Contrary to its bustling neighbours that host daily cruise ship arrivals, the quiet island of Paros is perfect for a soothing summery break in Greece. However, it’s also large enough that you won’t ever get bored, boasting enough restaurants, beaches and beauty spots to keep tourists of all ages occupied. So, whether you’re craving afternoons taken up by hiking the trails, or long evenings spent sipping on a glass of local wine, Paros is the all-round holiday destination you’ve been searching for.
Want to spend all your time outside in Paros? From snorkelling and scuba diving to sailing and kitesurfing, every water baby will feel at home here. Of course, there’s plenty of fun to have on land too, with options including horse-riding, cycling, and hiking in the more remote areas.
If you’re a history buff who’d rather exercise your mind than your body, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained too. The Panagia Ekatontapiliani, located in Parikia, is one of the top sights to add to your agenda, predating Christianity itself. It literally means “church with 100 doors”, though in reality, it has nowhere near that many! How many can you find?
Nearby, you’ll also find the Agios Konstantinos Church – a stunning structure decorated with wood, marble, and murals. Once you’ve spent time taking it all in, head out to enjoy the most spectacular views across the bay.
Looking to soak in even more of the Earth’s wonders? The free-to-enter Park of Paros, which encompasses 800 hectares of natural beauty, is dedicated to preserving the Agios Ioannis Detis monastery and peninsula. Whether you choose to hike one of the park’s walking paths, take in a movie at the open-air cinema, or simply enjoy a picnic you’ve brought along with you, it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Paros.
For something truly special that’s something of a secret to many tourists, head to the Valley of Butterflies in Sotires village. Just 5km from Parikia, it comes
Tavernas are popular across Greece, and that’s certainly true of Paros too, with small family-owned restaurants making up most of the culinary trade. Unsurprisingly, seafood dominates most menus, with grilled octopus being a must-try for adventurous diners. After something a little safer? Opt for gouna – sun-dried, seasoned mackerel – and if you want to feel warmed from the inside out, order a bowl of kakavia – a vegetable fish soup.
Vegetarians will also have plenty to choose from when enjoying their luxury villa holiday in Paros. A popular spread, revithia sto fourno sees chickpeas baked in clay pots and then generously seasoned with onions and rosemary. We’d also recommend ordering saganaki as one of your meze plates. It’s essentially fried cheese that’s encased in filo pastry before being drizzled with honey…what’s not to love?
Of course, you’ll find all the staples of Greek cuisine here too. That includes gyros, which sees pita bread filled with grilled meat, tomato, onions, tzatziki sauce, and sometimes even chips! It’s a great on-the-go lunch option that’s sure to fuel you up for an afternoon of exploring.
After a sweet ending to your day? Loukoumades are Greece’s take on doughnut holes, smothered in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. You only need a couple to get that sugar hit, but one really does lead to another…
Whether you’re after a sandy spot to top up your tan, or fancy a splash about in beautiful blue waves, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in Paros. In fact, from the port of Antiparos, you’ll be within walking distance of seven beaches!
Those looking to indulge their adventurous side should head to Golden Beach to try their hand at various watersports – particularly windsurfing, with an international competition held there every year. Kolymbithres Beach is the island’s most famous owing to its staggering rock formations. However, Santa Maria is our top all-rounder pick, boasting quieter spots as well as those that are livelier and more suited to families.