An essential stopover during your luxury charter cruise in the Aegean, Paros is one of the best-rounded Cycladic islands that simply has it all. From surfing hotspots to tranquil hidden coves, the 120 km long coast is blessed with dozens of stunning versatile beaches. When you’re done swimming, you’ll find a bustling social scene and a multitude of superb restaurants serving traditional dishes and delicious local cheese varieties.
The picturesque port towns are wonderfully explored on balmy summer afternoons and hide a myriad of charming galleries and shops - Paros offers everything necessary for an unforgettable vacation and more. Just next to it, you’ll find its smaller sister island of Antiparos, home to some of the most exotic-looking beaches in the Mediterranean. And when you need an escape and complete solitude, you can hop to one of the uninhabited islets that belong to the municipality and gather your thoughts surrounded by nothing but enchanting nature and sparkly seas.
The captivating island was known through centuries for its high-quality marble, and abandoned quarries can still be found today. Thanks to abundant reserves of this precious material, Paros was one of the most affluent islands in antiquity. Remains of different rulers, like the Ottomans, Venetians, and Byzantines, give the island an eclectic, cosmopolitan feel. While the historical sights are fewer than in neighboring Naxos or Sifnos, the nightlife scene is livelier and more exciting. During breezy nights in peak season, the squares of whitewashed towns and villages come alive with upbeat music, but not in an overwhelming, touristy way - you’ll find stylish bars with jazz music, boutique clubs with an Haute fashion vibe, and local tavernas with live Greek music.
Located in the heart of the Aegean seas, Paros is an essential part of a well-crafted luxury charter itinerary. If you’re planning a clandestine island-hopping adventure in the Cycladic archipelago, you can expect fantastic service in three scenic marinas. You’ll find the largest one in Naoussa town, which has 70 berths for boats up to 25 meters, while longer yachts are welcome in the Paroikia and Piso Livadi marina, which welcome vessels up to 60 meters in length.
Poised with a bewitching landscape and viridescent mountains, Paros is also a popular hiking destination. If you feel like stretching your feet after days spent stargazing on your luxury charter yacht, take the Byzantine trail from Lefkes to Prodromos. The road, paved with invaluable Parian marble, will lead you through heavenly olive groves, scented flower fields, and picturesque vineyards. Finally, you’ll reach the bougainvillea adorned village where you can recharge with some creamy “xinomyzithra” cheese in one of the traditional kafenios.
Whether you’re searching for family-friendly spots or would like to explore the wilder side of Paros, you’ll find plenty of activities to fill your day. The north-west tip homes an enchanting natural reserve called Paros Park, where you can surrender to the allure of idyllic nature and search for hidden coves. The park also has an open-air cinema and an amphitheater, where the municipality of Paros organizes summer events such as concerts and plays. Nearby, you’ll find a neoclassical lighthouse where you can watch as the sun sets over Naoussa and the Cycladic islands.
Best towns to visit in Paros
The dreamy villages and bustling port towns of these Cycladic jewels all leave an excellent first impression with their quintessentially whitewashed cubic houses, traditional elegance, and proximity to the sea. While they all look alike in a way, they all have a distinct charm to offer.
The capital and main transportation port of the dazzling island is the charming Parikia town. Its main attraction is an intriguing Venetian castle built by duke Marco Sanudo in 1260, surrounded by colorful shops and cafes and a labyrinth of old, narrow streets. Parikia is also home to one of the oldest churches in the region that dates back to 326 AD - Panagia Ekatontapyliani is actually a complex of three separate chapels, one of which was adapted from a pagan site from the 4th century BC. Agios Nikolaos features gorgeous columns made of Parian marble that are one of the finest examples of architecture of the era. The remaining buildings were established in the 6th century, with the exception of a cross-shaped Byzantine complex that allegedly has 100 doors.
If you’d like to further investigate the history of Paros, pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum, which has a superb exhibition of rare items and invaluable art pieces from antiquity.
Right at the ferry terminal, you’ll find an incredibly well preserved windmill that is now used only for aesthetic purposes and is the main meeting point and point of orientation - wander through the promenade here to look for interesting boutiques and galleries where you can find amusing souvenirs and goodies to bring back home.
The touristic center of Santorini’s more laid back cousin, Naoussa located on the northeast of tip of the island and seduces with aquamarine beaches, pearly white houses, and noble atmosphere. Built amphitheatrical around a sparkly bay, this once quiet fisherman’s village has developed into one of the most coveted summer destinations in the Mediterranean. As you roam through the flower-scented waterfront, you’ll stumble upon many gorgeous tavernas and ouzeries serving local dishes. Take a break from walking to observe as superyachts and old-school caiques lean next to each other in one of the most dazzling harbors you’ll ever come across.
Just by the old harbor, you’ll notice a well-preserved Venetian castle that dates back to the 15th century. Used as a watchtower and built to protect residents from pirate attacks, today, it is the most photographed site in the village and attracts a lot of attention from curious tourists and photography enthusiasts.
A great treat for hedonists in town is the Paros Moraitis Museum, with an exhibition dedicated to wine cultivation on the island. Here, you can see the wine exhibition, underground aging cellars, and tasting gallery - museum-hopping was never this fun. The family that owns the museum established it in 1910, and ever since then its been passed on from generation to generation. They also own one of the biggest vineyards in the region, where they produce over 300,000 bottles yearly. You can pick up a few bottles here to enjoy at the foredeck of your luxury charter yacht later on.
If you’d like to discover the most authentic look of the island, pay a visit to one of the traditional churches. The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin is perhaps the most interesting one and hides an interesting museum with rare Byzantine items. Located on the highest point of the village, it affords the best views of the intensely hued bay and nearby islets.
Best Beaches in Paros
During your luxury charter cruise on this azure Cycladic island, you’ll discover dozens of sparkly coves perfect for a relaxing beach day. In fact, there are so many of them; you’ll be able to visit a few each day. Pick out your best swimsuit and get the party going!
Located in the glittery Pastira Bay, this heavenly beach consists of several sandy swimming areas - the name translates to “swimming pool” and is often regarded as one of Greece’s prettiest beaches. Kolymbithres owes much of its charm to the sculptural granite rocks that jut out of the water, giving it an ethereal atmosphere.
As the name suggests, this beach is famous for its golden, soft sand and limpid blue seas. If you’re looking for a tropical looking beach to try kite or windsurfing, this is the ideal place for you.
Santa Maria Beach
Not far from Naoussa, Santa Maria is an endless sandy coast divided into two mesmerizing sandy beaches. Thanks to lush aquatic life, it’s a popular diving and snorkeling place and has a dive school for those looking to get their certification or make their first dips.
There are several more popular sandy beaches on the island, like Krios, Livadia, Marchello, Pounda, Monastiri, and Parasporos. Still, this hidden jewel on the southeast coast is an excellent option for those looking to enjoy nature without being disturbed by the crowds. The water here is spotless, and you’ll be able to observe the underwater world without ever leaving your yacht’s swimming platform.
Every visit to the island of Paros includes a hop to its exotic-looking sister island of Antiparos. The minuscule Antiparos is home to perhaps the best sandy beaches in Europe, where you can live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasies.
Best restaurants in Paros
Dining out in Paros is an adventure in itself. With many stellar restaurants, including traditional taverns and modern hotspots, each night will be a culinary adventure to cherish forever.
A fine dining restaurant in the capital, Levantis offers superb Greek dishes with a modern twist and an extensive menu with delicious options such as the masterfully prepared caponata.
A restaurant that resembles the most luxurious gourmet hubs of Santorini, Henry G specializes in traditional dishes. It has a privileged location on a superb balcony overlooking the streets of Parikia, ideal for a sunset dinner and special occasions.
Trendy, swish, and delicious, Les Amis offers sublime dishes with a beautiful presentation in a chic setting. This Naoussa restaurant’s prices are surprisingly reasonable, and vegan and gluten-free options are readily available.
Little Green Rocket
After cruising the Cycladic archipelago for a while, you might want to switch from Greek cuisine and try something else. If that’s the case, book a table in this Asian fusion restaurant in the main town and indulge in spicy dishes from Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan.
Set in a colorful garden in Naoussa village, Emanuel offers creative dishes with fresh, local ingredients and has a spectacular wine menu. Ideal for a family lunch or a romantic dinner, this stylish restaurant is also the best choice for those intolerant to gluten, with plenty of alternatives to choose from.