PAROS - VILLAGES
There is a large number of attractive villages in the traditional Cycladic style. Their glowing white houses along labyrinth like streets, decorated with arches, pretty balconies, Greek pottery, bright flowers and fragrant herbs will make you wander around and get lost, discovering one postcard theme after the other. Paros also has an incredible amount of picturesque churches, chapels and monasteries, likewise windmills, and you stumble across historical remains wherever you go, some of them of great significance in Greek History.
Parikia, also called Paros Town, is the capital of the island and its main port; it lies on the bay on the west coast. It is a beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed cubic houses and impressive neoclassical mansions. A well preserved 13th century Venetian castle stands proudly on a hill at the center of the village offering an amazing view of Parikia. Parikia has about 3,000 inhabitants. This little town is the commercial and cultural center of Paros as well as the main harbor of the island, serving many other islands.
On the entrance of the port, a superb whitewashed windmill welcomes the visitors and constitutes the trademark of Paros. Parikia's heart, the old quarter with its famous 'Market Street', lies within a one-minute walk from the port, behind the main square. It is clustered around the hill of Kastro (Castle). This quarter is typically Cycladic, full of whitewashed two-storey houses with colored windows, doors and balconies and old mansions, separated by narrow whitewashed streets forming a labyrinth. The castle, called Kastro, was built during the 13th century on the highest point of the town. Material and columns from an ancient temple, that used to stand on the same place, were used for the construction of Kastro. Nowadays, only part of the wall and a tower remain from the Venetian castle. Many churches surround the area of Kastro such as the Panagia Septemvriani (The Virgin of September), the Church of Agia Eleni (Saint Helen) and the most important and oldest of all, the beautiful Byzantine church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani (Our Lady of the Hundred Gates), which is considered as one of the most important Byzantine monuments still standing in Greece; this church also houses a fine museum. Other very interesting sites to visit nearby Parikia are the ruins of Asclepieion, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Temple of Eileithyia (Truth), the Temple of Zeus Ypatos and more. Close to the harbor is the main bus station offering connections around the whole island. Nearby you will also find boat taxis to take you to the beaches opposite the harbor.
The beautiful, picturesque fishing village of Naoussa is located in ahuge bay in the northern part of Paros, 6 miles east from the capital,Parikia. Settled around a little hill in the Bay of Naoussa with achurch at its peak, it is the second biggestand most important townafter Parikia. Naoussa is said by many to be one of the most beautifulfishing ports in Greece, and it has kept its authentic characterdespite growing tourism. It has traditional character and charm, withits whitewashed and flowered little houses and its tiny whitewashedchurches and chapels, surrounded by labyrinth-like narrow, stone pavedstreets. The lovely village of Naoussa is built amphitheatricallyaround a tiny picturesque port where little colorful fishing boatscalled caiques moor and remains of a Venetian castle can still be seen.Little taverns and ouzeries around the port offer a friendly andtraditional atmosphere.
Though Naoussa is much quieter than Parikia, it offers several animated bars and nightclubs, open until dawn. Naoussa is also famous for its numerous beautiful golden beaches, filling the natural bay such as Kolymbithres Beach, Agios Ioannis, Agioi Anargyroi, Monastiri and many more. All of them can be reached by footpaths, asphalted roads or by caiques (small fishing boats) from the port. Naoussa also has many beautiful churches to visit such as the main church, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, which is located on the highest spot of the village or the Church of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) which houses an interesting Byzantine Museum exhibiting fine and valuable 13th century icons.
Every 23rd of August, nine days after the Assumption of the Virgin, a great festivity is celebrated in Naoussa, during which a representation of the pirates raids is performed by the young people of the village, fireworks are thrown while dancing, eating and drinking continues until dawn. There is a very good and frequent bus service so you can move back to Parikia easily or visit other parts of the island. During the high season, the buses even run all through the night!
The picturesque village of Marpissa stands on the hill of Kefalos, just above Piso Livadi, 11 miles southeast of Parikia. It was founded in the 15th century and is a traditional village with a distinctive medieval character. Here you find beautiful alleys with tall trees, traditional Greek life (farms!) and not too many accommodations, which contributes to its incredible charm and unspoiled beauty. Built amphitheatrically (like most of the Cycladic villages) around the hill, Marpissa is a traditional Cycladic village with whitewashed cubic houses, standing among narrow streets, churches and windmills. It is one of the few authentic villages of Paros. You can also visit the impressive Monastery of Ayios Antonios (17th century) on the hill of Kéfalos, where the ruins of a 15th century Venetian castle stand, and enjoy a wonderful view of the sea.
One of the loveliest villages of Paros, Lefkes is situated in the central part of Paros, 7 miles southeast of Parikia. Lefkes has 500 inhabitants and is built at an altitude of 1,000 feet above the sea level, on a verdant hill covered with olive trees and pine trees offering a breathtaking view of Naxos Island. This beautiful village used to be the capital of Paros during the Middle Ages and is full of little traditional whitewashed houses, mixed with Venetian architecture, wonderful churches dating from the 15th century, whitewashed windmills and beautiful dovecotes. The charm and the beauty of Lefkes is still untouched by mass tourism, which help it maintain its authenticity. The Church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) is the village's main church. This is a beautiful Byzantine church made of fine white marble, glimmering under the sun. Rare and valuable Byzantine icons are housed in this church and are worth seeing. In Lefkes are also the Folk Art Museum which exhibits various local tools and clothing and the Museum of Aegean Folk Culture. From this marvelous village, the Byzantine Road, a paved footpath dating from the Byzantine period, leads to the village of Prodromos and ends up to the sea.
Just hop on the bus and go there for a day trip and enjoy the traditional atmosphere of a magical Greek village, see the impressive cemetery that is still in use in a 'secret garden' behind the cathedral 'Agias Trias' and understand why this imposing town used to be the capital of a prosperous island. Enjoy the exquisite architecture (combining Cycladic and Venetian style), admire the little houses with entrances and windows you think are too small to be in use, with porches full of flowers and herbs, and wonder how the postman knows where to deliver the post! Afterwards, visit a few of its traditional pottery shops or watch the Greek ladies weave, then have a Greek coffee in a hidden little café with homemade cake!
Aliki is beautiful coastal village with a picturesque port, located 8 miles south of Parikia. It has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. Visitors seek the peacefulness and the warmness that Aliki offers. Even during the high season, the village keeps its traditional character. The locals stand out for their kindness and open heart. Aliki takes great care of the food lovers and offers wonderful traditional taverns and restaurants whose owners grow their own products in order to offer the best dishes. The village is mostly recommended for family holidays due to its clear sandy beach and the fish taverns. During the summer months, the beaches around Aliki are favorite places for windsurfers. There are also many small coves ideal for total privacy and relaxation. It is worth mentioning that a Cycladic folklore museum can be visited in the suburbs of Aliki. This museum hosts handmade exhibits and miniatures of ships or important monuments, depicting the interesting tradition of Cyclades islands.
Southeast of Parikia and 4 miles south of Naoussa is the picturesque small village of Prodromos built in the traditional Cycladic way, full of whitewashed cube houses, tiny white chapels and beautiful churches. The village of Prodromos, together with the village of Marmara, forms the community of Archilohos, which took its name from an ancient poet of the island. The name Prodromos was given to the village after the 17th century church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos whose interior is entirely decorated with beautiful icons.
Drios is a small fishing village located on the east coast of Paros and surrounded by various nice sandy villages. This is another small fishing village of the island. There is a row of restaurants (specializing in fish of course) and below them is the picturesque harbor. Looking out from the village you can see the uninhabited island of Drios.
Kostos is a nice village located 4 miles from Parikia and accessible on the way from Parikia to Lefkes. Built at an altitude of 500 feet, the first house of the village was constructed in the Venetian times. Today, it has a population of about 235 permanent residents and most of them are involved in farming. Kostos has Cycladic architecture with whitewashed houses and beautiful churches, while it marks out for its pure beauty and natural surroundings, totally unaffected from tourism. The people are friendly and hospitable. Trees in the square offer enough shade to drink a coffee in a traditional cafeteria. Despite its size, Kostos is a village with noticeable feasts during summer months, such as the feast of Agia Marina on July 17th and Agios Panteleimonas on June 27th.
The picturesque village of Marathi is found 3 miles from Parikia. The village is well known for the marble quarries of the popular Parian marble, which operated for 500 years in ancient times. These ancient quarries can be seen today. The marble from Marathi was then transferred to other Greek towns and ancient temples or statues were constructed. In fact, it was used to create some of the greatest ancient masterpieces, including the Aphrodite of Milos, Hermes of Praxiteles, Victory of Samothrace and many temples on Delos Island. At the beginning of the 19th century, many companies were founded for the exploitation of the Parian marble quarries that reopened. At that time the quarries were used for Napoleon's tomb. Marathi today is a small village with very few inhabitants. Its picturesque narrow streets, the small whitewashed houses and the traditional chapels make the architectural style of this village.
Pisso Livadi is a nice little town with a fishing port on the southeast of the Island, 15 miles from Parikia, with access to daily trip boats heading for Naxos, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini and Amorgos. It has some of Paros' most important beaches (Golden Beach, Pounda Beach) and the small and similar villages Logaras and Drios nearby. Pisso Livadi, like Logaras, is also recommended for traditional Greek Cuisine - when you're there, enjoy a nice meal and admire the breathtaking view towards Naxos!