The third-largest Cycladic island in Greece, Paros is a dream island. With white-washed villages, beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, and an incredible nightlife scene; this piece of Greek paradise is truly something special. While Paros is small and relatively easy to navigate, in this ultimate Paros travel guide I’ll share insider tips including where to stay in Paros, the best restaurants to eat at, and more.
The Ultimate Paros Travel Guide
How to Get to Paros
Paros does have a small airport which you can fly into from Athens (or other Greek islands) in under an hour. Or if you’re planning on visiting multiple islands you can ferry between other Cycladic Islands to Paros. I used Ferries in Greece to book multiple ferry tickets at once hopping from Athens to Tinos to Paros.
If you’re heading to Paros straight from Athens, the ferry will take about 3+ hours. You can depart from the Rafina port (easiest if you’re arriving from the airport) or from the Piraeus port (easiest if you’re coming from the city).
If you do plan to start your adventures by flying into Athens and taking the ferry to Paros from Rafina you can opt for a taxi – the cost shouldn’t be more than €35 or you can take the bus, the cheaper option. If you take the bus before exiting the airport there will be a screen showing bus times. Simply walk out the doors 2 or 3 at arrivals and cross the streets heading towards the Sofitel Hotel. The bus to the port takes 40-minutes and costs €3 – this must be paid in cash.
Upon arrival in Paros, there’s only one port from which every ferry comes and goes. I highly recommend booking a taxi in advance or asking your hotel for help as there are limited taxis on the island and they book up quickly.
If you’re visiting Paros from Athens, make sure to read How to Spend 2 Days in Athens
Where to Stay in Paros
In my opinion, the best place to stay in Paros is in the Naoussa area. It’s the more “uppity” part of the island but the restaurants are incredible, the nearby beaches are beautiful, and the nightlife is insane. It has everything you want without needing to go far.
I chose to splurge a bit and stay at Kanale’s Rooms & Suites. The hotel is only a 10-minute walk from Naoussa town and is a few minutes walk from the beach.
If you don’t want to stay in such a popular area, another option is to choose a hotel in the Parikia neighborhood. There are also tons of bars and restaurants in Parikia and it’s right by the ferry port.
How to Get Around Paros
Although Paros is a small island, I highly recommend renting a scooter or ATV to get around. The taxis can get expensive and even if the meter is on I was charged triple the rate of what the meter said at times. Not to mention taxis are limited on the island so you’re stuck waiting around until a taxi frees up.
To rent a scooter or ATV you’ll need an international driver’s license – you can get an express one here. There are tons of rental companies around the island so you shouldn’t have trouble stumbling upon one. I recommend booking in advance or seeing if your hotel can help you with this. Parking is free and plentiful around the island.
Highlights – The Best Things to Do in Paros
There are 11 small villages scattered throughout the island. Some are known for having a rowdy nightlife scene, some are quaint and quintessentially Greek, and others boast beautiful beaches. Out of the 11 villages, I focused my time in three areas, seeing the best that Paros had to offer.
The Best Villages to Visit in Paros
Lefkes is located in the heart of Paros. The area surrounding the village is greener and more mountainous than the other villages and it’s also further from the beaches. The village has your typical whitewashed buildings and bright blue rooftops with bougainvillea that grows wildly. Stop for a sweet treat at Stratis Bakery before wandering along the cobbled, narrow roads.
Naoussa is located in the northern part of the island and it was by far my favorite part of Paros. The restaurants were incredible with fresh seafood set right along the ocean where waves crash hard enough to sprinkle you with mist. And when the sun goes down the town only seems to get more lively with drinks flowing freely, live music, and people gathering to pack the streets and squares. Not to mention, there are incredible beaches within a 10-minutes drive from Naoussa.
Parikia is the capital of Paros, located on the western side of the island where the ferry port is located. If you come to Paros by ferry then you’ll be passing through Parikia on your way to where you’re going. There are tons of restaurants and fun bars in Parikia that run along the promenade with beautiful views of the ocean.
The Best Bars/Restaurants in Paros
In Paros, you can find anything from affordable, takeaway Greek food, to fancy sit-down restaurants. The island specializes in all things seafood, pasta, and traditional Greek cuisine. Below you’ll find my favorite spots on the island to eat and drink at! (All restaurants mentioned below are in the Naoussa area).
Located in the main (and most recognized) square of Naoussa you’ll find Mario. Three restaurants occupy this main square and if you’re looking at the water, Mario is on the right. The restaurant is relatively fancy and serves incredible seafood and pasta. I highly recommend venturing out a bit and trying the beet risotto.
You can easily get into this restaurant if you eat early (before 9), but if you eat later I highly recommend making reservations.
Like Mario, Sigi Ikthios is also located in the main square of Naoussa. If you’re looking at the water, Sigi Ikthios is the restaurant on the left-hand side. Also like Mario, Sigi Ikthios is relatively fancy and specializes in seafood. If you plan to eat dinner later in the night (around 9 pm), I recommend making a reservation in advance.
If you’re looking for a fast and easy takeaway option, Kargas is it. The souvlakia at Kargas is incredible, perfect after a night out or for a quick and easy lunch spot!
If you don’t want to take your food to go, there are a few small tables located outside of the restaurant.
Taverna Glafkos was by far the coolest restaurant I’ve ever eaten at in terms of atmosphere. It’s located right by the water, close enough that you can feel the mist from the waves on your skin. I recommend coming for lunch (or before sunset) so that you can experience the views at Taverna Glafkos.
VAVAYIA’S COCKTAIL RESTAURANT
If you’re looking for a fun and vibrant spot to hang out at then Vavayia’s Cocktail Restaurant is for you. Vavayia’s is open late into the night, located right near the ocean, and has comfortable outdoor lounge chairs to sit at. I recommend making a reservation for outdoor seating and coming after dinner around 10-11 pm when things start to liven up.
The Best Things to Do in Paros
A paradise island, there’s more to Paros than simply laying out on the beach all day (although that’s pretty fun too). With enough adventuring to last a few days, below you’ll find my favorite things to see and do on the island.
LOUNGE AT THE BEACH
Of course, the highlight of Paros and something that should be on everyone’s Paros itinerary is to lounge at the beach for the day. My favorite beaches were located on the north side of the island near Naoussa. If you have the time you can hop from beach to beach with your rental, or make it a priority to just hit one beach for the day.
The three beaches I recommend visiting are Kolympethres – a recognizable beach thanks to its rock formations that you can lounge on. Monastiri, a beach located just north of Kolympethres with a nice restaurant to eat at. And Santa Maria beach, located east of the other two beaches mentioned. Santa Maria gives off a more party vibe with loud music, bottles of champagne being served, and tons of lounge chairs. If you’re looking for something a bit quieter, I wouldn’t recommend it.
RENT A BOAT
Another great way to see Paros is by boat! You can rent a luxury, private boat from Escape from Reality. Or you can opt for a cheaper option and join a chartered boat that will take you around the Naoussa area.
I opted for the cheaper boat option and paid €35 to board the Anna Maria boat in Naoussa. Anna Maria leaves every day at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm and the ride lasts for three hours. You visit three different beaches, all where you can get off of the boat and get in the water. There is food and drinks provided. If you walk down to Naoussa, cross the bridge, you’ll come across a stand by the water advertising for boat rentals. Simply tell them you’d like to go on the Anna Maria boat and they should be able to guide you from there.
Antiparos is a tiny little island located to the west of Paros. If you have plenty of time to spend in Paros, I recommend taking the ferry to Antiparos for a few hours. If you get on the ferry departing from the Pounda port the ride is only 5-minutes and leaves about every 20-minutes. The price for one person, one-way, (without a car or scooter) costs €1.20.
I hope that this Paros travel guide has inspired you to visit one of my all-time favorite Greek islands. If you have any questions about visiting Greece, please let me know in the comments below!
For more on Greek islands, don’t miss:
The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Santorini
A Guide to Visiting Tinos, Greece
For more ideas on things to see and do in Tinos (and Greece in general), make sure to head to my Instagram page/highlight reel and search “#ppingreece” or for the highlight reel “Greece”