Updated on February 22nd, 2021
The Island of Paros in the Cyclades has everything you look for in that archetypal Greek Island experience. Imagine beautiful beaches, traditional fishing villages, tavernas on the water, picturesque churches, labyrinthine streets to get lost in & some very classy Greek style retail therapy. I have visited 4 times now & still hope to return one day. Here is my guide on what to do in Paros for 2 days, your perfect itinerary!”
Paros, Cyclades Islands, Greece
In my opinion, Paros is one of the best islands in the Cyclades. I have visited the islands 6 times (& counting) & Paros has been on my agenda for 4 of those visits. It is said to be like Mykonos or Santorini, but 20 years ago. I have seen the island get busier on each visit since I first set foot on Paros in 1988. If you want a more sophisticated island experience, with beautiful beaches, archetypal small fishing villages, bars & tavernas by the sea & some of the best shopping in all of the Cyclades Islands, then Paros needs to be on your agenda. And go soon, while the crowds are still manageable.
The great thing about the Greek Islands is that it’s easy to change your environment & get a whole different kind of island experience every few days. To sample the best things to do in Paros, I recommend at least 2 days before you move on. If you are new to the idea of Greek Island Hopping, then you’re in luck! I have compiled the perfect First-Timers Guide with everything you need to select the right mix of islands & how to navigate around them. If you are looking for a ready-made itinerary, then check out my Perfect Greek Island Hopping Itinerary, which features more on Naxos, Milos & Santorini (as well as Paros).
Enjoy a boat tour? Head to my ultimate guide to taking Milos Boat Tour.
Although Paros has a little way to go before reaching the levels of Santorini or Mykonos, it is not one of the cheaper islands in the Cyclades.
I predict that as the crowds continue to find Paros, the prices will continue to rise accordingly. So, if you are budget traveller, prepare to part with a bit of cash to make the most of your island experience.”
Paros does not currently have an international airport, so you need to either fly to Athens or one of the bigger islands such as Santorini or Mykonos. Whichever you choose, the next step is to either get a small internal flight or preferably go by boat.
For a ferry to Paros, it’s easy to book online but seats may be limited so I would advise doing this in advance. I recommend Paleologos. I have used other sites, but the process was not quite as straightforward. For all the information you need on using the ferry service, check out my First-Timers Guide to Greek Island Hopping.
Where to stay in Paros
My favourite base is the gorgeous harbour town of Naousa. It is a short 15-minute drive from the port of Parikia but worth it for lovely waterside dining areas, gorgeous alleyways full of shops & some fantastic nearby beaches.
Options for Naousa hotels which are close to the centre & with a (now all-important) good cleanliness rating, you could try Lilly Residence (Adults Only), Paliomylos Spa Hotel, Kallisti Paros, Kanale’s Rooms & Suites or Hotel Senia. When I last stayed, I made my home at the small but budget-friendly Efi’s Rooms & loved it. The house is perfectly located right in the centre of Naousa but with a fantastic view from the roof terrace. It is the perfect place to watch the sunset!
Although there are many other places to consider, the last on my list is the small fishing village of Piso Livadi for a more authentic Greek vibe. Check out Summer Senses Luxury Resort if this sounds more like your style.
Getting Around Paros
Buses are regular & reliable if a little chaotic at times. There is a flat rate per journey (expect €2 or less). If you are at the main stop, you can pay at the kiosk, if not, on the bus itself. As always, it’s much easier if you have change. Timetables are hard to come by but my top tip is to photograph one at the main terminal which should set you up for your time on the island.
Taxis are not always easy to find on the islands, even when arriving at the port. Expect a 15-minute journey to be around €10 per person & this may mean sharing with others (all paying €10).
Hiring a Car/Moped/ATV
As with all of the islands, exploring at your own pace is highly rewarding & there is a myriad of vehicles available to hire, depending on your preference & budget. During peak season book ahead. The main towns will provide options (Parikia, Naousa) so you can shop around a little for the best price.
What to Do in Paros for 2 Days – Your Perfect Itinerary
For the sake of this itinerary, I am assuming that you have 2 full days on the island, so have arrived the day before & will leave the following one. There is plenty to keep yourself occupied for at least 2 days.
Day 1 – Naousa & Paros Park
You may be lucky to have breakfast included with your room but if not, I highly recommend the bakery Ragoussis, right on the harbour in Naousa. It is the perfect stop to pick up delicious breakfast, lunch & snacks for your day exploring.
You can reach Paros Park by road around the bay from Naousa…but where’s the fun in that? The best route is via a reliable 10-minute boat ride (€6.50 return) from the harbour.
Paros Park has numerous paved walking trails which you can explore & get fantastic views of the other Cyclades Islands. It contains 80 hectares of hidden coves, rock formations & caves.
“It is also home to a theatre which hosts numerous performances & cultural events throughout the year so check with the locals to see if anything is on during your visit.
If relaxing on the beach is more your style, then Monastiri Beach is also located in Paros Park. The bay is secluded, meaning it is sheltered from the winds which can play havoc in other parts of the island. The water is crystal clear; they say it looks like diamonds on the seabed. If you are not a confident swimmer, there is a gentle slope into the sea & water sports facilities for those who want to be more active. If you are worried about going hungry, there is a taverna next to the beach. Monastiri Beach is popular with the locals so if it’s the weekend or a public holiday, go early to get your perfect spot as it can get very busy. Two beds & shade are €12 for the day.
Once you have had your fill of Paros Park, then I suggest you head back to Naousa & explore the small labyrinthine streets of the town. It is easy to get lost, but use the time to focus your attention on where to eat for the evening. The harbour area is the best spot for dining & people-watching but at peak times the restaurants can get booked up. I would advise you to select your chosen meals for the next 2 nights & book accordingly to avoid disappointment.
Here are some recommendations from my own experience:
I love food & for me eating at Les Amis was one of the top things to do in Paros & best meals from my whole island-hopping trip. Despite booking the night before & the roof terrace was already full, so we were on the street. It was perfect for people watching but I would recommend a table on the terrace if there is one free.
Mare Nostrum is a popular spot right on the harbour. Try & get a table overlooking the central harbour area (as opposed to the view over Paros Park). Nearby Tsachpinis also serves great food & is very popular. For something more budget-friendly then try Meat Bar which was the cheapest meal of our visit to Paros. Choose a tasty traditional kebab & a view over the balcony to one of the busiest cross-sections in the town. Perfect for people watching fans!
For the evening I would enjoy the ambience of the harbour area, getting lost in the maze of streets & enjoying drinks as you watch the world go by. For bars, check out the balcony at Sommaripa Consulate. It is the perfect spot to watch the sunset while observing the bustle of the marina below. Vavayias is right on the water & a great stop for pre & post-dinner cocktails. In my opinion, the streets of Naousa has some of the best shopping in the Cyclades so don’t miss your chance to hunt for some unique trinkets, homewares & clothes to bring home with you.
For day 2, I suggest exploring further afield around the island & the perfect way to do this is to hire your own transport. You will easily be able to find a vehicle of your choice to rent for the day in the hubs of Naousa & Parikia. If you would rather rely on the buses, there is a good network on the island & it is a cheap way to travel, however, you will be able to cover far less ground this way.
Lefkes is a traditional mountain village in the central, most fertile part of the island. It is a popular tourist destination with lots of interesting streets filled with tavernas, galleries & boutiques to explore. There are several churches, including the impressive Church of Agia Triada which dominates the skyline. The town is surrounded by hills topped with old windmills, making it a picturesque stop for an hour or two.
If you are a keen hiker then you can take the ancient stone path which leads 3.5km to Prodomos Village.”
Golden Beach (Hrysi Akti) is arguably Paros’ best beach, with a wide stretch of sand. It is also a great spot for anyone who wants to try their hand at windsurfing, kite surfing, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
If you are looking to explore a more traditional side of Greek life then head to the small fishing villages of Piso Livadi or Dios. Both have a selection of small tavernas to sample the excellent local seafood on offer.
Parikia is the main port on the island & where you will arrive & leave if you choose to take the ferry. If you are into history, then this is the part of the island you need to be at. It is home to one of the best things to do in Paros, Panagia Ekatontapiliana, said to be one of the finest churches in the Cyclades. It dates back to the 4th Century AD. The complex is actually made up of 3 distinctly different churches, as well as an archaeological museum & a 13th-century castle. In Parikia, you will also find the Byzantine Museum if you have a desire to explore the history of the island further.
So that is the end of my suggestions for what to do in Paros for 2 days. However, if you are blessed with a bit more time then there are still plenty of things to do on Paros…or a little beyond.
Why not head to small & idyllic Antiparos? In summer, there is a frequent boat service from Parikia, or if you still have your vehicle, you could opt for the car ferry from Pounda.
Antiparos has a very laid-back vibe & Tom Hanks loves it so much, he owns a house there!”
Alternatively, you could choose to take a boat excursion to one of the other nearby islands. See some suggestions below from Get Your Guide.
Santa Maria Beach is a short bus journey from Naousa & packed with sunbeds. I found it very expensive (€25 for 2 beds & shade) & a bit too busy. However, if you aim for Little Santa Maria, it is a popular spot for the locals & a quieter option with crystal clear water.
Lageri Beach is ‘clothing optional’ but comes highly recommended as having a lovely atmosphere. Apparently, you don’t have to fully strip to take your place on the sand!”
Kolimbithres Beach is reached by a short ferry ride from Naousa. It has numerous granite boulders which have been worn away over the centuries to create perfect sunbathing platforms. It is a picturesque beach with a great taverna.
I love Paros & I think you will too. I hope I have shown you why Paros needs to be included on your Greek Island-Hopping itinerary & how with just 2 days you can get the most out of a trip to the island, no matter what your interests.
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