Ahhh, breathe in and smell that sweet sea air. That’s exactly what I couldn’t quite help doing when arriving on this sun-drenched paradise island. White-washed, quaint houses and churches, rustic stone pathways, pretty beaches, breath-taking views points, clear, blue waters and the cutest kitties. I soon saw that the Cycladic island of Paros has it all.
Known as the sister island of Mykonos, Paros is yet to be hit by the same crowds and soaring prices but still, like Mykonos, Paros has similar charming villages, remarkable windmills and similar landscapes and topography. Its an island made for exploring, with its good roads you can rent a vehicle and explore all the villages, beaches and hilltops this beautiful Greek island has to offer.
Paros is an island originally famous for its wind, making it ideal for windsurfing and other watersports, but it’s so much more than that. During my recent trip to the Greek islands, I found that each island offers something different. I spent time on both Paros and Milos and while Milos’ strong suit is its beaches, Paros’ forte is its towns and hiking opportunities. The towns here are idyllic- exactly like those you’d seen on Instagram or online.
Read more: The Best Beaches in Paros
Planning a trip to the Greek Islands? Check out my complete Milos travel guide HERE to compare the two.
TOP TIPS FOR VISITING PAROS
Best time to go: May-October, prepare for more tourists in July and August. I went late-June and it was perfect. Getting around: Scooter, Car, ATV or public transportation Currency: Euro, credit cards accepted and ATMs located in Paraika, Naousa and Lefkes.
↠ Tap water is NOT drinkable on Paros. Check out this reusable water bottle with a built-in filter to make sure you keep your plastic consumption low. Alternatively, get this personal water purifier for drinkable tap water everywhere.
↠ All beaches are public and free to visit for all. You might have to just pay extra for rental of umbrellas or sun loungers.
↠ Tipping is common courtesy in Paros, especially in restaurants where you’re expected to leave a 10% tip.
↠ Renting a car or scooter is easy in Paros, you’ll need a valid International Driving License (I used my UK license and all was fine). Some rentals might also need you to have a credit card with enough space on it to cover the cost of the rental.
Check out my favourite vegan leather travel wallet to keep all your credit cards and euros safe while in Paros.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation can be found in many villages and towns on the island however the most popular and convenient places to stay are Parikia, the main port and capital of Paros or Naousa, a quieter, more laid back town in the north. For total peace and quiet staying in Lefkes or anywhere in the south part of the island is also an option.
I would recommend staying in either Parikia or Naousa and this way you’re close to vehicle rentals, supermarkets, shops and restaurants. I stayed in Naousa and I loved it. It’s close to some of the best beaches on the island and is such a gorgeous little town in itself. I loved waking up early and strolling around, seeing the town wake up before going to my favourite bakery for breakfast. It’s smaller and more relaxed than Paraika but still has a great, slow-moving, chilled out atmosphere.
Unfortunately, I stayed in a property that I would quite recommend so here are some other great options:
Tarsa Studios – For a touch of Cycladic cool on a very private, secluded part of the island. These well-decorated studios are located right on the beach and each one is equipt with a private patio and idyllic Aegean sea views.
Lilly Residence-Boutique Suites – located in Naousa this stunning, adults-only property offers suites with private pools, exquisite breakfasts and main pool area and bar. Pure luxury!
Saint Andrea Resort Hotel – A large, luxurious but rustic property this four-star hotel offers all the mod-cons as well as amazing sea views in a great location- close to one of the best beaches on the island.
Hotel and Studio Cyclades – a budget yet very comfortable option located in Parikia. This clean, well-run hotel has some of the best wifi around.
Booking.com and Airbnb both have fabulous options for Paros that fit every budget. I pretty much use always choose Airbnb. If you haven’t experienced the joys of Airbnb yet, you’re definitely missing out.
WHERE TO EAT
There are so many eating options in Paros, mainly located in Parikia, Naoussa, Lefkes and Marpissa. I found the standards of food to be really high and I didn’t have a bad meal on the island. Some of my favourite eats (suitable vibes for solo travellers) included:
Sousouro – A entirely vegetarian cafe, dedicated to serving healthy fresh food. You can find superfood smoothies, green juices, açai bowls, avocado toast and many other heavenly dishes. They even use metallic, reusable straws. A sure favourite, yet pricier option located in Naousa
Marmitta Naoussa – a lovely restaurant recommend to me by another traveller. Serving traditional Greek food, the staff are so lovely they don’t mind modifying dishes to make them plant-based.
Kargas– a Greek fast food option, perfect for when you need to grab something quick before chasing that sunset. They mainly serve meat Souvlaki and Gyros but they make a superb Gyros with crunchy fries as a veggie substitute to meat.
Distrato cafe – this little cafe in Parikia, serves some delicious healthy, natural, plant-based food including, mezze platters, salads, dips, and grilled veggies.
Lefkiano Restaurant – located in Lefkes and has a gorgeous outdoor patio and roof- allowing you to watch the world go by as you eat. A focus on local, fresh food, the greek salad here was simple but so fresh and delicious.
Ragoussis Bakery – a superb breakfast option, they serve all the traditional Greek pastries and breads including danishes, breakfasts, sandwiches, great coffee and fresh juice.
THINGS TO DO IN PAROS GREECE
RENT A VEHICLE AND EXPLORE
While there are buses on Paros they aren’t exactly regular but they are still a good way to see the island if you don’t have a driving license. It’s always better though to have your own transport for the flexibility it gives to explore on your own terms. Drive around the North Coast towns and beaches, drive to and explore the villages in the centre and the south such as Lefkes and Marpissa and everything in between.
WATCH THE SUNSET OR SUNRISE
There are so many places to catch the epic Greek sunsets on this island. I would recommend exploring and finding some great places on your own. My favourites were St Antonio’s Monastery just outside Marpissa and Parikia for sunset and Naoussa and Molos Beach for sunrise.
PERFECT YOUR WATERSPORTS SKILLS
Some of the most popular things to do in Paros Greece are watersports. Paros is a world-class windsurfing destination, so why not have a go or refresh your current skills. Many beaches also rent out SUPs and kayaks. For the more avid water sports addicts, you can even do some jet-skiing, water-skiing and wakeboarding. The best beaches for water sports are Golden Beach and Santa Maria.
Paros is one of the best Greek islands for hikes and there are many paths and directions to choose from. Walks range from easy 3 hrs hikes to more demanding full-day excursions. Be careful however on long hikes in the summer months, especially in the centre of the island as temperatures can reach baking point and water isn’t always available. Check out Paros Hikes for detailed guides for all the hiking routes.
BEST BEACHES TO VISIT
This was my favourite beaches on the island for its light and clear waters. The beach is actually composed of a few sand beaches lying in-between the outlying granite rock. Grab a spot on the sandy shore or on the rocks themselves to feel like a total mermaid.
Located a little further north after Kolympethres. This is a fairly large beach, with gorgeous golden-grey sand and inviting azure waters. Immediately around the beach is a resort where you can relax and have a drink on their sun-loungers or sofas and have lunch. On the rocky outcrop just next to this beach is a typical blue-domed Greek church. You can climb the cliff alongside it to the roof for stunning views across the bay.
A little difficult to get to but totally worth it (just follow the road on google maps). This secluded beach is frequented mainly by the locals who live nearby. Peace, calm and serenity at its finest. It lies on the opposite side of the bay.
A long, golden sand beach with an exquisite church overlooking it. While the water isn’t the clearest due to the sandy bottom this family-friendly beach is the place to head to for water sports and relaxation.
Surrounded by looming red, yellow and grey cliffs, this beach is simply beautiful for the colours around you. The cliffs and beach caves are also a source of volcanic mud. Cover yourself in the mineral-rich mud for an impromptu spa treatment then swim in the clear waters.
I found that almost all the beaches I visited on Paros had eating options nearby or a short walk away. It was idyllic to walk a few steps from the beach, have a fresh, delicious Greek lunch and walk back again.
BEST TOWNS TO VISIT
One of the best things to do in Paros, Greece is to visit the charming quintessentially greek towns. Naousa is a sleepy fishing village by day and shopping and eating heaven at night and is Paros’ main northern town. It’s a gorgeous village, with blue-domed churches, white-washed houses, quaint fishing boats and narrow, stone pathways. It’s a joy to stroll its streets or grab a coffee under a shaded parasol, and people watch.
As the main port, Parikia is also the busiest place to be. I didn’t explore much else other than the old, traditional heart of the town which is stunning. Walk around for long enough and you’ll be rewarded by hill-topped churches with spectacular views, stone windmills and cute alleyways leading to the most beautiful bougainvillaea covered courtyards. Don’t be hesitant to stray off the main paths for a truly local experience.
Another stunning village located on a hill in the centre of the island. Visiting this village makes for a break from the sea, not to mention the ride here is beautiful. Walk the steep and narrow whitewashed streets that lead to residents’ shops and cafes in quaint little squares. There’s nothing to do here but walk around, savour the atmosphere and then stop at a cafe for an iced coffee or glass of cold white wine.
A lovely, photogenic village with a gorgeous blue-domed church and rustic windmills surrounded by fields of wheat.
Planning a trip to the Greek Islands? Check out my complete Milos travel guide HERE.
WHERE TO WORKOUT
TAKE A HIKE – Paros offers some spectacular hikes so why not spend the day or the morning surrounded by glorious landscapes while working out? After all, hiking is a great form of exercise.
IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM/PATIO – Most rooms/suites/studios in Paros tend to be quite spacious, allowing enough space for a workout indoors. In general, properties also have outdoor patios and areas for workouts outside. I know I had my terrace as well as a communal rooftop patio. If you visit in the summer, it’s wise to workout first thing in the morning or after 8 pm to avoid the baking Greek sun or turn on the a/c.
AT THE BEACH – it’s not every day you get to workout to the sound of the waves. Beaches are perfect for HIIT workouts and circuits, not to mention you can combine your session with a refreshing swim afterwards. Parikia and Naousa have their own small beaches in town.
For the perfect workout, while travelling, I use resistance bands. They are light, compact and fit into the smallest suitcase side pocket, not to mention you can use them anywhere. Get yours here.
What are your thoughts and feeling on the things to do in Paros, Greece? Share them below, I’d love to hear from you!
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