Paros – A Hidden Gem in the Cyclades

Tripoto
7th Jun 2018

Paros Island

Photo of Paros – A Hidden Gem in the Cyclades by Sugato

Yet to be on the mandatory bucket list of tourists visiting Greece, Paros is nestled inconspicuously in the Aegean Sea, away from the limelight. Here, trendy beach resorts blend beautifully with ancient medieval villages, Byzantine churches overlook plush shopping streets and pretty port towns dot its periphery. Visit this beautiful nugget in the Aegean Sea before it gets discovered and becomes part of the usual tourist ferry routes.

The Port Town of Parikia

The gigantic windmill in front of the port is the first thing one will notice after alighting from the ferry. An ancient sobriquet of Greece, it looks beautiful as part of the promenade. The entire stretch has atmospheric cafes, local restaurants, ice cream parlors and scooter rental shops.

Day 1

Port of Paros

Photo of Paros, Greece by Sugato

The Church of 100 doors

Go further inside and you will find the Holy Byzantine Church of Panagia Ekatontapillani. Popularly called as the Church of 100 doors, the 4th century monument has a plethora of windows, arches and domes. With many more chapels inside its compound it is considered to be one of the best preserved Churches of the country.

Church of Panagia Ekatontapillani

Photo of Paros, Greece by Sugato

The Interiors

Photo of Paros, Greece by Sugato

The Shopping Street

Just in front of the Church is the entrance of the brightly lit narrow street with several open air eating joints, designer jewellery outlets, apparel and souvenir shops on either side. There are also plenty of sitting areas (benches, porches) where one can sit and enjoy the evening hustle. The aesthetically designed stone paved streets add to the appeal of the place.

Shopping Street - Paros

Photo of Paros – A Hidden Gem in the Cyclades by Sugato

A Restaurant in Parikia

Photo of Paros – A Hidden Gem in the Cyclades by Sugato

The Fishing Village of Naousa

A 20 mins ride from Parikia is the pretty little village of Naousa. Traditional fishing boats dot the harbor in one of the largest bays of Paros. There are plenty of eating joints, bars, pubs and nightclubs around here. Quieter than the main town of Parikia, Naousa has managed to preserve its authenticity and charm. One can also walk up to a few ancient ruins ( a few meters away from the inland) of the erstwhile port.

Day 2

Port of Naxos

Photo of Naousa, Greece by Sugato

Village of Naxos

Photo of Naousa, Greece by Sugato

Path to the ruins of the ancient port walls

Photo of Naousa, Greece by Sugato

Kolymbithres Beach

This arguably the best place of the island. Million year old smooth granite rocks sculpted arbitrarily by nature, overlook crystal clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Such peculiar and distinct rock formations are rare and seem other worldly. With plenty of sandy coves along the coast, it is easy to find a private spot for yourself. This is also a beach frequented by nudists.

Kolymbithres Beach

Photo of Paros, Greece by Sugato

Unusual Rock Formations

Photo of Paros, Greece by Sugato
Photo of Paros, Greece by Sugato

The Mountain Village of Lefkes

Built on the mountain slopes in the shape of an amphitheater, this typical white washed Greek village looks spectacular from above. Replete with beautiful buildings and churches, Lefkes is a dreamer’s paradise. Walk along the beautiful narrow passages and discover hidden cafes, art shops, little restaurants and pretty white houses with blue borders. Considered to be the first capital of Paros, this village was built in the middle of Paros by the immigrants from nearby island of Crete to safeguard themselves from pirates. Famous for its many taverns, try grilled meat and fritters in any of the eating joints here. You won’t regret it.

The Village of Lefkes

Photo of Lefkes, Greece by Sugato

A tavern in Lefkes

Photo of Lefkes, Greece by Sugato

Santa Maria Beach

Almost all the beaches in Paros are secluded and most of time you will be the only one wetting your feet along the coast (except during the peak seasons of July and August). Plenty of beach beds and umbrellas are available for rent. Few beach bars and resorts operate along this pristine beach. The water is shallow and perfect for swimming.

The calm beach of Santa Maria

Photo of Paros – A Hidden Gem in the Cyclades by Sugato

Butterfly Valley

The Jersey Tiger Moths found here are endemic to Paros and another island called Rhodes in Greece. Turkey and Britain are the only other countries in the World which has these creatures. It is a bit difficult to spot these beautiful creatures as they prefer the shaded areas and blend seamless with the leaves. A souvenir shop at the entrance has quite a few picture postcards of them which you can carry back.

The most exciting part of visiting Paros is about exploring the tiny island on a two wheeler - steep mountain ascends with spectacular vistas of the sea, roads running parallel to beaches, blooming wild flowers in the pristine valleys, several ancient Venetian castle ruins and picturesque agricultural farms.

GETTING THERE:

There are daily flights from Delhi to Athens via one stopover. Paros is a 5 hours journey by ferry from the Rafina port. Ferries run multiple times a day between Athens – Naxos – Paros - Santorini. Athens, the capital of Greece has several international connections.

WHEN TO GO:

June to September

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