The island of Paros is in the center of the Cyclades islands, to the west of Naxos. Paros presents itself as the picture of a traditional Greek island, with classic Cycladic architecture, fishing villages and impressive churches.
It also is one of the most touristy islands thanks to its sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and attractive nightlife. Here are the 10 things we suggest you to do in Paros:
Parikia is the capital of Paros and the island’s main port. The town has traditional Greek architecture, as well as numerous beaches and churches. As a port town, Parikia becomes a popular destination during summer, as it is the landing point for all visitors arriving from nearby islands. It also is the commercial and cultural center of the island.
Naoussa is considered the second-most important village in Paros, Naoussa is a picturesque fishing town with a vibrant nightlife. Taverns and small eateries surround the port area and generally are busy. There also are plenty of bars and nightclubs that stay open until dawn. On August 23 of every year, the town celebrates and reenacts the victory over the Turkish pirate Barbarossa, using more than 100 boats. The village is on the north side of the island.
Valley of Butterflies is to the south of Parikia. During summer, the Valley of Butterflies fills with butterflies looking for mates. Travelers can join an organized tour excursion to view the butterflies up close, but visitors are told not to disturb the butterflies.
The Marathi Marble Quarries have long since been abandoned, but in Roman times they were a rich source of marble labored over by 150,000 slaves. Paros was known for its fine white Parian marble, prized by ancient sculptors for its soft consistency and translucency. From above there isn’t much to see, but cave spelunkers will appreciate exploring the deep caverns opened by the miners.
The Church of Panagia Ekatontapilliani is one of the best-preserved churches in Greece. It is also one of the earliest Christian churches in the country, built around A.D. 300 by Saint Helen. The church also was constructed on the ruins of the ancient Temple of Demeter. Inside, there is a Byzantine museum with pieces from periods of Paros’ history.
Monastery of Longovarda founded in 1638, is the largest monastery on the island. The building is famous for its fascinating architecture, with icons and frescoes on display in the interior. The monastery also houses a library with rare and highly valuable manuscripts.
Golden Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. This beach has warm, clear waters with powdery soft sand, making it a sunbather's paradise. The wind here also is great for windsurfing, and every summer there is an international windsurfing competition at Golden Beach.
Pounda Beach is close to the port town of Parikia and is another very popular beach thanks to the beach bars and its beautiful, natural environment. Ferries frequently leave from Pounda to the neighboring island of Antiparos, making Pounda Beach a great jumping off point when traveling.
Frankish Castle, which now sits in partial ruins, is in the heart of the old town of Parikia. The castle was constructed in the 1200s by Venetians using materials from the ancient Temple of Demeter, which can be identified within the castle’s structure. Frankish Castle is located at the highest point of Parikia, allowing visitors a magnificent view of the surrounding town.
Agios Ioannis Detis was built in the 17th century and offers a great view of the surrounding bay and town, as well as a spot for deep contemplation.