Paros: The Underrated Island
When you think of Greece what comes to mind? White washed walls, beautiful deep blue ocean and winding cobblestoned streets filled with those bright pink flowers? I also bet the names Santorini and Mykonos float around in your head as well. Why wouldn’t they? It’s easy forget about the rest of Greece with those star-studded islands. Before my first time going, all that came to mind when I thought about Greece was those two, but I’m so happy that I got to venture out and explore some other lesser-known ones.
Going to Paros instead of Santorini first was really just a matter of convenience. The ticket from Athens to Paros was cheaper than Santorini and so upon doing further research I found that Paros was getting a reputation as the new “Santorini” and that it was an island definitely worth checking out.
Little did I know it would become my favorite of the islands we were able to check out and that I’d regret not being able to stay longer! Paros is much more than the new Santorini. It stands alone as a less-touristy island with tons to do, see and eat!
Where to Stay
I stayed at Mr and Mrs White Paros in Naoussa and found it to be the perfect location! Naoussa was my favorite town on Paros with plenty of unique restaurants and bars set in beautiful white washed walls. Be warned: even though Paros is way less touristy than Mykonos or Santorini, there are still plenty of touristy shops, especially in the shopping area of Naoussa. However, the shops didn’t bother me and I thought they were actually quite cute.
Getting Around Paros
I rented an ATV and definitely recommend you do the same if you’re up for it! They’re a great way to get around and you get to see the stunning Paros landscape all around you. It’s only about $60 for the day and you can get around the whole island with about $15 worth of gas. However, if you don’t have any experience with ATVing, I would probably go with a car since the roads are extremely windy and requires you to know what you’re doing. Another note: if you go with the ATV. Make sure that you let cars go around you. The poor residences of Paros have to deal with ATVs that can only go 40 miles an hour and definitely will get inpatient with you if you don’t let them pass.
Renting the ATV (or car)
Renting an ATV or car for the day is extremely easy in Paros. You’ll find plenty of rental companies all throughout Noussa and Parikia. We were given a bit of a hard time about not having an international license to rent the ATV, but we were still able to rent one no problem. Make sure that you’re given helmets. Yes it doesn’t look the coolest, but it could save your life!
Public Transportation in Paros
If you don’t want to or can’t rent a car or ATV in Paros, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the island. There is a great public transportation system that can get you to all the main places. The only issue is that it takes quite a bit longer to get to each place so you might have to pick your top 5 or so. The buses costs about the equivalent of $2.50 and are quite nice. They also have room underneath for your luggage so you can take the bus straight from the airport to your hotel and avoid the taxi costs.
Note: Rome2Rio is a great free app to download. It allows you to see all the ways to get from point A to B including the bus lines and how much it’ll cost.
Mapping Around Paros
Paros is a pretty small island and you can get from one side to the other in about 40 minutes on an ATV. Even though we only had two days there, we felt like we were able to cover a ton of ground on the ATV and see all the major beaches and towns. My recommendation is to map out what you want to see beforehand so that you can create the best route for getting around.
Safety in Paros
I felt extremely safe in Paros, even at night. It’s always important to stay aware of your surroundings and belongings, but I never felt like I was at risk even when on some quieter roads. I think the biggest thing was some drunk ATVers at night, which got a little rowdy.
What to Do in Paros
I love the laid back vibes in Paros. As opposed to some of the other islands, it never felt frantic or overcrowded. Therefore, one of my favorite activities was just to walk around and explore the different towns getting to each one by ATV. Although Noussa was my absolute favorite, Parikia and Lefkes were close behind. From the local restaurants, shops and vibes, I could spend a few hours in each getting lost in the streets.
Of course, you also can’t forget about the beaches! You’re in Greece afterall. Paros isn’t as known for its beaches, as say Ios, but it still had plenty to explore. My favorite one that we visited was the Kalogeros Beach, which is known by tourists and locals alike to have healing mud. Don’t be surprised to find beach-goers covered from head to toe in dry mud as its known to exfoliate, cleanse and rejuvenate the skin! If you want to join in, simply rub the wet walls of the cliffs.
Nightlife in Paros
Paros is known as a “young island” therefore, there are plenty of nightlife options for those that want to experience the party culture of Greece! I’m more of a bar than nightlife person myself so I loved the Pirate Bar, but if you want to get some dancing in then I recommend “Come Back” in Noussa. It’s a great place to get cocktails at sunset, but they also have a dance floor at night.
Paros definitely stands on its own as a Greek island worth visiting and I recommend doing it before it gets even more discovered!