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Paros is an island in the Western Cyclades that you need to know about. With a bustling capital, rolling rural villages, white-washed charm Naoussa, and lack of crowds make this one that deserves to be on your Greek island hopping jaunt. With limited information out there of how to legitimately plan a two day trip on Paros and sibling Antiparos, this is a detailed Paros 2 day itinerary that’ll tell you everything that you need to know before you go.
- 14 day Greek Island hopping itinerary
- 3 days itinerary in Santorini (coming soon!)
- Best SIM cards for data in Europe
- Greece travel guide
Where to stay in Paros?
- We based our entire time in Paros at Eri Hotel which was just outside of Parikia. Since it was outside of the downtown, it was easy to park and we definitely took advantage of their included breakfast every day.
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Your 2 Day Paros Greece Itinerary
For us, Paros was the first Greek Island that we went to and it’ll always be special for us because of how well it did to represent the beauty of the Western Cyclades of Greek Islands. It’s an island that may not have the most epic of beaches but is packed with some of the best restaurants, road trip routes, fiery sunsets, and a twin island that makes it feel like you’re getting a 2-for-1 deal.
The goals of this collection of Greek Island itineraries is to supplement the high level breakdown of how we did our trip island hopping across 14 days. Use the full itinerary as the larger guide for how we went about going from island to island. Also, don’t miss the comprehensive Greek Island travel guide which will have an incredible amount of detail on everything you won’t find in a guide book or “top things to do” type of blog post.
One thing you might ask is why I cover a day of Paros as the journey from Athens to Paros. This is how we made it to Paros and it is likely you will have to account for this unless you are coming from another island (i.e. Naxos). For thoroughness, I’ve included it in here to give you the whole practical picture.
Let’s jump into the Paros 2 day itinerary!
Day 0 – Planes, Buses, and Ferries
Okay, it doesn’t quite have that same ring to it but trust me when I say that this is going to be one of your longest days depending on where you’re coming from. Be prepared!
Once you land in Athens, you’ll need to find your way to port and this is where it will vary for each one of you. There are two main ports in the city – Piraeus and Rafina. Rafina is tiny while Piraeus is massive but the advantage you have with Rafina is that it’s significantly closer. Ultimately it’ll depend on the Greece ferry that you take and what works best for your schedule.
AIRPORT TO FERRY: If you’re headed to Rafina, there’s a convenient bus located right across from the Mitsis Hotels at the airport. It costs 4€ and only takes 30 minutes. The schedule for the bus (run by a private company) can be found here. If you’re headed to Piraeus, look for the public bus number X96 and costs 6€. The ride is about an hour and the full schedule is here. Note that public busses on the arrival level is easy to find because all signs for public transportation will point you that way. The Rafina bus is not in the same area. It’s in between Exits 2 and 3 where you’ll cross the first street. Credit card is accepted.
At 5 hours, this is going to be your longest ferry on the trip which in some way works out because that means you’ll be able to nap all the way through it. This means that you won’t dock in Paros until the evening.
LUGGAGE STORAGE: Great, you have your seat on the ferry but where the heck do you put your suitcase? What’s unique about the large Blue Star Ferries is that they don’t store your luggage on the boarding level. Instead, the seating deck in these spaces that overflow with suitcases. These are relatively safe but I would still recommend dropping by when the boats start docking to make sure nobody takes it during disembarking.
FERRY TIP: Using Ferries in Greece is the Skyscanner of Greek ferries and is your best tool to find and compare what you need since it’s impossible to know all the companies and their routes.
Grab a taxi or walk over to your hotel. Personally, I’d recommend staying in the area by the port known as Parikia since it’ll be the most convenient (closer to your next ferry, proximity to car rental companies, shops, restaurants etc). Naoussa is also a good choice where you’ll find nicer villas.
TAXI: Once you get off the ferry, there’ll be a ton of cabs waiting. Cab rides within Parikia (including Eri Hotel) are 20 EUR.
Day 1 – Exploring Naoussa and Beaches
It’s your first real day in Greece so take a minute to let that sink in first!
As you’ll soon discover, Paros is that perfect blend of things that make tourists happy such as shopping streets, boat tours, and umbrella lined beaches but you can also venture out and find secluded stretches of sand, quiet alleys to wander, and ancient relics where you only hear crickets. Another thing that’s not spoken highly enough is just how incredible the sunsets are here. We may have lucked out with the time that we were here (early June) but wow were we blown away.
You’ll want to start off your day with a good breakfast which most hotels will offer including ours at Eri Hotel.
Next order of business will be to sort out your vehicle situation. During low season, it’s completely fine to show up and figure things out once you get there but during its peak (July and August), I wouldn’t chance it. The company I’d recommend is called Karent and they have an office right along the main street that follows the coast in Parikia. Since Eri Hotel is close enough, they’ll be able to drop the car off and do the paper work at the hotel. The cost for a tiny economy manual transmission car for 2 days was 52€ to give you an idea.
Once you’ve got your wheels, it’s time to head out to explore the island. While there can be a lot of ground to cover, I’d suggest focusing on the northern part of the island because there’ll be plenty to do there and you shouldn’t feel pressure to do the full ring road.
First head up to left arm of the northern coast and drive right up to Paros Park. This is where you’ll see the open-air amphitheater and the Agios Ioannis monastery across the water. If you’re feeling active, you can do one of the 3 hikes in Paros Park to see the Russian Batteries, lighthouse, or awesome panoramic views. If you’re just here to take a quick peek as we were, check out the Monastiri and neighbouring beaches before hitting the road again.
Another beach that you’ll encounter is Kolymbithres Beach which is quite popular because of its unique rock formations, the multiple tavernas surrounding, plenty of beach chairs, and a beautiful backdrop of the mountains behind. Since we had to keep things moving along, we took photos here and decided to keep moving.
Make your way over to the beautiful town of Naoussa. The second largest town on the island, this is one of the most picturesque spots in Paros because of a number of things. For one you have the idyllic labyrinth of whitewashed streets with a collection of chic boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Next to the shore you’ll find that this is still an active fishing village but surrounded by heaps of restaurants now and tons of freshly caught octopus hanging out to dry. There’s also a seaside castle to explore!
PARKING: I’ll mention this once here for Naoussa but this pretty much applies to everywhere on the islands. Parking is always free. There are no meters anywhere and so the best advice I got from a local was “if your car isn’t blocking the road or car, you are ok!”
Grab a quick snack at Ragoussis Bakery which is highly ranked because of their amazing Greek pastries that are all on full display to create some serious FOMO. Their juice bar is also perfect timing because you’ll need to re-energize and re-hydrate at this point.
For lunch, you’ll be eating at the top notch Siparos. This is seriously one of the best restaurants that you’ll go to on this Greek Islands itinerary. With stunning views of the sea and with decor evoking the true spirit of the Cycladic islands, the Greek dishes served here are superb. While the prices are high, we felt that the quality of the seafood matched and exceeded our expectations. We ordered the Linguine with Fresh Seafood of the Day, and Fresh Calamari – both were incredibly memorable. While you can show up in June without reservations, if you’re looking to grab a table at peak season, you absolutely need to make reservations ahead of time. If you’re looking to switch the itinerary around, this is also a great sunset location so as you can imagine, a highly sought-after dinner spot.
At this point you’ll be feeling a bit of food coma which is the perfect time to hit the beach. Keep driving along the coast and up the northeast peninsula of Paros to Santa Maria Beach. What you’ll find is that the exact pinpoint of the beach is difficult to find because the name is used quite loosely. If you follow the custom map on the 2 week Greek Islands itinerary, we ended up at this beach. It’s located right next the Seven Santa Maria Hotel. There’s one groomed stretch of beach that has umbrellas and beach chairs and on the other side is completely deserted. We ended up opting for the secluded side and that worked out quite nicely.
To maximize on beach time, you won’t be able to do the rest of the island loop but grab your car and make the road trip across the mountainous interior where the first capital of Paros was located – Lefkes. You’ll want to take a few photos here along the main road. As you continue to make your way back, you’ll pass by the Ancient Marble Quarry. There’s not too much to see since the cave entrances are fenced off but you’ll find the base structures of where the pulleys used to be to haul all of the rock.
You’ll make it back to Parikia just in time for the sunset show. Park your car in town at one of the main lots of find side street parking and the easiest thing to do is just to watch it from the ferry pier.
For dinner, you’ll be back in a familiar area where next door to the previous night’s dinner, you’ll be comparing with its competitor, Trata Fish Taverna. The Greek and Mediterranean cuisine is very similar but a slightly different take. The food was very good and came highly recommended by the Eri Hotel’s owner.
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Day 2 – Antiparos – A Hop Over
What makes Paros a great island is that you almost get a 2-for-1 deal when you come here. There’s the main island of Paros but you also have the sister island that’s aptly named Antiparos. As one of the 20 Greek Islands that are off-the-beaten path and good enough for Tom Hanks to buy a home there, I was sold!
Getting to Antiparos is super easy if you have your own vehicle and that’s why it actually makes a lot of sense to rent a car for the duration of your time on the island. After breakfast, drive to Pounda ferry pier. Ferries run back and forth almost every half an hour and it costs 1.30€ per person, 3€ for quads/ATVs, and 6.30€ for small cars. The distance between islands is so short that the ferry only takes 10 minutes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Hours: Schedule posted in image below.
Price: 1.30 EUR per adult, 0.60 EUR for children 5-10, 1.50€ for scooters under 250cc, 2 EUR for scooters over 250cc, 3 EUR for quads/ATVs, 6.30 EUR for small cars, and 7.30 EUR for trucks.
Do they accept credit card?: No.
Tips: It’s not super clear what to do if it’s your first time but essentially you’ll want to get in line with other cars leading to the pier and once the ferry arrives, you’ll need to make a 3 point turn to reverse onto the ferry. The staff speak English so they’ll help guide you through it. Once you’re parked, pay the attendant. You can go up to top deck with the rest of the passengers to watch for a little bit but once it’s close to docking, make sure you head back into the car to be ready to drive out.
With the dry heat rising, what better way to cool things off than to head to the Cave of Antiparos. You might be thinking that this is going to be one of those kitschy tour traps to see a few stalactites where you do a loop around and come back out. Having done this myself, I will be the first to say it’s anything but corny. I was incredibly impressed with the sheer scale of the cave in terms of its depth into the mountain, the size of the spires and cascading waterfall of deposits, and the historical significance with authentic graffiti that date back to the 1800’s.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Hours: 10:00AM – 3PM Monday to Sunday (last entrance at 2:45PM).
Price: 6 EUR for adults, 3 EUR for kids 6-12, free for kids under 6.
Do they accept credit card?: Yes.
Tips: Bring good shoes for this as some steps are wet and be prepared to climb a lot of stairs on the way back up.
Your next destination isn’t exactly marked on the map but we stumbled upon a line of 3 windmills as we were surveying the island’s landscape from the cave’s lookout. I’ve marked it in the Greece island hopping trip planning map, but you can easily drive here but keep in mind that this is a local neighbourhood. Each of the windmills are part of private property except for the one that’s for sale. You won’t be able to get up close but you’ll be able to get close enough.
For lunch, make down to the southern tip of the island in an area known as Ag. Georgios and while the beach isn’t anything special, there’s a must-visit restaurant named Captain Pipinos here that serves up fresh grilled seafood that is almost always packed with people. The grilled squid was marvellous and so was the salted mackerel. You’ll also be spoiled by the view back at Paros from here.
There are a number of beaches to choose from while you’re on Antiparos. Ultimately we ended up at Soros Beach on a local recommendation. There’s a bit of a beach club atmosphere here with music playing and lots of beach chairs and loungers but if you’re not looking to spend 20€, there is a stretch of the beach where you can set up your own towels. The sand here is more a mix of coarse sand and small pebbles.
After a good dose of sunshine, head back into the downtown of Antiparos. If you have time, wander around the local streets of the town and make your way to the Castle of Antiparos. What you’ll soon learn about the Western Cyclades is that castle here typically means a Venetian one which is more of an autonomous residential unit that has continuous high walls and also acts as a defensive fortification. Unique about this is that it’s still a functioning neighbourhood today and so you’ll see kids playing about and when we were there, a live town hall meeting.
Ride the ferry back to Paros and make your way back to Parikia and wander its pristine streets that reminded me in a lot of ways of Naoussa but at a larger scale and with more shops for tourists. You also need to visit the Church of Panaya of Ekatontapiliani (a mouthful I know) to get a feel for what a Byzantine church is like and one that was built by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
Eventually make your way up to the Frankish Castle (not much remains except an impressive example of repurposing) followed by the same path to Agios Konstatinos. Once you see the church, you know you’re on the unofficial sunset viewing platform. From here, you’ll get quite the epic view of, what I still say, are the best sunsets in the Aegean.
For dinner, grab the cheapest and close to the best gyros out there at To Souvlaki Tou Pepe. I can still remember the crisp of the shavings of pork and the crunch of the fries dashed with paprika. Simply delicious.
Next: Head to Santorini
From Paros, there are a lot of islands that you can hop to next but one that’ll make a lot of sense is the famous island of Santorini especially if you’re working with something like 2 weeks in the Western Cyclades.
The great thing about renting a car from Karent is that their shop is right by the ferry terminal so after we had our final breakfast at Eri Hotel (loading up with a ton of coffee and Greek yogurt), we dropped off our trusty Suzuki and walked to the port.
From here, I hand it over to the Santorini 3 day itinerary guide where you can see exactly how we spent our time on the Western Cyclades’ most well-known island.
Read the full 3 day itinerary of Santorini
If you’d like a more detailed breakdown of each day, be sure to not miss reading this guide to help in your trip planning.
Where to Stay in Paros
Here are a few recommendations of where you can stay while you are in Paros. It includes where we stayed and also alternatives that covers different locations and budgets.
While there are many accommodation choices throughout the island, it ultimately made the most sense to stay near Parikia because of easier access to restaurants and supplies if we needed them. I also liked that it was in between Naoussa to the northeast and the port to Antiparos in the southwest.
That said, Naoussa is absolutely beautiful and would be quite the amazing place to stay to allow you to fully enjoy the town during the day and the evening.
I STAYED HERE
Not located in Parikia directly, this was a super reasonably priced hotel that has small budget-sized rooms but balanced out with large property grounds, a pool, and free breakfast. It’s under 50€ and walkable into town.
This is a Cycladic-style property located near Naoussa and close to Angii Anargiri Beach. Rooms are spacious with patio or balcony and equipped with AC, fridge, and TV. Free street parking nearby.
The Paros Travel Guide
The below is a mini travel-guide for the island as a companion to this Milos 3 day itinerary. It may not have all the details about travel through the Greek Islands so to make sure you don’t miss anything, read the comprehensive travel guide.
Money – In Greece, cash is king but that said, big restaurants, the hotel, gas stations, and car rental will take credit card. I always recommend carrying a good amount of Euros while in Greece and also the hot tip of always making sure you have change because you’ll always need it for tipping.
Tipping – The general rule of thumb for tipping in Greece is 10%. In the case of taxis, don’t feel the need to tip extra because they’re handling your luggage, this is usually already added to your rate. For hotels, 1 to 2 EUR per day is the norm.
Ferry – Paros is luckily quite easy to get to as it’s serviced by multiple ferry companies. Blue Star goes there from Piraeus and Gold Star Ferries goes there from Rafina. The easiest way to find out what’s possible is to use Ferries in Greece to do a search and you’ll see exactly what works for your dates.
When it comes to making ferry reservations, I always recommend doing it as soon as possible even if you’re going during low-season. This is one of those things you’d rather not let go to chance.
ATV vs Cars – On an island like Paros where you’re never dealing with any crazy traffic or crowds, I’d say using an ATV or car is both perfectly acceptable. It really comes down to your comfort with ATVs, whether you’re looking for a more spacious ride (cover from the sun and storage space), and cost (ATV’s are usually cheaper).
Car Rental – When renting a car, make sure to ask for your transmission of preference because they will assume manual if you don’t say anything. Also another good question to ask is to ask for a recommendations for how much you should fill. Most cars you will rent in Greece are never full so there’s always the worry about whether you’ll have enough and how much to fill off the bat. Hot tip – you will need a lot less than you think. We filled up to the max from 3 ticks down on the gauge and after 2 days we barely used one tick. Filling up 48 EUR was a big mistake. 10 EUR would’ve been enough.
Overall, we were very happy with our rental from Karent and would definitely recommend you guys book with them. During the non-peak months, you can get cars quite easily without advanced reservations but if you’re going to Paros in middle of summer, I’d try to lock a car in early.
Taxi – If you need a ride within Paros, there are plenty of that will be waiting for you at port or in the city of Parikia. Unfortunately there’s no official chart of fares but as another example, Parikia or Paros Airport to Naoussa is 30 EUR. As I mentioned above, it cost 20 EUR to get to Eri Hotel from the port in the evening.
Bus – For a more economical option, there is a bus that runs around the island and relatively frequent. The cost is between 1.60 EUR and 2.20 EUR. In the evening, it’s 3 EUR.
When is the best time? – This applies to all of the Greek Islands. The best time to go is in the summer season since a lot of things closed in the off-season and the weather isn’t the best. Best months are May – June and September – October.
Beaches: Most beaches in the Cyclades are not going to be your perfect white-sand Carribbean-style beaches. Most are not maintained and quite natural which means that they could fine sand, course sand, small pebbles, or volcanic rock. Come here with the right expectations and you’ll be alright! All beach chairs and their umbrellas are for rent for 2 and not time limited. As an example, at Santa Maria Beach beach chair and umbrella rental is 15 EUR but we also saw some beaches offer it for as high as 25 EUR for the day.
Alert in Athens – Be sure to stay alert of pickpocketers on your bus and the metro. Keep your bags in front of you and your pockets cleared.
Getting here – Paros is one of the islands in the Western Cyclades that has its own airport (PAS) . As a result, this means you could fly here from another island that has an airport or straight from Athens. This could be economical if you manage to find a sale and it makes sense for your schedule. Check Skyscanner to see what the prices look like for your dates. Otherwise, taking a ferry is still the tried and true method to get to Paros.
Where should I stay? – We did almost all of our hotel reservations through Booking.com and it’s because they have such a good inventory of properties that range from hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and resorts. I love that cancellation is easy for most properties and the booking management is seamless. Plus, if you get up to Genius Level 2, you can save up to 15% off on top. As an alternative, there’s also Agoda and Airbnb. Remember if you sign up with a new account, you can get up to $47 USD credit.
Do I need travel insurance? – As always, travel insurance is highly recommended. My philosophy is that you want to make sure you’re covered in case the unknown happens. With the amount of travel that I do, I always get basic travel insurance that’s good for multiple trips and lasts the full year. If you’re wanting for adventure sports coverage as a Canadian, travelcuts has a really good custom plan that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re from the US, Allianz is my preferred insurer. If you’re in Canada, I always check Kanetix to make sure I get the best rates. Elsewhere in the world? World Nomads is what I’d recommend you check out.
Top 5 Tips For Paros
#1 The beach towel question
Technically I don’t think hotels like it when you use their towels on the beach so if you’re nervous about this, ask the reception about hotels that they would be okay.
#2 Pay attention to the Antiparos ferry schedule
If there’s one thing I learned about travel in Greece, their websites suck. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re enjoying Antiparos and you have no idea what time you need to be back in the city to catch the ferry ride back.
#3 Plan around the sunset
No kidding. The sunsets here are really worth seeing. My top spot to watch it is from the sunset viewing platform right above Agios Konstatinos.
#4 Make reservations at Siparos
We were able to drop in because it was late May/early June but it was our favourite “fancier” restaurant we went to in our 2 week trip. It’s normally insanely packed so I highly recommend you make a reservation once you get to Greece or you use something like Skype to do it from home before you go.
#5 Wander Naoussa
If there’s one regret from our time in Paros, it’s that we didn’t spend enough time walking around all the alleyways. Since we weren’t staying there, we also didn’t get to see it in the evening which I’ve read is extremely lively.
I would love to hear from you. Are you having trouble planning your Greek Island itinerary like I was? Drop a line here if you have any specific questions or just want to share your favourite spots on the island.