Greece has over 6000 islands, consisting of many different island groups. Paros is part of the island group called the Cyclades. Other commonly visited islands in the Cyclades include Santorini, Mykonos, Milos, Naxos, Ios, among some other less known islands. Paros has a very small airport which can be reached by taking a small flight to or from Athens. Since only small planes fly to the airport, flights can be impacted when there are strong winds on the island. The alternative, and more common option to reach Paros is by ferry from one of the islands with an airport or from a different island you are visiting.
The Cyclades are located SE of the mainland of Greece. In general, when traveling to the Cyclades from locations outside of Greece, the possible airports to consider flying to are located in Athens, the island of Santorini, and the island of Mykonos. Athens will have the most options available. Santorini and Mykonos airports may have direct flights from destinations outside Europe, likely just less frequent and more expensive. This is largely because flying directly to the islands is advantageous. Even if not planning to stay on Santorini or Mykonos, the ferry trip to the other islands in the Cyclades will be shorter (45 mins – 2 hours) in comparison to the ferry trip from Athens (2 – 4 hours). In order to reach Paros, look for flights to any of these three destinations: Athens, Santorini and Mykonos.
The next part of planning your journey is evaluating the ferry options. Seajets, World Champion Jets, Blue Star Ferries and Power Jet are a few of the big ferry companies. Start by checking any of the individual websites for planned ferries, entering your start and end destination. Using websites like ferryhopper or directferries can also be helpful to find options available as these websites will provide an overview of all options available from point A to point B on a given day. Ferry tickets usually range from 50 – 100 euros, depending on the journey route and can be bought online. Closer to the date of departure, you will be able to either download tickets electronically or can pick them-up at the ferry port.
When planning your trip, keep in mind the ferries in Greece are often delayed by at least 30 minutes and sometimes departure times are adjusted from the original time noted at booking (depending how far in advance tickets are purchased). Therefore, book adequate time when depending on flights or ferries. If possible, in order to optimise time on the islands and reduce stress of potential flight or ferry delays impacting the journey, consider taking a flight in the afternoon / evening and then catching a ferry the following morning. Another option is to plan to spend time in Athens, Santorini or Mykonos before or after your time in Paros. This can also help reduce the long travel days and dependencies on different forms of transportation running on-time.
Note: Taxis are sparse in both Santorini and Mykonos. With this in mind, if you are flying in or out of either location plan to book a car transfer in advance to bring you from the airport / ferry port / accommodations to the ferry port / airport / accommodations. Upon arrival in the ferry ports, travel agency drivers will be holding up signs for their customers.
If beginning your Greek adventure in Athens, Piraeus is the main port and has numerous gates. For ease, plan to stay near the ferry port, enabling you to be able to walk to the port and avoid traffic. Often the departure gate is not clear so allow time to find your ferry vessel on the water and board. Since Athens is a common starting destination for ferries, these ferries are more likely to depart on time.
In summary, when traveling to Paros, plan to book:
Paros is a pretty small island, but the easiest way to explore is to rent a car or ATV. At a minimum, rent a vehicle for one day to see different parts of the island. Expect a rental to cost anywhere from 50 – 80 euros for a day. Driving from the north side of the island to the south takes about 30 minutes. Thus, you can cover a lot of the main little towns and beaches by renting a car for one day.
Taxis are also available or private transfers which can be helpful upon arrival or departure. A private transfer from the port town of Paroikia to Naoussa is about 30 euros for a reference point.
Naoussa is the cutest town in Paros and the best place to stay when visiting. Located about 15 minutes from the port town of Paroikia, Naoussa is a picturesque Greek town with winding roads and white buildings all throughout the town. It sits right on the water, and has an immense amount of restaurants, cocktail bars, boutiques, and cafes.
Look for accommodations in the town centre or within walking distance.
Located just outside the city center, this winery produces a lot of Greek wines. Stop in here between 11:00 – 20:00 for a wine tasting. They offer a variety of wine tasting options, and this does not need to be booked in advance so just stop in when convenient. Additionally, they offer tours and paired wine and cheese tastings, but these should be booked in advance.
Located just inside Paros Park, this monastery provides a beautiful view of the town of Naoussa and seas around. You can also see an organised beach from here which is blocked from the winds. Venture over here in the late afternoon / early evening hours; the lighting is perfect for nice photos with Naoussa in the background as the sun begins to set on the white town across the water. On the drive to the Monastery (about 15 minutes from Naoussa), you will pass the well-known Kolympethres beach which is unique due to the large rock formations in the backdrop and on the beach.
The most picturesque town on the island, it is easy to spend an afternoon or evening getting lost in the streets. There are lots of boutiques offering good shopping all throughout the village. Many of the shops may take an afternoon break to close and then will be open late into the evening (until 0:00 often). The town is known for having restaurants with phenomenal food, and a good spot for nightlife. Numerous cocktail bars can be found throughout the town and along the water.
Watch a sunset in Naoussa near the port or at one of the cocktail bars looking over the water. Karnagio is a great spot to grab an aperol spritz as the sunsets behind the mountains in Paros.
Another larger town in Paros, this is the port town. Although not as cute as Naoussa, Parokia is also nice to explore. It is a good spot to wander around after arriving by ferry or before departing.
Small little village in the center of Paros. When renting a vehicle, stop in Lefkes for a morning coffee or afternoon snack and wander through the streets. Take in the views of the rolling hills around Lefkes. This town is very small and will not require too long to explore, but provides a nice change of pace from other parts of the island.
Another small village, Aliki sits on the southern coast of Paros. It has a small beach and a bunch of restaurants. On a day exploring the island, enjoy the views driving down the coast until you reach Aliki and then sit down for lunch at a restaurant along the water.
Paros is not known for having the most spectacular beaches, but does have a few along the coast which make for a relaxing beach afternoon.
Probably the most well-known beach on Paros, Kolympethres is located just 15 minutes from Naoussa. The beach is unique due to the large boulders sitting along and behind the beach. There is a small area of sand and nice clear water to swim in here.
Found on the south coast of Paros, this is a longer beach named for its golden sand
Located just passed the Monastery of St. John’s Deti, this beach is an organized beach with a beach bar, chairs to rent and is hidden from the wind. It is nice and close to Naoussa as well, making it an easy trip for an afternoon in the sun.
Located on the NE side of the island
Protected area (80 hectares) with walking trails covering the land and is only about 15 minutes from Naoussa. The Monastery of St. John’s of Deti and an organised beach can be found just passed the entrance.
If spending two full days on Paros, consider using one to venture over to Antiparos. The small island next to it can be reached with a short ferry departing from the SW side of the island and is a quick trip with frequent ferry options (every 30 minutes typically)
If spending more than two days, consider a day trip over to Naxos. This ferry will be longer (about 1 hour) and timings are less frequent. On the day trip, plan to explore Naxos town, visit the Temple of Apolo (Portora) which can be seen from the port itself, and either choose to rent a vehicle and explore the island or pick a beach to spend the afternoon relaxing on. Check out the Naxos page for more information.
Note that a daytrip is feasible from Paros, but would be nicer to instead plan 2 nights on Naxos before or after visiting Paros.
Sample 1 day itinerary
Good spot for a quick bite to eat, with good salad, gyros, and souvalki options. Easy to sit down or grab for takeaway.
Casual spot, good for a quick bite to eat and very cheap
Restaurant on the water with beautiful views over the sea. On a windy day, the restaurant can pull down the transparent wind shields to still make for an enjoyable dining experience.
Make a reservation here in advance to ensure you get a chance to dine here. They are known for having excellent meat options.
Delicious restaurant in the center of town, just off the seaside. Excellent greek salad and sea bass dish. This restaurant is more expensive, but provides great seafood and fish options
Big bakery selling sweet and savoury Greek desserts. They also have breakfast pastries, sandwiches, coffee, and other afternoon snack options
Amazing gelato in town
Fun cocktail bar sitting right on the water. Grab a drink here in the afternoon while the sun is still up to enjoy the seaside view or stop by in the evening when the nightlife is starting to pick up. You will pay a higher price here for drinks with the view, but nice spot to enjoy a drink.
Great cocktail bar to watch the sunset from
Paros is a perfect addition to a Greek Island trip if planning to island hop and cover a few different islands. It can also be visited for a long weekend from many European cities. Considering the amount of time it takes to get to Paros and activities available, 2 – 3 nights would be the ideal amount of time to spend on the island. For the island hoppers, this gives visitors enough time to get settled and not constantly feel like they are unpacking and repacking to hit the next island on the trip. It also provides, enough time to do different activities on island including a day excursion exploring areas away from Naxos town, a hike, beach days, and time for shopping. Of course, if interested in more beach days, extend your time.
The best time to visit the Greek islands will be in spring, summer, and autumn. Many of the Greek islands essentially are shut in the winter, with many restaurants and shop owners returning for the touristy season. The prime tourism season for Greece is July and August, drawing in visitors from all over the world. For weather, July & August are an excellent time to visit, but will mean the islands are also busier. If feasible, try to plan a trip in the shoulder season (June & September). In these months, the islands are very open, but the crowds will be smaller, making the holiday a more enjoyable experience and also less expensive.
One thing the Greek islands have is great weather. From late May through October, you can expect sunny days and temperatures between 22 – 35 degrees Celcius (75 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit). The islands can get quite windy, but often this is nice with the hot summer days.
It is more lively than its neighbor Naxos, with more nightlife and excitement. Paros has a nice charm to it, making it a great addition for any traveller. Some say it feels like Mykonos did 20 years ago, and encompasses the nice aspects of other Greek islands without being too expensive or overcommercialised. All in all, it is a great location for couples and groups of friends.
Paros is a great mix of some of the other islands. It offers cute Greek villages, some nice beaches, delicious food, and more nightlife options, all while being quite affordable. It is an easy island to add when visiting other Cyclades islands.
Mykonos is the party island, drawing in groups of friends looking for a good time and planning to check out the beach parties during the day and bar hopping into the evening. This also makes Mykonos much more touristy, higher prices, and often food and services which are geared towards tourists.
Santorini is the typical Greek island getaway for the picturesque views, white buildings covered with coloured windows, doors and bright flowers, and magnificient sunset views. It draws in a lot of tourists, making it a less authentic experience, but is a beautiful island. Santorini draws in all types of travelers, but often is especially prevalent for couples due to the romantic vibes and luxurious accommodations available.
Naxos is a chill and quieter island, ideal for nice beaches and a relaxed Greek island trip with incredible Greek food. It provides a unique and more authentic experience on the Greek islands
Milos is known for its beautiful, and unique beaches. It also feels less commercialised and brings in many local Greeks, keeping it a more local and authentic experience.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks