A stroll along the busy seafront of Parikia, a dive in the tropical Kolymbithres and at dusk, ouzo at the picturesque Naoussa… For more private occasions, put on your explorer hat and head out to discover places that even here, in cosmopolitan Paros, resist mass tourism.
Its earth kept for millenniums the valuable “Parian Stone”, its sought after marble. The great sculptors of antiquity chiselled with unprecedented skill this coarse stone with the translucent whiteness, creating masterpieces during Classical period like Victory of Samothrace or Aphrodite of Milos- on display at Paris’ Louvre Museum-, serving as the most famous example. Nowadays, Paros gives the impression of a showy, well organised summer resort but has however, kept intact many of its beauties while it boasts some of the best beaches in the Aegean!
Parikia: The Island’s port is bustling of life and activity. It is the old village though, the place that makes a lasting impression. Whitewashed paved alleys leading to the heart of the medieval settlement lure you in a journey through time. The castle fully integrated into the urban fabric, is located here since the 13th century. Marble fragments of ancient pillars, remains of the temple of Demetra, loom among its grey megaliths.
Naoussa: The second touristic centre of the island is located ten kilometres away from Parikia. The densely constructed lodgings almost suffocating the hills around the small village, have fortunately left untouched the medieval port which still preserves the authentic Cycladic style. The wave-lashed Venetian fort sits proudly at the entrance of the port for over six centuries, while the white chapel of Saint Nicolas -the fishermen’s patron saint, stands out next to it.
Panagia Ekatodapiliani: The cathedral of Parikia – a cross shaped Basilica with dome – built on ancient Classical period ruins during the era of Great Constantine is considered one of the most important Early Christian monuments of the country. (+30 22840 21243 www.ekatontapyliani.gr)
Museums: In Parikia visit the Archaeological Museum with exhibits spanning all over the historic periods of the island (+30 22840-21231).
In Marpissa village a collection of Byzantine religious icons, a Folklore museum and a Sculpture museum featuring works of the Parian sculptor Nikolaos Perantinos are open to visitors.
The charming Mediterranean village Lefkes (10 km far from Parikia) designated as a traditional settlement offers a unique view to the Aegean. Its remarkable folklore museum houses traditional implements of everyday life. The Agia Triada church with its marble bell towers is also very impressive.
The main beaches
North of Parikia, you can find the well organised Livadia beach with shallow waters, while to the south there’s the small and usually frequented Delfinia bay. Right along comes the splendid sandy shore of Parasporos with camping facilities. To the east lie Chryssi Akti (Golden Beach) and Tserdakia (New Golden Beach), windsurfers’ all time favourites.
Some of the finest seasides of the island Santa Maria, Aliki and Filidji with sand dunes and cedar trees are found to the northeast of Naoussa, hhidden amongst the dramatic coastal terrain. Another popular choice is Monastiri beach near Kolymbithres. For peace and quiet visit the coasts Loladonis and Faragas.
…like a Baptism : The gulf of Naoussa features a small miracle of Greek nature, the renowned Kolymbithres bay (Greek word for Baptismal ponts) well protected from north Aegean winds (the “meltemia”). Its warm, and shallow azure waters as well as its sugary sand framed by whitewashed rocks add a tropical touch to Paro’s landscape.
The butterflies of Paros: South of Parikia (8 km.) we come across the “Butterfly” valley, an accessible habitat of a large population of beautiful nocturnal butterflies (Panaxia Guadripunctaria) (+30 22840 91211 www.parosbutterflies.gr)
Copyright photo: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
Copyright text: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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