When someone says Greek Islands, visions of idyllic blue and white domed churches, stunning sunsets and luxurious beaches come to mind. What is often forgotten though, is the crowds of tourists, parties and the upper price tag that also go along with the larger, popular islands such as Mykonos and Santorini.
That is where Paros comes in. Nestled in the centre of the Cyclades, it is the perfect escape from the busier islands, whilst offering the same heavenly scenery, at a portion of the price tag. Paros, known as the White Island for all the marble that is quarried there, is one of the largest islands in the Cyclades. There are charming villages spread throughout the island to cater to all tourists. However, as the villages are so spread out, hiring a car is a good idea. The most convenient village to stay in if you are vehicle-free is the capital of Paros, Parikia. As it is located on the harbour where all the ferries stop, you don’t need to travel far to enjoy all the amenities it has to offer.
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We opted to spend a relaxing two days in the picturesque fishing village of Naoussa. Located on a harbour at the northern end of Paros, Naoussa is the second-largest town on the island. It takes about 20 minutes by car to get there from the main harbour of Parikia. Driving inland past luscious green and rocky fields with grazing cows left us slightly bewildered about what to expect from Naoussa. However 15 minutes into the journey, the familiar white buildings, golden beaches and quaint paved streets came into view and left the farmland behind. Once there,we felt completely disconnected from the world, whilst still enjoying the amenities we expected from the Greek Islands.
The village itself has the visually stunning white houses and churches that make the Greek Islands appealing to all. The tranquil boats docked in the small harbour lined with local-run restaurants and bars complement the beauty of the town. The usual tacky souvenir stores that normally frequent the Greek Islands are a rarity here. Instead we found fashion and jewellery boutiques, restaurants and patisseries that are open until late in the night.
If shopping or food isn’t your thing, Naoussa is also well-known amongst locals for its gorgeous sandy beaches. We enjoyed spending time on the tiny beach of Piperi, right at the foot of Naoussa. However, if you are prepared to walk, sail or drive, there are stunning beaches and coves all along the coast of Paros. Whether you are after a beach for swimming, water sports or simply to relax, Paros has each beachgoer covered.
Paros is the perfect destination if you want to relax, unwind and experience the stunning scenery of the Greek Islands whilst avoiding the normal tourist crowds.It caters to families, couples and young travellers. Staying on Paros was the best decision for us, as we could simply relax and unwind after spending some fun-filled days on exciting Mykonos and feel rejuvenated in preparation for the upcoming weekend in Santorini.
This great story is part of the series Tales from Greece, where travelers share their experiences from their holidays to Greece.