P is for PAROS – the extremely pretty and super relaxed second Greek Island on our ‘hit list’, also part of the Cylades Island group located in the Aegean Sea.
Arrive – only a one hour ferry ride over from Mykonos! Paros is the perfect post-Mykonos and pre-Ios location as the vibe is way less party and way more chill than both of these drink and dance-heavy islands. The ideal stopover where you can detox, get a few good nights sleep, and actually do some proper sightseeing!
Stay – We opted to stay just outside of the picture-perfect little fishing township of Naoussa at ‘Villa Gallini‘ which can be found only 200m along the road from the Naoussa Bus Station and then 70m up quite a steep hill (a bit of a b**ch to lug your suitcase up in the Greek summer sun – luckily there was a very sweet lady waiting at check-in with icy cold glasses of water!). The host was a delightfully friendly old Greek guy who was eager to impart a tonne of handy hints and suggestions of what to see around the island and how to go about seeing it. We stayed in a basic but lovely double room with ensuite for €10ppn a night here and were delighted by the gorgeous little private patio dotted with pots of vibrant pink and red geraniums, complete with breakfast table.
Do – Explore the characteristically greek white-washed and blue-accented streets and cobbled alleyways of the port town of ‘Parikia‘. Take a ferry from Naoussa Port over to ‘Kolimbithres‘ – an absolutely stunning beach with the most fabulously clear warm water.
Hire a buggy from ‘Spanopolous‘ and take a day to drive around the entire island. From Naoussa, head NW up to ‘Ampelas’ and ‘Santa Maria’, then come down the East Coast and inland to the hillside villages of ‘Leftkes’ (stop in and visit the beautiful old church here), ‘Marmara’ and ‘Marpissa’. Perhaps after a morning tea picnic in the hills (grab a couple of hot buns in the morning from Naoussa Bakery), carry on down the coast past ‘Pounta’, ‘Golden’ and ‘Lolantoni’ beaches to the oceanside town of ‘Alyiki’ in the South of the island. You may fancy a cheeky snack of hot potato fries with tzatziki at one of the waterfront restaurants in Alyiki, after which you should make your way up the West Coast via ‘Pounta’, ‘Parikia’, ‘Kamares’, and past ‘Kolimbithres’ to ‘Monastiri Beach’ at the NW tip of the island. While away what is left of the sunshine hours laying on Monastiri Beach and then make sure you have your rented buggy back to ‘Spanopolous’ at the pre-arranged time.
Take a small ferry from ‘Pounta’ across to ‘Antiparos Island‘ and rent some push bikes to cycle around the island’s ocean road. If you’re feeling fit then make the uphill slog to the famous cave on the island (it didn’t seem to be named anything in particular, just ‘the cave’). The cave is very beautiful and mysterious as well as extensive, extending down several levels which can be reached by staircase. Some fascinating historical facts about the cave are blasted out in several languages at the entrance from a loudspeaker. Make sure to take something warm as the temperature drops several degrees in the depths of the cave (and feels practically freezing if you’ve just sweated your way up the hill in the blazing sun on a push bike) and €5 for the entrance fee. Well worth a visit – I was enchanted!
Eat – Our absolute favourite place to eat in Naoussa was a sweet and cheap little restaurant right on the water called ‘Kous-Kous‘. Their chicken souvlaki plate was just so divine, even if it didn’t look like much, the ingredients were lovely and fresh and the flavour of the tzatziki was superb! They had lots of tasty traditional greek options on the menu – the fried zucchini fritters and ‘chickpeas in a clay pot’ I would definitely recommend.
For a really fabulous location, stop in and sit outside at all-white-errrthang café ‘Fosit‘, also right on the water in Naoussa, but more beachfront than port side like at ‘Kous-Kous’ – the perfect spot for a refreshing late-afternoon cocktail!