This post may contain affiliate links, for which we earn a small commission at no additional expense to you. Click here to read our Disclosure.
There are so many Greek Islands to choose from that it can often be overwhelming trying to decide where to go. Luckily, it is hard to meet a Greek Island you don’t like. Paros offers an authentic Greek Island experience with stunning beaches, charming villages, white Cycladic architecture and hospitable people. It’s smaller size, balance between authentic and happening and low-key luxury meets village life, make it a great choice for visitors who are looking for a relaxing and peaceful island.
For us, Paros was an unexpected gem and a place we fell hard for. In this 2023 Paros Guide we will share why we liked the island so much, the best things to do in Paros, where to stay in Paros and more.
- 1 Where is Paros
- 2 Getting to Paros
- 3 How Long in Paros?
- 4 When to Visit Paros?
- 5 Is Paros Expensive?
- 6 Getting around Paros? Do you need a Car?
- 7 Visiting Paros with Kids
- 8 Where to Stay in Paros?
- 9 Things to do in Paros
- 9.1 1. Wander Picturesque Naoussa
- 9.2 2. Visit the Fishing Village of Aliki
- 9.3 3. Paros Park
- 9.4 4. Go Beach Hopping
- 9.5 5. Visit the Traditional Village of Lefkes
- 9.6 6. Stoll Around Parikia and Visit the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani
- 9.7 7. Take a Tour from Paros
Where is Paros
Paros is a Greek Island located in the Aegean Sea, belonging to the Cyclades island group. It is located just 8 km west of the large Cycladic island of Naxos and midway between the popular islands of Mykonos and Santorini.
Getting to Paros
There are two ways to get to Paros: by ferry from Athens or another island or by plane to either Paros or Naxos, followed by a short ferry over to Paros.
Ferries to Paros:
There are many options for ferries in the Greek Islands. In peak season, you will have lots of departure options from Athens and other Cycladic Islands to Paros. Most will route through Naxos although you won’t have to change ferries. We liked using Ferry Hopper to research and book our ferries. We took the ferry from Santorini to Paros (35 euros) and then to Naxos (15 euros), after we left Paros. Both times we travelled with Blue Star ferries, which are large ferries with the cheapest prices. You can also take high speed catermarans, which tend to be more expensive. Both are very comfortable and while the ports may look chaotic at first glance, they run very efficiently and smoothly.
Flights to Paros:
Paros does a commercial airport with very limited connections to Athens (generally 1-2 a day). You can also easily fly to Naxos since is only 8 km away, and then take the 45 minute ferry to Paros (15 euros). There are more flight options to/from Naxos. Check ferry times on Ferry Hopper, but in peak season, there will be about 9 ferries a day between Naxos and Paros.
How Long in Paros?
We suggest an absolute minimum of 3 nights on any Greek Island you visit and Paros is no exception. However, you can easily spend much longer since there are a lot of great places to visit on the island and unique beaches to explore. We spent 5 nights on Paros which allowed us to have some lounging time and still see most of the major Paros attractions.
When to Visit Paros?
The best time to visit Paros depends on your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and the type of experience you want to have. Here are some considerations for each season:
- Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Paros, with warm and sunny weather. The average temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). This is the ideal time for beach lovers, as all the water sports, beach bars, and outdoor activities are in full swing. However, you will also face larger crowds and higher accommodation prices.
- Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to October): These shoulder seasons offer pleasant weather with mild temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F). It’s a great time to explore the island without the overwhelming summer crowds. The sea is still warm enough for swimming, and you’ll find more reasonable accommodation rates.
- Winter (November to March): Winter is the off-season in Paros, and while the weather can be mild compared to northern countries, it can also be wet and windy. Many tourist facilities close during this time, and the island feels quieter. However, if you prefer a peaceful getaway, enjoy local life, and don’t mind the occasional rain, winter can be a unique experience.
We visited in mid-May and loved the quieter vibe. Tourism facilites were just getting set up, the water was warm enough to swim and we often had beaches to ourselves. Restaurants were open, but not busy and the days were sunny and warm.
Is Paros Expensive?
Like with most tourist destinations, costs will depend on your travel style, the season and what activities you are interested in. We found Paros to be much more reasonably priced then Santorini and benefitted from cheaper accomodation prices in May. Paros truly does have something for every one: high end hotels and beach clubs and family-run studios for families and more budget-counscious travellers.
Getting around Paros? Do you need a Car?
Paros is approximately 13 km by 10 km so it is easy to get around the island. Like on all the Greek Islands, there is good bus service that will take you around the island. The ferry port is located in the capital, Parikia and from there you can take the bus to the gorgeous town of Naoussa or other parts of the island. Check the Paros bus schedule here.
You don’t need to rent a car in Paros, but we would recommend renting a car for at least one day so you can explore the island at your own pace and make stops at all of the beaches, coves and towns that you want.
We took the bus to and from our accomodation in Alyiki, but we also rented a car for a day to explore the island. Car rental prices are very reasonable and don’t need to be made in advance. Usually your accomodation can organize a rental for you with a small, independent company. Most cars are standard on the islands and you should be a confident driver since you will be navidating some narrow island roads. You can also rent an ATV, which is a great option for a solo traveller or couple.
Visiting Paros with Kids
Paros is a great island for families since it offers a little bit of everything: stunning beaches, Greek culture and food, unique architecture and the opportunity to experience a Greek island that has not been overrun by tourism. There are many studio accomodation options that are perfect for families and it is much more affordable than the most popular Greek islands. Additionally, kids will enjoy taking a ferry to get there.
Our kids preferred Paros to Santorini as they liked the more relaxed way of life on the island. And their parents liked the more normal pricing! They liked discovering the different beaches and eating in the family-friendly tavernas. You can’t go wrong visiting Paros with kids!
Where to Stay in Paros?
Most visitors to Paros will stay in either Parikia, Naoussa or Aliki. Each of them offer the special Paros charm, but in a different way. Naoussa is more upmarket with wonderful dining options and close to many of the best beaches in Paros, including beach clubs. However, it is more expensive. Parikia is very conveniently located at the ferry port, making it a great Paros place to stay for a short visit. There are good dining options, a cute town with shops and most buses depart from here. Aliki is a great option for those seeking a quieter place to stay in an authentic village, but you will likely want a car to be able to explore the island.
We stayed in Aliki at Helen’s Minimal Studios, which are anything but minimal. They are clean and modern, with lovely balconies and views of the water right in the centre of Aliki. We loved our stay – the homemade preserves, eating at their restaurant (Aliki Restaurant) and the apartment was spacious for our family.
Naoussa – Hotel Senia (Luxury) – this luxury hotel has stunning oceanviews and a variety of room configurations for couples or families. The hotel features a beautiful infinity pool, excellent service and food.
Naoussa – Parian Lithos Residences (Mid-Range) – family-run hotel a few minutes walk outside of Naoussa, beautiful views and your choice of the swimming pool or a swimming beach 2 minutes away, classic Paros decor
Parikia – Paros Five Senses (Mid-Range) – hotel with a simple and modern asthetic with seaview rooms, good breakfast included and sunset views.
Things to do in Paros
Next up in our Paros travel guide, we will cover the best things to do in Paros. Paros makes a great holiday destination because it offers up the complete Greek Island experience: a wide range of beaches, stunning white Cycladic architecture, warm Greek hospitality, history and culture.
1. Wander Picturesque Naoussa
Naoussa is the most up-market area of Paros with stunning white laneways dotted with colourful bougainvillea. It’s picturesque fishing port lined with restaurants truly is picture perfect. Come for dinner and sunset and enjoy a traditional meal outside. Take a walk to along the pier to the old Venetian Fort in the harbour for great views of Paros. Stop by Solo Gelato for a sweet treat.
The winding lanes of Naoussa are filled with cute shops and boutiques, making it a great place to shop. There are many unique items at affordable prices. Just be aware that some of the shops will close for a few hours in the afternoon.
2. Visit the Fishing Village of Aliki
In the south of Paros, the fishing village of Aliki is a great place to visit for lunch if you are touring around the island. There are a number of unpretentious waterfront restaurants serving seafood and other traditional foods at very reasonable prices. A visit to Aliki can be combined with a visit to Piso Aliki Beach, a few minute walk from the town. We had quite a a few good meals at Aliki Restaurant and enjoyed the peacefulness of the village.
3. Paros Park
This nature park on the northern peninsula near Naoussa has nice, short hiking trails with beautiful views of the Aegean Sea. Start from Monastiri Beach, visit the monastery of Agios Ioannis Detis and choose which of the 7 kms of trails you want to explore. They have done a great job developing the trails and created this protected area.
4. Go Beach Hopping
There are quite a few unique beaches to visit around Paros and the best way to visit them is by renting a car. Paros beaches aren’t huge, but we found them really charming and we loved that each one was diffeerent.
Kolymbithres Beach – this beach is located about 10 minutes from Naoussa and is known for its unique rock formations. You can rent an umbrella and beach beds or there are plenty of places amongst the rocks that you can set up. The water here is a gorgeous blue and very calm, making it one of the best swimming on Paros.
Kalogeros Beach – this east coast beach is best known for the healing mud that can be found at the northern part of this beach. We of course mixed up some clay with water and treated ourselves to a mud treatment. The swimming is also very nice from this beach, although it is more exposed.
Piso Aliki Beach – nice quieter beach in the south part of the island near the fishing village of Aliki. The water is a lovely blue and this is a great beach especially for families.
Faragas Beach – this is another beach on the south coast, just down from Piso Aliki Beach. Half of this beach is organized with a beach club and the other half is unorganized. Lovely sand and that beautiful Paros blue water, make this a popular spot.
Monastiri Beach – this is an organized beach with a happening beach club near Paros Park. The bay is very sheltered and the water calm. There is a small area north of the beach club where you can swim without paying. There are a variety of watersports available at the beach club. A visit to Monastiri can be combined with a hike in Paros Park.
5. Visit the Traditional Village of Lefkes
Lefkes is a picturesque village located in the center of Paros, surrounded by scenic landscapes and offering an authentic Greek experience. Lefkes is known for its traditional Cycladic architecture, with white-washed houses, narrow alleys, and colorful flowers adorning the streets. The village is home to the impressive Church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture. Lefkes has several traditional tavernas and cafes where you can savor authentic Greek cuisine. One of the highlights of Lefkes is the Byzantine path, a historic trail that connects Lefkes with the village of Prodromos. Walking along this stone-paved path allows you to appreciate the natural beauty of Paros, passing through olive groves, vineyards, and ancient stone walls.
6. Stoll Around Parikia and Visit the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani
Parikia is the capital of Paros and the location of the ferry port, so it will likely be your first point of entry. If you don’t stay in Parikia, make sure you spend a couple of hours wandering its lovely white alleys, shops and visiting Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a Byzantine church dating from the 4th century. There are lots of tavernas serving authentic Greek food, so plan some time for lunch before your ferry.
7. Take a Tour from Paros
If you are worried about not visiting the popular islands of Santorini or Mykonos, do this Mykonos day tour from Paros or trip to Santorini from Paros. This way you get the best of both worlds: you can stay on quieter and more authentic Paros, but still experience the beauty of these more popular islands.
There is nothing like experiencing the waters of the Aegean Sea around Paros and this boat trip allows you to snorkel and visit beautiful spots only reached by boat. If you are looking for a more active adventure, sea kayaking around Paros is a great activity.