Paros, Greece Holidays: visiting a traditional Greek island

Situated in the centre of the Cyclades islands, and with blue skies, clear tranquil sea, and very good beaches, Paros is the very picture of a traditional Greek island.

Parikia, the island’s capital is quaint with sparkling white houses and little streets you can wander around. Many visitors like to stay here.

There is a busy harbour and almost all ferryboats make a stop here making Paros a favourite place for island hoppers. You will see fishing boats all around the island, and fishing is the traditional source of income for the islanders.

Having developed its tourist industry in the late 1960s, today, Paros is one of the most visited islands in the Cyclades having almost everything that a holidaymaker to a Greek island expects.

Parikia, Paros

Parikia, Paros

With the fusion of tourists from different countries and cultures Paros exudes a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with intensive nightlife combined with tradition, ancient monuments, monasteries, churches and, marvellous sandy beaches. Many areas still maintain a tranquil and traditional pace of life, so together with all of the above, Paros has something for everyone.

Weather  

April and May are often the best months especially for those who like to see the wild flowers bloom.

In June, temperatures can soar but are somewhat tempered by the north west meltemi wind which can blow quite strongly from July to September. This can make north facing coasts particularly uncomfortable for sunbathing.

Between late-May and early September rainfall is virtually non existent and even in April and October there is rarely prolonged rainfall. Because of this many islands in the Cyclades can look bare and parched.

Beaches  

During the hot summer months, the cool refreshing blue water of the Aegean is the perfect escape from the heat. Paros has many beaches and it is difficult to say which the best are though Kolimbithres and Santa Maria are amongst the most popular beaches on the island.

Winds attract windsurfers to Golden Beach though the sea can get quite rough. On the east coast Piso Livadi has golden sands and excellent tourist facilities and also some good hotels and other forms of accommodation.

Activities  

For the energetic, water sports are available on Paros and beaches like Pounda, and Chrisi Akti, cater for a wide variety of water sports, especially wind surfing and kite surfing, and scuba diving. Each year the Windsurfing World Championship is held in Chrisi Akti.

The island also has diving and snorkelling schools and there are many good sites where you can enjoy these activities. You can book either as part of a group, or independently. For anglers the island boasts plenty of places for a spot of fishing. Indeed, Paros has many sporting facilities with most of them located in the larger hotels.

There are also walks and trails for those who like walking and for further information try

http://www.islandwalking.com/paros.html

 Festivals

Over the Easter re-enactment of the Holy suffering and the crucifixion and for the resurrections, there is a stunning, unforgettable display of fireworks.

On the 23rd of August the people of Naoussa celebrate victory over the Turkish pirate Barbarossa with 100 boats re-enacting the battle.

Places to see 

In Parikia the Archaeological Museum and the Venetian castle are popular with visitors; the most significant monument of Parikia is the church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, built by the Byzantine Emperor Ioustinianos.

Naousa, is located 10km north of Parikia, is a traditional port with the small colourful fishing boats Quaint and charming, it is ideal for relaxing holidays by the sea, with a variety of entertainment and nightlife.

Other places for the tourist to visit are the remains of the ancient temple to Apollo at Dilio and the famous Aesclepio which is the temple to the god of medicine.

A few kilometres outside Parikia are the Valley of the Butterflies and there are organized tours to this area. The Monastery of Longovarda and the Monastery of Christos are close by. At Marpisa there is another monastery built in 16th AD and you can visit the ruins of a medieval castle.

Eating Out  

For eating out, Paros has a wide choice of fast food outlets, restaurants and taveras where you can sample the local food, or more international cuisine.

The island is noted for its local cheeses, particularly its gruyere, and for its wines. Traditional, local dished include revithia, which is baked chick peas, and revithokeftedes, which is chick pea cake, and kolopia which is spinach pie. There are also the local cakes and sweets.

Nightlife  

Visitors will little bars and tavernas all over the island even in the smallest villages. But if you want to use some of your energy up and dance the night away, the best clubs and discos are in Parikia.

Shopping  

Parikia is the main shopping area and here you can get everything from cheap souvenirs to antiques and jewellery. You can also buy marble from the island in various shapes and forms, local wine & embroideries.

Accommodation 

Paros has very many quaint and charming beautiful villages, where visitors will find an excellent choice of accommodation, luxury hotels, apartments, villas, maisonettes, studios to suit their budgets and tastes.

Getting around the island  

There are five main bus routes from the centre of Paroikia and information and timetables are available from the bus station which is open most days.

There are fairly good roads on Paros and all the major villages on the island can be reached. Cars and bicycles are available to hire and there are also local taxis.

Getting there  

Paros has its own airport with daily connections to Athens. Many charter companies fly to Mykonos or Santorini instead and transfer by ferry. There are excellent Ferry services to the whole of Greece from Paros.

With its warm and sunny climate, clear crystalline seas, traditional towns and villages and of course its warm and friendly people, Paros offers the visitor an enjoyable and memorable stay.

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