Day 1 in Paros
Welcome to Paros! Arrive at the port in Paros and proceed to your hotel. After check in, grab a bite to eat and head to the Monastery of Logovarda, founded in 1638. It is the largest monastery on the island and famous for its interesting architecture, its library, which houses rare and valuable manuscripts, and its book making workshop.
Afterwards, continue on to the popular and picturesque fishing village of Naoussa where you will find friendly little tavernas and ouzeries all around the port. This is a pleasant place to stop for a drink (or lunch if you didn't eat before) while admiring the old Venetian Fortress. While exploring the maze-like streets of town, be sure to visit the main church, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, which is located on the highest spot of the village, the beautiful church of Agios Antonios, believed to be the protector of all the fishing boats, and the Church of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas), which houses an interesting Byzantine Museum with valuable 13th century icons. Time permitting, you may want to visit the little church of Agios Ioannis Detis (Saint John) located on the rocky coast of Monastiri, in the bay of Naoussa.
From Naoussa, you can take a caique (or catch a bus) to the beautiful beaches of Kolimbithres or Santa Maria. Kolymbithres is one of the most famous beaches of Paros and is particularly impressive because of its small sandy coves and the huge blocks of granite surrounding it, which have been sculpted into strange smooth shapes by the water and the wind. Furthermore, the hill overlooking Kolymbithres is where the remains of the Mycenaean Acropolis can be found. Santa Maria has a long coastline that is divided into two soft sand beaches with crystal clear waters and views of the island of Naxos. The snorkeling here is highly recommended and there is also a diving school and a windsurfing center.
This evening, return to Naoussa to experience its nightlife. Although this village is much quieter than Parikia, it offers several lively bars and nightclubs, which are open until dawn.
Day 2 in Paros
Wake up early today and take a caique from Parikia to the islet of Antiparos to explore its famous cave. The mysterious cavern, which is about 300 feet deep, features massive stalactites and stalagmites (considered some of the best in Europe). Upon your return to Parikia, a wonderful whitewashed windmill welcomes you to this little town that is the commercial and cultural center of Paros. We recommend you stop for lunch in one of the numerous restaurants or tavernas that line the coast road before strolling into the heart of the traditional Cycladic settlement, which is clustered around the ancient Frankish Castle (Kastro).
Afterwards, take time to visit the many churches around the area of the Kastro, including the Panagia Septemvriani (The Virgin of September), the Church of Agia Eleni (Saint Helen) and the oldest of them, the beautiful Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani (Virgin Mary of the Hundred Doors), which is considered one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Greece. Don't miss a visit to the baptistery, one of the best preserved in the Orthodox East, and the Byzantine Museum, housed on the ground floor of the church. Its exhibits include icons, rare artwork, wood carvings and silver and metal objects. Located behind the church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, the Archaeological Museum exhibits a collection from the island's monuments including the Sanctuary of Asklepios and Apollo Pythios as well as part of the 'Parian Chronicle', a chronological table of the 3rd century BC with references to important events and people of antiquity. The ancient cemetery of Paros is a short walk downhill from the museum.
Later, make your way to the Monastery of Jesus of the Woods. This nunnery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Christ, while on the northern side of the yard, there is a church dedicated to Agios Arsenios, the protector saint of Paros Island, whose grave and skull are guarded here. Continuing south from the monastery, you will come to Petaloudes, the Valley of the Butterflies, tucked away at the foot of a hill just beneath a natural well. Every year during the summer months, the trees of this verdant valley are home to the Jersey Tiger Moths, which in Greece can only be found on Paros and Rhodes. Visitors are advised not to disturb the butterflies. If you don't get a picture of them, there is a small shop at the entrance that has a fine collection of postcards for purchase.
Day 3 in Paros
This morning, you will want to discover the small yet picturesque villages of Paros. From Parikia, take the road to Lefkes, the old capital of the island, which is located at the highest point of Páros and offers stunning views of the island. Here, you can visit the Folklore Art Museum as well as the Museum of Aegean Folk Culture, which exhibits a collection of various objects including utensils, embroideries, textiles, tools and more that show the traditional life of the inhabitants of Paros. In Lefkes, you'll also find the beautiful church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), built in 1830, using the fine, semi-transparent Parian marble quarried from Marathi. Worth seeing are the rare and valuable Byzantine icons that are housed in this church.
From Lefkes, follow the Byzantine Road, a narrow 'strátes' (trail) mostly paved with marble slabs, to Prodromos. It's a leisurely walk (about one hour) through terraced fields. The next stop is Marpissa, a traditional village with a distinctive medieval character, founded in the 15th century. Visit the impressive Monastery of Ayios Antonios, standing on the hill of Kéfalos, and the ruins of a Venetian castle before continuing on to Piso Livadi, a nice tourist resort with delicious waterfront taverns and a sandy beach where you can take a bit of a break.
Later, head south to Pounda Beach, one of the most famous (and crowded) beaches of Paros. Most people go to Pounda for its numerous beach facilities, including a swimming pool, and for its loud music and endless parties. Further south, Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti) is considered to be one of the best beaches of Paros. It is a long golden sand beach made famous by windsurfers for its ideal wind conditions. Enjoy an early dinner here or catch the bus back to town.
This evening you'll want to take it easy so go back to your favorite place on Paros for a casual sunset dinner and drinks. Make your last night in Paros a memorable one!
Additional Days in Paros
Should you be able to spend additional days in Paros then be sure to visit the ancient marble quarries at Maráthi where the famous Parian marble used to be mined from the 3rd millennium BC up to the 19th century. Some of the world's greatest masterpieces, like the famous Venus de Milo, were sculpted using Parian marble. In addition, you may also wish to visit the sanctuaries of Asklepios and Apollo Pythios, located on the hill of Agia Anna overlooking Parikia. Although only a few remains can still be seen in the area, this is one of the important archaeological sites on the island.
One of the most interesting places to visit is the Moraitis Wine Museum in Naoussa. Paros is actually one of the oldest Mediterranean wine making areas, with its own protected designation of origin wines. The ancient Parian vineyards date back to the Cycladic era (3,200-2,000 BC) and Moraitis winery owns a huge area of organic vineyards in the most fertile grounds of the island, featuring a wide variety of Greek wines, such as Assyrtiko, Malagouzia, Vaftra and Mandilaria, which are characterized by their freshness and amazing aromatic bouquet. The museum's collection offers an overview of the Parian wine making history and tradition as well as interesting insights on the different equipment and tools used in the manufacture and growing process.
Religious festivals are the perfect occasion to visit the island. The celebrations on August 15th, when cultural events are organized around the church of Panayia Ekatontapyliani as well as Easter celebrations are quite impressive, especially in the villages of Márpissa, Mármara and Pródromos. On July 2, the Festival of Fish and Wine is celebrated and on August 23rd the battle against the pirate Barbarossa is reenacted by torch-lit boats converging on the harbor in Naoussa.
Your Last Day in Paros
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.