Paros – A Hidden Gem In The Greek Islands

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When you think of Greece, the first two islands that pop up into your head are probably Santorini and Mykonos. They are both extremely popular and for good reasons! The striking white villages perched high up on the edges of those Santorini cliffs overlooking the sea are unmistakable and have attracted steady streams of tourists for many many years. And Mykonos is known for that famous row of windmills and of course – the best party scene in the Cyclades. But it’s time to add Paros to your Greece list too.

We love finding the next best spot before it starts drowning in tourism and losing its charm. Today we believe that spot in Greece is Paros.

About Paros

It is one of the bigger Cycladic islands, located right next to Naxos. Paros is easily accessible by a quick flight from Athens and a number of ferries. It offers the same charming narrow streets freckled with colorful flowers and cute little cafes, delicious Greek food and beautiful rocky virgin beaches you’ll find anywhere else in the Cyclades. But is also offers something more unique to Paros. This special insider vibe, the feeling that just enough people know about this place that it’s interesting to visit, but not enough to make it too overwhelming.

And last but not least, Paros is the place where Yinon and I went on our first big trip together. He met my parents and we became closer than ever – and what a backdrop to have for your budding love story!

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Where To Stay?

The best town to stay at in Paros is Naoussa. Like with most Greek islands, there are no big resorts here. Your only option is staying at a small family-owned hotel where everyone knows your name and how you like your coffee. As soon as we dropped off our things, we received old-fashioned but amazingly accurate directions on how to get to the town center. Just walk up the street until you get to the church, then take a right and walk down the stairs. The church is, of course, located in the most elevated central part of town and visible from any location. If you ask for directions in a Greek town and they do not include a church, you’re most likely not in a real Greek town.

Once you get to the old central part of Naoussa in the evening you’ll understand why we think it’s the only place to stay in Paros – it’s cute, it’s bustling, it feels authentic but it’s also full of trendy little shops and cafes and beautiful young people from all over Europe.

book-your-stay

Here are some of the hotels we looked at when we booked our stay, as well as the one we ended up booking:

  • Parian Boutique Hotel – this is where we stayed and we really enjoyed it. It’s beautiful and modern but with a traditional Greek flare. The downside is the hotel does not have a pool
  • Villa Irini features beautiful views and a rooftop pool but is often fully booked
  • Yades Suites – another great place for beautiful views and a great value for money
  • Joseph Studio – under $100 per night and it still has a pool
  • Hassouri Vasso – more on the budget side but a great location

come-back-naoussa-bar

The Charm of Naoussa

Every morning we had breakfast at the same place – a cute little cafe called Sousouro. The food was delicious and healthy, the orange juice – freshly squeezed and the yogurt with nuts and fruits was the best we’ve had. We loved sitting at the outside tables right on the narrow street, people-watching and trying to imagine what it would be like to live here. After a couple days we started feeling like we got to know the neighbors and became part of the community. There was an old lady that swept the street in front of her house around the same time every day. She stopped and verbally expressed her frustration to herself every time she had to pick up a plastic bottle or some other trace left by Naoussa’s vibrant nightlife.

There was an old man with a very distinct cough who opened up the restaurant across the street every morning. We named him Nikos. I was worried about his health and Yinon about his personal life. We noticed he was nervously pacing back and forth one evening. He was fixing up his shirt and notably did wasn’t smoking. So we started speculating that he might be waiting to meet a lady. She showed up minutes later, of course, and “Nikos” became visibly more excited than we’ve seen him in the past few days. We moved our attention back to our own table before we started feeling too nosy though. It was fun pretending to be gossipy locals for a bit. Funny how this place draws you in so quickly!

Something For Everyone

The best thing about Paros is that it can suit many vacation styles. If you want to travel with your family, there are great family-friendly hotels and beaches for the kids. If you want to go out with your friends to trendy places, there’s plenty of exciting nightlife. And if you want to have a relaxing romantic trip but with still enough places to eat out and drink, this is your place. This was our first big trip as a couple and also a meet-the-parents trip for Yinon so we really appreciated the versatility of this place. No one was ever bored or left with nothing to do.

Some of my favorite spots in Naoussa were Linardo, bar Kosmos, Come Back and any of the tavernas by the marina. We also loved walking along the same little street with bright white stairs lined with contrasting orange floral pots.

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There are a couple of beaches in Naoussa. They are not the most amazing greek beaches but the water is clear and blue and they are not too busy. But we ended up going off the beaten path and exploring some areas beyond the public beaches. We ended up finding some beautiful rock formations and our own little puddles to bathe in. The exact location doesn’t even matter because you’ll find lagoons like these pretty much anywhere around Paros.

naoussa-beach-lagoon

Explore The Island Beyond Naoussa

Naoussa was by far our favorite town so we spent most of our time there. We left the last day of our trip open as we wanted to visit at least one other town. So we decided on Lefkes. We rented a car in Naoussa and it was easy to reserve it for the following day. There were a few rental places in the central part of town near the marina.

Lefkes is a quaint little mountain town, about a 20 min drive from Naoussa. Its streets are narrow, blindingly white and there is not a living soul around. There is a big church in the central part of town with amazing views of the area. But we were more interested in exploring the off streets around town. This is not a town you’d want to stay in. It’s not near the beach and there are not a lot of restaurants or hotels. But it’s still worth exploring if you want to see a more authentic Greek town and how people in this area really live.

lefkes-blue-church-domelefkes town bougainvillea

There is an endless supply of beautiful and under-explored islands in Greece. If you are debating between Santorini/Mykonos and trying out something different, I would encourage you to go with the latter. The main draw of Paros for me is that special Naoussa vibe. You won’t know what I mean until you experience it yourself. If you end up going be sure to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts!!

Do A Day Trip

AND you can still do a day trip to one of the most popular islands from Paros. There are regular ferries from Paros to Santorini and Mykonos that will take you there in just a few hours:

  • Paros to Santorini – duration is between 2-3 hours
  • Paros to Mykonos – duration is about 45min
  • Paros to Naxos – duration is about 25min

We highly recommend doing at least Santorini, especially if you’ve never been. Read more about our thoughts on Santorini here.

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28 Comments

  1. December 8, 2019 / 11:10 am

    Hi Guys !! You guys are a saviour when I was searching how to cover Oia, as I didnot want to stay there. Please tell me which transportation to take from Paros to Oia ?

  2. Autumn
    October 1, 2019 / 5:02 pm

    Reading this made me so happy! I LOVE Paros! My mom and I went a couple years ago and I had never heard of it before so I didn’t really have any expectations and was actually kind of wishing we were going to Mykonos instead, but after staying there I would go back 1 million times. It was just as you described it. I loved that it didn’t feel touristy and that you felt like you were just a local. Definitely one of my favorite places I’ve been so far!

  3. Paula
    September 29, 2019 / 6:00 pm

    Hi Katerina,

    What time of year did you visit?

    • Katerina
      Author
      October 1, 2019 / 2:59 am

      We were there in June 🙂

  4. September 25, 2019 / 1:35 am

    Wow! This is such a beautiful article, Once any read this article, thet can’t control to visit these places. thank you for this one….

  5. August 5, 2019 / 11:32 am

    Paros is a great place to be. That’s why I came here 15 years ago and I am still here.

    • Katerina
      Author
      August 12, 2019 / 7:05 am

      Wow, we are jealous 😀

  6. July 22, 2019 / 11:51 am

    Hi! I just have found your site while looking for info about Santorini (my next Greek island). I also have seen this post about Paros (one of my Greek islands last summer) and I would like to add Parikia as a nice place to stay (and much cheaper than Naoussa). We stayed at Apollon Boutique Hotel and it’s a charming option for budgets under 80 EUR per night (mid.September price). Some other nice and picturesque places in the island (besides Lefkes) are Marpissa and Marmara. Thanks for sharing all this info, guys!!

    • Katerina
      Author
      July 23, 2019 / 2:15 am

      Yes, we heard Parikia is nice to stay in as well 🙂 On our second visit to Paros we also visited Kostos village, which was really cute too.

      Glad you enjoyed our favorite island!

  7. masha
    July 8, 2019 / 8:02 am

    Hi Katerina, I’m in love with your blog and your photos. Absolutely stunning! We will be in Naxos in August and after reading your post about Paros, I realize that we absolutely can’t miss it. I have two questions: one about those 30-min ferries (seajets) – are they too bumpy? Or should we stick with the heavier blue star ferries that take 45 min to get there to avoid getting seasick? And would you recommend a car? And my other question is about your fashion 🙂 would you mind sharing what designers you are wearing? The dresses are so gorgeous. Thank you in advance~

    • Katerina
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 9:15 am

      Thank you Masha! We’ve been on Seajets ferries, they are a little bumpy but we didn’t get seasick. Not sure how sensitive you are to that. It was fine for us.
      If you are planning on being in Naoussa (and that’s enough really 🙂 only then you probably don’t need a car. If you want to go to other small villages on the island, then you can just rent a car for the day from Naoussa. That’s what we did!
      My dresses are from Tularosa, Chicwish and Lovers + Friends

  8. Ana Oragvelidze
    April 21, 2019 / 4:08 pm

    Dear Katerina, your photos and stories are very beautiful. I am very thrilled! Me and my friends are going to Paros, Naoussa on end of June. Our hotel is very near to Naoussa beach. Do you recommend Naoussa beach? or we should search hotels somewhere else? Also what do you recommend to visit in Naoussa? You will help me and my friend a lot! Thank you in advance. Best, best wishes to you from Georgia!

    • Katerina
      Author
      April 22, 2019 / 7:22 am

      Hi Ana, I don’t remember a beach called Naoussa so I’m not sure. But as long as you’re staying near the old town in Naoussa you should be fine, it’s such a small place anyway. The beaches in Paros are like any other beaches in Greece – nothing amazing but nice and chill. And here at least you have sand, which can be rare in Greece haha

  9. Taylor
    April 20, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    Hi Katerina,
    Your pictures are truly spectacular!!! I’m just wondering how you take photos with your boyfriend if its just the two of you? Do you use a tripod or just ask who ever is around to take the picture?
    I’ve heard of cameras getting stolen in more touristy spots so I just want to be safe! Thanks and I love your posts 🙂

  10. March 30, 2019 / 10:50 am

    Hi Katerina, your pictures are so amazing it’s truly a pleasure!
    Paros is a pretty nice island, charmful and peaceful even in full season it’s still delightful. I love walking in those pretty streets such quiet, even after a few years living here it’s still a real emotion.
    Thanks for your article, It made my day!

    • Katerina
      Author
      April 22, 2019 / 7:13 am

      Ahhh so glad to hear that love! thank you so much for the kind words 🙂

  11. Joan
    March 14, 2019 / 10:26 pm

    Which hotel did you stay in Paros? 🙂

    • Katerina
      Author
      April 22, 2019 / 7:12 am

      Just updated the article with where we stayed + a few more recommendations

  12. March 9, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    Great post! My family will be visiting in late August, this is going to be very helpful! Thank you

  13. Anonymous
    February 27, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    Hi Katerina!

    My boyfriend and I just booked our trip to Paros and your post helped confirm that we made the right decision. Would you recommend doing a day trip to Mykonos or Santorini if we are staying in Paros for a week?

    • Katerina
      Author
      February 27, 2019 / 5:53 pm

      Ahhh that’s so exciting, you’re going to have so much fun! We really love Paros so much 😀 Make sure you stay in Naoussa!

      We didn’t do a day trip while we were there but I think there are some pretty fast ferries to Santorini so if you get the chance definitely do a trip there. Especially if you haven’t been before, it’s really worth the hassle, it’s such a special place. Can’t really speak about Mykonos because we’ve never been but I hear it’s more of a party scene so I doubt there’s much to see there that you can’t find in Paros.

      Enjoy 🙂

      • Ashley
        March 5, 2019 / 2:14 pm

        Our Airbnb is UNREAL and in Naoussa, we hit the jackpot! I think Santorini will be our day trip over Mykonos. Thanks so much for your help!

        • Esmee
          April 23, 2019 / 5:18 pm

          Could you please share your Airbnb spot? I’m planning our holiday so good suggestions are welcome! 😀

  14. René
    December 11, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    Hello Katerina! First of all your pictures are incredibly amazing!! I’m planning a trip to Greece next summer. I will be spending my time island hoping and Paros is definitely on my list. Would you happen to remember, more or less, how to get to the location where you took the first picture (thumbnail pic of this blog post) with you and Yinon sitting on the small white wall underneath the bougainvillea tree? I’m aware it’s in Lefkes. I can’t wait to go. Keep up the great work!

    -René

    • Katerina
      Author
      December 12, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      Hi René, to be honest I don’t remember exactly but Lefkes is so tiny you won’t have a problem finding it. We just wandered around the streets aimlessly. If you walk around the main streets you’ll stumble across this spot pretty quickly 🙂

  15. July 18, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    Wow!! I absolutely love this post!! I would love to visit with my husband and children. Thanks for sharing. I have to say also, I am ABSOLUTELY in love with all your photos. Not only the beautiful places but the art and perfection behind them, and the editing just blows my mind!!!! I aspire to edit photos like this! Do you have anything else with editing tips here on your blog? I found your IG page and your mini tutorials have taught me so much! We went to Aruba last month and tried to put all the tips to “work” and it’s so much harder than it looks!! Well can’t wait to see more posts and thanks for sharing!

    • Katerina
      Author
      July 19, 2018 / 12:54 am

      So glad to hear that!! Nothing on editing here yet, but I will be writing more about that soon :)) It can be overwhelming but all I can say is keep practicing! It took me a few years to figure out all of those little tricks and tips to make my photos better. But at the end of the day, if you stick to it and keep trying, eventually you’ll get there

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