Often referred to as Mykonos-lite, Paros island is something of a mystery. Its gone through good times and bad, and not just lately. The island has a deep history that stretches back to the neo lithic times. Once a great trading hub, with booming marble exports (Venus of Milo? Parian marble) it inevitably declined, until its fortunes were reversed by another booming product; tourism.
Paros is a decidedly mixed bag of tricks. Where other islands tend to niche up, Paros seemingly has it all. Like a supermarket of activities and sights, it caters to every taste, every whim, and it does so without breaking a sweat. You’ve got history, archaeology, culture, nightlife, water and land sports and a bit of everything in between to keep you busy and happy!
If you’re only there for a few days, it may be a stretch to take everything in, so here’s a top 5 to set you straight.
The nightlife is something that stands out in Paros. It often is in Greece, but Paros has a timeless quality about it that sends you back to the good ol’ days of Greek tourism where everything was pure and unsullied. Unlike other islands, Paros is relatively cheap. In villages like Naoussa and Paroikia the fun is non stop, with day time beach parties, boat parties, foam nights and all types of debauchery. If thats your thing you wont be disappointed.
As is customary with any Greek island, and any Greek town really, there is a considerable amount of history. In Paros’s case the history manifests itself in the form of an Archaeological Museum with exhibits dating back to the neo lithic period, as well as the Panagia Ekatontapyliani church. The latter is something to watch out for as it is a 4th century Byzantine church with a back-story to remember. Also in Paroikia, the Frankish Castle is a 13th century construct by the Venetians with a great vantage point over the town.
Paros is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to outdoor activities. For one, the Windsurfing World Championship was held there for years. Paros is a watersports paradise where one can partake in kitesurfing, kayaking, jet skiing, canoeing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, waterskiing and scuba diving. In addition, Paros Park-a thematic park sitting on 800 square kilometres of geologically pristine land-offers an awesome escape into the many hiking trails and mountain routes of the island, as well as some sweet beach time in spectacular bays.
Being in Greece means you must get on a boat and explore the nooks and crannies of the island like Kolybithres beach. The million year old granite structure is a singularity that must be seen from afar to truly take in its grandeur. Since you’re in Paros, one up the competition and take in Anti-Paros island on a 20 minute boat drive. Tom Hanks has a house there (oops, sorry Tom) so if anything you can always get your picture taken next to his house.
Beaches abound, but if you want to find the beach thats right for you, heres a few tips. Golden beach is one of the most popular, with an organised set up that caters to water sports enthusiasts. Santa Maria beach is similarly geared towards waters sports with music from the beach bar but a good atmosphere for nippers. Faragas offers some seclusion with 3 different creeks from which to choose. Pounds beach on the other hand is a bit more hedonistic with beach parties and club music blaring. And on the other end of the spectrum you have Kalogeros beach and its clay mud baths.