Just a 40-minute flight from Athens lies Paros, one of our favorite Greek islands. Unlike the more famous Cyclades islands (Mykonos and Santorini!), Paros is a breath of fresh air, with far fewer crowds and more agreeable prices.
Moreover, it’s home to dozens of beautiful beaches, the charming port town of Parikia, quiet traditional villages, and ancient Parian marble quarries. With all this destination has to offer, it’s generally considered one of the most well-rounded Aegean islands to visit.
This article reviews the 22 best things to do in Paros, Greece, including top attractions, beaches, and activities that are perfect for the whole family. Additionally, we’ll cover the best options for getting around the island and centrally-located accommodations. If it’s your first time in Greece, you don’t want to skip this Paros guide!
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The Best Things to Do on Paros Island
Wander the traditional village of Lefkes
Lefkes is a traditional village tucked away in the Parian mountains, offering visitors the opportunity to experience authentic Greek culture. It’s home to the major landmark of Agia Triada Church, as well as numerous traditional tavernas and local shops. Plus, it’s only a short 11 km from Parikia or Naoussa, making it an excellent option for a half-day trip.
During the Middle Ages, Lefkes was actually the capital of Paros island. At that time, its location on the mountainside was ideal for protecting residents from pirate raids! Nowadays, this hilltop village provides visitors with incredible views of the Aegean Sea and even the neighboring island of Naxos.
Moreover, Lefkes village is the starting point for the Byzantine Road, an easy hike that leads to the small village of Prodromos. This 2.2-mile (3.5 km) trail dates back to 1000 A.D.! If you’d like to keep following the path past Prodromos, you can continue to the small fishing village of Piso Livadi.
Spend an afternoon at Paros Park
Paros Park consists of 800 acres on the northwestern tip of the island and serves as an Environmental and Cultural Park. For example, you can find a historic monastery, a lighthouse, an open-air cinema (Cine Enastron), and three secluded beaches here.
It’s also home to an amphitheater that hosts events ranging from live concerts to theater performances and shows. Nonetheless, Monastiri Beach is the main attraction within the park, ranking as one of our favorite beaches on the entire island of Paros.
Named after the nearby Agios Ioannis Detis Monastery, this beach offers an upscale beach bar, lounge, and restaurant. Moreover, guests can participate in various water activities here, including paddle boarding, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and sailing.
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, this park also features a 4.3-mile (7km) walking trail network. Visitors love watching the sunset from the peninsula, where you can see views of the Aegean Sea and the neighboring islands of Mykonos, Delos, Tinos, and Naxos.
You can reach Paros Park by car or by water taxi leaving from Naoussa. Remember that there is no cost for admission, making this attraction one of the best places to visit in Paros.
Explore the cute fishing village of Naoussa
Naoussa (also spelled Naousa) is the second-largest town on the Greek island of Paros, after Parikia. It’s a quick 20-minute drive (6.2 mi or 10 km) from the port of Parikia and is known for its elegant architecture, fishing boats, Venetian castle, and expansive old port neighborhood.
This fishing village has become a popular tourist destination, with numerous trendy hotels, luxury shops, traditional taverns, and high-end restaurants. You can also expect to find typical Cycladic architecture here, including whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches.
Plus, Naoussa Old Port comes alive in the evenings with people enjoying the restaurants and bars. Some of our favorite restaurants here are Almond in Paros, Taverna Glafkos, and UMI Sushi Bar. You’ll definitely want to dine with views of the port at least once on your trip!
Apart from its culinary delights, Naoussa is also close to some of the best beaches in Paros. For example, by car, you can reach Kolymbithres Beach, Monastiri Beach, or Santa Maria Beach in less than 15 minutes.
Go for a swim at Kolymbithres Beach
Less than three miles (4.7km) from Naoussa, you can find one of the most famous Paros beaches: Kolymbithres Beach. In particular, this attraction is well-known for its natural granite rock formations, which split the beach into multiple swimming pools.
Kolymbithres (also called Kolympethres Beach) is home to two beach clubs: Anemos and Paros on the Rocks. Here, you can purchase sunbeds, food, and drinks. However, you don’t need to rent a lounge chair to enjoy the sand on this particular beach!
In fact, there’s plenty of room along the rocks where you can lay your towel down before heading into the ocean. It’s the most budget-friendly option, after all. Moreover, Kolymbithres features warm and calm waters, making it a perfect spot to swim with the kids.
There are two different ways to reach Kolymbithres Beach from Naoussa: via bus or a water taxi. Or, if you have a rental car, there is a parking lot next to the beach. Just be aware that it fills up quickly during the high season. So, we recommend arriving here early if you want to secure a spot.
Visit Parikia, the capital of Paros
The capital of Paros, Parikia (also called Paros Town), is located on the northwest coast and serves as the island’s main port. So, if you’re traveling to Paros by ferry, you’ll actually have to pass through this historic town!
As you leave the busy port area, you’ll notice that Parikia is a charming Greek village with narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and bougainvillea-draped buildings. In particular, the Old Town neighborhood is a big draw for visitors.
It’s well known for its Frankish Castle ruins (built in the 13th century) and the shops and cafes along Old Market Street. Some of the most popular things to do in Parikia include visiting the Archaeological Museum of Paros and Panagia Ekatontapiliani Church, also known as “the Church of a Hundred Doors.”
In addition to its many archaeological sites, Parikia also has the best nightlife in Paros. You’ll find that most tourists book their accommodations here or in Naoussa.
Relax at Golden Beach
Golden Beach, also called “Chrissi Akti,” is one of the best beaches on Paros. This wide sandy beach extends for 0.4 miles (700 m) and is a top location on the island for windsurfing and water sports.
If you didn’t know, the southeastern coast of Paros is well-known for its clear turquoise waters–and Golden Beach is no exception. You can find several beach bars and restaurants dotting the shoreline here, as well as sunbeds and umbrellas available for rental.
Although this area can get crowded during peak season, Golden Beach is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the incredible views. You can also find another popular beach, New Golden Beach (Nea Chrissi Akti), a short drive away.
Taste Greek wine at Moraitis Winery
Moraitis Winery was founded by Manolis Moraitis in 1910 and continues to be a family-owned business four generations later. This almost 25-acre vineyard (10 ha) is a short walk from Naoussa Old Port and is one of the top things to do in Paros for wine lovers.
It opens Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers wine tours and tasting sessions. On your visit, you’ll learn about grapes that grow on Paros and throughout the Cyclades island group.
For example, you may recognize Monemvassia, Assyrtiko, Mandilaria, or Aidani Mavro varieties. You’ll also have the chance to sample these Greek wines, including reds, whites, rosés, and even dessert wines.
If you’re interested in taking the winery tour, we highly recommend making a reservation in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that Moraitis also serves charcuterie boards and small plates if you’re hungry!
Go inside Panagia Ekatontapiliani Church
The Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani is a Byzantine complex located in Parikia, consisting of a church, two chapels, and a baptistery. It’s believed to have been founded in the 4th century by Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, while she was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
This site is now the second-most important Marian pilgrimage church in the Aegean Sea, preceded by Our Lady of Tinos on Tinos Island. Its name, “the church of 100 doors,” comes from a famous legend that says that the church contains 99 revealed doors.
Supposedly, the 100th secret door will be revealed when Constantinople becomes Greek Orthodox again. However, as you tour this impressive Byzantine construction, you’ll notice it has nowhere close to 99 doors! One theory is that the original name was Katapoliani, meaning “Lower Town church.”
Looking at the church from the outside, you may not expect to be blown away. Nonetheless, we can promise that the inside of this stone and marble monastery doesn’t disappoint. Plus, with free entrance, it’s definitely worth stopping by to check out this well-preserved Greek church.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Paros
If you’re wondering what to do in Paros next, The Archaeological Museum of Paros is across the street from Panagia Ekatontapiliani Church. Therefore, it’s a convenient stop on your tour of Parikia. The museum was founded in 1960 and has since expanded into two rooms and an atrium.
You’ll find archaic and classical sculpture in Room A, pottery and sculpture from Neolithic to Roman times in Room B, and sculptures and a mosaic floor from the Roman period in the Atrium. Although it may seem small, its rooms hold some awe-inspiring historic pieces from the Cycladic islands!
Some of the museum’s highlights include the Nike of Paros (5th century BCE) and the Gorgon of Paros (6th century BCE). Moreover, you can view the Fat Lady of Salagios–the oldest known Cycladean statue.
During the summer, the Archaeological Museum of Paros is open every day except Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. We recommend setting aside approximately 20-40 minutes to peruse the exhibits and read the information plaques.
Sunbathe on Santa Maria Beach
Santa Maria Beach is one of the longest beaches on the island, featuring soft golden sand and calm waters ideal for swimming. We also think that Santa Maria is quite scenic! You can take in views of the crystal clear waters and even the neighboring island of Naxos to the east.
Additionally, this beach offers all sorts of water sports, like snorkeling, windsurfing, and paddle boarding. You can also find a scuba diving school here (Prodivers) where beginner and intermediate divers can gain valuable experience.
Santa Maria Beach Bar and Nava Lounge offer comfy sunbeds for rent for those who prefer to lounge in a chair. This famous beach in Paros is located about three miles (5.1 km) from Naoussa.
Buses and water taxis travel from Naoussa to Santa Maria throughout the day. However, the easiest way to get there is a 10-minute drive. Note that it can be a more boisterous beach during the peak season!
Take the ferry to Antiparos Island
One of the best things to do in Paros is to go island hopping to the neighboring Antiparos. This smaller island is located less than a nautical mile (1.9 km) from Paros, making it an easy day trip by ferry.
Some of the highlights of Antiparos include a 15th-century Venetian castle, Antiparos Cave, and the adorable town of Chora (also called Antiparos Town). Fun fact: Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, own a villa here!
As you can imagine, the island is also well-known for its sandy beaches. You can find several beaches a short drive from the island’s port. For example, popular options are Psaraliki Beach, Agios Spyridonas Beach, and Camping Beach.
However, some of the best beaches on Antiparos are slightly further away from the main town. Namely, Agios Georgios Beach (on the southern coast) and Soros Beach.
You can reach Antiparos from Paros on a short ferry ride from the Port of Parikia or Pounta, which takes you to the main village on the island: Antiparos Town. For those planning to drive their rental car onto the ferry, you’ll need to leave from the Port of Pounta.
Ferry tickets are paid when you board. Make sure to have cash on hand, as they do not accept credit cards. Tickets are around €2 per person for foot passengers or approximately €7 for a car.
Stroll the gardens at Butterfly Valley
If you’re visiting Paros during the summer months, you don’t want to miss the chance to see the Jersey Tiger Moths at Butterflies Nature Reserve. This day-flying moth species visits this valley annually to escape the heat in this lush and tranquil valley.
In fact, the “Panaxia Quadripunctaria,” or Jersey Tiger Moths, have been coming to Paros for over 100 years! The park opens from June to September every day beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. Note that it does close slightly early (at 7:30 p.m.) from August 20th through the end of September.
However, the best time to see the moths is during July. Keep an eye out for a black moth with yellow stripes and a second pair of red wings. The garden first opened to the public in the 1970s and has since become one of the biggest attractions on the island.
Though there’s a small fee to enter (a few euros), we think it’s worth spending an hour or so here! You can relax in the shade, grab a snack at the cafeteria, or let the kids enjoy the playground. Just remember to respect the wildlife and avoid disturbing the moths.
Go windsurfing or kitesurfing
If you’ve ever thought about trying your hand at windsurfing, the Greek island Paros is definitely a great place to do so! In fact, there are two world-renowned windsurfing spots on the island’s southeastern coast: Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti) and New Golden Beach (Nea Chrissi Akti).
Paros is particularly important as a windsurfing destination thanks to the seasonal Meltemi winds. These strong winds blow in from the north, creating the ideal conditions for windsurfing. It’s important to note that windsurfing season runs from April to October and that the Meltemi is strongest in July and August.
Golden and New Golden Beach are home to two well-rated windsurfing centers: Force 7 and Paros Surf Club, respectively. Moreover, both locations offer windsurfing rentals and different types of classes with instructors based on your experience level.
Among the two areas, New Golden Beach experiences the strongest winds on the island. Moreover, windsurfing competitions have historically been held on this beach.
Cool off at Faragas beach
Less than a 10-minute drive from the small town of Aliki, you’ll find Faragas Beach. This sandy beach is unique on the island of Paros as one of the only beaches to be sheltered from the famous Aegean summer wind, also called the “Meltemi.”
It’s also well organized, featuring sunbeds with umbrellas that are available for rent and a popular beach bar. You’ll notice that Faragas Beach is actually split into two sections.
One section houses the beach bar, lounge chairs, and music, while the other is open for people to bring their own towels and umbrellas. The clear water here is perfect for swimming, making this beach one of the best things to do in Paros island for families visiting with younger children.
Visit the secluded Molos Beach
Tucked away on the island’s east coast lies the secluded beach of Molos. Even though it’s only a 20-minute drive from Naoussa or 30 minutes from Parikia, this beach is more popular with locals and is a hidden gem for tourists.
If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing experience, Molos Beach is a great choice. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to bring all of your beach gear and snacks! You won’t find any beach bars on Molos Beach, which can be a pro or con, depending on your preferences.
Nonetheless, there is a small water sports center here, where you can rent equipment to go windsurfing or take lessons. You can also find a small taverna on the south end of the beach.
Standing on the beach, you’ll have incredible views of the east coast of Naxos as well as the famous Kefalos Hill. There are two important sites here, the ruins of a 15th-century Venetian castle and the Monastery of Agios Antonios, one of the oldest monasteries on Paros.
Experience a natural mud bath on Kalogeros Beach
One of our secret travel tips for Paros is to visit Kalogeros Beach and give yourself a free spa treatment! Apart from the typical relaxing beach experience, this special beach on the east coast draws in visitors thanks to its natural clay deposits.
From the parking area, you’ll need to turn to the right and walk to the far end of the beach to find the rocks that hold the clay. If you’d like to spread the clay on your skin, you’ll first need to scrape it off the rocks and then mix it with ocean water.
Next, you’ll want to find a sunny spot on the beach and wait for the clay to dry. The final step is then to wash off the dry clay in the ocean, and voilà! You’ve completed a free exfoliation treatment.
It’s important to note that, thanks to the location of Kalogeros Beach facing the east, passing ferries sometimes cause larger waves on this beach. With this in mind, we suggest leaving your belongings away from the shore, so they don’t get wet!
Lounge at Marcello Beach
Marcello Beach (also sometimes called Marchello or Martselo Beach) is located in Parikia Bay, making it one of the closest beaches to Parikia. Thanks to its proximity to the capital (2.5 miles or 4 km), you can expect crowds here during the peak season and higher prices for food from the beach bar and sun loungers.
However, many visitors to Paros consider it one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Visitors who want to reach Marcello Beach from Parikia have two options: take a ferry or drive there.
You’ll want to take the 15-minute ferry ride from town if you don’t have a rental car. If you plan on driving, this beach has plenty of parking along the street. However, we always recommend arriving earlier rather than later to secure a parking spot–especially if you’re visiting in the summertime!
If it’s your first time in Greece–or even if you have a sweet tooth–you have to try loukoumades. These bite-sized desserts are essentially the Greek version of donuts and are highly worth a taste!
According to Greek legend, loukoumades date back to ancient times, when winners of the Olympics were gifted with “honey balls,” a.k.a. the earliest version of these sweet treats. Our favorite place to try loukoumades on the island of Paros is To Paradosiako in Naoussa.
The loukoumades at this family-run establishment are made fresh to order, and they come with various toppings, including honey, cinnamon, and chocolate sauce. You can also ask for ice cream on top, too! Although there’s usually a line outside the shop in the evenings, we promise it’s worth the wait.
Spend a day sailing to the Small Cyclades
A sailing cruise to the Small Cyclades is a great option if you’d like to escape the crowds and swim in more remote areas. This small-group tour takes about 9-10 hours in total and leaves from Piso Livadi Port. Although the cost is on the pricier side, at about $180 per adult, we think it’s 100% worth the splurge!
Stops on this boat tour include snorkeling at a WWII-era plane wreck and options to go swimming at Schoinousa, Koufonissia, and off the coast of Naxos Island. Of course, the exact itinerary depends on the weather conditions on the day of your sailing cruise.
Moreover, the price includes lunch onboard the ship and even alcoholic drinks. If you’re looking for an unforgettable way to see some of the most beautiful corners of Greece, this sailing cruise is definitely for you! Here are two options to book this tour of the Small Cyclades:
- A full day sailing on a sailing yacht from Paros to the Small Cyclades
- Full-day sailing cruise in the Small Cyclades from Paros
Party at Punda Coast
If you’re looking for a Mykonos-type experience on Paros, you’ll love Punda Beach. The beach club here, Punda Coast, is really more like a gigantic complex. It features a massive pool with lots of places to sunbathe, a live D.J., a cocktail bar, a restaurant, and a beach area with sunbeds.
Note that families with children are allowed in Punda Coast, but you’ll typically find them concentrated around the beach. Nonetheless, we would recommend this beach club more so for couples or younger groups traveling together.
You can easily spend the whole day here, especially since you won’t have to leave the property to eat! We suggest popping up to the restaurant and ordering one of the Buddha Bowls. Prices are on the more expensive side for sunbeds, food, and cocktails; however, we think the prices are fair considering the atmosphere.
Snap a photo at Linardo
The most instagrammable spot on Paros island is undoubtedly Linardo. In fact, you may have even seen pictures before of this iconic building’s bright pink doors and windows with a view of the Aegean Sea in the background.
However, did you know that Linardo is actually a nightclub? With this in mind, you likely won’t encounter crowds if you choose to visit during the day.
Nonetheless, Instagram has made this bar a popular place to take photos in Naoussa. So, the best idea is to stop by early in the morning. This way, you’ll have the best lighting for pictures, and you won’t have to wait in line.
Shop for souvenirs to bring home with you
The Greek islands have all sorts of exciting gifts that you can bring home to friends and family. Of course, some of the most classic choices include olive oil, Greek honey, evil eye worry beads, and handmade leather sandals.
If you’d like to go with something specific to Paros, we suggest a bottle of wine from Moraitis Winery. We suggest the Malvasia Paros 4 Years, Paros Reserve, Paros Amphora, or the Thapsana.
Meanwhile, if you choose to visit any of the traditional villages on the island, keep an eye out for beautiful handmade ceramic pieces. For example, Lefkes is home to a handful of shops selling ceramic plates, vases, and even ornaments that make unique gifts for loved ones.
How to get around Paros
Paros is the second-largest island of the Cyclades, meaning you’ll need to cover some ground to explore it in its entirety. Therefore, we highly recommend renting a car during your stay. Nonetheless, there are other options for traveling around Paros, including taking the public bus or renting an ATV or scooter.
Rent a car
Being able to drive on Paros provides you with the most flexibility, especially if you want to visit various beaches and villages on a road trip. While parking can be tricky sometimes, we still think having a car is worth it.
For example, there are public lots in the larger towns of Parikia and Naoussa. So, you may have to walk from the lot to town, but it’s still faster than taking the bus!
Remember that if you’re a United States citizen, you will need an international driving permit to rent a car in Greece. You can apply for an IDP at your local AAA branch, which costs only $20.
Take the public buses
If you aren’t comfortable driving around Paros or just looking for the most budget-friendly option, we suggest taking public buses. Luckily, the island’s bus system is reliable and affordable, ranging from just €2-4 per ticket depending on the distance covered. You can view the complete bus timetable here.
Rent an ATV
Renting an ATV on Paros has both pros and cons. For example, one of the obvious advantages is that an ATV is more budget-friendly than a car. The cost normally breaks down to about 30 to 50 euros per day.
Additionally, it’s much easier to find small parking spaces for an ATV during the high season than for a car. On the other hand, ATVs don’t have air conditioning or much storage.
So, your drives will likely be longer than they would be in a car, and you’ll be exposed to the elements the entire time. Although we didn’t encounter any rain during our stay, the island is extremely windy, so expect your hair to go a bit crazy. Plus, you may also have to carry your beach gear.
In our opinion, for a hassle-free vacation, you’re better off just renting a car–especially if your trip is more than a few days. Not to mention that a vehicle is also the safer option.
Where to stay on Paros
Parikia and Naoussa are two of the best towns to stay in on Paros, thanks to their central locations. They each have bus terminals, easy access to beaches, and some of the best restaurants on the island.
Plus, if you choose to stay in Parikia, you’ll be right next to the main ferry port (where you can find Blue Star Ferries, Seajets, and more). Here are our top choices for the best hotels on Paros:
Apollon Boutique Hotel
Apollon Boutique Hotel is the perfect place to stay when visiting the beautiful island of Paros. Located in the heart of Parikia, it’s just a short 11-minute walk from the ferry port, making it easy to get to upon your arrival. Not only is this hotel close to Parikia’s best shops and restaurants, but it’s also a mere 164 feet (50 m) from Livadia Beach.
Hotel Senia – Onar Hotels Collection
Hotel Senia is an intimate, luxury hotel located just 650 feet from Naoussa Town. This property features a heated infinity pool overlooking the Aegean Sea, as well as a hydromassage tub and a pool bar. Hotel Senia is particularly popular among honeymooners! You can expect a delicious Greek breakfast buffet here and incredible sunset views.
Zoumis Studios is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a mix of relaxation and nightlife. The property is located in trendy Naoussa Town, with Agioi Anargyroi Beach right next door. Moraitis Winery is also nearby, and you’ll find some of the best shops, restaurants, and nightclubs in Naoussa within a 10-15-minute walk.
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This article was first published in January 2023 and has since been updated.