Island Hopping in Greece: Paros
An island-hopping adventure in Greece began in Athens (check out my list of top things to do in Athens) and then moved onto the islands beginning with the Cyclades island group. We had already visited Andros (see this post) and Mykonos (blog post here) and were now moving on to Paros for a few days. It is a quieter and less windy island than Mykonos and has much of the charm of Andros. As a ferry hub, Paros was also a stop before visiting the neighbouring island of Naxos (check it out).
Paros is best known for its beaches and traditional villages. Paros has 40 beaches, with 3 in the capital of Parikia, where we stayed. Parikia, also called Paros Town or Hora, was built on the same site as the ancient city and capital.
The town is built up around the port and contains typical Cycladic architecture: whitewashed square, flat-roofed buildings with brightly coloured doors, windows, and balconies. At the entrance to the port, a windmill welcomes visitors. A bus and taxi station is nearby.
Parikia and the other main village, Naoussa, have many food choices including traditional taverns, chic restaurants and bars. In the evenings, the streets fill with crowds enjoying the nightlife offered.
Our guesthouse, Marisa Rooms, was about 4 blocks from the beach which was far enough away from the action that we weren't disturbed at all.
Close to the port and just down the block from our guesthouse is an ancient cemetery with relics from 5 BC. The Ancient Cemetery of Parikia is one of the most important ancient cemeteries in the region. Archeologists have determined that it was in use from the 8th Century BC until the 3rd Century AD.
Throughout Greece, but especially on Paros, are many teeny tiny churches. These itty bitty little churches are everywhere. Many of them only have seating for 6 people! The tradition on Paros is that every family builds and maintains a small church dedicated to a specific Saint — or to one of the many names of Madonna and Christ — on their property. Most are private but some will leave the doors open during the day. Look for a donation box, if you enter.
A favourite activity should always be wandering around the streets of an old town. The Old Town of Parikia is the historical centre of the island. Most of the buildings and streets look similar to the originals. It is a pedestrian-only area but for those travelling by car, there are a couple of parking lots on the outskirts.
The Old Тown includes charming shops, cafés and restaurants. The streets are white cobblestones arranged in a maze. It is easy to spend many hours, perhaps a whole day, just wandering around and getting temporarily lost.
We found the Frankish Castle of Paros, located in the middle of the Old Town. Unfortunately, there isn't much left except for a tower but the neighbourhood surrounding it is very picturesque and is a great place to catch a sunset view.