Are you spending some time in the capital of Paros and wondering what there is to do in Paroikia? Well, here are seven varied things you can do with your time.
1. Get Lost in the Whitewashed Alleyways
Live your Greek island bucket list life and wander down the pretty, narrow, bougainvillaea-arched streets. There are picture-perfect spots at every turn and lots of little shops, art galleries, cafes and tavernas to discover.
Streets of Parikia
2. Stop at the Frankish Castle and Temple of Athena
Amongst the boutique purchases and Greek coffees navigate your way to the traditional centre of Paroikia. You’ll find the – limited – remains of the Frankish Castle and the Temple of Athena (where the Church of Agios Konstantinos now stands).
There’s literally only a wall left of the castle but it’s quite appealing to look at. The castle was built from upcycled materials from the ancient temples so it looks a bit unusual.
Frankish Castle Wall from Upcycled stone from temples
Round the corner, the Church of Agios Konstantinos (actually two inter-connected churches. The one at the front with the bell tower and the one with the blue dome behind) is built on the site Archaic Temple Of Athena. There’s not much left of the temple. But you can see some of the original stones still there.
It’s a pretty spot with a nice sea and sunset view so worth passing when you’re nearby.
Lovely for the sunset in summer
Find Calm in the Church of the Virgin Mary Ekatontapyliani
Right in Paroikia port, this beautiful church – the church of one hundred doors – is a special place and a quality venue to visit. It is one of the oldest and best-preserved Christian temples in Greece.
The tradition around its name is that there are 99 open doors within the church and one more that is secret and closed. The hundredth door will open when Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (that Greeks still refer to as Constantinople) reverts back to being a Greek Orthodox Church.
Church of the Virgin Mary Ekatontapyliani
The external Byzantine masonry is stunning. But inside is where things get most impressive (although you won’t find 99 doors…).
The modern church has been added over time to the original section which was built in the 4th Century. This part is very ornate and really quite huge. It’s interesting to walk on the plush carpet and look at the icons, decorative detail and different areas of the church.
Inside the Church of the Virgin Mary Ekatontapyliani
The stones that make up the earlier part of the church are fascinating to look at. When Christians built their churches it was common for them to take stone from the ancient temples. That happened here and you can see the repurposed stone and the Greek temple aspects.
This church is open from 7am – 8pm in the winter and a little longer in summer. Dress appropriately (skirts for women and covered shoulders, trousers that cover the knee for men).
Visit Paros Archaeological Museum
Just a few minutes’ walk from Ekatontapyliani is the Archaeological Museum. I’m not big on museums but I enjoyed this one. Again it transports you to another era and the marble statues and other pieces are fascinating. There’s also the Byzantine Museum connected to the church if it’s open in the season that you visit.
Paros Archaeological Museum in Paroikia
Flop on a Beach
There are a few different beaches in, and easily accessible from Paroikia. Paroikia Beach is a long stretch of sand within easy walking distance. Obviously, with its proximity, it can get busy.
A bit further round the bay Krios and Marcello Beaches run into each other. Again they can get busy in the high season but they’re lovely spots to enjoy shallow waters and a view of the port. You can either drive round the road or take the boat taxi from Paroikia.
Walk to Agios Fokas
Another option if it’s not too hot is to take a stroll from Livadia Beach in Paroikia to Agios Fokas. It’s the church you can see across the bay from Paroikia Port and has a great view of Paroikia.
You’ll pass Krio and Marcello and some other little beaches. Choose one to stop at after your walk. Then have lunch and get the boat taxi back. Or go in the evening to watch the sunset.
Overcast views in winter
See the view from Delion Apollo Sanctuary
If you’ve been out to Marcello beach by road then you might have noticed a sign for Delion Apollo Sanctuary. Unless you’re a real history buff then you might not be over-excited about the site.
The sanctuary isn’t like ancient sanctuaries in Naxos that still have some columns and structures. Unless you know what you’re looking at then Delion Apollo is just some stones on the ground. You can see some foundations but that’s it.
Another cloudy day in the off-season
However, the view is worth the 45-minute hike up from Paroikia. (You can also drive up and then walk the last few minutes up to the top.) I went in the winter and it was rather overcast so in summer it’ll be even more stunning. You get a great 360 of the island.
Loved Paroikia? Discover four more pretty villages in Paros.
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