My first “meet” with Paros Island took place several years ago when I was still “swimming” in my teenage years.
I had just finished the eleventh grade of High School, sixteen and a half- years- old and full of curiosity as I began my first parentless holiday, with my crazy friends. At the time we were only interested in the nightlife and dives at Punda Beach. We spent our first holiday laughing excessively and having sleepless nights. But it is a holiday that I will never forget no matter how many years pass or islands I visit.
For so many years I have been subconsciously refusing to return to Paros, perhaps because I was afraid these memories would fade out or be covered by the new ones, ignoring the fact that the first time is everlasting.
But I finally took it this opportunity to explore Paros again with a new point of view and a more mature taste and with that in mind, a totally different Paros was awaiting me. Even Punda Beach, completely renovated, looked to me like a place I had never visited before.
Now here are my suggestions
-Pass the arch with the vaulted roof and the bell tower leading to the picturesque and beautiful village of Prodromos with the magnificent bougainvilleas, that looks like a trip through a fairytale. This is the village that last year lent its beautiful images to Aegean Airlines advertising, starring basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo, who appeared to play with children in the village holding a basketball ball, with the whitewashed alleys of Prodromos as a background.
-Start or finish your day at the Naoussa port. This picturesque little port, with the colorful fishing boats whose names are reflected in the sea water, the white tables that stand gracefully around and the view of the semi-sunken but charming Venetian castle is just stunning. Just pay attention when you cross the narrow pass by the boats and the tables, you may find yourself… in the water.
-Go to Kalogeros Beach and make a body and face mask with natural clay. In this bay with the crystal clear waters are surrounded by tall rocks and you will discover mountains of natural clay. Find a cavity on the rocks, add water and start spraying the clay stones until they become muddy. Put it on your body for a while and wash it in the sea. The feeling is unique and your skin will love you for it. Beware, however, where you will leave your belongings because the sea unexpectedly makes a great turn and takes with it whatever it finds.
-Take a stroll by the gastronomic destination of Piso Livadi. Make a stop at Halaris fish tavern. Sit on a table besides the sea and prepare to lick your fingers (literally) with the feast of seafood mezedes. Try Lingouini with shrimps and garidopitakia.
-Take a walk at the village of Marpissa, one of the most beautiful villages of Paros, built on the top of a hill. Exquisite whitewashed houses of the 17th and 18th centuries, paved alleys, bougainvilleas and the characteristic image of four windmills in a central square. Before you go, visit Haroula Tavern, which first set up tables in Marpissa Square in 1977, with traditional Greek cuisine with their own products. A tavern that has even been visited by Monica Bellucci.
-While walking in the streets of Parikia, do not resist the ice cream from Vanilla Gelateria in the old market of Parikia. You cannot beat it. With a beautiful bougainvillea to frame it and a big bucket imitation of an extravagant ice cream, its real- homemade ice cream with imaginative flavors invite you in.
-If you want dinner with a romantic tête-à-tête, head to famous Barbarossa. Its location at the little port of Naoussa with the picturesque chapel of Agios Nikolaos right next to it and the lamps hanging over the tables create a fairytale scenery.
-Drink a refreshing Cocktail at ComeBack next to the waves overlooking the small Venice of Naoussa.
-In Piso Livadi you should definitely eat in Markakis restaurant. Next to the sea, you will travel gastronomically in a wonderful marine world. Try steamed clams with herbs and white wine, sea urchin salad, baked Feta wrapped in a sheet of honey and sesame seeds and fresh squid on the grill.
-Visit Kolimbithres Beach to see the granite rocks sculpted by the sea, forming natural cavities with sea water. A natural geological phenomenon worth seeing. Personally, however, I did not like the commercial exploitation right next to them (although the sunbeds were free) because I felt something was lost of nature’s magic thanks to human intervention.
-Take a romantic stroll in the village of Lefkes, which was the first capital of Paros. Amphitheatrically built houses, flowered courtyards, picturesque alleys, views of the sea and Naxos Island in the background, green and some of the last windmills that survive on the island, you will find in this magical place.
-Watch a movie by the sea, under the stars at the Enastron Summer Cinema. The screening starts at 21:30 and entry is free.
-Take a stroll at the Paros Environmental and Cultural Park, founded in 2009, to promote and protect the Hersonissos of Ioannis Detis. Eight hundred and eighty acres including an amphitheater of seven hundred spectators to a network of walking paths. The Park Cafeteria is also an oasis of coolness and interior design.
-Get lost in the streets of Naoussa with the chic boutiques and cats who sit idly on the white-washed terraces.
-Take a water ride with Regaki, Petro’s sailing boat that sails from Parikia at 10 am and leads you to crystal blue waters and hidden beaches. At noon you will stop at a beautiful beach where he prepares fishes and souvlakia.
Special thanks to the Municipality of Paros and the Mayor Mr. Markos Kovaios, our guide, a Parianos from Australia Mr. Dimitris Yiorgaros, Albatross Hotel in Logaras for the hospitality and especially the Manager Stella Logaridou for her valuable help and the Athina Rent A Car for our car.
Fish Tavern Chalaris, Piso Livadi, Paros, tel. (+30) 2284043257
Fish Tavern Markakis, Piso Livadi, Paros, tel. (+30) 2284042177
Tavern Haroula, Marpissa, Paros, tel. (+30) 2284041440
*All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou (Copyright)