Paros, Greece - The 2024 Travel Guide (2024)

Greece › Paros Travel Guide
Updated: December 9, 2023
By Santorini Dave

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Paros, Greece - The 2024 Travel Guide (1)

The charming beach town of Piso Livadi in Paros.

Paros is a beautiful Cycladic island only 2 hours by ferry from Santorini and 3 hours from Athens. Paros is best known for its great beaches, lively nightlife, and wonderful white-washed towns. I often describe Paros as a perfect mix of Mykonos (trendy clubs and restaurants) and Naxos (fantastic beaches and authentic inland villages). It’s a bit of both in all the best ways. Taking a ferry from Paros is the only way to access Antiparos, a smaller and more secluded island located just west of Paros.

The 2024 Paros Travel Guide

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Paros Basics

  • Where to Stay in Paros
  • Paros or Naxos?
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Paros Hotels

  • Best Hotels in Paros
  • Best Hotels for Families
  • Best Hotels in Antiparos
  • Best Beach Hotels in Paros

Paros Activities and Attractions

  • Best Paros Beaches
  • Best Restaurants

Paros Trip Planning

  • Getting Around Paros by Bus
  • Santorini to Paros Ferry
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Frequently Asked Questions about Paros

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Where is Paros?

Paros is an island in Greece, part of the Cycladic group located in the Aegean Sea. Paros lies about 40 km south of Mykonos, 180 km southeast of Athens, 85 km North of Santorini, and 200 km north of Crete. Flights to Paros take 40 minutes from Athens and 65 minutes from Thessaloniki. Most people travel to and from Paros by Greek ferry.

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How big is Paros?

Paros has a population of around 12,500 and a land area of 196 sq. km (more than 3 times the size of Manhattan). The length of the island is around 22 km, and it measures around 13 km at its widest point. It takes about 30 minutes to drive the longest way (north to south) from one end of the island to the other.

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What is the history of Paros

Paros was first inhabited around 3200 B.C. and was later settled by the Cretans, who gave it the name Minoa (along with several other locations also called Minoa). Minoans and Mycenaeans were the primary occupants of Paros, until the Ionians conquered the island around 1100 B.C., followed by the Arcadians a hundred years later. Its central location in the Cyclades made it an important maritime base, while its exports, primarily high-quality marble and agriculture, made it a prosperous trade hub of the ancient world. Paros sided with the Persians during the Persian War, and was ultimately defeated by the Athenians. The island later came under the control of the Spartans, Macedonians, Ptolemies, and Romans.

Paros was soon taken over by the Byzantine Empire. Numerous churches were constructed in Paros during the Byzantine era, the most important of which is Panagia Ekatontapiliani (The Church with 100 Doors), supposedly founded by Saint Helene, mother of Constantine the Great.

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Beachfront dining at Ephessus restaurant in Parikia, Paros.

Around the 8th century A.D. Paros became a stronghold for pirates and lost a great deal of its wealth. In the 13th century under Venetian rule as part of the Duchy of the Aegean (the ruins of a Venetian castle – built to defend Paros from pirates – remain in the sea just a few meters from the Old Port in Naoussa village). The Ottomans conquered in the early 16th century and controlled the island until it became part of newly independent Greece in 1832.

When is the best time to go to Paros?

The best time to visit Paros, Greece, depends on your preferences and interests. Generally, the shoulder seasons of late April to early June and September to early October are the most popular times to visit. During these months, the weather is typically warm and sunny, with fewer crowds and more moderate temperatures compared to the peak summer months of July and August.

In the shoulder seasons, you can expect pleasant weather for sightseeing, exploring the island’s picturesque villages, beaches, and archaeological sites, as well as engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and windsurfing. The sea temperatures are also comfortable for swimming, particularly from June onwards.

The peak summer months of June to August offer the warmest temperatures and the most sunshine, making it the best time for beach holidays, swimming, and water sports. However, this is also the busiest and most expensive time of year, with larger crowds at popular tourist sites and destinations. Paros is generally less crowded than other popular Greek islands like Mykonos and Santorini, but it can still get busy during the peak season.

If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and cooler temperatures, consider visiting Paros during the off-season, from November to March. The weather during this period can be cooler and more unpredictable, with a higher chance of rain and strong winds, especially from December to February. However, you’ll find fewer tourists, lower prices, and a more authentic experience of the island.

How do you get to Paros?

Ferries from Athens to Paros will make a few stops and take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, depending on the type of boat. Paros is connected by direct ferry to Naxos, about a 30-minute trip. Ferries connecting Paros to the islands of Mykonos, Ios, Milos, Folegandros, Santorini, and Crete often make multiple stops. is the best way to search for and purchase ferry tickets to and from Paros.

Both Sky Express and Olympic Air offer direct flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to Paros. Flights from Athens take about 40 minutes; flights from Thessaloniki take about 65 minutes. There are no direct flights to Paros from any other cities; flights originating outside of Greece will most likely transfer in Athens. Note that flights will sell out much earlier than ferries – if you find a flight that works for you, book it as soon as possible.

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The Paros ferry port is in the center of Parikia (the largest town on Paros). Hotels, restaurants, and shopping are within an easy walk of the port.

What are the main towns in Paros?

The main villages in Paros are Parikia in the west and Naoussa in the north. Parikia is the capital and one of the earliest settlements on the island. It is here that you’ll find the historic Panagia Ekatontapiliani, the Frankish Castle (built by the Venetians out of marble taken from an ancient temple of Apollo), and the Paros Archaeological Museum, as well as several fantastic restaurants, bars, artisan workshops, and boutiques. There are 2 beaches within walking distance of central Parikia: Livadia Beach (aka Parikia Beach) and Parasporos Beach.

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The enchanting pedestrian-only lanes of old town Parikia are lined with Venetian balconies.

Naoussa village sits at the old harbor at the north end of the island, now used by smaller boats, with the Venetian castle ruins jutting up from the sea to the north. Naoussa is the most cosmopolitan village in Paros, boasting several fine dining restaurants, high-end co*cktail bars, a couple of dance clubs, boutiques, and a winery. Naoussa is within walking distance of 3 beaches (Piperaki, Piperi, and Agii Anargyri) and just a short drive from the oft-photographed Kolymbithres Beach.

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Fishing boats and waterfront restaurants along the Old Harbor in Naoussa.

Other villages include traditional Lefkes, a hidden gem in the mountains of central Paros. Lefkes was the former capital of the municipality Iria during the late 19th century when Paros belonged to the neighboring island and long-time rival Naxos. Several smaller villages are spread throughout the island, but Parikia, Naoussa, and Lefkes are the most populous.

Some of the busier beaches outside the main villages, including Aliki, Drios, and Piso Livadi, have enough hotels, tavernas, and mini-markets within walking distance that they feel like unofficial villages.

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Where is the best place to stay in Paros?

For most travelers, the best places to stay in Paros are in the villages of Parikia and Naoussa. These villages are well-connected to each other by bus, and have plenty of restaurants, dining, nightlife, shopping, and beaches within easy walking distance through their charming tangles of narrow lanes. There are wonderful hotels in both towns; Parikia tends to have more affordable hotels, while Naoussa has more luxurious hotels. Bars and restaurants are excellent in both villages. Those looking to get away from it all may choose to stay near one of the beaches, like Chrissi Akti or Aliki, or on the nearby island Antiparos – the not-so-secret hideout of celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Pierce Brosnan, and Matthew McConaughey.

What are the best beaches in Paros?

Paros has fantastic beaches to fit every need; it all depends what you’re looking for. The all-around best beach on Paros is Santa Maria Beach, with soft, golden-white sand, calm and shallow water, and plenty of dining and water sports centers. Paros’ most unusual beach is Kolymbithres, known for its unusual rock formations. The best beach on Paros for windsurfing or kitesurfing is Chrissi Akti. Kalogeros Beach features healing mud for a DIY spa day. All beaches on Paros are easily reached via bus, and there’s a water taxi that connects Naoussa to three popular beaches on the island’s north coast.

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The strange and beautiful rock formations at Kolymbithres Beach – located about 2km west of Naoussa.

How many days should I spend in Paros?

Stay a minimum of 2 nights and 1 full day. But there’s plenty to see and do on Paros so it’s easy to fill 4 to 7 days. If possible, spend some time exploring hiking trails and beach at Paros Park, then cap it off with a movie in their open-air cinema. Visit two of Paros’ most unique beaches: Kolymbithres with its strange landscape and Kalogeros with its natural healing mud. Take a boat and go swimming or snorkeling in the sea caves, or spend a day on Antiparos or Naxos Islands. Take a day tour to cosmopolitan Mykonos and ancient Delos.

Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get lost in the maze-like streets of Parikia and Naoussa. Parikia offers wonderful historic sites, including Panagia Ekatontapiliani, the Frankish Castle, and the Archaeological Museum of Paros, along with casual tavernas, high-end dining, sunset view bars, and artisan workshops. Naoussa offers the charming Old Port, stylish co*cktail bars, gourmet restaurants, a 100+ year old winery (with tastings), a few nightclubs, and plenty of boutique shopping.

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Naoussa is packed with charming and unique places to eat.

What are the best things to do in Paros?

The best things to do in Paros include swimming and sunning on golden sand beaches, checking out the weird rock formations at Kolymbithres Beach, visiting Paros Park (a large recreation area with a lighthouse, hiking trails, rock formations, caves, an open-air cinema, and sparkling Monastiri Beach), a day trip to Antiparos, a day trip to Naxos, strolling by the Old Port of Naoussa and checking out its shops and nightlife, enjoying a sunset co*cktail and meze at the seafront tavernas in Parikia, exploring the historical and archaeological sites, and visiting the traditional village Lefkes.

How do I get around Paros?

It is easy to get between the main towns and beaches on Paros, and to the Antiparos ferry, by using the island’s public bus system. Generally, the bus makes a loop around the perimeter of the island, also heading inland to the mountain villages. Fares vary by route and distance traveled, but range from 1.80€ to 4€ per trip. A full-day, cross-island ticket is available for 9€. Bus tickets are sold at the Parikia and Naoussa terminal stations, as well as some stores and mini-marts in Paros’ main towns and beaches. (Find the Paros bus schedule here.)

As is usually the case, renting a car on Paros will offer you more flexibility, and the roads on Paros are in good shape and easy to navigate. There are a few free public lots in Parikia, Naoussa, and Lefkes, but they fill up fast and they’re not always located near where you want to be. is the best website for pre-booking rental cars in Greece.

If you don’t rent a car, pre-arranged transfer provided by your hotel or through Welcome Pickups car service is the easiest way to get from the Naxos airport or ferry port to your hotel.

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The Parikia “bus station” as seen from an approaching ferry. Paros is well served by bus and buses are clean, comfortable, and have lots of room for luggage.

How do you get to Antiparos?

Antiparos is a smaller island located directly west of Paros, and makes a great day (or overnight) trip from Paros. Daily car-commuter boats to Antiparos run regularly from early morning to midnight from the small port Pounta, which is accessible via bus or taxi from Parikia Port. In the summer, there are also frequent, daily, passenger-only ferries to Antiparos that depart directly from Parikia Port. (View the Antiparos ferry schedule here.) Antiparos has great beaches, restaurants, and small family-owned hotels, and is a popular hang-out for many famous American celebrities. If making a day trip to Antiparos, be sure to eat at To Stathero, the best restaurant on the island.

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This is the ferry that runs from Parikia to Antiparos in the high season. There is also a year-round car and foot passenger ferry that travels between Pounta and Antiparos. There are regular buses from Parikia to Pounta.

What currency is used in Paros?

The currency used on Paros, and throughout Greece, is the Euro (€). In Parikia, Naoussa, and the island’s main beaches, most shops, bars, and restaurants accept credit cards, usually with a minimum purchase required; if not, nearby ATMs are easy to find. It is always recommended to have some cash on hand small purchases and bus trips. In the smaller villages, there are many more cash-only businesses and fewer ATMs.

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Most restaurants in Paros, like the friendly and affordable Mouragio in Aliki, accept credit cards.

Is Paros expensive?

Paros is an increasingly popular jet set destination, but it’s not yet as crowded or expensive as nearby Santorini and Mykonos. Though there are several luxury hotels on the island, most hotels in Paros fall into the mid-range category. Hotels in Parikia tend to be cheaper than hotels in Naoussa. Budget hotels will typically be farther from the water, though there are many affordable hotels at the quieter beaches, such as Ambelas or Drios Beaches. There are no all-inclusive resorts or vacation packages. All beaches are open to the public and free to visit. Most beach clubs offer free umbrellas and sunbeds to guests who purchase a drink or food; the ones that do charge, usually only cost €10 to €20.

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The luxury Poseidon of Paros is cheap by Santorini or Mykonos standards and one of the best hotels in Paros.

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Paros, Greece - The 2024 Travel Guide (2024)


How many days in Paros is enough? ›

Located almost in the center of the Cyclades, Paros has true Cycladic architecture and an active lifestyle. In brief, staying 3 to 5 days is recommended in order to explore the island as much as possible. Check out the bucket list we have created with the top things to see & do.

Is it better to stay in Paros or Naoussa? ›

Parikia is buzzing all year round, Naoussa tend to be very quiet during off season. If you visit Paros in in the Springtime or late autumn Parikia is a better choice as shops and restaurants will be open and busy with locals.

Is it better to go to Naxos or Paros? ›

Paros and Naxos are among the most family friendly islands among the Greek islands, and whichever you pick, it will be right. Both are great when traveling with children – Paros is slightly better for teenagers due to its active nightlife and shopping.

Is Paros too touristy? ›

Smack bang in the middle of the alluring Cyclades, the ancient, windswept, archipelago south of Athens, lies wonderful Paros Island. Less popular than nearby Santorini and Mykonos, Paros is slowly emerging as the star of the Cyclades, and it's not hard to understand why.

Do you need a car to get around Paros? ›

If you are only visiting Paros for two to three days, you do not really need a car, though you could put it to good use if you do. If you stay in Naousa, you could easily visit beaches and sights by public transport. There are plenty of places just a quick bus / taxi / boat ride from Naousa. Same goes with Parikia.

Should I spend more time in Milos or Paros? ›

There is no definite answer to this, but if you like an active holiday, exploration, and stunning, but austere scenery, go to Milos and discover a magical place.

What is the most beautiful town in Paros? ›

5 Enchanting Villages to Visit in Paros
  • Parikia: The Island's Capital.
  • Lefkes: A Picturesque Mountain Village.
  • Naoussa: A Bustling Fishing Village.
  • Marpissa: A Village Steeped in History.
  • Piso Livadi: A Charming Coastal Village.
Aug 8, 2023

Which is the best village to visit in Paros? ›

In brief, Parikia and Naoussa are the most touristy villages. There are also many other quaint villages on the island, such as Lefkes and Marpissa, praised for maintaining the traditional Cycladic architecture. Many hotels are located around these villages.

Where is it better to stay in Paros? ›

For experiencing essential Paros, stay in Piso Livadi, Aliki, Livadia Beach, Drios, or Ambelas. You'll always be close to tavernas serving fresh fish, traditional coffee shops, and local sandy beaches.

Why do people go to Paros? ›

Paros is mainly famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and its Cycladic architecture.

What is the best way to get around Paros? ›

Renting a car is ideally the best way to go because you have the freedom to explore the beaches that public transportation doesn't reach. However, during my stay in Paros I relied solely on buses and boats to get around the island and didn't feel like I missed out on anything.

Do people speak English in Paros? ›

Greeks speak languages on the island - English, French and German – but you will realise that learning a bit of Greek is good fun and will help getting by with the locals.

Can you drink tap water in Paros? ›

The tap water on Paros is safe to drink! How do we know? Because we perform regular tests of the water quality – everywhere on the island, and at different times of the year.

Is there crime in Paros? ›

Petty crimes:Very low

Paros is generally a very safe location, even for solo female travelers. The island is known for its warm, friendly residents and its relaxed atmosphere. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing or bag snatching are extremely rare.

Is 5 days in Paros too long? ›

Just the right amount of shops and restaurants, but without the heavy crowds and price tags of the famous Mykonos and Santorini, Paros is the perfect Greek island for relaxed summer holidays. While many visit the island over a couple of days or a day trip even, I would recommend spending at least 5 days in Paros.

Can you do Paros in 2 days? ›

Although just two days in Paros won't give you enough time to visit all the settlements and most of the beaches on the island, you should at least make time to explore two traditional towns and two or three of the most famous shores on Paros.

Should I stay in Paros or Mykonos? ›

If you want an upbeat, adventurous time and you wish to visit some fancy places, Mykonos is the place for you. If you prefer a laid-back type of vacation, Paros is the winner. Paros offers more of a rustic vibe than Mykonos – whether that's a good thing or not, it's up to you to decide.

Is a week too long in Paros? ›

With one week, you'll have more than enough time to take in all that Paros has to offer, giving you the flexibility to unwind around the island or use your hotel as a base for further exploration. You can relax while enjoying the beaches, the cuisine, and the gorgeous scenery at your own pace.


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