Paros is an up and coming holiday destination in Europe, it has got a reputation of unspoiled natural beauty and authentic Cycladic experience. It’s little sister island Antiparos become famous after Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson purchased their holiday home there. Despite the newly found fame and the regular visits from Hollywood stars and not only, but the island also managed to preserve its authenticity and calm vibes making it the ideal holiday destination for all that seek relaxation and Cycladic beauty.
Don’t expect Paros or Antiparos to be as bustling as nearby Mykonos or Santorini, but this is one of the reasons that Paros is a popular choice for families. The mix of beautiful beaches and the activities offered by this Greek gem islands makes visitors come back year after year.
Situated in the middle of the warm Aegean Sea in the heart of Greece Paros & Antiparos belong to the Cyclades islands group that consists of 39 islands of which 24 are inhabited. Paros is the third biggest island after Naxos and Andros in the Cyclades with a coastline of about 120 km and around 13.000 inhabitants.
What to do on Paros & Antiparos?
Apart from the obvious relax and unwind on one of the more than sixty crystal clear beaches on Paros and 20 more on Antiparos there are plenty more activities these two islands offer to visitors. Seaside taverns offering healthy and delicious specialties of the best Aegean dishes, chic bars on rooftops open at sunset and serve cocktails until the morning hours, small boutiques await to be discovered in the winding maze of ancient white villages with hand made marble goods and the most fashionable collection of summer garments and home goods. And if you are not tempted by worldly possessions let me assure you, Paros and Antiparos have got plenty of trekking, and cycling routes, mountains to climb, bays to discover, underwater caves to sail to, and archeological finds to admire as these islands have been continuously inhabited for the last 3000 years. And as for the kids: on Paros there is a great water-park, called Aqua Paros at Kolimbythres bay close to Naoussa and in Antiparos a cave with stalagmites and stalactites where pirates used to hide their treasures. Taking about pirates, the Pirates festival in Naoussa and the August 15th, the feast day of the Dormition of Virgin Mary are only the biggest festivals of the summer that are big hits with young and old alike.
The Environmental & Cultural Park of Paros is worth to mention too, it’s a theme park close to Kolimbythres bay, with great geological and historical importance. A pioneer of its kind in the Cyclades, Paros Park is based on voluntarism and welcomes visitors year-round for a variety of environmental and cultural activities.
This beautiful environment provides a home to many music festivals and athletic events all year round. Throughout the summer months Cine Enastron, an open air cinema offers free screenings under the stars in a great amphitheater venue.
As the park is a nature reserve, there are 3 hiking routes – one of them leading up to the Lighthouse of Paros – with great views and of variable difficulties. The natural flora and fauna are at its best in the springtime, when the park is dazzling with wild-flowers, among them, many of the indigenous orchids of Paros.
In the summertime the beautiful beach called Monastiri is the most popular in the area, there is scuba diving, sailing or surfing lessons or you can rent water-bikes with slides and have lots of fun under the Greek sun!
The Archaeological Museum of Paros was founded in 1960, in a room built next to the High School of Parikia opposite the church of Ekatontapiliani meaning the Church of hundred doors, that is a splendid orthodox church and worth a visit too. It is one of the most important museums in Greece because of its exhibits, which were found in excavations on Paros and Antiparos.
These findings date from the Neolithic period to early Christianity, and include: the Nike of Paros, Cycladic figurines, mosaics, the Archaic marble statue Gorgon (according to the myth, Gorgon was a monster that terrified and petrified those who faced it), kouroi, the poet Archilochus, amphorae from a Parian workshop, deities, and many more.
Family stays on Paros & Antiparos
While some families enjoy the hotel environment and the amenities they provide, on Paros and Antiparos there are no big resort hotels, given the size of the islands and the relatively short summer season.
Hotel rooms tend to be small hence many families opt for renting private houses or apartments. There is a wide variety of holiday home accommodation for all budgets, with or without additional services.
These private vacation rentals offer a glimpse of how the local life really is and provide the hassle-free holiday that families crave with their own kitchen, garden, BBQ, or even private pool in a peaceful environment.
What is the easiest way to reach Paros?
Paros is one of the lucky islands in Greece that has got excellent transport links, and called the hub of Cyclades.
Fast and regular ferries are arriving at the island every day, with vessels starting out in Piraeus or Rafina port and there is also a circular route with boats connecting the Cycladic islands to Paros.
Many choose to fly into Mykonos and Santorini with a charter flight and opt to take a short boat ride to Paros.
Certainly, the most comfortable way to reach Paros is by plane and in the season there are up to five fights a day from Athens airport. A local travel agency Polos Tours provides a great option to see all ferries and plains and book the tickets online: see www.polostours.gr. Private helicopters also land on Paros and Antiparos, the islands are a short 45 minutes helicopter ride away from Athens airport.
Antiparos can be reached by the ferry from the port of Pounta from the west side of Paros, this is a small port 5 minutes drive from the port of Paros. There is a regular bus service and also a taxi service. Ferries come and go between the two islands every half an hour in the summer period and every hour in the winter period. The ride takes only 10 minutes.
All in all, Paros & Antiparos are an international destination with many activities, a beautiful, safe, and healthy environment. Weather you are after a romantic holiday as a couple, spending quality time with the kids as a family or just pure relaxation Paros and Antiparos have something to offer to everyone! We, as locals enjoy the easy-going, laid back lifestyle, warm climate, and fresh, healthy produce made into delicious island dishes and would love to share the experience with you! And remember, to Paros you never come only once…..
When lunch arrives, I begin talking to a sun-kissed Englishman who used to work in publishing. I ask him how long he’s been here. ‘Ten years ago I came over for a week to clear my head,’ he says. ‘I never left.’
“When lunch arrives I begin talking to a sun-kissed Englishman ..I ask him how long he’s been here. ‘Ten years ago I came over for a week to clear my head,’ he says. ‘I never left.'”