Paros may well be known as a holiday party island, but it offers so much more than meets the eye. When visitors first disembark at the main town of Parikia, they may not be impressed with all the development, although it does offer charming streets, neoclassical buildings, old springs and worthy sights in its midst. Parikia has always been the centre of the island since ancient times, and boasts some archaeological treasures (See section on Archaeology).
The Parian countryside is full of terraced hills, lovely vineyards, traditional olive groves and outstanding rock formations, spread among quaint Cycladic villages. Labyrinthine streets with white houses, arches and balconies dotted with herbs and flowers will delight visitors beyond compare.
Take the village of Lefkes, with its 8 crumbling mills, as an example of traditional beauty. The mill of Artemis is the only one which has been preserved, despite being more than 300 years old. A walk on the central road of Ramnos in Lefkes is also interesting, as no cars are allowed on the road or in all of central Lefkes for that matter.
On the northern side of the island Naoussa is touristic, yet features impressive beachside rocks formed by erosion called Kolymbithres.
The island of Antiparos is also interesting to visit for its cave and castle (see respective sections). Near Antiparos, the islands of Despotico and Strongili are known for unspoilt nature and protected species. They are included in the Natura 2000 network. The nearby islands have also revealed many archaeological treasures. Also noteworthy are the butterflies of Paros which have been labelled under Natura 2000.
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Sea Kayak Paros
Kayaking around the gorgeous Cycladic island of Paros is a reward in itself, but it becomes an even better activity when done under the expert guidance of Alexandros Panagakos and Sofia Mysrioti of Sea Kayak Paros. Belgian-Greek Alexandros is the company’s owner isn’t only a seasoned certified sea kayaker, snowboard instructor and an enthusiast of many outdoor ecotourism activities, he also boasts a degree in fisheries and the aquatic environment, along with a Masters degree in ecology and conservation!
Sofia brings to the equation her academic background in sports and physical education and is also a certified sea kayak leader as well as a ski instructor. Her hobbies in painting and photography add an artistic element to the company and help ensure that Sea Kayak Paros provides a very well-rounded experience to the island’s visitors.
Explore their day trips, multi-day trips and whole kayaking vacation packages to enjoy Paros in a fabulous way, in the company of a great team whose friendly, experienced members know what they’re doing.
The coastal areas and green slopes of Paros offer some great hiking adventures. You can hiki from Agia Pakou to the traditional village of KOstos with its beautiful churches, cobblestone streets and coffee under the plane trees. Pass through ancient olive groves in Apati to Lefkes, considered the most enchanting village on the island. There are also walks around Marpissa on the south-western side of Paros, with attractive churches and medieval monuments. There is a good trail from Prodromos to Lefkes known as the Byzantine road. Another beautiful path is from Aneratza through Agios Giorgos to the Lefkes-Glifa road, in addition to a path in the area of Panagia Thapsanoon monastery. You will need a bus or taxi to reach most of these places to start hiking.
Paros and Antiparos are full of beaches, but it is best to ask the locals where there are beaches that aren't very touristic. Avoid those that are a quick walking distance from the town if you like a bit more privacy. There are many secluded beaches around Kolymbithres (also Kolimbithres). There are beaches that cover the area from Krios to St. Fokas to choose from.
In Naoussa and next to Damouli lies Ambelas, a quiet beach with very clean water and fresh fish. Between Santa Maria (a very popular beach) and Naoussa there are some quieter beaches.
Near Marpissa Pirgaki beach is very secluded, while Lolantonis and Glifa between Drios and Agaira are picturesque and worth visiting.
Most ruins are probably still buried under Parikia, although excavations around the ancient cemetery on the waterfront have revealed many exciting finds. The area is now a veritable archaeological park with tombs, photos, urns, statuettes and more.
On a hill towards Aliki lie the remains of two temples. These are the Temple of Askipios from the 4th century BC and the Temple of Apollo. These healer gods were very popular on the island, although sadly not much remains of the temples.
The area of Tholakia near Parikia a pottery workshop has been found with six furnaces, storage rooms and two tanks. Below that lie archaic ruins with a child's burial box dating from the Geometrical period.
The area of Kastrorouni also boasts remains of houses from the Hellenistic period complete with mosaic floors, as well as a probable temple. Urns, tombs marble remains and statues were discovered here near St. Panteleimonas, including the well-known statue of Gorgo.
The area of Krios features an arched building built into the rock. It dates back to ancient times but its exact origins remain ambiguous. There are remains of an open-air place of worship near Marapas, with pairs of feet engraved on the rock. This is reminiscent of Egyptian traditions, which influenced the ancient Parians who had trade relations with the Egyptians.
The ruins of Dilio, including the temple of Apollo and Diana gives a good view of the whole island. Stepping up on the foundations of the old temple is said to communicate a mystical, magical feeling.
In Lageri Bay on Iconomou Island near Naoussa, there is a fortified settlement from the archaic period. The Kargadoua area also features ruins of an ancient temple. Near Naoussa there the Paleopirgos castle from the Classical era is worth investigating. Koukounaries represents the most important area archeologically, with remnants of a Mycenean palace from the 12th century BC. The prehistoric site of Plastiras features unusual statuettes among other items.
In Kostos, there are ancient marble quarries that has contributed a great deal to the island's history, including artistic, architectural and economic prosperity. The marble's qualities and clarity are unique, resulting in temples and statues that are outstanding. These include:
Child of Kritias, Acropolis Museum, Athens
Hermes of Praxiteles
Frassiglia by Aristion, Archaeological Museum, Athens
Male statues or Kouroi of Anavissos, Kea, Milos and Thassos
Mantle-clad girl in the Acropolis Museum of Athens
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Temple of Zeus, Olympia
The Harpist and the Flautist statuettes (2800-2300 BC)
Venus de Milo
Victory of Paros, Archaeological Museum, Paros
Victory of Peonion, Olympia Museum
Winged Victory of Samothrace, Louvre, Paris
On an uninhabited island called Saliagos near Antiparos, a Neolithic settlement from 4000 BC was discovered. Some of these important findings are at display in the archaeological museum of Parikia. Another uninhabited island called Despotiko also features interesting finds. Roman and Hellnistic graves lie on the beaches of Tsimintiri island, while Strongili boasts ruins of a small post-Byzantine church with parts of a more ancient building, as well as figurines and other objects.
There is a gothic-style gate at the entrance of the castle near the main square. It represents a collection of houses, representing a unique medieval settlement in the region. The castle was constructed in 1440, with 24 two-floor houses and three churches in the external area. This is a magical place where Venetian architectural influence is very strong.