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- What to do in Paros: restaurants, towns, and beaches
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Paros is arguably the cutest island to visit on my Cyclades island hopping trip. Most of the photos of Cycladic islands are either Paros, Naxos, or Milos. Paros might be a bit more touristy than Ios and Milos, our other two Greek Island hopping destinations, but it’s for a good reason! Here is my guide for what to do in Paros:
> Looking to plan your Greek Island hopping trip? We went to Ios and Milos as well and I highly recommend them!
- 1 Paros Essential Information
- 2 What to do in Paros
- 2.1 Explore Parikia
- 2.2 Naoussa
- 2.3 Lefkes
- 2.4 Paros Nightlife
- 2.5 Antiparos
- 2.6 Ancient Marble Quarries
- 2.7 Paros Boat Trip
- 2.8 Paros Greece Beaches
- 3 Paros Greece restaurants
- 4 Paros Greece Hotels
Paros Essential Information
Paros is a beautiful island to visit but before I dive into what to do in Paros, it’s important to note that most things do close during low season. But then, at the height of the high season, prices also rise like an inflatable balloon! The key is to book early and expect a crowd!
A Short History of Paros
Paros has been a strong island that colonised many parts of Greece during antiquity, most notably Ionians. The island was the site of the Marathon Battle Paros was famous for its white marble in antiquity and mines can still be found around the island. It then fell under Venetian rule along with the other islands in the region and eventually all joined into the modern Greek state after the War of Independence.
How to get to Paros
Paros is one of the bigger islands in the Cyclades and has its own airport as well as many ferry routes. The airport is 10km from Parikia with flights from Athens and Thessaloniki.
Personally, I think ferries are much more convenient unless you plan to rent a car from the airport. It takes you straight into the city and is great for island hopping.
Paros has a good network of bus systems that starts early in the morning and ends around 1 am. There are also many private companies offering ferries to nearby beaches in major towns. I would say that it is not necessary at all to rent a car but it would be convenient for anyone who wants to beach hop or set their own schedule.
The bus system in Paros is well established with the bigger towns Parikia and Naoussa both having ticket machines as well as a ticket counter. It’s cash only and fare are generally around 1.8 euros to around 4 euros depending on the distance.
The ticket prices are calculated by zones depending on distance and buses that run after midnight are more expensive. The main bus station in Parikia to the left of the pier facing the sea.
Paros Car Rental
There are plenty of car rental options in Paros. If you’re visiting during high season, it’s highly recommended that you book a vehicle before arrival. Here are some highly-rated places I found:
Is Paros Greece worth visiting?
Absolutely! I love all three islands that I visited on the island hopping trip but Paros is probably the prettiest because of Parikia and Naoussa. Even if you’re not a nightlife person, dining out at the seafront at Naoussa is an experience in itself!
What is Paros best known for?
Paros is known for its nightlife, boutiques, and traditional Cycladic white-washed houses with bougainvillea flowers. Even before we visited Paros, plenty of people were already gushing over how beautiful it is and they were right! Admittedly, the prices are also a bit high, but that is the price to pay to be in paradise in Greece.
How many days in Paros is enough?
You can see the highlight of Paros in 2 days, but I recommend staying 3-4 days to really enjoy the island and also to see Antiparos.
What to do in Paros
Paros is a reasonably sized island with two biggest towns: main town Parikia in the northwest and Naoussa to the northeast. The island is roughly rounded in shape, with two bays where Parikia and Naousa are on the west and north coast. The center of the island is more mountainous and the island of Antiparos is to the southwest.
There are also smaller villages and secluded beaches that you can visit. Since we only had 3 days, here are my top picks:
Parikia is the name of the current capital of Paros and the site has also been the ancient capital. The white-washed houses and narrow, maze-like streets is now a shopping haven. We had a wonderful time just walking around exploring the town.
Note: the houses of Parikia (and the rest of Paros) are very photogenic, but be mindful that you’re photographing someone else’s homes so be quiet and respectful.
Since Parikia is the ancient capital, there are also a few ancient monuments that you can find.
Frankish Castle Paroikia
There isn’t much left of the Frankish Castle in Parikia, but given that it was built in the 13th century, it’s sort of understandable. It’s more just a wall with various building materials in the heart of the Parikia town center.
The Byzantine church in Parikia is the largest church on the island and the Holy Church of the Virgin Mary Ekatontapyliani in English. It’s between the Paros Byzantine Museum and Paros Archaeological Museum.
The history of the church dates back to the 4th century with 100 doors and really more of a complex than a single church. It is set a little way back from the seafront and not towards the main town, so make sure you don’t miss it!
The church is free to enter, but you need to pay 2 euros for the museum.
Paros Byzanitine Museum
The Paros Byzantine Museum is on the edge of the church and charges 2 euros to visit. It is mostly associated with the Panagia Ekatontapilani and is a great place to visit while you hide from the heat.
Paros Archaeological Museum
Paros Archaeological Museum costs 3 euros to visit, with an indoor and outdoor exhibit that covers the ancient history of the island from the prehistoric to the Roman era. There are sculptures, pottery, and other antiques.
Naoussa is the second largest town in Paros and the second busiest port. It is most famous for its nightlife and the harbour front view and restaurants. If you want to enjoy the nightlife more thoroughly in Paros, I’d stay in Naoussa. There are frequent buses that would take you here, although note that the bus stop is about 5 minutes from the seafront.
Arguably the most photographed location on Paros is the Linardo bar by the seafront in Naoussa. I always thought it’s a restaurant but turns out it is a bar that only opens at night. But you should head here in the morning to get photos of this gorgeous view. And the left side of the outdoor seating belongs to the Barbarossa bar.
The Venetian castle ruin at Naoussa sticks out far into the sea on a narrow walkway near Linardo. It is not well kept but you get to see the interior of this defensive castle, which was built in the 15th century when the island was under Venetian rule.
It’s not a bad place to catch the sunset or admire the rest of Naoussa.
The Faneromeni Church is the church atop the small hill overlooking Naoussa. While the church itself isn’t all that special, the walk there is beautiful and the street has some of the more affordable but still lovely restaurants, just minus the sea view. You can also get a good view of the sunset from here.
Lefkes is a tiny mountain village famous for its small-town charm of white-washed houses, blue doors, and bougainvillea flowers. The bus station is by the main road and you can get tickets from the small shop there.
Holy Trinity Church
The church is at the center of Lefkes and was built in the early 19th century with beautiful iconostasis. It’s the Holy Trinity Church and the second largest on Paros by the town square with a graveyard at the back. It has a good view of the surrounding mountain and is worth a visit to this small town.
White house and bougainvillea
The most famous sight in Lefkes is the white house in the center of two-lane with a huge bougainvillea. Again, this is someone’s house, so be respectful and quiet when you take photos!
Paros has a vibrant nightlife in both Parikia and Naoussa, although the most famous and popular spots are in Naoussa. It’s only pleasant to be out and about during the summer, and even then the scene is occasionally less lively depending on the crowd. A lot of the places don’t get lively until past 11 pm, with clubs opening even later. Here are some of my recommended spots:
Naoussa’s nightlife is a lot more straightforward and centered around the area from the bridge at the seafront to Linardo. We noticed that the most popular club – which is very small by the way – was behind MARIO restaurant. But it’s quite pleasant at any one of the places and the prices are all around 10 euros for a cocktail.
Parikia’s nightlife is more spread out compared to Naoussa, but is still more or less clustered around the historic center. Here are the top 5 bars.
Another option is to take a day trip to Antiparos, the island southwest of Paros. It’s a great day trip option from Parikia especially if you don’t want to rent a car to explore.
Ancient Marble Quarries
The ancient marble quarries are most famous for being used to make Napoleon’s tomb. You can visit it by driving or joining a tour, with visits to the cave now no longer possible. There is a marble art shop next to it that’s worth visiting as well.
Paros Boat Trip
Another way to see the best of Antiparos and also the coastal sceneries of Paros is to take a boat trip. Since the prices for sunbeds are quite high, this might work out to be a better deal if you prefer a more active day:
Paros Greece Beaches
Paros has quite a few great beaches, but none of them are that close to the towns. But there are ferries run by private companies in both towns that can take you. Or you can take the bus or drive yourself.
Livadia beach is the closest beach to Parikia which is about 15 minutes walk from the port along the promenade. It’s not the prettiest beach in the world, but it is close to town with several cafes that also offer beach chairs and also free spaces for your beach towel.
We had a look at some of the beachside cafe-restaurants that provide a sunbed, but most of them are filled up and so we continued down to Paralia Beach.
Paralia Beach is further away from the city center but a better beach than Livadia to spend the day. We found a nice beach cafe at the end but it was super busy and they didn’t have a bed for us. But here are the details:
Tango Mar – min spend 10 euros per person, pre-booking is recommended
The only drawback is that walking there from Parikia involves some stretches on the main road that was a bit narrower.
Krios beach is only 4km away from Parikia and over the headland west of Paralia Beach. But it’s too far to walk so you can get there by driving or taking a ferry from Parikia port.
It’s an organised beach with not much free space, so it’s best to pre-book a sunbed or be prepared to rent one.
Sunbeds (in sets of 2) would set you back between 25-30 euros.
On the same ferry that heads to Krios Beach, you can also go a little further west to Martselo Beach. The beach is also lovely, but recent reviews have said that sunbed prices have gone up a lot – almost to 40-50 euros.
Kolymbithres Beach is west of Naoussa on the north coast of Paros and is a rocky beach with interesting formations and some sandy parts. It is one of the prettiest beaches in Paros but the prices for a sun lounger is also high. If you do wish to visit, be prepared to pay 30-80 euros for a lounger as there isn’t much free space.
Ferry is available from Naoussa for 10 euros or you can drive there, the car park is free.
The Monastiri Beach is on the east cove of a headland on the north coast of Paros, sort of facing Naoussa. It is a small beach that is famous for the blue domed church that has a Santorini-vibe. The beach is also shallower than others, making it more family-friendly.
You can get the same ferry to Kolymbirthres Beach too or rent a car and drive there. The main beach is full of sun umbrellas and loungers, but there is a small beach on the side as well.
Ferry is available from Naoussa for 10 euros. Front row to the third row (and beyond) sunloungers range from 40 to 25 euros, but you can save on bringing your own food and drinks.
Paros Greece restaurants
We had some amazing meals in Paros during our 3 days there. We mostly ended up eating in Naoussa, but we also spent one night in Parikia. Here are our top picks for the best restaurants in Paros:
There are plenty of restaurants in Parikia, both in the old town and also along the seafront.
Mira Restaurant is by the seafront near the old Parikia town center. They are one of the four or five seafront restaurants there and we picked it as it has a great rating and shorter queue. They do traditional Greek food and seafood with a modern take, and the portion size and price are not bad for the location.
We got to watch the sunset and also some cats to accompany us. All the dishes are great and they even gave us a shot at the end of the meal!
Naoussa’s restaurants are all pretty amazing but have the tendency to be on the pricier end. The seafront restaurants in particular get very busy, so it’s best to arrive at least half an hour before sunset to get a table or book in advance. Otherwise, be prepared to wait 30 minutes to an hour!
Kafeneio i pali
Kafeneio i pali might be a mouthful to pronounce, but it was the best meal of our trip both in terms of service and value for money. It’s near the Faneromeni Church away from the sea front, but spread out over the side of the square it is on.
We had their signature octopus orzo pasta and also a shrimp starter and it was absolutely delicious. They have a selection of Greek wine as well that the owner hand-picked and the hostess’s recommendation was great.
Opening time: 19:00 – 2:00
Sigi Ikthios is one of the many restaurants in the tiny square port area around Barbarossa and Linardo. And it’s one of the best rated and value-for-money choices. We got there early and was squeezed into one of the tables for our meal. While our starter crab salad was terrible, the crayfish orzo pasta was fantastic.
Although it was a tight squeeze, being able to eat in the heart of the busy cluster was also an experience in itself!
Opening times: 18:00 – 0:30
If you want to go all out for your trip, Barbarossa has the best vibe and also the best seat in the house. The restaurant is across from the Venetian castle on the small headland just behind the Saint Nicholas Holy Chapel. The seatings are less crowded on the plaka pavement and they play traditional Greek music with the serves teaching diners to throw their napkin up.
Of course, the prices are much higher but like I said, it depends if you want to go all out and enjoy the vibe.
Opening times: 13:00 – 0:30
Note: the best way to prebook would get your hotel to call them for you.
Paros Greece Hotels
The two best places to stay in Paros is in Parikia close to the port and in Naoussa close to the nightlife. Here are some of my recommendations:
Budget: We stayed at the Ayeri Hotel which is around 15-20 minutes walk from the port but a beautiful hotel. It’s close to the Livadia Beach and the hotel itself is a great photo spot. If you prefer to be closer to the port, Moschoula Studios is an alternative.
Mid-range: Sandom is a modern hotel between the port and the Livadia Beach, or you can rent an entire apartment at Cozy Apartment.
Splurge: Alkyon Hotel has sea view rooms right in front of the Parikia beach. Angie’s Studio is traditionally designed and in the heart of the old town center.
There aren’t really any budget hotels in Naoussa, but it’s worth paying extra to stay in the nightlife hub!
Mid-range: Zoumis Studios has self-catering room near the town center and beach. Porto Naoussa is a traditional-style accommodation with a terrace.
Splurge: the Bohemian Luxury Boutique Hotel is an adults only resort with a seaview, nice pool, and beautiful room. To be even closer to action, the Sandaya Luxury Suites is great as well or Kallisti Paros.