Paros is situated in the centre of the Cyclades Islands.
There is much to see and do on the island, the Parian wine is famous and of course, there are wonderful beaches. Many travellers prefer to stay in the island's capital Patricia, which is a beautiful village with sparkling white houses and little streets you can wander around in. The harbour is very busy, since almost all ferryboats make a stop here. For obvious reasons, this makes Paros a perfect place for island hoppers.
Others prefer the smaller villages, especially the little fishing village Nausea. The fishing boats are everywhere, since fishing is the traditional source of income for the islanders. The Parian marble is famous since ancient times, and has also provided the island with a good income.
There is also a good nightlife on the island, and together with all of the above, Paros has it all.
Paros History Paros has been inhabited since at least 4000BC. It started flourishing around 3000BC, and all over the Cyclades the Parian marble can be found from this time. The island was then called Minoa which indicates that the island's civilization was Minoan (Cretan) then. Later on, the Parian marble was to be used in Delphi, Delos and the temple of Poseidon in Sounio.
The earliest people we know of living on the island was a tribe from Peloponnesus, the Arcades. Mixing with the Ionians they became a strong force in the area of the Cyclades. They traded their marble with the Phoenicians, and until the 6th century BC they had great power in the Aegean Sea, with colonies on Thassos and other places.
Paros was defeated by Naxos at this time, and lost its position. It still held a strong cultural foothold though with a school for sculptors. When the Persian wars began, Paros initially fought with the Persians against Athens. After the Persian defeat at Salamis, Paros joined the Athenian league.
Towards the end of the Classical period Paros was ruled by Sparta, then the Macedonians and finally the Romans. Christianity came to Paros around AD300. St Helen (Ag Eleni) then had a church built to the Virgin Mary, Katapolianis. You can still see the first baptismal font there. This church is also called the church of 100 doors and according to an old legend Greece will conquer Istanbul when the 100th door is found.
During the Byzantine period Paros continued to be an important place because of its marbles, but around 900 the island was totally deserted when the Arabs invaded. It was repopulated though and came under Venetian rule in the beginning of the 13th century.
During the Turkish rule the islanders were heavily taxed, but allowed much freedom. The islanders built many churches and monasteries during this time. Paros took a strong part of the Greek revolution against the Turks in 1821 and was soon freed.
The two most famous names from Paros are Archilochus, lyrical poet in the 7th century BC, and Scopas, sculptor & architect from the 4th century BC..
What to See in Paros the capital Parikia is worth strolling around in. There is also an interesting museum with various findings from different periods in Greek history. The church Ag Konstantinou was built on top of the ancient temple to the goddess Demeter. Parts of the temple were also used to build the Frankish castle from the 13th century in the town. You will get a beautiful view at the monastery Ag Anargyrous just outside the town.
Katapoliani is one of the earliest Christian churches in Greece and is found in Parikia's park. According to tradition it was built by St Helen around 300AD and its baptistery belongs to the original building. At Marathi you can visit the caves of the nymphs. They are two by number, and by the entrance of the first there is a sculpture of the nymphs.
At Dilio are the remains of the ancient temple to Apollo, and about 11km outside Parikia is the famous Aesclepio, the temple to the god of medicine where the ancient Greeks sought remedies for various illnesses.
At Naoussa there is a Venetian citadel from the 15th century. Just outside Naoussa is a monastery worth visiting, Lagovardas, and 5 km outside the wonderful village Lefkes there is another one, Thapsanon.
If you are on Paros on the 23rd of August don't miss when the people of Naoussa celebrate the victory over the Turkish pirate Barbarossa by reacting the events: 100 boats imitate the battle and the celebrating goes on until the morning after.
For nature lovers the Valley of Butterflies, Petaloudies, is a must.
What to Do: There are various water sports around the island and you can also go scuba diving, which is quite unusual in Greece. You can also go biking or jogging quite easily since the island is basically flat.
Paros Beaches Paros has many beaches and it is difficult to say which the best are. For families, the Kolymbithres beaches are considered ideal. At the Golden Beach the sea can get quite rough, but the winds attract windsurfers from all over.
Paros Nighttlife: Just like anywhere else in Greece, you will find little bars and taverns even in the smallest village on Paros. If you really want to party, it's best to stay in Parikia - that's where the clubs and discos are.
Food-Paros restaurants are very varied, and you can get traditional Greek food or more international meals.
Shopping: Most shops are in Parikia, and here you can get everything from cheap souvenirs to antiques and jewellery. Marble from the island in various shapes, local wine & embroideries are nice present for yourself or friends.
Getting Around there are fairly good roads on Paros connecting all the major villages on the island? You can rent a car or a bike, take taxis or use the local buses.
Getting There: Paros has its own airport with daily connections to Athens, and as mentioned there are excellent Ferry connections to the whole of Greece from here. Many charter companies choose not to land here, but fly to Mykonos or Santorini instead.