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Paros or Naxos: Which Island Is for You?

Picture of Ethel Dilouambaka
Updated: 12 January 2017
This may be one of the most common questions vacationers have: which Greek island should they venture to? To help you decide on your next holiday destination, here is a list of facts that can help you come to a conclusion; just remember that wherever you go, you’re bound to have a nice time.

Which is the best choice for families?

There is no denying that Naxos is one of the most family-friendly islands in Greece. Boasting a relaxing vibe, great beaches and a plethora of friendly hotels, it is an ideal island for holidays with the family. To make things easier, you could rent a car and easily explore the inland villages. Don’t think Paros is not a family-friendly destination, too; it certainly is. Naoussa and Parikia form the heart of the life on the island. While Naoussa offers a wide range of entertainment, Parikia is slightly busier, as the main harbor is there. With mostly shallow beaches, both islands are perfect when traveling with children.

Playing in the streets with grandpa, Naxos | © Paolo Gamba/Flickr
Playing in the streets with grandpa, Naxos | © Paolo Gamba/Flickr
Shallow waters are perfect for children | © Luca Viscardi/Flickr
Shallow waters are perfect for children | © Luca Viscardi/Flickr

Which one has the best beaches?

When it comes to beaches, it’s a tie. Both islands are famous for their incredible beaches. While on Paros, you can find busy but organized beaches; the small, unorganized and isolated ones are still readily accessible and advertised. In Naxos, everyone knows the stunning beaches of Agios Prokopios, Plaka, Agia Anna and Agios Giorgos, but the smaller ones are less known — giving you the opportunity to go off the beaten path and discover them on your own. Kalandos, Pinelo or Psili Ammos are all beautiful but don’t get enough credit. Be adventurous on either island you choose to go to.

Agia Anna beach, Naxos, Greece| © Tilemahos Efthimiadis/Flickr
Agia Anna beach, Naxos, Greece | © Tilemahos Efthimiadis/Flickr
Small beach next to Farangas, Paros | © Kostas Limitsios/Flickr
Small beach next to Farangas, Paros | © Kostas Limitsios/Flickr

Where can you find exciting nightlife?

While both islands have a decent party scene, Naxos offers a wide range of bars, a few nightclubs and a bouzoukia in Naxos Town. During high season, many beach bars are open until late and organize unique parties. Paros and its two hubs, Parikia and Naoussa, offers a livelier club scene. Tourists tend to enjoy Parikia better, while Greeks see Naoussa as the night hotspot of the island. A major attraction for groups of teenagers, Paros definitely has a more vibrant night scene.

What is the culture like?

Both islands score high on the cultural front as they both have a wide choice of cultural venues. Paros enjoys a full summer agenda with many events in an attempt to preserve and showcase the folklore heritage of the island. The events include dance, musical and theatrical performances, environmental activities, athletic tournaments, art exhibitions and workshops, as well as many other activities. While on Naxos, the Venetian castle in town hosts open-air concerts and performances, as well as traditional Greek nights.

Naxos | © elias filis/Flickr
Naxos | © elias filis/Flickr

Are there exciting sports?

Top destinations for watersports, Paros and Naxos both scored high for adventure sports. Naxos, dubbed the islands of the winds, is ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing lovers. It also boasts several well-equipped water sports facilities, and its interior landscape is perfect for hikes and treks. Paros also has an excellent water sports scene, with many kite and windsurfing competitions annually taking place on the island. Sailing, biking and hiking also feature high on the island’s top activities.

Golden Beach, Paros | © Susanne Tofern/Flickr
Golden Beach, Paros | © Susanne Tofern/Flickr
Mikri Vigla, Naxos | © Konstantinos Petrakopoulos/Flickr
Mikri Vigla, Naxos | © Konstantinos Petrakopoulos/Flickr

Where to go if you’re looking for excursions

Paros and Naxos both offer a plethora of day trip ideas, with a rich interior dotted by small, picturesque villages and beautiful beaches. Paros also has its own small satellite island called Antiparos. The tiny island is less than a kilometer and a half away, this little jewel is ideal for a day trip. Naxos, on the other hand, is close to the lesser known islands of Irakleia, Schinoussa, Koufonissia and Leros, all as beautiful as possible. Of course, as Paros and Naxos face each other, they are actually perfect for a nice day getaway.

The final verdict

Choosing between Paros or Naxos is more of a matter of personal preferences than anything else. These two neighboring islands are quite similar; they’re equally stunning with their authentic Cycladic charm and they will seduce you easily. All you must determine is if you need a night scene or if you are traveling with your little ones as these are the two criteria that may tip the balance in favor of one or the other. But, remember: you’re on holidays so make sure to take it easy and relax.

Sunset at Portara Monument, Naxos | © TimOve/Flickr
Sunset at Portara Monument, Naxos | © TimOve/Flickr