You have not really seen Paros if you haven’t walked the white-washed cobblestone alleys of the Old Town in Naoussa which lead to its picturesque port. A trademark of Paros’ identity and local architecture, these little, narrow maze-like passages may be peaceful and quiet during the hot summer mornings, but as soon as the night comes they team with people and life. Take the opportunity to sit in one of the numerous bars and restaurants that place their tables outside to enjoy the island vibe and indulge into some people-watching.
Panagia Ekatontapyliani (Our Lady of a Hundred Doors) is a spectacular 4th century Byzantine Church in the port town of Parikia. It is considered one of the most important sacred sights in Greece as the oldest remaining Byzantine. The legend says that 99 doors have been found in the Church and the 100th will be discovered only when Constantinople is Greek again. The icon of Panagia in the church is considered miraculous.
Lefkes is a picturesque mountain village in Paros that is famous for its traditional character. Lefkes had been the first capital of Paros which was built by immigrants from Crete and locals who were looking for protection against pirate attacks. It is built in an amphitheatre shape with many beautiful, neoclassic buildings, quirky little passages and charming ‘hidden’ cafés where you can enjoy the architecture. Lefkes is also known for its tavernas, such as taverna Klarinos, that specialise in delicious grilled meats.
The Paros Park deserves a ‘top 10’ article by itself, as there are innumerable reasons why you should visit. The natural, unspoiled rock formations that are a great sample of Cycladic beauty are one. The walking paths that introduce you to the beautiful nature on the island all year round are another. If you visit during the summer you should definitely have a swim at the gorgeous beach of Monastiri (AiYannis), or watch a film for free under the stars at the open movie theater Cine Enastron. During the yearly festival of the Park (June-October) a number of jazz, classical music and traditional Greek concerts and fascinating cultural events also take place. The Cycladic monastery of Ai Yiannis Detis and the Museum of the Park with the permanent historic exhibition ‘The Island of Paros through the Russian cartography 1770-1774’ are also well worth a visit.
Kolybithres is probably the most famous beach on the island because of their million year old granite rock formations that are part of a unique geology. Even though they can be reached by car or public transport, it is worth taking one of the retired fishing boats from the port of Naoussa that transfer people across daily, and enjoy the great views. Once you are there pick a spot on your favourite rock and enjoy the crystal clear waters.
This little corner café-bar in Naoussa has a big reputation for its unbeatable cocktails at night and the most healthy yet tasty breakfasts in the mornings. Sousouro uses super fresh fruits and power foods imaginatively to create organic dishes and feel-good smoothies and shakes. Its location in the corner of two traditional alleys make it an ideal spot to enjoy the night life and the vibe of Naoussa.
Paros has a long tradition as an island that is ideal for water sports. The Windsurfing World Championship was held for many years at the Golden Beach and still attracts lovers of the sport. Sports like surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, kayaking and canoeing, kiteboarding, waterskiing, jetskiing, and scuba diving are available with certified trainers at beaches like Golden Beach, New Golden Beach and Santa Maria.
The port town of Parikia is a charming, traditional settlement with beautiful cobblestone alleys, white washed houses and countless attractive little shops and cafés. The boutiques in Parikia offer great shopping opportunities with famous brands and popular clothes and accessories collections. The traditional shops that sell local art, Greek style jewellery by talented artists, and various imaginative souvenirs are also worth exploring.
The Archeological Museum of Paros can be found behind Panagia Ekatontapyliani in Parikia. Its collections date from the Neolithic period to early Christianity. Even though this is not a big museum it includes some important exhibits, like the 6th century BC marble statue of Gorgon, the 490BC colossal worship statue of Artemis, and a neolithic figurine of a woman sitting with crossed legs with her hands under her chest.
This meditation centre and wellness retreat near the town of Naoussa is the perfect escape from the stresses of modern life. Tao’s Center offers courses in meditation and Buddhism, Yoga and Pilates, as well as various treatments, massages and personal counselling sessions. Drop in classes are available for those who would not like to sign up for a long stay. There is also a great Thai restaurant in the premises.