The island of Paros was the second stop of our Greek Isles girls trip last summer- one of my favorite trips of all time if I’m being honest. Tucked nicely in our itinerary between Mykonos and Santorini, Paros was a gorgeous little reprieve from the crowds and the bustling nightlife of its more well-known neighbors. After the partying in Mykonos, we were happy to dry out a bit and take in the scenery and slower pace. The ferry ride took only an hour, but disembarking in Paros was like stepping into a whole different world.
Part of the Cyclades cluster of islands, precious Paros shares its area of the Aegean with Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos. Despite its quieter demeanor, the island, with a population of about 12,000, is actually one of the largest of the Cyclades. There is fun, relaxation, and outdoor adventure to be had here, and our second day in Paros was one of my favorite days of the entire trip. I’ve mapped it all out for you, in case you’re interested in spending a perfect day in Paros too.
Step 1: Breakfast.
The right way to start any day and a must when in Greece. The spread at our hotel was in-credible.
Fresh is the word when dining on the Greek Isles. Sweet ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and perfectly roasted red peppers with the tastiest feta on top, Greek yogurt with oats and honey and fresh fruit, hearty breads with all kinds of spreads and farm-fresh eggs cooked just right. I love all the meals, but this was one case where breakfast was definitely worth waking up for.
Step 2: Rent ATVs.
Our hotel was located a short walk from the downtown area of Naousa, where you’ll find shops, bars, restaurants, and tourist information. There are a handful of ATV rental agencies, so pop in to a few and comparison shop. I believe we paid 35 Euro for the entire day.
Step 3: Cruise on your ATV like a badass.
Throw your junk in the lockbox, and feel the wind whipping your hair and the freedom of revving up your little engine whenever you damn well feel like it. We drove our ATVs to Paros Park and two beaches and then for a sunrise excursion the next morning. It was a BLAST! Be sure to watch for road signs and traffic!
Step 4: Go for a hike!
Okay, this was more like a walk, but it still counts as exercise when you’re on vacation. Paros Park is a stretch of land on the northwestern tip of the island that has several walking trails and expansive ocean views. We took a trail that led us to a lighthouse and enjoyed checking out the vegetation on this dry island and getting a sweat in before relaxing at the beach.
Step 5: Hit the beach, of course.
Stop by Kolymbithres and pick a spot amongst the rock formations dipping in and jutting out of the crystalline water. But be careful! They are slippery and I have the battle scars to prove it.
Next, head over to Monastiri beach and walk out a mile before the water laps above your waist. This beach, like Kolymbithres, boasts waters that are calm and smooth and crystal clear.
Step 6: Eat, Drink, Chill.
There are two “downtown” village areas in Paros: Naousa, where we stayed and Parikia, where the port is. Neither is as lively as Mykonos or Santorini, so don’t expect the same party atmosphere, but there are ample restaurants to enjoy a local catch and glass (or two) of wine over sunset. The downtown area of Naousa is charming but very touristy, as I’m sure is Parikia, due to the majority of the island being very quiet. We found plenty of waterfront dining by the harbor and enjoyed the sunset and the chill– hallmarks of this little paradise.
Step 7 (BONUS):
Wake up before dawn, hop on the old ATV and cruise around the island before anyone else wakes up. Catch a perfect Paros Sunrise and enjoy the quiet while it lasts.
Have you been to Paros? Leave comments below with your favorite things to do on the island! Or tell me your favorite Greek Isle. I’m dying to go back! Stay tuned for more posts about our girls trip to Greece, and check out The Plunge—a travel essay rooted in Santorini (and self-doubt).
Until next time, hasta luego, y bon voyage!
Click for more pics from lovely Paros: