Just an hour by ferry ride from the magical Naxos there is another unique Cycladic island – Paros, along with its smaller “sister” – Antiparos. Both islands are extremely scenic and ideal for a relaxing holiday. This is not a typical mass-tourism destination, and certainly, it is definitely quieter (and cheaper!) than eg. Mykonos or Santorini. However, Paros instantly made it to the top 3 of our favorite Greek islands – amazing landscapes, charming towns, beautiful beaches… You should definitely check out best things to do in Paros and Antiparos!
Things to do in Paros & Antiparos
|Tip: How to get to Paros? The best option is a ferry that runs both from Athens and from other Greek islands, Paros is one of the major ferry hubs in Greece. We arrived in Paros by ferry from Naxos (heading further to Athens). We returned home by plane, with a transfer in Athens. If you prefer to travel this way, it is a good idea to keep track of airfare prices a few months in advance. The Paros airport only accepts very small planes (up to 80 pax) and a ticket from Warsaw to Paros can be more expensive than eg. to the Maldives! 🙁 In low season flights are very rare and a ferry is usually the only option.|
Breathtaking seaside towns
If you decide to take a ferry, you will arrive in the largest town in Paros, Parikia. This is a typical Cycladic town – whitewashed houses, tiny cafes, narrow streets, and many bright pink bougainvilleas… You can wander through the streets endlessly. Lovers of history should definitely visit the archaeological museum and the Venetian castle Kastro. Its monumental walls make are truly overwhelming. It is also worth seeing the “one hundred doors” temple – Panagia Ekatontapyliani. It is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Cyclades and in fact, the number of doors makes a huge impression as well… You should also definitely take a look around the harbor – you will find great cafes with a perfect view of the ships arriving at the port – I can recommend you Kakao and Bebop!
Visiting the small town of Naoussa is definitely one of the best things to do in Paros. This is a very charming old fishing village – even nowadays you can see how people buy fish directly from the boats. The port itself is a great asset of Naoussa, boats on the background of white houses look just picture-perfect. The streets are full of excellent restaurants and atmospheric bars. I have to recommend to you a sensational Itria bar (Russian Mule is a must here!) and a tavern with typical Greek food Yemeni (better book a table earlier). At the harbor, right by the seafront, there are also plenty of great places to eat and drink.
Near Naoussa, you will also find the only winery on the island – Moraitis Winery. We really recommend you visit this place, the service knows the wines well and will tell you many interesting stories along with each served bottle. The cost of tasting is 10 EUR. We fell in love especially with their dessert wine!
|Tip: Where to stay in Paros? You should definitely check amazing hotel Mr & Mrs White in Naoussa!|
Our favorite beaches in Paros
Spending all day in the sun, playing at the beach, is for sure one of the best things to do in Paros. The eastern side of the island hides the most stunning ones, some are unfortunately quite hard to access (gravel road). The most beautiful beaches on Paros are Kolimbithres, Santa Maria (especially for surfers), Ampelas, Glifades, Molos, Punda (with amazing beach bar and club) and Hrysi Akti (called Golden Beach). All of them we were basically empty when we visited, maybe 1-2 couples were sunbathing on the towels. If you are planning to go to the south-east of Paros, you should stay in the traditional village of Piso Livadi, located on the seafront. Looks like a dream! On the other hand, kite surfers should visit the west side of the island, around the port of Ponda. I’ve never seen so many kites in my life than there!
|Tip: How to get around Paros? The island is quite large and quite mountainous, it would definitely be better to rent a car than a scooter. Between the main points of the island, there are also KTEL buses, which, however, are rare in the low season.|
In the center of the island, there is its first capital – Lefkes. This is a small town that reminded us of the marble village of Naxos. Dozens of white houses scattered on the slopes of the mountains. Lefkes is an ideal place if you are fascinated not only with beautiful views: you will find here a folklore museum and a literature house. When planning your visit here, you have to take into account that it is a traditional village, where siesta is taken seriously!
|Tip: Paros, as well as the nearby Naxos, is famous for its marble. The Venus of Milo (as well as Napoleon’s tomb) was made of it!|
Another place to visit in the center of the island is the Butterfly Valley. As we were already in low season, butterflies were not actually there 😉 but the road to this place is really spectacular and worth the trip. The winding route leads between the mountains with a magnificent view of Paros and Antiparos.
Antiparos – the “small” sister
|Tip: Between Paros and Antiparos there is a regular ferry (every half an hour, costing EUR 8 per person with a car). A ferry from Pounda in Paros arrives in Antiparos Town. The whole journey takes approx. 10 minutes.|
Ironically, one of the best things to do in Paros is… visiting Antiparos. Our guide to Antiparos will be extremely short, the island is really small and can be visited in 1 day with no rush. I don’t know what magical is on this little island, but it fascinated us so much. Not only us but also Tom Hanks has his own property here. Sometimes you can find him in Antiparos Town blending in with the locals. A few years ago he even took part in swimming competitions in crossing the strait between Paros and Antiparos. 🙂 Rumour has it that also Madonna has a villa in Antiparos, and many European royal families spend their holidays there.
Antiparos Town is so peaceful that it makes it a bit creepy… The streets are empty, we met maybe 10 other tourists during the whole day. Ironically, Antiparos is definitely better in high season. Many restaurants or shops had a “see you in May” sign already in September. A little sleepy atmosphere, however, is perfect to tranquil. If anyone would ask me where in Greece you can totally relax, be accompanied by the locals only, surrounded by beautiful views and all these for reasonable money, I would say: Antiparos in September! You don’t need to plan a week’s stay here, 2-3 days are enough to rest.
Antiparos has really beautiful beaches (although perhaps these in Paros are better), the most popular are Soros and Glyfa. The biggest attraction of the island is the cave, located in the center (Antiparos Cave). You should also definitely go to the south of the island, to Agios Georgios. Here you can see a tiny, uninhabited island Despotiko – there is only an archaeological site there, which you can also visit. By the seaside, you will also find a sensational, typical Greek tavern Captain Pipinos. You will recognize it by the octopuses drying in the sunshine 🙂
Can you recommend other things to do in Paros and Antiparos?