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.
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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 high season 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.
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.
Here are some of my favourite options to check out on Paros:
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 equipped with a private patio and idyllic Aegean sea views. A truly amazing find in Paros.
A budget yet very comfortable option located in Parikia with white, airy rooms and sea views. This clean, well-run hotel has some of the best wifi around.
Located in Naousa this stunning, adults-only property offers suites with private pools, exquisite breakfasts and main pool area and bar. Pure luxury and literally my favourite place on the Greek islands.
A large, luxurious but rustic resort-type 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.
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 and take day trips around the island. Drive around the North Coast towns and beaches such as Naousa and Kolymbithres, drive to and explore the villages in the centre and the south such as Lefkes and Marpissa and everything in between.
In Paros, it’s easy to rent a vehicle and the road are in good condition. You can also rent a scooter as the island is small enough to be able to explore happily on the back of a scooter. Make sure you have a valid international driving license to make the booking. During peak season (July/August) you might need to rent a vehicle in advance as they tend to book up quickly. Click here to check rates and availability of car rental on Paros.
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. The sunsets in Greece are truly epic and you’re not going to want to miss a single one.
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 new Golden Beach and Santa Maria beach due to their strong winds and watersports infrastructure.
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO ANTIPAROS
Antiparos is a small island just to the west of Paros and it’s the perfect place to escape to if you fancy a little more exploring. From the village of Pounta take the ferry over to Antiparos where you can spend the day exploring the beautiful beaches, quintessentially Greek villages and the ever-popular white houses. Antiparos is a popular destination in the peak season for people who want to escape from the crowds and while Paros is yet to be as popular as Mykonos or Santorini it can get busy. Some of my favorite things to do here are to explore the beaches and the main town.
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.
VISIT PISO LIVADI
Just past Marpissa, you’ll find the fabulous, sleepy, fishing village of Piso Livadi. Walk along its prominent harbour wall admiring the fishing boats and the bluest water below or why no go for a swim at any of the villages sandy beaches? There are so many great restaurants to have lunch in here too making it the perfect little village to drive through for lunch before going back to the beach.
CLIMB TO ST ANTONIO’S MONASTERY CHURCH
While going out of your way to find a church especially one up a hill may not be your idea of fun but you might want to make an exception just this once. This whitewashed church is small and secluded but it’s not the church that’s worth the effort of coming up here, it’s the view. From here you can see Molos Beach, Kalogeros Beach and the villages of Marpissa and Piso Livadi all surrounded by golden fields and olive trees. It really is the most stunning view point on the whole island, especially at sunset.
The road up here is steep however and you’ll only be able to make it in a small car or powerful scooter. A standard 50cc scooter won’t do it- especially if you’re a couple. Look out for the steep turns.
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. While it is rockier than. sandy, this beach does have some of the clearest water in Paros and if you don’t mind the boulders it’s the perfect place to spend a couple of hours or even to bring a picnic and relax here all day. The rock formations are also great for climbing or for entertaining young children.
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.
On the other side of the beach is a hiking path- part of Paros Park that takes you to the other side of this Northern Peninsula. It’s not a long or difficult hike and has some of the best views on this side of the island. If you get too hot, just make your way down to the water’s edge for a cooling dip. This is definitely one of the best places to visit on Paros and a great place for sunset.
If you want to find a beach that’s a little more isolated, head straight to Lageri beach. On this uncrowded part of the island, this small beach is a great spot for some quiet downtime before getting back to the hustle and bustle of Naousa.
It’s 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. Here the beach is rockier than sandier but due to the lack of sediment, it does have the clearest blue water imaginable.
There are no shops or places to eat nearby so make sure to bring all the food and water you need for your stay.
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. Here are no waves here so it’s the perfect place to head to for swimming, SUP and beginner sea kayaking. All the equipment can be rented from the small agency on the beach.
Eateries around the beach are limited so make sure to bring your own food and water for the day.
Located just south of Molos beach, Kalogeros is definitely one of the most popular beaches on the island. 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 to wash it off. Relax and repeat.
I found that some of 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. Others on the other hand don’t. The further you get out of the main towns the less likely there will be eating options, however, if you do have your own transportation then it’s only a short drive to the nearest town or village for delicious Greek cuisine.
For more on the best beaches check out The Best Beaches in Paros.
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.
The best things to do in Naousa are to eat (it does have some of the best restaurants on the island), sit by the water’s edge and let life go by and stroll the cobbles, whitewashed streets ducking down from the occasional beam and exploring all the corners and store of this gorgeous town.
Naousa is also a great place to base yourself- I did for most of my trip to Paros and here you can also rent a car or scooter, organise boat trips and by any necessary food or snacks you need if you are self-catering.
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. If you pass through Marpissa during the day you’ll more than likely find it abandoned with all the local’s resting in their homes away from the heat. The best time to visit is at sunset or early in the morning as locals mingle together in the tiny village square gossiping and swapping stories.
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!
Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals worldwide
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
Agoda also for great deals on hotels
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