Many of us could name a few of the Greek islands. Maybe Sanotrini, Mykonos or even Lesbos on a good day. But there’s more than 6,000 Greek islands that are waiting to be explored – many of which offer the same experiences that the popular destinations have.
Paros is one of those islands. It’s more of a local spot with a handful of places to stay, a port town and a few picturesque village. But Paros has plenty for groups to enjoy together on a Greece getaway in the Cyclades islands, oftentimes without as many crowds or overpriced options. It’s well worth stopping here on your way to other islands, or make your entire trip from a visit to Paros.
Getting Around Paros
In three hours, you can reach the island of Paros by ferry. The journey was a pleasant surprise, as the ship is large and offers a few different dining options for the voyage. I loved Blue Star Ferries and found the rates reasonable. If traveling with a larger group, it can be worth spending a few extra dollars to have an assigned seat in one of the lounge areas. Then you have designated space for your belongings and a reclining, cosy seat for relaxing while watching the Mediterranean float by.
Once you arrive, it’s well worth renting a car on the island and it’s fairly simple to navigate. Roads offer some hairpin turns, but there’s only a few main routes to get to each area of the island. Manual cars (stick shift) are usually the norm, so if this kind of driving makes you nervous, specify an automatic car when you book your rental.
Where to Stay in Paros
Like other Greek islands in the Cyclades and beyond, Paros has its own offerings of hotels. While it’s comfortable to do so near the ferry port, I found an oasis inland that suited us perfectly.
About a 20-minute drive uphill from Parikia is the village of Lefkes. It’s everything you’d hope in a Greek town – whitewashed homes, churches covered in blue domes and a bakery on evrery corner. While we were there at the tail end of the season, we saw only a handful of tourists in town, making for a tranquil, authentic experience.
Just a minute or two up the hill from the main square of Lefkes is your own Greek home. On a gray cobblestone street lies a blue door that open to a airy, bright property that comfortably accommodates six people.
Greek Island Life
Kitchen space is ample with table for dining too. Either grab some groceries from the nearby markets as you settle in, or take advantage of the stocked home stuffed with local delicacies. Every guest is given some fresh produce, dairy, treats and a bit of bread to last for a lunch or two. I loved the cheese made my the housekeeper next door, fresh cherry tomatoes from the on-site garden and homemade jams from Asterios’s Greek mother. You can also pick fresh herbs straight from the garden out back.
One of the best part about staying there are the hosts. Asterios will offer his expertise on the island through various e-mail guides and suggestions. While you have your private space on property, he is always a phone call away if anything is needed during the stay.
On the first floor is a living room area, encased like a cave by stonework that dates back centuries. Head upstairs to find two large bedrooms with swimming French-style doors – blue in color, of course. The master bedroom has a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. There’s two bathrooms in the main house, upstairs and downstairs.
Out back, walk through the pretty garden and olive trees, or have a BBQ in the outdoor grill. There’s a space for drying clothes and a lounging balcony for some sun. There is also a newly built guest house in the backyard made from stone, complete with queen bed and bathroom for extra privacy.
Honestly, we could have stayed for week in complete comfort. We even made friends with the friendly local cats who loved the bits of cheese and milk left outside the kitchen window for breakfast!
What to do in Paros
There are several beaches to see in Paros. The closest to Leftkes is Krios, just outside the port city of Paprika. It’s a long stretch of sand with clear water for swimming, and possibly a few volleyball nets set up for sport too.
On the other hand, head east to reach Kolympithres beach. You can also wade in the water there, but the rocks are more lava-like in formation and over more walking opportunities than laying out in the sand.
Active walking afternoon can be had in Leftkes, as well as other nearby villages for shopping an sightseeing. Have a peek at one of the hundreds of Orthodox churches that line the hillsides, or take a peek inside bakeries for something sweet.
If you’d like to get the best views of the Mediterranean, you can walk 30 minutes from the car park to the old lighthouse next to Kolympithres beach. If you go at sunset, the view is spectacular.
Fresh fish is a specialty at many of the restaurants. Reserve a table at Dionysos in the port town near the ferry , or have some moussaka with beef at Flora’s near Lefkes. It’s like a Greek lasagna and it goes perfect with a big Greek salad.
During the busier seasons, there are a few boat tours available for snorkeling or visiting nearby smaller islands. You can also take donkey rides and try a few water sports. Ask Asterios if you stay at the Airbnb for recommendations, or check the travel agents at the ferry port town for some options and rates.
I’m also happy to help with personal tips if you’d like to go to Paros anytime! I fell in love with the island and I’m sure you will too. Thanks to Asterios for hosting on this incredible trip. Interested in other, lesser known Greek islands? Have a look at this great post about Lemnos.