Dreaming of a vacation in Greece but dreading the crowds and the high prices? Paros is the answer to your dream Greek vacation! Paros offers the best of other more popular – read touristy – Cyclades islands without the panic-inducing crowds or the crazy exorbitant prices. Whether you are day-dreaming about the beautiful white buildings in Santorini or the fun towns of Mykonos – Paros has it all, and more! 2 days in Paros is the perfect length to enjoy all that the island has to offer.
Read on for a detailed guide on a 2-day itinerary for Paros – what to do, best beaches to visit, towns to stay at, and more!
Things to do in Paros – A 2-day itinerary
We had first visited Greece for our honeymoon back in 2015 and had fallen in love with the Cyclades islands. This year when planning for a place to take our parents, we couldn’t resist the opportunity of re-visiting this beautiful place.
Deciding on which Greek island to visit?
For this trip, we were thinking of choosing between Crete or the Cyclades islands – the charm of the blue and white towns though in Cyclades won us over, AGAIN! Within the Cyclades islands, we were confused between Paros, Naxos, Milos and Mykonos. Santorini was a sure thing since it has an international airport and direct flights from Zurich.
Of the other islands, we finalized Paros for its beautiful beaches and pretty towns and the fact that it’s much less touristy than Mykonos though still touristy enough to have lots of great restaurants and the like compared to Naxos. Milos is a much smaller island and we were not sure if we would have enough to do there. Paros also has the added benefit of having the gorgeous island of Anti-Paros practically next door.
Overview of Paros
Paros is located in the heart of the Cyclades islands. A 2 hour ferry ride from Santorini or a 3 hour ferry ride from Athens makes it ideally situated to add this island to your Greece holiday itinerary.
Best time to visit
Summer would be the ideal time to enjoy the best of Paros – who takes a winter Greek holiday anyway (maybe the Australians)?! May to September would offer the best weather to enjoy the beaches and the towns of Paros. And don’t worry about it being crowded – even in July there was ample space for us to enjoy (unlike Santorini!).
During the summer months, the Sun can be quite relentless, however, the sea breeze will keep you cool and comfortable.
Paros has a domestic airport so you can fly in from Athens. You can also take a ferry from Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Ios, Crete and a lot of other Greek islands. Check out ferries here. Do book in advance of your trip instead of when you reach Greece as the ferries tend to sell out.
Ferries are a great way to travel since you can enjoy the brilliant blue Aegean sea on the ride as well as lovely landscapes as you pass by islands.
Best town to stay at during your 2 days in Paros
The first choice to stay should be Naoussa. This is the 2nd largest village (after the capital Parikia where the main port is located) situated on the North coast of Paros. It’s a beautiful, bustling place with lots of market alleys (think narrow lanes with whitewashed buildings and tons of bougainvilleas all around) and several beaches located very close to it. It’s also close to the main village of Parikia where your ferry will arrive.
We stayed at the family villa of the hotel Kalypso Villas which is a lovely property overlooking the sea with a small beach right outside!
The second good location to stay would be Parikia. It’s the capital of the island and has very good connectivity to all other villages in Paros.
Transportation in Paros
Paros has a very good road network with broad, paved roads all across the island – unlike Santorini, where driving is a nightmare at times. Since there are several beaches and other beautiful locations around the island, having a car or an ATV would make it easier.
You could rent a car in Paros for around 70 Euro a day, including full insurance during the high season. You can sightsee and drive around the whole island in 1 day! There are plenty of parking spots available at every beach/ sightseeing location, most of them free!
Paros also has a good bus network with bus stations located centrally in every town
2 days in Paros – Suggested itinerary
Here’s a suggested itinerary based on our experience.
|Day 1||Morning||Arrive at Paros by late morning/ noon and head to your hotel to freshen up|
|Afternoon||Stroll around the streets of beautiful Naoussa|
|Evening||Take the taxi-boat from Naoussa port to the unique Kolombithres beach and enjoy a swim|
|Night||Enjoy the bars & restaurants of Naoussa|
|Day 2||Morning||Rent a car and drive around the island having a look at the different beaches to figure out your favourite!|
|Mid day||Head to Lefkes a quaint, traditional Cyclades mountain village|
|Afternoon||Explore the town of Parikia|
|Evening||Head to your favourite beach for a swim|
|Night||Savor the nightlife at Parikia|
2 days in Paros – Best things to do
We took a SeaJets ferry from Santorini to Paros and reached the island at around 1 pm. It was a beautiful ferry ride and we spent half our time on the deck enjoying the breeze and the fantastic views.
On arriving at Paros, we could immediately see how beautiful the island was – there’s a small windmill that greets you right at the port!
We had arranged for a transfer to the hotel (it cost 35 Euro for the 4 of us) and the lovely guy was waiting for us. We stayed at the family villa of the hotel Kalypso Villas which is a lovely property overlooking the sea with a small beach right outside! Our family villa was actually a huge house – it had 3 floors and a huge hot tub on the patio overlooking the sea!
Paros – Day 1
Afternoon – After grabbing a quick lunch at the hotel, we donned our hats and walked to the town of Naoussa. Despite it being very sunny it was quite comfortable with a cool breeze blowing. We spent the afternoon browsing the market in the narrow streets of Naoussa. It was as quintessentially Greek as it could be with whitewashed buildings, blue doors and windows, and flowers everywhere. It was like walking in a dream.
Evening – Naoussa is one of the most beautiful fishing villages in Greece. It has a long shoreline dotted with fishing vessels. The long harbour has plenty of restaurants overlooking the sea. From the port of Naoussa, we grabbed a taxi-boat to the Kolombithres beach. It was a short 20 min ride but very bumpy so try and sit on the upper deck or you might get seasick.
Milind lost his hat somewhere along the way and he had to brave the sun and our sarcastic comments!
Arriving at the Kolombithres beach we could see why it was so famous – there are huge white rocks all along the shore. These lend a very otherworldly feel to the beach. They can also help you find a great secluded spot on the beach! Kolombithres beach is a beautiful, well-organized beach – you could rent umbrellas and beach chairs at a few spots. It also has the best views not just with its beautiful rocks but out to the sea where you can see Naoussa in the distance. We spend the evening swimming – the water is crystal clear and very shallow for a long distance. The water is also very calm with very little waves.
Night – Refreshed after our swim, we took the taxi boat back to Naoussa and guess what? Milind found his hat at the taxi-boat ticket counter! He had probably become too distracted counting the Euros and had left it there. The nice lady had kept it safe for him!
Hat on back again and a smug smile on his face, Milind lead us into town to grab dinner. There are lots of amazing restaurants which open up in the evening and we had a hard time deciding which one to go to. In the end, we decided to head to the one with the most crowd thinking that well, so many people cannot be wrong! And they weren’t! We had a great meal at Pizzarella. After spending some time strolling the streets, we headed back to the hotel for a soak in the hot tub.
Paros – Day 2
We started our day early, picking up a rental car and with google maps in hand, we headed out. Our plan was to drive along the ring road around the island stopping at sightseeing locations and the beaches to figure out which one we loved most for a swim in the evening.
Morning – The first beach on our route was the Santa Maria – a huge beach with blue waters located very close to Naoussa. This beach is famous for its watersports – from windsurfing and water skiing to scuba diving. There are also several bars and restaurants around it. We absolutely loved the beach and it received the top rank in our list of Paros beaches to come back to – granted it was the only entry in the list at the moment but the rest of the beaches had some tough competition.
Next, we headed to Lefkes – a quaint, traditional Cyclades mountain village. I had read mixed reviews about it – some claiming it to be the most beautiful village ever to some calling it boring – so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But what we saw when we got there blew us away! It was a fascinatingly exquisite village – as traditionally Cyclades as it could be. We walked through the village towards the Church of Agia Triada. Walking around the church you can see the hills and the village around you – it’s a fantastic view.
The way into the village and the church is not very well marked so you might get lost or discouraged roaming the streets and not finding the beautiful spots seen in photographs. Follow the map below to ensure you get to see the beauty of Lefkes.
Park your car in the numerous public parking options available on the street, a little way higher up from Lefkes, close to the Lefkes Outdoor Amphitheatre. Walk into the village using the map below.
Getting back in the car we headed to the Golden Beach, the largest and most famous beach of Paros. It was definitely a beautiful beach with endless golden sand and lots of restaurants around. However, probably due to the crowd or maybe it was too hot at the time, we didn’t like it quite as much as the Santa Maria beach.
The next beach, New Golden Beach was quieter and more beautiful than the Golden Beach but it could not displace Santa Maria from the top spot.
Our next stop was the village of Pounda. This is where the ferries for Anti-Paros leave from. We spent time at the harbour watching the ferries, and the numerous water skiers.
Afternoon – By mid-afternoon we reached the capital town of Parikia and we spent time walking along the harbour and into the narrow streets. We shopped a bit there and got some amazing olive oil.
The last beach on our list was the Monastiri beach. This beach is located towards the north of the island, a little beyond the Kolombithres beach. It has some of the same features as the Kolombithres beach but it’s quite a bit smaller and was, therefore, more crowded.
By now we had driven around the whole island. Santa Maria beach remained our favourite and that’s where we headed.
Evening – We spent the evening swimming in Santa Maria. It’s a beautiful beach with great waves for you to catch. Our parents especially enjoyed the swim.
Night – While we had originally planned to head out to enjoy the nightlife at Parikia, we were too tired and the prospect of spending hours in the hot tub was more enticing for us!
Practical tips for visiting Paros
- Carry a wide-brimmed hat – The sun is extremely bright and unless you want to get burned, carry a hat
- Wear flowing, comfortable clothes – The sea breeze at the island is amazing and the best way you can enjoy it is by letting it flow close to you!
- Be ready to bargain and haggle, whether at shops or with taxi drivers
- Prefer bottled water over tap water – The advice we got from our hotel was that though the tap water may be okay to drink, it might not taste good due to the minerals. Bottled water is very cheap if you buy it from a grocery store
- If you’re taking a ferry, make sure you book in advance and complete your web check-in. Some ferry companies require you to visit their office to collect the boarding pass while some might let you use a printout.
- Ensure you have enough buffer time when taking a ferry if you have a flight to catch. Ferries are known to be delayed or cancelled due to weather or other reasons.
- If you’re staying longer you can add Anti-Paros to your list of places to visit. This small island is only 10 minutes away from Paros and is known for its stunning beaches
- Enjoy water sports at Pounda or at the Santa Maria beach
That’s it – you’re all set for your trip to Paros! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
Have you been to Paros? What was your favourite part of the island?
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Until next time, Ciao!
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