If you’re considering adding Paros to your list of Greek islands to visit then rest assured there’s plenty to do. The best time to go is during the summer months when you can enjoy beautiful beaches and good food and take advantage of the wind and waves with some water sports.
In the winter, Paros is much quieter and a number of activities don’t run. However, you can still hike ancient paths, visit traditional villages and make a trip to the museums.
Below I’ve listed the best things to do, the best places to go and the best beaches to enjoy during your trip to Paros island.
Visit Bustling Paroikia
Paroiki (sometimes spelt Parikia) is the main town / main village on the island and will be your first stop if you arrive on the ferry. Because it’s the main port, the town can get busy, particularly in the high season since it’s becoming quite a popular destination.
But it’s a lovely place to stroll through with whitewashed alleyways, bright bougainvillaea trees and cafes set out on the street. I thought Paroikia deserved a post to itself so have a read of 7 Great Things to See and Do in Paroikia.
Experience Chic Naoussa
Another popular spot is Naoussa village in the north of the island. It has a touch of Mykonos about it with its boutiques and prosecco bars but compared with Paroikia it’s still a sleepy fishing village.
Go to see the remains of the Naoussa Venetian castle (a great spot for photos) and the small boats tied up in the harbour. Stay long enough to sample some of the best restaurants on the island.
Explore the Smaller Traditional Villages
Although Paroikia and Naoussa are the two main villages that people visit on a trip to Paros, there are lots of other beautiful villages which are a joy to discover. Visiting can be a great idea to retreat from the peak season crowds.
Have a read of Pretty Paros Villages: Fall in Love with These 5 to find my favourites, I recommend making time to visit at least one of them.
Enjoy the Nightlife
Some see Paros island as an alternative to Mykonos. Somewhere to party with smaller crowds. If that’s your plan, then head for Naoussa. You’ll find bars and clubs where you can party until dawn.
In Paroikia the nightlife is less intense but there are plenty of places to enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets. And do enjoy the sunsets, Paros has lovely ones.
If you fancy a night at the cinema you can watch a film under the stars at the open-air cinema. Paros actually has two outdoor cinemas, Cine Rex Plus in Paroikia and the Cine Enastron at Paros Environmental Park above Naoussa.
The one at the park shows more classic films (showings at 9pm and entry is free) while Cine Rex has more up-to-date releases (screenings are usually around 9pm and 11pm with 7.50 entry although double check when you go as it can change with long films).
Walk the Byzantine Road
The route is a really pleasant walk from Holy Trinity Church in the picturesque village of Lefkes to the lovely Prodromos. And it’s one of the top things I’d recommend doing. It’s a great way to see some history and a couple of traditional villages in one go.
The Byzantine Route Paros
Visit Agios Anotinios Monastery
This might sound like an odd thing to do on holiday but Greece is an Orthodox country and full of churches and monasteries. This one on a hill at Marpissa village is worth visiting for the view alone. I thought it was a beautiful place and enjoyed the serenity of the leafy trees.
I’ve got more details in this post about short walks on Paros. It’s a bit of a sweat to get up the hill (unless you drive the first part) but you’re rewarded with fantastic panoramic views of Paros, the Aegean Sea and nearby islands.
As well as the beautiful views there’s a Byzantine church to see and then the monastery itself.
Agios Anotinios Monastery
Chill on the Beach
Paros beaches are the perfect place to flop if all you want to do is relax. Beaches in the north tend to be quieter than ones elsewhere and the best way to get to them is by car.
But there are lots of sandy beaches to discover on Paros. Some natural and some organised with beach bars, beds and umbrellas for an extra cost. Prices in 2022 were noticeably more expensive than in other years (another little sign of Mykonosification!)
Beaches Near Parikia
If you’re staying in Paroikia and want to stay local then there is sand right on your doorstep. Livadia Beach is the main beach for the town has easy access from there.
Obviously being right by the Port of Parikia it can get very busy at times. But the sand stretches for about a kilometre so you shouldn’t be too squashed! In the summer you can get a water taxi from Paroikia over to the Marcello/Krios beaches opposite the port too.
Beaches Near Naoussa
Popular beaches near Naoussa are the small beach of Kolympethres with its unusual rock formations and Monastiri beach at the Environmental Park. You can drive to both but the best way to go in summer is via the water taxi that runs between them and Naoussa.
Other Beautiful Beaches
Here are a collection of other popular beaches on Paros.
Santa Maria Beach
This one in the northeast is a popular place. As well as bars and probably a bit of partying you’ll find water sports facilities. As these blue waters don’t get much in the way of waves it’s an ideal place for families.
However, a real gem is Little Santa Maria Beach with its crystal clear waters about 2km further north. It’s actually two beaches in one so you can pick your vibe, natural or luxurious. Expect to pay high rates for the beds and umbrellas here.
On the east coast of the island, there are some other interesting beaches.
This is another big beach and one that’s famous for its watersports. If you don’t want to do anything more energetic than walk to eat a tasty snack then don’t worry, there are plenty of beach bars along this stretch of sand too.
New Golden Beach
A bit further along is New Golden Beach. It’s a bit smaller and usually fills up with people from the hotels in the area. However, it’s fun to walk along the road past the beach. You’ll have the unique experience of seeing domesticated bunny rabbits running amok. They’re all over the place – really!
Here there’s the fun activity of making a natural mud pack for your body. Take clay powder from the rocks on the right side of the beach and mix it with water. Slather the clay over your skin, bake in the sun and then rinse it all off in the sea.
You need to watch out for Blue Star Ferries (and the others) where you’re here though. They create big waves and will wash your stuff (and small children) away if you’re not careful. Leave your stuff high on the rocks.
This is right next to the pretty fishing port of Piso Livadi. There’s actually a beach at the harbour there but it’s best for taking pictures of the fishing boats. Logaras is better equipped and much bigger. There are some shady spots under the trees and plenty of space for your towel if you don’t want to rent a sunbed.
Finally, there’s Pounda Beach on the east coast (not Punta where the boats go to Antiparos). It’s a lovely small beach but it’s party central so be aware of that if loud music isn’t your thing. Expect to pay quite high prices for beds and umbrellas here.
Cultural and Historical Things to Do
In Paroikia you must visit the Panagia Ekatontapiliani church and the Byzantine Museum next door. The earliest part was built in the 4th Century A.D. using reclaimed stone and columns from the island’s ancient temples and it’s beautiful.
I love the building’s simplicity although the main hall is particularly ornate. Make sure you’re wearing a skirt and covering your shoulders. Men need to have long trousers on (at least to cover the knees).
A short walk from the church is the Archaeological Museum of Paros. It’s not the biggest of museums but I enjoyed seeing it and I think it’s worth a visit.
Aliki in the south and Marpissa in the middle of the island both have Folklore Museums if you’re interested in those.
Around Paros, you’ll see some brown heritage signs directing you to various ancient sites. On the whole, I’d say don’t bother with them unless you’re really into history. There’s generally no information telling you what you’re looking at and the temple you were expecting to see is just a few bricks in the ground.
In the hiking section above I’ve included a short walk to the Sanctuary of Apollo. However, I’d say just go for the view, you won’t see much of the temple remains, although perhaps you’ll pick up on the energy of the area.
I was disappointed to find that the well-signed ancient marble quarries at Marathi were completely fenced off. There’s a nice path to the caves but you can’t get anywhere near the quarries. The rock is pretty to look at, but don’t expect any type of adventure.
If you’re passing, you could visit the workshop down the footpath where items are made out of the Parian marble.
Foodie Things to Do in Paros
Paros has some wonderful restaurants but this beautiful island offers more ways for you to sample local produce.
Take an Organic Farm Tour
An organic farm tour is a great thing to experience in Paros. You’ll see how Kamarantho and Petra Farms take advantage of the island’s microclimate and pair it with sustainable and organic farming methods to produce wonderful Mediterranean crops.
Take one of their tours and then get to sample produce like olives, capers, oregano, lavender, figs, grapes and organic wine.
Petra Farm above Kolymbithres runs a 30-minute farm tour that can be customised for more interaction if you want it (eg feed the chickens or pick some of the produce).
Kamarantho Farm near Aliki also has a 30-minute tour that showcases its wonderful array of fruit trees and medicinal herbs amongst other crops.
Enjoy a Winery Tour
Ktima Roussos at Asteras is a new and growing winery near Naoussa that’s open for visits all year round.
For a truly local experience, completely different to formal wine tasting tours that you find throughout the Cyclades, seek out Katikia near Maratha. You’ll be immersed in tradition and local culture with music, homemade wine and homegrown products.
Micro Brewery Tour and Beer Tasting
If you’re into craft beers you need to visit 56 Isles for a tasting. The award-winning beer is made from Parian wheat and you might come across it in some of the island’s restaurants.
Visit Butterfly Valley
If you’re visiting Paros between June and September then you can visit the Valley of the Butterflies. For over 100 years these Jersey Tiger Moths have made their way to this spot in the Cyclades Islands for the last phase of their life.
It’s a bit sad but beautiful too. Don’t go expecting some big butterfly farm but enjoy a cool, peaceful oasis in the midst of all the busyness.
Active Things to Do in Paros
Sticking with the walking theme, there are opportunities for hiking on Paros. If you’re not a serious hiker then check out these 5 Short & Enjoyable Walks with Great Views.
If you’re after something longer then the signature walking route is the 20km trek from Paroikia to Piso Livadi could be for you. There are some other shorter routes but my main complaint is there aren’t many circular routes.
In the summer that’s not such an issue but in the winter it makes transport logistics a bit trickier. You can pick up a hiking map at the International Press Shop at Paroikia Port.
Cycling, SUP and Kayaking
With Paros Cycling at Aliki Beach in the south of the island, you can rent a bike for a trip or your whole holiday and join a cycling tour paced from leisurely to advanced.
Kite Surfing and other Watersports
Thanks to the strong winds that Paros experiences it’s a great place for watersports.
Paros Cycling in Aliki also offers lessons in Stand Up Paddle Boarding and kayaking. If you already know what you’re doing then you can join a SUP or kayak tour with them.
At Golden Beach and Punda Beach, you can do waterskiing, various boarding sports, SUP and fun tubing activities with Awake Paros.
Wellbeing in Paros
The island of Paros presents a great opportunity for treatments and activities to add relaxation and rejuvenation. Have a traditional Greek massage at Exymno Anatripsis in Naoussa. Or choose from a wide variety of options at Tao’s centre (I can recommend the Thai Yoga Massage).
Several Pilates studios operate on the island during summer and you’ll find yoga classes and retreats here too.
Summer Day Trips from Paros
Go on a Beach Tour Boat Trip
There are lots of boat trips to choose from. You can stay close by and just be transported around three of the top beaches with drinks and local delicacies for you to relax with on the boat. Rofos Paros runs trips from Aliki.
Take a Boat Trip to the Smaller Cyclades
During the summer you have the opportunity to take a boat trip beyond Antiparos and Naxos. The Smaller Cyclades are quiet islands with beautiful beaches. Captain Yannis does an excellent trip to Koufonisia from Piso Livadi.
Hire a Boat
If you’re feeling brave you can hire a boat and take yourself on your own voyage of discovery around Paros island. Rent from The Sailor’s Ride, no license required.
Hop to Antiparos and See Antiparos Cave
Antiparos is a small island next to Paros. Unless you’re arriving by helicopter the only way to access it is via Paros. There are boats daily from Paroikia port and Punta (near to Paroikia, not to be confused with Punda Bay further up the island).
It only takes about 7 minutes to get to Antiparos from Punta so it’s an easy day trip with multiple ferries running daily (even in the winter). The cave is a popular attraction as are the hiking routes and beautiful beaches.
Explore Environment Park Trails, Beaches and Lighthouse
Paros Park is in the peninsula above Naoussa. It’s a recreation park with trails, a beach with a cafe, outdoor cinema and a lighthouse to explore. There’s also a monastery just near the entrance and the park hosts cultural events throughout the summer.
Visit Decadent Mykonos and Sacred Delos
A trip to Mykonos and Delos makes for a long day. But if you’re not stopping at Mykonos on your trip I think it’s a good one to do if you have the time.
Get just a taste of Mykonos without being swept up the hedonism and get to see one of the most important archaeological sites at the heart of the Cyclades. Delos is quite an amazing place and worth making a trip to.
Captain Yannis (below) also does trips just to Delos if you want to skip Mykonos altogether.
Best Things to Do in Paros in the Winter
Although the logistics can be a bit trickier, hiking is a winter activity in Paros.
Winter Day Trips from Paros
Although the organised boat trips won’t be running through the winter you can still enjoy some of the other islands your own way.
Use Ferryhopper.com to find the schedules running for the dates you visit. (Note that in the winter the schedules are only put out about a month in advance, sometimes even week to week, and are weather-dependent.)
See above, easy to get to in winter with very regular daily ferries. The cave is open until the end of October.
Naxos Day Trip from Paros
Next door to Paros is Naxos, the biggest island in the Cyclades. There’s a lot to see and do on Naxos and it’s worth a good few days on its own. Definitely stay overnight if you can but if not, then you can hop over in the morning and then return to Paros in the evening.
You could explore some of the lovely villages or climb Mount Zas if you’re a hiker. The museums stay open through the winter and it’s nice to see the Temple of Apollo and the Sanctuaries of Demeter and Dionysis.
Santorini Day Trip from Paros
This is ferry-schedule dependent but I got it to work in February 2022. I got an early Saturday morning ferry to Santorini that arrived about 11am and then took the 7pm ferry back to Paros.
Although most things are closed in winter, the views are not. I went on a beautiful day for hiking (15C and not a cloud in the sky) and walked the caldera. It worked perfectly with the timing but you could equally spend time wandering the streets of the various pretty villages. Plus the museums are open throughout the year.
(Double-check what’s accessible if you want to do this trip. In winter 2022 the Municipality have closed the pedestrian walkways and, it sounds like, access to the caldera route too. I’d like to think it’s because they’re sorting out some shelters for the donkeys but really I have no idea why.)
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