PAROS ISLAND INFORMATION
The cosmopolitan island of Paros in the Aegean Archipelago has a rich cultural history, stunning natural scenery, bountiful produce, and warm hospitable people. It is located in the heart of the complex of the Cyclades islands, a group of islands taking their name from the circle they form around the island of Delos, a sacred island in Greek antiquity.
Characterised by gentle rolling hills, pretty whitewashed villages, picturesque harbour towns, stunning beaches and historic churches, Paros is a paradise island with something to offer visitors of all ages and interests.
Getting to Paros
Paros lies around 150km south east of Athens, accessed via a 20 minute flight or 3 hour ferry boat trip from the mainland. Paros National Airport is located in the south of the island, 8km from Yria Island Boutique Hotel & Spa and 11km from the island’s capital and main port Parikia.
Paros’ 120km of coastline offers a mix of stunning beaches, idyllic harbours and extraordinary natural rock formations. Agia Irini, Parasporos, Farangas, Alyki, Pounta, Golden Beach, Dryos, Molos, Tsoukalia, Kolymbithres, Monastiri, Santa Maria are just a few of Paros’ beautiful award-winning beaches.
Paros Natural Beauty
The island of Paros is home to an absolute abundance of plant life. Wild flowers, herbs, fruit and olive trees, gorse and medicinal plants all combine to create a rich tapestry of colourful natural beauty and unforgettable sights. Much of the island’s plant life features in traditional spa treatments and remedies, including those used by the Yria Island Boutique Hotel Astir Spa.
As well as plant life, Paros is a veritable oasis for wildlife. Its position in the Cyclades islands makes it a popular resting point for birds migrating north from Africa, and it is home to approximately 200 species of birds throughout the year, including gulls, cormorants, peregrine falcons and eagles. 5,000 marine species inhabit the coasts of the Cyclades islands and many of them can be found in the clear waters surrounding Paros. The island also boasts the largest fleet of fishing boats in the whole Cyclades, and delicious fresh fish forms an important part of Parian cuisine.
Paros has a wealth of tradition to draw on, tracing its inhabited history back some 6,000 years. The Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenean civilizations have all left their mark on Paros, with archaeological remains of palaces, towns and temples scattered throughout the island. Many of the island’s most impressive archeological finds are housed in the Paros Archaeological Museum in Parikia.
For an island so prized for its natural bounty, it is hardly surprising that Paros is best known for one of its natural products. Parian marble is world famous, and has been cherished since the 6th century BC for its unique texture, purity, translucency and flexibility. It was used by the renowned Ancient Greek sculptor Scopas, and features in the Temples of Apollo at Delphi and at Delos, the Temple of Zeus in Olympia and the sculptures of Hermes of Praxiteles and Venus de Milo.
Paros offers lots of exciting experiences to visitors who want to discover more about the island, and there’s a fantastic choice of activities and things to do in Paros too.
Parikia is the capital of the island, and the island’s main port. Ferries arrive and depart from here daily to and from Athens. There are also many ferries to the other Cyclades islands as well as Crete, ideal for guests who fancy a bit of island hopping or a day trip to another neighbouring island like Naxos, Antiparos, Sifnos, Ios or Mykonos. The historic town of Parikia offers lots to see and do, with many tavernas and cafes as well as shops and pretty Cycladic architecture. It is home to the island’s archaeological museum, a Venetian castle, and several churches, including the famous Panagia Ekatontapyliani.
The pretty town of Noussa on the north coast of Paros is home to a picturesque fishing harbour and Venetian castle, as well as many churches. The nearby Kolympithres bay features extraordinary rock formations created by the sea, and a sandy beach with small coves. The 17th century Loggovarda monastery nearby is also worth a visit.
Located in the centre of the island, the picturesque traditional village of Lefkes has lovely winding marble paved streets and charming examples of classic Cycladic village architecture as well as the church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity). Lefkes also offers a view of the island of Naxos. There are plenty of routes for hiking enthusiasts here – with a walk to the Monastery of Agios Georgios, and a 5km ancient Byzantine marble pathway connecting Lefkes with the village of Podromos.
Archaeological Museum of Paros
The island’s archaeological museum is located in the capital Parikia, and chronicles the rich history of Paros. Exhibits include archaic and classical sculptures, as well as pottery and artefacts from the Neolithic to Roman periods. Highlights are the marble statues of Artemis, Nike and Gorgon.
Panagia Ekatontapyliani Church
Also located in Parikia, this impressive Byzantine church is well worth a visit as it is one of the most important churches in all of Greece. Also known as the Church of 100 Doors, Panagia Ekantontapyliani can trace its history back to the 4th century.
Marathi Ancient Marble Quarries
Visit the site of a historic marble quarry which produced the world famous Parian marble which was used by sculptors to produce masterpieces like Aphrodite of Milos (Venus de Milo). Legend has it that this very quarry produced the marble used for Napoleon’s tomb. From the quarry you can hike around the local area, including the Agioi Pantes mountain, the highest point on the island offering spectacular views of all the Cyclades islands.
Kelafou Hill & the Monastery of Saint Antonio
An interesting hike starts from the village of Marpissa in the south east of Paros, and leads up Kelafou hill, past the ruins of a Venetian castle, to the 17th century monastery of Saint Antonio and offers amazing views of the eastern side of the island.
Home to the ruins of a 5th century Temple of Apollo, this historic was built atop a hill to provide a direct line of sight to the sacred island of Delos. This location offers impressive views of the other Cyclades islands.