Paros Island Travel Guide: Island of Marble Quarry and Best Beaches (2023)
Paros Island Travel Guide:
Paros is one of the popular Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. The island is included in the Cyclades group of islands. Paros Island is about 220 km from Athens airport. The only travel option available to visitors from Athens is to take a ferry. The fastest ferry “Hydrofoil” leaves from the port of Piraeus and takes about one to one and a half hours to reach the port of Paros. Most European visitors are frequent visitors and spend 7 to 10 days at Paros Island. The frequent visitors to Greece often avoid staying at Athens and take a shuttle bus to the port of Piraeus.
The Paros island occupies 75.8 square miles and 13,715 people live on the island. The Paros island is one of the small islands and popular among European travelers. The maximum length of the island is 13 miles. The Paros island is close to Naxos and Mikonos island. Paros island is smaller in size than Naxos and larger than Mikonos island. Few private sails and motorboats come to the harbor of town Naoussa and Drios.
The native people of Paros Island are scattered around the town and there are several small villages and town which are an attraction for tourist to see the ruins or have a local traditional meal. The tourist often drive to the nearest small village or town for lunch or dinner. The traveling distance to these towns is about 5 to 13 km and the time taken to drive is about 30 to 45 minutes. Few young travelers travel by local bus to these villages or towns. A family of four or a small group of tourists can rent a VIP car, taxi, or minibus for a day or two to see the attractions and places on the Paros island. Private car rental may cost $ 30 to $ 50 for a day.
History of Paros Island-
- 305 to 30 BC- Paros Island and its inhabitant were ruled by the Ptolemies, the Hellenistic dynasty (305–30 BC)
- 400 to 500 BC- The island was colonized by Arcadians from Parrhasia kingdom in the year 400 to 500 BC.
- 10th to 13th Century- Paros island had conducted most businesses during this period with the joint venture of other businesses of Naxos island. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, Paros island was occupied by the Byzantine and Roman Empire. Image Source
- 14th to 16th Century- Paros was taken over by Ottoman Turks in 1,537 and remained under Ottoman rules until 1,829. During this period the Turkish fleet was stationed at harbor Drios on the south-east side. The Turkish ships and fleet were resting at this port while at the annual voyage through the Aegean sea between year 1,537–1,832.
- 17th Century- Island Paros was the home base for one of the Russian Squadron between 1,770 to 1,775 during the Russian and Turkish War.
- 18th Century- The island became the independent kingdom of Greece.
Geography of Paros Island-
Paros island is one of the Cyclades islands of Greece located in the south Aegean sea. The Naxos island lies on the east side and Mykonos island is on the north side. The Island has flat land as well as the mountain. The villages are spread around the mountain in the valley. Most of the island population lives in the city of Parikia. The Dragoulas, Mármara, and Tsipidos are the three villages involved in farming and situated on an open plain on the eastern side of the island. These villages are known as “villages of Kephalos.” Kephalos mean the steep and lofty hill of Kephalos. The hill is known for the monastery of Agios Antonios (St. Anthony).
There are castle and ruin over the Paros island that describes the history of migration of local in ancient time. Naoussa is a busy and vibrant fishing village and most commercial seafood for the restaurants and domestic use are sold in this village.
18 Amazing Places To See On Paros Island
1. Monasteries and Churches of Paros Island
Paros Island was known for Monasteries and Churches. Before the Ottoman Empire Paros had 35 monasteries. Today, there are five functional monasteries on Paros island. The remaining monasteries are not functioning as a church and are mostly considered as a ruin and monuments of Paros. Most of the monumental monasteries at Island Paros are built on hills and mountains for the scenic view. The scenic location attracted the local religious population of the island as well as people from surrounding islands of Cyclades. Most of these old churches had high walls and multiple balconies and are definitely worth visiting when in Paros Island.
2. City of Parikia
Parikia is the capital town located northwest of the island. The town Parikia was known as Paros city during ancient times. Most boats and ferries from Athens, Crete, Naxos, and Mykonos come to the harbor of Parikia. The old and recently built houses in the capital town are decorated externally and internally in the traditional Cycladic as well as Byzantine style. The external walls of most houses are whitewashed and doors are painted blue. The roof of the houses is flat and most houses are decorated and surrounded by plants, bushes, and vines. Tourists visiting Parikia in Paros Island prefer to visit the shopping area that is surrounded by cobblestone streets. There are several restaurants, bars, and gift shops all over the island and tourists can choose to pick the meals of their liking.
3. Frankish Castle of Parikia
The castle was built during the Venetian period. The castle was built from stones and vestiges from ancient sanctuaries. The construction and the layout of the castle indicate the construction was far superior during the time it was built and had a multipurpose layout. The main structure of the castle and the towers were simulated by the construction of the Frankish era. The castle had a chapel and ancient ruins of the temple were found in the chapel that was dated back to 530 BC. The castle is less than ½ km from the city center of the city of Parikia and is must-visit destination of Paros Island.
4. Parikia Harbor
The frequent visitors like to hang out at the harbor during their stay at Paros Island in Greece. Most tourists who are visiting the Paros island for a short period walk to the harbor during the afternoon or evening. The harbor is busy during the morning and evening. Every morning several ferries and boats arrive at the harbor and several private cars and taxis are parked at the harbor. Tourists like to see the passenger passing through the harbor while sipping coffee at coffee shops. There are several decent coffee and gift shops around the harbor. Harbor is 15 minutes from the Paros city center.
5. Panagia Ekatontapiliani
Panagia Ekatontapiliani is also known as Panagia Katapoliani. Ekatontapiliani means the church with one hundred doors. The church has 99 doors and one sacred door. The original Ekatontapiliani church of Virgin Mary was built during the 4th century AD in the town of Parikia. The church was restored and rebuilt in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. The monastery has the main church and two adjacent chapels. The monastery is located about 100 meters from the city center of Parikia. The church was built by Saint Constantine, the first Emperor of Constantinople. He built the church in the memory of his mother, Saint Helene. The island and city celebrate the festival at the church on August 15th every year.
6. Byzantine Museum
The Byzantine museum is located inside then Ekatontapyliani monastery in Paros. The museum was built by Saint Helen in the 4th century. The museum was damaged by the earthquake and rebuilt in 1773. The museum exhibits include artifacts and items from ruins. The collection also shows the church artwork. The exhibits seen in the museum are wood artworks as well as silver and bronze utensils, tools, and sculptures. Also, museums in Paros display wood carvings and artifacts from the Byzantine Era.
7. The Monastery of Logovarda
The biggest monastery of the Paros island was built in the 17th century. The Logovarda monastery has a library and a collection of religious books. There are 3 to 4 monks who live in the monastery and performs religious prayer every day.
8. The Saint George Monastery
The Saint George monastery is built on top of the hills. The visitors can see from the top of the hill village Marpissa and Piso Livadi. The Naxos island is also seen from the hilltop. The church was built in the 16th century. The monastery was nonfunctional since the early 19th century.
The monastery was restored in 1994 and now one or two monks live in the monastery.
9. The Saint Anthony Monastery
The Saint Anthony Monastery in Paros Island was built in the 16th century. The church was active until 1835 and then all activities were discontinued. The monastery has been renovated. The church was built on Venetian architecture. The church is open for specific hours.
10. Marathi Marble Quarry
Marathi is a small village with 10 to 15 houses but is a must-visit place when touring Paros Island in Greece. The village is about 5 km from the city center of Parikia. The tourists come to Marathi village to see the ancient Marble Quarry. The marble for the Marathi marble quarry was the main source of income for Paros island during the Roman empire. The historians suggest quarry was operated for 500 years from 6th century BC. During Roman, Empire archeologists conclude around 15,000 labors were working at the quarry. The marbles were taken to different Greek towns and islands. The marbles were used to create beautiful masterpieces of sculptures. Visitors can take a tour on their own risk. There are few tunnels opened for observations. The site is now reserved for archeological studies. The tourists should hire an experienced guide at the Marathi marble quarry site for a guided tour as well as to avoid risky areas. The archeologist believes 75% of the ancient sculptures built in Greece were built from Marathi marble.
11. Lefkes Village
The Lefkes village is located in the middle of Paros island about 10 km from the city of Parikia. The Lefkes village belonged to the municipality of Naxos Island until 1912. During the 17th to 19th century, Lefkes village was the main center for commerce for all villages located on the east coast of the Paros island. Most natives of the Lefkes village left the town between 1970 and 1980.
Today Lefkes village is one of the rapidly growing tourist villages on the Paros island. The Lefkes town in Paros Island sees repeat visitors because of the spectacular landscape and short distance to beaches on the east coast of Paros island. Most visitors from other towns and cities stop at the village and stroll through the cobblestone streets, while on the way to the beach or other nearby attractions. Lefkes has specialized restaurants that serve classic Greek dinner at a reasonable price. Some of the delicious meat or seafood items are extremely popular among European tourists.
12. Village of Marpissa-
The Marpissa village is about 18 km east from the city center of Parikia and 5 km from village Lefkes. The medieval Cycladic village is surrounded by mountains and hills. Few tourists prefer to stay in Marpissa village on Paros Island. Most tourists driving from Parikia stop at Lefkes village and then take a tour of Marpissa village on the way to visit the 17th-century Monastery of Agios Antonios and ruins of the old castle.
The popular beaches like Loyarás beach and Písso Livádi beach are close to the Marpissa village. The hikers stay at Marpissa village and then spend a day hiking over the mountain in the village of Léfkes and Marpissa. Both villages are inhabited by 400 to 600 families.
13. Old Town And Port Of Naoussa
Naoussa is located northeast and about 11 km from the city center of Parikia. The harbor of fishing village Naoussa is small but surrounded by a uniformed whitewashed building. Most tourists enjoy walking on cobblestone through pathways like a narrow maze around the port. There are several gift and coffee shops at the harbor. The restaurants and bars are active and vibrant during dinner time. Most of the visitors are from Parikia. This is one of the best hangout place in the evening and after dinner.
14. Explore Piso Livadi
The small town Piso Livadi is located southeast and about 17 km from the city of Parkia. Piso Livadi village is the best place to have lunch or dinner. The tourist enjoys the best hospitality in the town while enjoying the authentic Greek meal. The town has the best seafood restaurants. Most inhabitants of the town are farmers or fishermen. The tourist from surrounding Greek islands and European towns come to Piso Livadi by private sail or motorboat and Yacht for a few days.
15. Golden Beach
The Golden Beach in Paros Island is located southeast and about 20 km from the city of Parikia. The Golden beach is closer to Piso Livadi (5 km) and Lefkes village (10 km). The beach has soft sand and allows several water sports. The equipment of watersports is available for rent at a reasonable price. The most popular watersports at the beach are Jet ski, Windsurfing, kayaks, paddleboat, and canoes. There are several restaurants, coffee and gift shops at the beach for the tourists. The beach is known as a Golden Beach because of the yellowish shade of sand.
16. Explore the Spectacular Beaches of Paros Island
The following beaches of Paros Island are popular and each of them have different landscapes as well as the color and texture of sands are different. Beach at Kolimbithres has huge boulders of granite at the entrance of the beach. Some beache have shallow water and are good for swimming as well as to play with the toddler and kids. Some beaches are deeper and the bottom of the sea may have sharp stones. Parents and the elderly should be careful while walking over the bottom of the sea. Small groups and families can visit the following beaches by driving around in a rental car or bus. Alternatively, one can rent a small ferry or boat and drive around the island to visit the following beaches. Most of the beaches of Paros Island have restaurants and gift shops as well as chairs and an umbrella for rent.
- Kolimbithres beach
- Faragos beach
- Pounta Beach
- Punda beach
- Sanla Maria Beach and
- Lageri beach
17. Day Trip to Naxos, Mykonos or Santorini
The day trip to Mykonos or Santorini island is a very popular day tour at Paros Island. The tour ferry leaves between 8 and 9 am. The guided tour lasts until 6 PM. Lunch and soft drinks are excluded. The refreshment and soft drinks can be purchased on the ferry. Few tourists can rent a private boat. It is a lot less expensive to travel by a tour ferry that accommodates often more than 30 tourists. Tour includes local bus traveling and visits to ruins, museums, monasteries, and beaches.
18. Sail the Small Cyclades
Most families and elderly tourists avoid traveling in a sailboat to closer smaller Cyclades islands. The cost of renting a sailboat is substantial and traveling is often slow. Most such tours last for 10 to 12 hours.