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Paros: The Island With The Many Faces

Windmill at Parikia, Paros' main town. Photo © Region of South Aegean

Windmill at Parikia, Paros’ main town. Photo © Region of South Aegean

Without a doubt, Paros is among the top Cycladic destinations, up there with Santorini and Mykonos.

Lefkes, a postcard-perfect village on Paros. Photo © Region of South Aegean

Lefkes, a postcard-perfect village on Paros. Photo © Region of South Aegean

But it also has the distinct honor of being a late bloomer: like Antiparos as Paros was a best kept secret until the 80s and combines a pristine hinterland, sandy beaches that stretch out alongside dunes (Laggeri), postcard-perfect villages (Lefkes, Marpissa) and a main town (Paroikia) that, unlike many other island and inland capitals, has kept unrestrained development at bay.

The island’s exposure to the cool northern wind, the meltemi, is a blessing on any sweltering summer day but has also put Paros firmly on the international windsurfing and kitesurfing map: Chryssi Akti and Tsardakia near Dryos host international championships, though, to be fair, not everyone is happy to wake up to a windswept day.

No worries on that front however, there are scores of swimming spots to choose from depending on wind direction, ranging from the popular (Chryssi Akti, Pounta, Parasporos, Faragas, Livadia, Logaras, Martselo) to gentler ones (Tsoukalia, Glyfas, Alyki, Ambelas, Molos).

Naoussa bay. Photo © Region of South Aegean

Naoussa bay. Photo © Region of South Aegean

Beyond being a well-liked and stylish holiday destination, Paros, which in antiquity provided the marble for the Venus de Milo statue, is a gentle island.

The huge contorted rocks at Kolymbithres, Paros, look like modern sculptures set in the sand. Photo © Region of South Aegean

The huge contorted rocks at Kolymbithres, Paros, look like modern sculptures set in the sand. Photo © Region of South Aegean

Besides the cultural festivals and events, there is, for instance, a definite drift towards the arts (there are at least two centers offering courses and certificates), yoga, meditation, and seaside activities a notch above banana boat frenzy: diving and sailing lessons are available, most catering to children and families, but premised on showcasing the island’s natural and archaeological wonders. An environmental park to the north and a wildlife hospital are both tangible proof that the island’s inhabitants are committed to protecting the local flora and fauna. This includes about 200 species of birds, its unique butterfly habitats (near Agios Arsenios monastery), and protected areas such as Kolymbithres and Santa Maria, both Natura 2000 designated regions.

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How to get to the island

Ferry schedules at:  www.gtp.gr

How to get to the island

Accommodation on Paros

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