Paros is the third largest island in the Cyclades Complex located opposite the west side of Naxos, from which it is separated by a channel about 5 miles wide. It lies approximately 90 nautical miles south-east of Piraeus. The island is an area of 194,46 square kilometers and the coastline is 118,50 kilometers long. The key location of Paros in the central Aegean, the crossroads of maritime routes connecting the mainland of Greece, with the islands of the Archipelago, the Turkish coastline and the wider area of the Mediterranean sea, was the historical basis for the development of the island. Most of the coastline, forms beautiful sandy beaches (especially on the east side),or beaches that appear steep and rocky, and other natural ports most of which are spread in the north side. The the great bay of Naoussa is formed there, one of the most picturesque fishing harbors in the Aegean.
Paroikia is built in the centre of the western shore of Paros, around a wide, sheltered, natural bay. It is the capital city of Paros, governmental and commercial centre, hosting the island’s merchant and passenger port. The city’s name derives from the Byzantium and literally means “colony” or community in the sense that the residents “belonged to” and worked for Ekatontapyliani, something like share-croppers. As more “paroikoi” settled in the old town the name changed from Paros to “Paroikia”. As you stroll around Paroikia you will encounter at every turn taverns and restaurants; in the narrow cobbled passages around the castle (old market) and along the waterfront you can find shops of all kinds. The sunset over the bay gives Paroikia unique moments of natural beauty and the city’s nightlife begins as the dusk fades in the west.
Naoussa, one of the most picturesque small harbours in the Aegean, is built in a sheltered natural bay in the northern region of Paros. Naoussa has enjoyed development as a tourist destination and characteristic night life. The heart of Naoussa beats in its small and sheltered harbour, among the many fishing boats. What were once the boat houses of fishermen have now become restaurants, bars, cafés and ouzerie, offering visitors fresh seafood to accompany the beautiful view and unique atmosphere. A stroll through the town’s winding cobbled streets with the white washed houses, combines the nostalgia of the past with the lively present of this unusual yet traditional island town. Around Naoussa you can also find fantastic beaches, near and far.
Τhe Archaeological Museum of Paros is located in Parikia, with exhibits from ancient years till the roman era. The medieval castle in the centre of Parikia in which there are traditional Cycladic houses and churches, the most prominent of which is Saint Constantine. There is also the Venetian castle of Naoussa. Some significant archaeological sites of the island are the Asclepion, the old Christian church and the ancient cemetery.Apart from the countless little churches that you meet at every step you take, there are also many monasteries. Nowadays only five are still operating, while in the past there were tens of them. The most important is the one of Saint Arsenios (the patron saint of Paros) as well as Logovarda.
The Holy Virgin of Ekantondapyliani. An outstanding Byzantine church, one of the oldest of Christianity. It was constructed by order of St.Helen in the 4th century. The oldest baptismal font in the world can be found in this church. There, one can also visit the ecclesiastical Byzantine museum of Paros with its rare exhibits. Every summer, on the 15th of August the island swarms with people who visit the church to worship the Holy Virgin and in the evening a celebration is held across the coastline of Parikia. The festivities come to an end with a spectacular fireworks show, thrown by decorated fishing boats.
Things to see:
- Venetian Castle
- Castle Hill
- The Archeological Museum of Paros
- Ekantontapyliani – Byzantine Museum
- Ancient Marble Quarries
- Butterfly Valley
Things to do: