Let me start by saying I am already plotting my return to the lovely Paros, Greece. I fell in love with this small island in the Cyclades, within easy reach of Mykonos by ferry. It’s just a very chill place with great restaurants and great beaches; there are lots of things to do in Paros, Greece. It’s a lot calmer than Mykonos and Santorini and in early June, I had many restaurants and bars and beaches and shops entirely to myself. I almost don’t want to blog about Paros island, I am so in love with it. Just go to Mykonos! Mykonos is fine!! 😉
But if you must go to Paros…
Here are my top tips for Paros island, Greece including the best things to do in Paros.
Getting There: Taking the Ferry from Mykonos to Paros
I **think** most people will travel to Paros from Mykonos. If so, the ferry from Mykonos to Paros is super easy. You can book your tickets through FerriesinGreece.com. The hardest part for me was just waiting for the ferry, which was running a little bit late. If you read my tips on Greek island hopping in the Cyclades, you’ll know that you can use MarineTraffic.com to check your ferry’s status. (There’s free wifi in the Mykonos port and it clocked in at 10 Mbps which was great!!) I was traveling from Mykonos to Paros with Champion Jet and had to check both Champion Jet 1 and 2 because apparently they frequently swap them, no matter what your ticket says. The Mykonos port is quite long and large and the signage isn’t great, but the ferries are huge too so it’s hard to miss your ferry! Ferries arrive and depart very quickly so when you see your ship coming in, just start queuing up with everyone. Once on board, I could take a deep breath and about an hour later, we were in Paros.
Given how many people got on in Mykonos, I was surprised by how few people got off in Paros. But hey, more Paros for me.
Decide on Parikia or Naoussa (or Aliki)
When considering what to do in Paros island, I told my travel agent at Greeka that I wanted a hotel close to the beach and that a pool would be nice too. I also noted that I liked to be close to restaurants and bars. He asked me if I was interested in Parikia or Naoussa and honestly I had no idea because I knew nothing about Paros. As a result, he suggested Naoussa and now having seen both parts of Paros island, I am so so glad because Naoussa is so beautiful!! Parikia is a small port town and it feels like a port, although certainly it has its charms and scenic white-walled Greek moments. Naoussa on the other hand feels very village-y and upscale. It”s practically wall to wall restaurants and shops, but it doesn’t have that over-touristy feel that Mykonos has.
I honestly loved Naoussa. So for me, if you are trying to choose between Parikia or Naoussa, I recommend Nauoussa. Note that I also liked the look of Aliki. It felt very chilled and laid back.
Stay in a Paros Hotel Close to The Beach
In Noussa, I stayed at the Contaratos Beach Hotel, one of Paros’ hotels on the beach! (Technically, across the road from the beach but still.) This was a great tourist-class hotel with VERY friendly and sweet staff. I missed breakfast one morning because I went into Parikia to get a SIM card and when I returned later in the day, they were all like “Where have you been?? We were worried about you!” Although the pool looked inviting, the beach right across the road was even more inviting so I spent most of my time there. It was great because the sun was only setting at 8:30 pm so some nights I’d come back to the hotel around 7 pm and think, “Evening swim? Yes. Evening swim.” (“Evening swim” should go to the top of your “Things to do in Paros” list.)
I really liked the location of this hotel and the food and the service. Honestly, super friendly place. Even the locals told me later that everyone likes the people who run Contaratos Beach Hotel. If you are looking through all of the Paros hotels on the beach, this is a great choice. My only caution would be that to get into town, it’s about a 10 minute walk uphill and then to come back to the hotel, you have to hoof it up a flight of (gently sloping) stairs. So it’s a little bit of a workout. But hey, more baklava, right?
If your budget is smaller or bigger than mine, here are two other highly rated hotels to consider in Naoussa.
- Madaky Hotel (Budget): This is a cute, clean and centrally located Naoussa hotel that you can normally book for a steal if you plan far enough in advance.
- Saint Andrea Resort Hotel (Luxury): Life doesn’t get much better than this beautifully decorated and serene hotel overlooking Kolympithres Beach and Naoussa Bay.
Things to Do in Paros, Greece
OK, now that you know how to get there and where to stay, here are my top tips for things to do in Paros…
Eat at Taverna Glafkos in Naoussa
There are a bunch of restaurants in Naoussa but I liked my first meal at Taverna Glafkos so much, it’s the only place I ate in Naoussa proper. Glafkos is a VERY small restaurant with only a few outdoor tables. You are RIGHT on the water, which is lovely. Lots of seafood and Greek specialties and friendly service to boot. Also, the ever-present Greek cats. I really liked it here but recommend that you make a reservation as I saw them turn away quite a few parties each evening. Very much recommended. Even if you don’t stay in Naoussa, if you’re wondering what to do in Paros, you should eat at Taverna Glafkos!
Visit Moraitis Winery
Super close to the Contaratos Beach Hotel, you’ll find Moraitis Winery. This very friendly winery has a lovely atmosphere. You can tour the cellars before doing a tasting — you can choose between tasting six or nine wines and snacks are also available. This, in my opinion, is one of the best things to do in Paros! You should visit and arrange a tasting. But definitely let them know in advance that you are coming and bear in mind that they are probably most fully staffed during tourist season.
Go Shopping in Naoussa
One of the best things to do in Paros island is go shopping. The shopping in Naoussa is fantastic and upscale and interesting. I bought a beautiful Turkish towel here for the beach that I am quite in love with. Definitely make time for browsing from one shop to the next. Note most shops are open in the morning and evening — they are closed in the afternoon. Shopping is also easy in Naoussa because the chora (old town) is so compact.
Watch the Sunset in Naoussa
Once I figured out where the sun would set, I walked west and found the more touristy strip of restaurants and outdoor cafes in the old port of Naoussa. I arrived around 7:45 pm for the 8:30 pm sunset and got a table very easily at Axinos on the waterfront. I asked for the house white and it was really perfect. I need more Greek wine in my life! Axinos appeared to be very popular with locals and tourists alike so if you are with a large party, make sure you book in advance. Great place for the sunset, for sure. I don’t think Noussa gets enough credit for its sunsets!! Sitting there with a glass of wine, people-watching and waiting for the sunset is surely one of the nicest things to do in Paros.
Take a Boat Trip
There are a number of boat trips that leave from Parikia each day. Long-term readers will know that I am a sucker for a boat cruise so in my mind, this is one of the best things to do in Paros island. During the high season, Regaki Boat Trips is a great option with good prices. You can do a day cruise which visits the blue lagoon, sea caves, Despotiko island and Faneromeni beach. Food and snorkeling equipment is included. You can also do a shorter evening sunset cruise with drinks and finger food.
Explore the Parikia Old Town
I had to go into town one morning to buy my SIM card and had some time to kill before my bus back to Naoussa. So while I was waiting, I got lost in Parikia’s little old town. It is not very big but don’t underestimate your ability to get lost because I totally did! There are small cafes and shops dotted in and around the Parikia chora and it’s a lovely way to spend a morning or evening. I also had a lovely quick snack of stuffed grapeleaves on the waterfront while waiting for my bus to Antiparos. (Super close to the area where the buses depart from.) If you are interested in staying in Parikia, here are two great hotels to consider:
- Pension Rena (Budget): This cute little pension is located a short walk from the old town in Parikia. Located in a quieter part of town.
- Paros Palace (Luxury): Beautiful hotel a little outside of town. Great pool and restaurant.
As I mention below, during my Antiparos adventure, my bus stopped in Aliki. It looked great! Super chill and beachy. More local and less touristy. I want to go back and spend more time here!! So put Aliki on your “things to do in Paros island” list. If you’re interested in staying in Aliki, here are two highly rated hotels to consider:
- Angeliki Hotel (Budget): This small hotel boasts lovely views of the water from the front rooms. Clean, neat, and centrally located.
- Parosland Hotel (Luxury): This four-star hotel is a little outside of town but makes up for it with a great restaurant, excellent breakfast, and beautiful decor.
Check out The Valley of The Butterflies
OK, I put this here carefully because you have to go at the right time in June/July/August. Otherwise, there will be no butterflies! Also, there’s only one type of butterfly which some people find disappointing but hey, when is the last time you saw hundreds of butterflies?? Never. So I still think this place is cool. If you have 30 minutes to spare and if you have a car and the Valley of Butterflies is easy to get to why not? Go, have a coffee, and wander around.
Island Hop from Naoussa to Antiparos
When I was reading up on things do in Paros, I had read about how Tom Hanks likes to hang out in Antiparos, so I thought I would check this smaller cousin of Paros out. I took the bus from Naoussa to Parikia and then from Parikia to the Antiparos ferry. Super easy…just ask for directions to the Naoussa bus stop and then buy tickets from the ticket agent or the machine. BUT! While I could totally be wrong about this, I think some buses from Parikia go more directly to Antiparos than my bus, which went to Aliki first and then Antiparos. So ask about the bus schedule and times.
The Antiparos ferry is a hoot because it seriously only takes like 8 minutes to cross the water. I loved it. (While I was there in June, the ferry ran every 15 minutes during the day but I believe this changes depending on the time of year.) Note that if you do not want to take the bus on your return to Paros, have your restaurant in Antiparos call ahead for a taxi for you so when you get off the ferry on the Paros side, someone is waiting for you.
Hang Out in the Chora in Antiparos
In hindsight, I really wish I had spent more time in Antiparos. I really liked the local vibe here. There were lots of young kids in the streets and it just felt very safe and friendly and local. The main drag is a pretty little shopping street dotted with restaurants and bars. I had some some research beforehand on where to eat in Antiparos and had discovered Pavlos’ Place, a very friendly taverna with a large covered patio. (It’s also a hotel.) I had an early dinner here of fish and salad and white wine and had a nice chat with Pavlos himself. This was a very good value meal and a really friendly, nice, no-airs-and-graces place. They were also extremely helpful in organizing a taxi to pick me up on the Paros side and take me back to Naoussa. In short, Antiparos felt very friendly to me and I never made it out of the chora (old town)! Make this a stop during your visit! And explore the beaches! Try to find Tom Hanks!
Should You Use a Travel Agent for Paros?
I used Greeka and had a positive experience with them. Because this was an unfamiliar part of the world for me, it made sense to use a travel agent. I’m sure you could organize this on your own (especially now that you’ve read my post) but as you’ve seen here, Greeka.com was effective in steering me towards Naoussa. I’m not sure I would have chosen Naoussa on my own. Also, it was great to have all my ferry tickets and transfers organized in advance.
What to Bring with You to Paros
I have three main recommendations:
- A nice hat. The sun is super intense.
- A Turkish towel. These are super lightweight and easy to carry around the island with you. Your hotel should hopefully have beach towels but you can use one of these as a beach blanket or subsitute beach towel.
- A waterproof phone case on a lanyard so you can keep your phone and money safe and also protect everything from water damage.
Things to Do in Paros Island Summary
I hope my blog post has helped you determine what to do in Paros, Greece. It is my new favorite island! It might become yours too. But shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone else.
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