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Why Should I Visit Paros?

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Paros at a glance

Paros is white and luminous, like the famous marble that inspired so many great works of art over the centuries; lively and boisterous, like the August winds that transform its coastline into an international windsurfing mecca; and extrovert but sophisticated, like the low-profile celebrities and jaunty intellectuals who walk its marble-paved streets.

From the busy town of Parikia to the popular fishing harbour of Naousa and the quiet villages of its verdant and mountainous interior, Paros’ authentic island character is wonderfully balanced by the glamour of a cosmopolitan destination for all tastes and ages. Set against a backdrop of dazzling white beauty, Paros’ welcoming embrace promises visitors a natural paradise of freedom, unpretentious simplicity and revitalisation that is the essence of the Greek summer. Visit it with one of the itineraries for Paros.

10 reasons to visit Paros
  1. To visit the magnificent Church of the Virgin Mary Ekatontapyliani, also known as the “Hagia Sophia of the Aegean”. According to legend, the original church was founded by the Emperor Constantine the Great, whose mother, Saint Helen, had stopped here while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
  2. To see the treasures of the Archaeological Museum of Paros in Parikia. Admire the marble statue of the Winged Victory of Paros (5th century BC), the Archaic Gorgon (6th century BC) and the naked Neolithic “Fat Lady of Saliagos”, the oldest surviving Cycladic figurine.
  3. To walk the narrow marble-paved streets of the mountain village of Lefkes, admiring its pretty whitewashed houses and steps, and breathing in the scent of oregano and thyme.
  4. To experience the romantic night-time atmosphere in the picturesque harbour of Naousa, an old pirate hideout that has become a favourite destination for anyone looking to have a good time.
  5. To see the sunset from the Cave of Archilochus, a refuge and place of inspiration for the great lyric poet of the Archaic period.
  6. To discover an international windsurfing destination at Golden Beach and Punda.
  7. To sample the famous salatouri, a delicious meze of skate, parsley, onion, dill, peppers, lemon, and olive oil.
  8. To watch the “Night of the Corsairs” on 23rd August at the harbour of Naousa, a spectacular re-enactment of the abduction of the village’s women by Barbarossa’s pirates in 1537.
  9. To walk the famous “Byzantine Trail” that joins the villages of Lefkes and Prodromos, a thousand-year-old marble-paved path that runs for 3.9 km between olive groves and vineyards.
  10. To visit Butterfly Valley, an idyllic landscape of dense vegetation and abundant running water, where millions of Jersey Tiger Moths come to settle and create a vivid natural spectacle every summer.
The top 5 beaches

Kolymbithres: One of the island’s most impressive beaches, with a view of Naousa Bay. Its picture-postcard beauty is due to the enormous granite rock formations that have, over time, been sculpted into various shapes by the salt and the wind. These extend into the sea, splitting the beach up into small sandy coves. This lunar landscape with shallow deep-blue waters is especially popular with families who have young children, and is well worth visiting if you choose a ferry to Paros.

Golden Beach: This beautiful and cosmopolitan beach, Paros’ largest, is a surfers’ paradise thanks to the waves and turquoise waters that offer the ideal conditions for the sport. Along its golden sands you will find restaurants, bars and surf clubs.

Punda: The favourite beach of young people and surfers is situated near Parikia. Famous for its high-decibel beach club and all-day parties, it also hosts the World Kitesurfing Championship.

Santa Maria: A paradise of fun and water sports located 2 km from Naousa, which attracts large numbers of people, most of them young. Its huge expanse of white sand is ideal for long lazy hours of sunbathing, while its exotic waters are ideal for more adventurous activities like diving and windsurfing.

Laggeri: Its exotic setting of sand dunes and cedar trees, combined with turquoise waters and fine sand, is reminiscent of the Caribbean. Located on the north side of the island, 1.5 km from Naousa, it is the ideal destination for lovers of quiet and seclusion.

Don't leave Paros without...
  • Admiring the stunning architecture of the Venetian Castle of Parikia, built in 1260 by Marco Sanudo. It is constructed from materials found on the ancient acropolis, its walls incorporating marble columns and parts of temples in unique geometrical patterns.
  • Wandering around the medieval village of Marpissa with its beautiful 16th and 17th-century houses, traditional 18th-century windmills, and unique churches.
  • Visiting the ancient marble quarries outside the village of Marathi. Immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere of the deep tunnels where marble was once quarried, walk the corridors through which it was removed, and read the inscriptions of ancient artists. Parian marble was also known as “lychnite”, as it was quarried by the light of lamps (“lychnes”).
  • Walking along Gravari Street, which connects the Castle of Parikia with the Church of the Virgin Mary Ekatontapyliani. It is a road full of unique neoclassical mansions with Venetian coats of arms and marble lintels.
  • Buying a jar of the island’s delicious thyme honey from the Agricultural Products Cooperative in Parikia.
  • Trying the award-winning “56 isles”, a light pilsner beer produced on the island from high-quality local barley by the Paros Microbrewery.
  • Having a go at windsurfing with a lesson at one of the surf clubs in Punda, Santa Maria or Golden Beach.
  • Discovering the secrets of local wine-production with a tour of the vineyards and the historic winery (1910) of the Moraitis Estate in Naousa.
  • Watching the spectacular sunrise from the top of the volcanic hill of Kefalos next to the remains of the monastery of Saint Anthony (16th century).
  • Booking a mini-cruise to the neighbouring Antiparos, a paradise of untouched natural beauty and a favourite retreat of Hollywood stars.
Tasty experiences
  • Take the ferry to Paros and try gouna (sun-dried fish on the grill), a delicious meze to accompany souma (the local tsipouro).
  • Taste Paros’ famous version of revithada, chickpeas slowly baked in a clay pot.
  • Don't miss kalfa (a kind of large thick asparagus) with skordalia (garlic dip).
  • Enjoy karavoli (large snails) with skordalia (garlic dip), a dish made only in the mountain village of Lefkes. In the rest of Paros, you will find them braised, in a red sauce, and served with boiled potatoes.
  • Raise your glasses with some of Paros’ fine wines, such as white Monemvasia and red Mandilaria. Lovers of dessert wine should be sure to try the excellent Malvazia.
  • Look for examples of classic local cuisine such as patido (rooster or rabbit stuffed with rice, chicken offal, cheese, cinnamon and cloves), kolitsani (sea anemones stuffed with cheese, mint and other herbs, and fried) and kolopia (pies with a filling of seasonal greens).
  • Go to a traditional bakery and ask for ladenia (biscuits made with olive oil, cinnamon and honey) and rafiolia (pies filled with sweet mizithra cheese, sugar, honey and cinnamon).
  • Enjoy samota (dried figs with bay leaves, cinnamon and sesame seeds) as a light snack for when you’re out and about.
Trivia

The much-sought-after marble of Paros was renowned throughout antiquity for its whiteness and translucence, which allows light to penetrate to a depth of 3.5 cm (compared to 2.5 cm in the case of the famous Italian marble of Carrara, for example). This valuable material, which inspired some of the most important ancient works of sculpture and architecture, was used in the creation of the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Hermes of Praxiteles, the Kores on the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Athenian Treasury in Delphi, and many others.​

MAP OF PAROS
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