Paros Fun Facts: Third largest Cycladic island, Known for Parian white marble, Once ruled by Sparta
Understanding Paros Geography
When planning our trip to Paros I found it super helpful to have a little understanding of the islands geography and distances to different parts of the island. The two main towns on the island are Parikia, and Naousa, which are about 14 minutes apart. Super driveable!
We choose to stay right in-between Paros airport and Parikia. Parikia is the islands capital and main port. This is where ferry transfers to other islands come in, and where you can find banks, atms, lots of restaurants and shopping, and the church of 100 doors.
Naousa is a beautiful upscale fishing village with lots of shops, and beautiful cobbled streets, white houses, and nightlife. If your looking to be apart of the islands nightlife scene, I'd recommend staying here!
How to get Around? As of November 2021 you do not need an international license to drive in Greece, however individual rental companies may have their own terms which require it, It's easy to get online if needed but something to ask about prior too booking. During our stay, we drove on Paros, Milos, and Athens and none of the rental agencies required it.
When choosing how to get around on Paros we opted to rent a car through our airbnb. A great perk of booking airbnbs in Greece is hosts often live on the island and can offer insights on things to do, as well as which rental companies to use. They helped us arrange our car rental in advance, ensured it was automatic, and it was only 25 E a day. Our airbnb hosts met us at the airport along with the car rental representative, and had us follow them back to the house as not to get lost. It was extremely kind and stress free.
We saw many other couples with ATVs, buggy, and scooter rentals, which is another fun way to get around. However, we preferred to use a car to make it easier to transport our luggage, along with our day to day belonging; towels, jackets, bathing suits, sunblock, water bottles ,books. etc. We also cooked one night at the airbnb so it was also great for moving around groceries. Having a car allowed us to get around quickly, stay protected from wind/rain, and provided AC! It was extremely easy to find parking everywhere we went, however I'm not sure how it is driving in peak season. The roads were well paved, and the only traffic we encountered was getting into Parikia mid day, due to their being only one main road in and out.
Where we Stayed
We absolutely loved staying in airbnbs on our trip to Paros, Santorini, and Milos! People love to talk about Greek hospitality and they are not exaggerating. Our airbnb hosts were so helpful and kind. Guiding us to their home from the airport, giving us market recommendations and stocking the house with breakfast foods, cheese, wine and beer. They also had lots of travel necessities available like extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower items, etc. This airbnb was everything you could want in a greek vacation home, with absolutely stunning views! For a full tour of the home check out my Paros IG highlight @Trips_Ahoy_
After traveling for 20 hours and taking 4 flights we got to our first honeymoon destination ~Paros~ at around 4pm. We flew directly from our destination wedding in Bluffton SC, transferred in DC, then flew to Athens, then Paros. We chose to fly directly to Paros rather than spend the night in Athens to give us an extra day of our trip. The ferry from Athens to Paros is anywhere from 3-5 hours depending which you book, and the ferries in Greece are notoriously late, and only depart at certain times each day. The flight was only 45 minutes and about $100 each vs approx $50 ferry. Definitely worth it!
We arrived and immediately had adrenaline seeing this beautiful island for the first time. We made a quick reservation at Mira Taverna in Parikia (originally booked it for the wrong day on accident) and headed down an hour early. They still seated us and let us sit outside by the water. It was the absolute best way to spend our first night in Greece, and was our favorite meal of the entire trip! We tried their muscles, octopus, bass, fried feta ugh chefs kiss :* Directly above Mira on the rooftop is Bebop, a great place to grab a drink and watch the sunset if you're not into having a full dinner.
When researching Greece we were told that popular restaurants required reservations 3 weeks out in the summer. We had no trouble at all with last minute reservations, maybe because we ate on the earlier side, 6-7 instead of 8-9 like most Greeks, or maybe it was because we booked on the shoulder season. Either way we were very lucky!
We stayed at Mira through the sunset then walked around the Harbor!
We woke up and had some toast and jam provided by our airbnb hosts. Then headed to Naousa!
This was one of my favorite places in Greece, it is so charming, and this time of year it feels like you're the only people here! We started the day in light jackets and pants, and when it started to warm up I found a dress to change into in a shop called Caftans Beachwear. Of course I had to find one that was blue because ~Greek Vibes~
While exploring the town we found so many breathtaking spots, every corner had something to offer, and it was one of the most beautiful towns I've ever been to. For me Naousa topped Santorini by far!
On the right of Linardos (great IG spot!) there's a ramp we walked that led to this cool old Venetian Fortress! All of the windows have amazing viewpoints. But be warned you may get splashed by the ocean on the way.
We had originally planned to eat at Taverna Glafkos for lunch (great reviews online!) but last minute decided to head to the beach and eat there. Kolybithres and Kolmpithres are literally right next to each other and only a 12 minute drive from Naousa. There's two restaurants, On the Rocks and Taverna Anemos right on the beach, that service the beach as well. There are also chairs you can rent, or you can find your own private sandy beach spot between the rocks!
We ate at Taverna Anemos, and had a blast! They have an amazing view of the beach and great lunch options. However be warned they make their drinks very strong, I couldn't finish mine. We had a fun time hanging out and spotting giant lizards run across the sand.
Then we headed down to the water and rented chairs for a few hours. The water was still cold but swimmable! The beaches have really cool rock formations and are extremely calm and shallow.
Just down the road a minute more we discovered Monastiri beach. But it was getting late so we decided to head back to the house and come back on day 3.
Inspired by all the incredible seafood we had, we decided to try our hand at making grilled octopus! (Apparently the key is to boil it first) We had the perfect view back at the house to watch the sunset.
We decided to wake up for sunrise and head over to Lefkes! Only a 17 minutes drive from Parikia. The morning was a bit overcast so we didn't really get a sunrise but we has a nice peaceful morning walking around the empty streets of Lefkes to find the church of Agia.
The town is quaint and lovely, and feels like something out of a fairytale, with birds chirping, kittens wandering around, and smells of fresh chocolate croissants from the local bakery.
The church didn't open until later in the morning (I believe 9am) but we had a lovely time walking around the town and it was completely empty. The only thing open so early was the bakery so we got some pastries and sat on a bench in a park across the street. It was such a romantic way to spend our morning and definitely worth waking up early to see!
When heading back up the hill towards our car, we got to see a nice overview of the town.
Then we headed back, got changed, and decided to spend the rest of the day at Monastiri Beach! This beach is so nice because its so shallow and calm, you can walk very far out and only get waste deep, which was nice for this time of year as well because it allowed the water to warm up some. We rented a cabana for $75 E for the day. A bit pricy but all the beach chairs were taken by the time we got there. By the rocks to the left there are some sandy spots in-between the rocks you can set up at but again you have to come at the right time to grab them. The entire beach is pretty much taken over by rentals so its hard (but not impossible) to avoid. Pro-service, Con-not a free beach
For dinner we went to Sipiraos which definitely lived up to the hype! Go early, like 6-7 to get a spot outside, and order whatever fresh catch they have! They make any basic grilled fish with lemon taste so good its unbelievable! Across the street there is a beach with a dock you can head over to while waiting for your food.
Bonus! If you are feeling extra adventurous, are great at hiking, have a good pair of sneakers, and enough sunlight left in the day, you can try to make to an incredible sunset cave spot. Its extremely rocky and can dangerous to get here so beware. If you don't make it down in time, the view from the top along the waters edge is still pretty awesome.
It's called the cave of Archilochos, named after a poet said to come here and isolate himself in search of inspiration.
I know what you're gonna say, this is a 3 day itinerary! However the first day we came at dinner time, and the last day we left mid-day to catch the ferry. So altogether its really 3 full days and 3 nights. Anyways....
In the morning we packed everything up and headed to Parikia. The car rental place allowed us to drop off our car at the ferry pickup location at 1pm so we just parked it at the harbor with our luggage until it was time to go. Then we looked for some very aesthetic coffee spots to start the morning!
Arosa fit the bill and matched my outfit, so that was my pick. Coffee was average, not sure why I got hot on such a warm day. Once caffeinated we headed through town to find the Church of 100 doors AKA Panagia Ekatontapiliani Church!
Be sure when going in any churches in Greece you respect the religion by dressing conservatively. Covering your shoulders, wearing longer pants/ or a dress, and not wearing anything too revealing. But if you forget they do have shawls! The church of 100 doors was really beautiful and if you pay 5E at the shop to the side you can go in the upstairs portion as well. Definitely worth it if you ask me!
The church has a great history and is known as the protector of Greece. It dates back the the 4th century AD, and according to legend has 99 doors, and one secret door that will open upon the Hagia Sofia becoming Orthodox again. Despite being damaged by an earthquake at one point, much of the church has been restored.
After visiting the church we headed to this cute restaurant along the harbor for a smoothie, then did some shopping to pass the time while waiting for our ferry to Santorini. A lot of sources say locals shop in Parikia over Naousa, and in my opinion the shops in Parikia are slightly better and definitely more affordable. This was a great spot to look for souvenirs for our friends and family!
When people say the ferries run late in Greece they are not exaggerating! The lines to them form about an hour before so make sure you grab a spot in the shade.
Now onto Santorini!
More than 3 Days in Paros?
Take a Day Trip!
Antiparos: Only 15 minutes by ferry, Visit Paralia and Sostis beaches
Mykonos: There are 9 hour day trips from Paros via Catamaran
Boat Rental:go to Blue lagoon and snorkel in deep clear blue water
Visit another part of the Island!
Southeast, seafood port, sailing adventure spot
Beach nearby-Golden Beach-one of the best for sports
Windsurfing, kayaking, etc
Beach itself protected from wind
Other Restaurants To Try
Mario-fancy, seafood, pasta
Sigi Ikthios- similar to Mario, fancy seafood
Souvlakia Kargas-quick easy,
Taverna Glafkos-beautiful view, go prior to sunset
Vavayia cocktail restaurant-late night hangout spot-go 10-11
Almond in Paros café-coffee
Yemini Wine restaurant
Moratis winery-most famous winery
Bebop-sunset views, cocktail menu
Ela Paros-wine bar
Piso Livadi Resturant
Remezzo-live music bar
Other Beaches To Try
Santa Maria---More party vibe beach
Paralia Lolantonis---bring towels, umbrella, no shade, quiet
Piso Aliki---Quiet, has shade, good for families
Voutakos beaches---small, remote, close to antiparos
Marcello beach---some say its the best beach on Paros, has chairs, busier, white sand, watch ferries come in