Have you ever traveled to a place and immediately fell in love with the destination? That is how I felt when I finally arrived in Paros, Greece. Paros is one of the most popular islands in the Cyclades. It is located right in the heart of the Aegean sea and is full of things to do. This island deserves its title of being popular. In fact, it is also known as a party island among locals, in particular, graduating high school students. Once school is over the students come here to party and celebrate instead of in Mykonos. That does not mean that Paros is solely a party island. To the contrary, this island can be summed up as the place to be for delicious food, great shopping, beautiful beaches and genuinely friendly people.
Our hotel was located in Naoussa, an idyllic village in Paros. Naoussa is 10 km away from Parikia – the main port of Paros. Our accommodations were villa styled complexes that were, once again, family run. What is great about our hotel is that it is centrally located and is within walking distance of all the places we needed to check out.
Much like the rest of our trip in Greece, we spent the majority of our time lazing on the beaches. Afterward, we’d seek some fantastic food to finish off the night. As with anywhere in Greece, you can easily walk to your destination or use their public transportation system (buses).
Paros really comes alive at night. When the weather is cooler and people stroll into town in search of something fun to do. Unfortunately, I was unable to experience the nightlife in Paros despite really wanting too. However, from what I have been told, and from what I can see, Paros has a vibrant nightlife.
While Santorini felt magical and Naxos felt like one big family, Paros makes me feel like I am home. I truly feel like Paros is my home away from home! I can envision myself living there.
So if you are looking to experience the dynamism and vibrancy of Greek life, Paros is definitely the place for you. I have compiled a list of things to do on this beautiful island. Here is my Paros Travel Guide.
Gorgeous bougainvilleas and rustic pottery hidden in niches decorate this quaint hotel in Paros. Located centrally in Naoussa, Adonis Hotel is a 10-minute walk away from the main center of Naoussa and is a stone throw away from the Piperi sandy beach.
The rooms are villa style accommodations that are clean and spacious. Each villa has a balcony that overlooks the little beach and pathways. My favourite thing to do at night is to sit on the balcony enjoying the warm sea breeze, while I listen to music and scroll through Tinder (LOL). As an aside, there are some seriously cute guys on Tinder in Greece!
I had this weird obsession while in Greece, with collecting business cards. It is a good thing I did because now I remember the names of where we ate for the blog posts! Aside from Sifnos, Paros has some of the best food in all of Greece. Paros is a true culinary delight. What is neat about Paros is the immense Italian influence on the Greek cuisine in this area. Now I am sure there will be a dispute of which country created which dish first. But it remains clear the two cultures influence one another in their food on this island. The restaurants in Paros are well known for being delicious, so much so that some of the more popular places require reservations in advance!
As with anywhere in Greece, we ate outside on the patio, preferring to dine al fresco. I urge you to do the same. For some reason, the food inevitably tastes better.
Don’t let the name of this restaurant fool you. Although the name may imply a Middle Eastern vibe, Yemeni is anything but. Located in the narrow cozy streets of Old Town Naoussa, Yemeni boasts a menu of traditional Greek cuisine with an Italian touch.
I recommend trying yemista – Peppers stuffed with fragrant rice and spices, as well as the chickpeas (slow-roasted chickpeas in a terracotta pot) and the aubergine salad (smoked eggplants with fresh roasted garlic). I also recommend trying the beetroot and truffle oil risotto that boasts a striking magenta colour due to the beetroot. The flavour is unbeatable!
The restaurant is pretty popular, so in order to ensure you have a spot to eat it is best to make reservations in advance!
Located in Naoussa (the food capital of Paros in my humble opinion), this restaurant takes its culinary influences from the Italians. First and foremost, the interior design and architecture of this restaurant is beautiful, sleek and modern. The rooftop patio is one of its selling features – as it gives you a view of the quaint old streets below. In fact, the patio is carved into the white washed stone of the building and is decorated with bold coloured patio pillows.
It is at Les Amis that I indulged in the most decadent and cheesiest risotto primavera in my life. I am not exaggerating when I say that my risotto was incredible. On my plate there were layers of thinly sliced and taste bud melting parmesan cheese.
In addition to the risotto, I recommend the carpaccio. I am not just saying that because there are thinly shaved slices of parmesan on top- although that helps sway my opinion 😉
This bakery is a short walk from our hotel and ended up being our de facto place for breakfast. The bakery has an array of sandwiches and pastries, as well as decadent treats like baklava. In all honesty, this bakery isn’t as good as the one in Naxos. However, they make great coffee and frappes and I very much enjoyed their chocolate croissants.
Ragoussis appears to be the place to be for the young and hip of Paros. Does that make me old by just saying that LOL?!
On the morning of the day we were leaving Paros, my mom and I walked to the bakery at 5 am to grab snacks for the ferry trip. A huge group of youth arrived at the same time, still decked in their clubbing outfits from the night before. Like I mentioned in my Naxos Travel Guide, nightlife in Greece starts late and ends late. Is it bad that I felt ancient when I saw these kids come in looking like a well put together hot mess after partying all night?
If you have not noticed the Italian trend in Paros by now, perhaps the gelato can convince you. Scream Gelateria is purported to be authentic gelato made by the Italians themselves (even their website is in Italian). The ice cream shop is always busy in the evenings and their gelato is fantastic. Their aim is to infuse their passion for making authentic gelato into each scoop. And you can definitely taste it!
Go ahead and give it a try!
I am undoubtedly biased in my opinion, as I spent the majority of my time in Naoussa and I fell in love with the place. Naoussa has cozy back streets, lined with cobblestone and fragrant flowers. It is a mix of residential, retail and restaurants. There are plenty of things to take a look at in Naoussa!
Take a walk along the port and see the boats lazily float on the sea. Marvel at the small restaurants dotting the sea shore, displaying today’s catch. Stop for a moment and breathe in that fresh air. Get lost in the maze of alleyways and pathways. Peek your head into the stores, cafes and art galleries. You are on a Greek island, time is a luxury you can afford.
The old port of Naoussa is where many fishermen and private owners dock their boats. At night this place is bustling with vendors, tourists, and locals. Everyone roams the streets at night as it is much cooler. There are small stores that line the coast, selling souvenirs and trinkets. Further into the old town of Naoussa, you will find the small boutiques that house some fantastic fashion finds!
Parikia is the main town and is where you will catch the ferry and the small boats to take you to different beaches and to Anti Paros. Unfortunately, I did not get to spend a lot of time in this area, but it is worth spending the day roaming around and getting lost.
It was in Paros that my sister found a cute crochet bikini and I found the perfect baby pink scarf to tie around my Coach bag and the cutest bustier ever. Aside from Athens, I found Paros to have some very adorable and fashion forward boutiques. Admittedly, some items are pricier than others, so browse around before buying.
One shop I highly recommend is Jazmin Paros. The owner (her nickname is Jazmin) is a teacher in Athens and owns a small cosmetic boutique in Paros which operates during the summer months. Jazmin is undoubtedly one of the kindest and beautiful souls I have ever met in my life. She has a genuine aura of light and it was her who recommended the restaurants and beaches to check out in Paros.
Her shop is filled with handmade cosmetics she sources or makes herself, including soaps, perfumes, body butters and facial cleansers. We popped into her store by chance and ended up leaving with a bunch of items, only to continue coming back and buying more!
What I love about her store is that a lot of the items are customizable in fragrance. That meant I could indulge in the sweet and summery scent of a coconut vanilla body butter. I can’t tell you how sad a day it was when we used up the last of her products.
If you are in Naoussa, please do take a look at her shop. You will undoubtedly fall in love, and leave with an item or two!
Like I mentioned, Paros is a party island for the locals! There are plenty of places in Parikia to check out. I kept seeing advertisements for parties happening at Punda beach so I imagine that is the place to be 😉 If you do check it out, or if you have ever experienced the nightlife here, let me know!
Unfortunately, we never ended up visiting Anti Paros just because of how our time in Paros was spent. However, if I do go again, I will be heading to Anti Paros.
Anti Paros is a smaller island located about 30 minutes by boat. According to Wikipedia, the island is particularly popular amongst nudists, who enjoy the sandy beaches. So if you’d like to show your sandy cheeks, be sure to check out Anti Paros! 😉
These are the two beaches we visited in Paros. Each one is unique and beautiful in their own way. We accessed these beaches by boat (which was about 5 euros per person for a round trip). In particular, we liked Golden Beach because of the long coastline, calm waters and the sand bars that could be found a few kilometers from the shoreline. We would swim away from the shore and then be able to find ourselves standing upright in the middle of the sea. It was wonderful!
One of the more popular beaches in Paros, Golden Beach is where you will find a lot more young people. In particular, we found that a lot of bros frequented these beaches and would play paddle board together. This was a common sight, so much so that we ended up calling these guys paddle bros LOL!
Golden Beach also has tons of sand bars which made it fun to swim out far and then take a nice rest in the middle of the sea when your legs got tired of swimming!
This beach is known for its coves and rocky outcroppings. There is not a lot of sitting space available that has beach umbrellas and chairs, so be prepared to lay your towels out on the beach underneath the sun. Apart from that, the water is calm and blue and there are a few beach snack shacks nearby!
I have fallen in love with Paros and imagine you might as well. The mix of the delicious food, the beautiful beaches and the genuine people I met, have made this island a piece of home away from home. However, I must add that Paros, and in particular Naoussa, is no longer the quaint fishing village it used to be.
When I was looking at different blogs about Paros, I came across Mat Barrett’s blog. In it, he says the following:
“So Naoussa has been exploited. Its not a quaint traditional fishing village…Who cares if the old men cafeneons have been replaced by art galleries? This is the new Greek island reality… You have to see it for its entertainment value… when you walk through the beautiful back streets of Naousa past whitewashed buildings and little shops do you really care what surrounds it…Naousa is what it is. A nice tourist town. Not a resort. Not anything that phony. But not a quaint fishing village either.”
In almost a melancholic way, it is true. Much of what we see when we travel around, is no longer what it used to be. In fact, it is almost always a romanticized version of what we want it to be. Perhaps that is what Paros and my entire trip to Greece were – a romanticized ideal.
With that being said, Barrett is right when he says “this is the new Greek island reality.” Paros is what it is. My time and experience on this island didn’t scream authentic in terms of tradition, but it was authentic in experience and essence. And I believe that is the most important thing you should aim for when you travel. Authenticity in experience and essence.
Until next time!