The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to 5 Days in Paros, Greece
Páros stole my heart in about 5 seconds. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve travelled through a few Greek islands you’ll know that each island holds its own frequency, and in a totally inexplicable way two similar islands can have a totally different vibe. I had arrived on Paros after spending a week in Naxos (the neighboring island) and I can tell you they are night and day from one another. Paros is giving Milos (one of my absolutely favourite islands) a run for its money, because this island has it all.
Paros is not too big, not too small. It has a wonderful combination of “city” life (island city life…) as well as totally wild, untouched areas. The beaches are gorgeous, the landscapes are magnificent, and the food is delicious. Paros even has a mini-me island called Antiparos that you can visit by hopping on a 7 minute-long ferry.
I had no intention of making a whole guide to Paros but it was clear after a few days on the island that I would have to share my entire itinerary. Five days is really a minimum for Paros. Your stay in 5 days is going to be very on-the-go… so if you can afford to stay 7-10 days, you would have the opportunity to relax as well as explore. But if you’re up for it: this 5 day guide will take you to some pretty incredible places all over the island.
Note that I stayed in Parikia (the main harbour) during my whole stay here. The buses leave regularly from this hub, so travelling across the entire island is easy (the main road circles the island is about 120 km, and the widest part of the island is 70 km). You could split your time between two sides of the island if you want, but truthfully I think it’s nice to get settled and have one home base. Naoussa is another popular area but it is much more expensive, and personally I enjoyed Parikia more overall.
Travelling to Paros is ideal between June and September, although the months of May and October are much quieter if you’re trying to avoid crowds (and the weather can be a little chillier at nights, which I personally enjoy). Unlike some other islands, Paros is essentially fully functioning starting in May, but you’ll notice many shops are in ‘fixer-uper’ mode: re-painting, touching up before the tourist season really starts. I would say the absolute best month to visit Greece in general would be late June or early July— before crowds hit, but by then the island is really up and running. Even in the peak tourist months of late July - August, Greece is still amazing.
This guide was essentially my exact moves during my time on Paros— I hope it inspires you to take a trip to this magical island!
The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to 5 Days in Paros, Greece
The island of Páros has infinite possibilities for all types of people, this guide will allow you to see most parts of the island, experience some of the most beautiful beaches, and enjoy some of the most delicious food the island has to offer.
Day 1: Parikia (The West)
Breakfast at Symposium Cafe, in the backstreets of Parikia
Walk off your breakfast in the Old Town Paros, get lost for an hour or two, explore the shops, and get a feel for the town. Make sure not to miss:
Panagia Ekatontapiliani (the Byzantine stone church)
Agios Nikolaos Orthodox church (you’ll find local farmers markets happening in the alleyway behind this church, most days)
Petting lots of cats
The old town of Paros (in Parikia)
Pack your swimsuits and pick up a bottle of homemade wine from Diplo’s in town— Diplo’s in Paros’ oldest supermarket, and indeed it is super worn down; the old woman who works there sells products her family on the island has been making for generations, and the ‘wine’ (if you want to call it that!) is homemade, wild fermented, and free of any additives or sulfites. It comes in a plastic bottle. You can also likely find homemade traditional wine at ‘Traditional Parian Products’ (in the heart of the old town, F4 on the Paros paper map). If you’re looking for a more typical wine, you can opt for the local Paros brand Moraitis Wines (you can find it at most shops, or you can buy a mini ‘single-serve’ bottle at ‘Natural Products Creperie- Cafe’, F3 on the Paros paper map), which is local and organic but does contain sulfites.
Pick up a few snacks for apéritif at the Super Foods shop Με τη σέσουλα -Me ti sesoula— my favourites includes the dried figs, cashews, olives, and sesame + honey bars.
Now you can walk, drive, or bicycle to the Agios Fokas Lighthouse/ Agios Fokas Church, on the point of Parikia overlooking the town (walking takes approx. 1 hour) for some quiet and a little apéritif (pre-dinner nibble) picnic.
Along the way stop and have a swim at Marcello Beach (also called Martselo Beach)
After your swim + apéritif, head back into town for a sunset dinner at Taverna Mira (possibly making a pit-stop at your hotel for a shower on the way…). Right on the water, this Taverna has delicious Greek food and the owner is lovely. I highly recommend the lamb with lemon sauce, and oven potatoes and/ or the grilled octopus. I also hear the moussaka and baked feta are out of this world.
After dinner (if you still have it in you) head to Sativa Music Bar in the old town, for some live music.
Day 2: Naoussa + Kolimpithres Beach+ ‘Natural Park’ (The North)
Day 2 is spent in the north side of the island, in popular (but pricey!) Naoussa, and it’s surrounding beaches/ landscapes.
Hop on one of the early buses to Naoussa; the ride isn’t long and will only put you back 1.80€ (if you buy the tickets before boarding the bus). You’ll disembark at the last stop, and then spend an hour getting lost in the back streets of Naoussa old town;
Make sure to check out the old harbour, and walk over the stone wall to the stone fortress for a great view of the town from the water (it kind of smells like pee inside… you’ve been forewarned);
Old harbour in Naoussa.
Optional: check out Tao’s for one of their free morning meditations (at the moment they are Monday-Saturday from 9:15- 9:45 am, but you’ll have to check the schedule. The schedule link changes seasonally so I haven’t tagged it, but you can click the Tao link above and make your way to the schedule page.);
Pick anyone of the small cafés around the old harbour for a long, slow, lazy breakfast and enjoy the bustling of the fishermen coming/ going. The whole area is magical;
After a late breakfast, grab a large bottle of water and some snacks in town and head for Kolimpithres beach; you can walk there in about 1 hour from town or take the bus (some of the buses go from Parikia to Kolimpithres to Naoussa, and do the same route backwards. Check the bus timetable in the morning before heading off. If you’re confused just ask questions at the bus kiosk in Parikia before leaving for the day);
Kolimpithres is beautiful, the rock formations are unique and the beach is ideal for swimming. Hang here for a few hours in the sun + sea.
Once you’ve spent some time at the beach, head towards Paros Park, at the northern tip of the island for some casual hiking.
Here you can explore the beautiful landscape for a few hours before heading back into town for some dinner.
Optional: head to the Moraitis organic winery (by the beach of Aghioi Anargyroi) for a glass of local Paros wine and tour of the vineyard before heading back into town for dinner (they are open Monday to Saturday from 10 am- 4pm). Give them a call before showing up to make sure they’re open to visitors that day: 302284051350.
Hopefully the late breakfast + snacks tie you over until an early dinner. From the beach or the winery, head back into Naoussa for a bite.
Kafenio Palia Agora is a more affordable option in Naoussa, great fresh seafood and local specialities.
Yemeni Taverna organic resto where most of the produce comes from their own farm! They also carry local organic wines in case you’re keen for a glass but decided to skip out on the winery.
After dinner and one last stroll in the harbour, jump on the bus back to Parikia and get a good nights rest for tomorrow’s day of hiking.
Day 3: Lefkes to Prodromos Hike & Body Clay at Kalogeros Beach (the East)
Today is a hiking day, and you’ll spend time on the middle and eastern side of the island.
morning/ early afternoon
Make your way to Lefkes early enough in the day (buses run to/ from Parikia);
Grab some breakfast in Lefkes before heading off for your hike (there are many breakfast spots and cafés in town);
Lefkes to Prodromos via the Byzaniane Road, an ancient trail that runs through the countryside, through fields of wild flowers and olive tree groves;
Note: the trail is marked, but as you walk through the initial small village of Lefkes, make sure to head all the way to the Αγία Τριάδα (Agia Triada) church, which gives you a beautiful view of the Byzantine trail and a sneak peak of the sea you will eventually make your way to.
The start of the trail is marked in town, with the large brown “Byzantine Road” sign. From there, you will notice this white/ blue church in town— at which point you go to the right of this church (you’ll see the little wooden sign on the wall there). But before going right, head left to check out the Agia Triada church/ view. Once on the trail, it’s very well marked; not only with the visible pathway but also red tags with #1 marked on them (far right photo).
Views along the Byzantine trail
Once you get to the small village of Prodromos, you could stop for a tea at the café or pick up another water bottle from the mini mark (they also have great sesame + honey + pistachio bars!) and continue on your walk to Kalogeros (via Marmar and Molos). Many people catch the bus from Prodromos, but the rest of the walk is pleasant and it’s very rewarding to get all the way to the sea by foot;
Tip: check the bus times and take a photo of the bus schedule anytime you pass through a small town. When you pass through Marmara, for example, snap a pic of the bus schedule so you can easily figure out what time to leave the beach to get back in time for the bus back to Lefkes.
Prodromos + the church and windmill at marmara
Once at Kalogeros beach, grab handfuls of body clay (argyle rocks), and mix them with some sea water to make a paste. Cover your body (and hair!) and lay out in the sun for about 20 minutes to let it dry. Rinse off in the sea and enjoy the softest skin ever! Natural detoxifying, this ancient ritual is so primal and wonderful. Note that nudity or partial nudity (tops off for women) is pretty kosher all over Greece— and I invite you to participate and really get that clay all over!
Warning 1: detoxing and cleansing your skin with clay can make it pretty sensitive to the sun for the rest of the day. I suggest avoiding suntanning much after you do your clay mask! Spend your time at the beach + swimming and then clay up, rinse off, and head off.
Warning2 : the warning sign at Kalogeros (saying that passing boats create big waves is no joke. Do not set your stuff up anywhere near the water, especially those little coves on the left side of the beach (while facing the water); boats will pass by far in the distance and create surprisingly huge waves that will take your stuff out to sea.
There is red and gray clay; the red clay I am called to on a more primal level, but I suggest you try both!
The red clay is thicker and you can simply grab a handful of clay from the cliffside (walk down the beach a little to make sure the clay isn’t full of small rocks), and then head to the sea to add a splash of water on it. Mould it like playdough in your hands and continue to add a splash of water until it becomes soft enough to apply to your body.
The gray clay is much smoother and more luxurious. To prepare the gray clay, head towards the far end of the right side of the beach (right while facing the sea) and you’ll find those little holes (pictured) in gray clay. Head to the rock and get a big chunk, and use the holes (like bowls) and a rock, to crush the clay into dust (like a mortar and pestle). Once it’s a fine powder, add water!
After you’re done at nature’s spa— walk back to Marmara or Marpissa to catch the bus back to Lefkes for lunch (alternatively you can hitch from the beach to Marmara or Marpissa to catch the bus to Lefkes or hitch all the way to Lefkes).
Late lunch/ early dinner at Κλαρινος,λευκες (Klarinos), one of the best places for meat on Paros; they serve their own pork and lamb— and I can certify that their lamb is some of the best I’ve ever had. Their fries are hand cut and cooked in olive oil (yes!) and the Karfa (wild asparagus) cannot be missed. They also serve many Greek specialties, including snails and soft cheese. If you’re there in the peak season or during Greek easter, you might even witness a whole lamb on the spit. The balcony is overlooking the start to the Byzantine trail, where you can reminisce on your lovely walk.
To get home you can hop back on the bus from Lefkes to Parikia, although hitchhiking here is ideal (most people heading in the direction of that road where the bus picks up/ drops off are going to Parikia). Just make sure you’re facing the right direction when you ask for a ride!
Day 4: Antiparos + the Caves
Give yourself a little sleep in if you need (following yesterday’s sun, walking, + clay detox) but don’t snooze too long because the Antiparos caves are only open morning/ early afternoon.
You have 2 options to get to Antiparos:
Option 1: take the ferry from Parikia harbour to Antiparos. I would say this is the better option if you have a beautiful and calm (not too windy) day; because the ride is beautiful and you’ll see a large portion of the island from the sea. This option is more expensive (5 €), but since you’re not paying for the bus to Pounda.. it basically evens out. *Note: this ferry only starts running in July
Option 2: take the bus to Pounda, and take the ferry to Antiparos. This (slightly) cheaper option (1.80 € for the bus + 1.30 € for the ferry), and the ferry to Antiparos is only about 7 minutes, so a better option for a windy day (these boats are smaller than the big inter island ferries). Occasionally they will not run if there is major wind.
ALTERNATIVELY: You could go all the way to Aliki in the morning, rent a bicycle from Paros Cycling , and then ride up to Punda to take the ferry over with your bicycle. This would actually be an awesome ride/ day. Tomorrow you will be back in Aliki, but exploring the southern beaches. If you’re down for a nice long ride: do this. Parts of Antiparos aren’t ideal on bike unless you’re a serious rider, but lots of the island is bike friendly. You can tie it up and walk/ bus on the island, and get back to your bike for the rest of it.
Ferry times to/ from Antiparos to Pounda port (and the ferry boat). Tickets are purchased on board (1.30€ each way).
Once on Antiparos, head for the small village on the centre of the island (hop on the bus towards Agios Ioannis Hill) and check out the Antiparos Caves. They are open from 10am, and shut early afternoon. Pack your running shoes— you’ll be climbing down (and back up) a couple hundred stairs.
The small island has some seriously wild landscapes on the West coast, but they aren’t easily accessible. If you want, you can spend the whole day hiking the island, just make sure to pack lots of water and snack (there’s no trace of civilisation on that side of the island).
After the caves, head to San Giorgio to grab a bite to eat at Captain Pipinos Seafood Taverna. I highly recommend the grilled sardines, giant beans, and horta!
After lunch head back towards town, and spend a little time sunbathing on the north coast of the island (near antiparos camping); there is a nude beach there with beautiful calm waters, and many areas along the coastline where you can get a little privacy.
North coast of Antiparos
Whether or not you took the ferry from Parikia or Pounda, once you’re done exploring Antiparos, head back on the short ferry to Pounda.
The beach in Pounda is a kitesurfing paradise, so if you’re there in season and have the time, you can enjoy the view from the beach and have a nice long walk along the beach before heading back to Parikia— or just hop on the bus straight from the ferry.
Optional: you could shorten your trip to Antiparos and spend the whole afternoon learning to kitesurf or windsurf in Pounda.
Head back to your hotel for a shower, and then head out into town for a typical Greek feast at Eleaea, in Parikia.
Day 5: Aliki + Bicycle Beach Hop along the South Coast (Voutakos Nude Beach + Faragas Beach)
Lunch is going to be a winner today, so opt for a light breakfast somewhere in Parikia, or you can grab something at a café/ bakery in Aliki;
Catch the bus from Parikia to Aliki;
From there I suggest renting a bicycle from Paros Cycling (15€/ day) so that you can cruise back and forth along the South coast and beach hop for the day.
Paros Cycling is actually open year round, the owner lives on the island, so as long as you call in advance— you should be able to rent a bike any time of year. They also rent stand up paddle boards, so if you’re keen for a paddle, factor it into your timing for the day (half a day cycling, half SUP)
Start off in Aliki and head west towards Voutakos beach (the beach is pretty well marked, although the final turn off down to the beach isn’t actually marked). This is a nude beach— go wild. There are rocky places to swim to the left, and sand to the right.
After swim + sun head back on your bikes and head east back through town, and pit stop at for lunch.
Lunch at ταβέρνα μπαλκόνι (Taverna Il Balcone) for some of the best (and affordable!) seafood on the island. I opted for the grilled sardines (with a side of greens instead of potatoes— I had had potatoes for about 10 days straight at this point); and also had to try the grilled octopus. So good. Their tables stretch out over the bay, and it’s really quite pleasant.
After lunch, continue east towards Faragas beach. Before actually hitting the ‘official’ beach (about one or so roads prior to the turn off) there’s a little dirt road marked with a blue/red ‘T’ sign (dead end sign): make a right at the sign. At the bottom of the road you’ll find a peaceful cove with gorgeous blue waters (see images below). Have a swim + sun here, before continuing on to the bigger Faragas beach for another swim.
When you’re significantly exhausted from the biking, swim, and sun: return your bikes and hop back on the bus back to Parikia.
You’ll be hard pressed to have a bad meal at any Taverna on Paros. Most Greek restaurants simply know what’s up when it comes to authentic, real food cooking. A few highlights though that ought not to be missed include:
Taverna Mira: in Parikia, this waterfront resto nails it on the local cooking. Their lamb and potatoes is out of this world, and their grilled octopus is perfection. They have a huge menu that you basically can’t go wrong with. From moussaka to oven baked Brim… there’s endless options that will probably make you want to return more than once during your stay. If you’re into dairy— try the baked feta or the honey feta (I’m highly allergic to dairy but in my next life, I’ll be all over it). This spot is also ideal for watching the sun set over the sea.
Symposium Cafe: is a breakfast spot in Parikia that has a lovely outside terrace and is shaded by gorgeous pink flowers and large umbrellas. You’ll find something for everyone, from eggs and baron to fresh fruit, waffles, pastries, greek yogurt and honey, and all the beverages your little heart desires.
Κλαρινος,λευκες (Klarinos): in Lefkes, this is the best spot for meat on the island. The pork and lamb are local and cooked with love. The restaurant is on a large terrace overlooking the square in Lefkes, and here too you can’t really go wrong on the menu, although I suggest the lamb chops + hand cut fries, and a side of Karfa (wild asparagus) to start.
ταβέρνα μπαλκόνι (Taverna Il Balcony): in Aliki, this seafood taverna is right on the water and is one of the best spots for fresh seafood on the island (that is affordable… yeah, I’m looking at you Naoussa). The seafood is caught fresh by the owner who is a fisherman, and the meat is local too. This place does it right.
Taverna Il Balcone
Kafenio Palia Agora: in Naoussa, is one of the more affordable restaurants in the area. Located in the old port of Naoussa, you’ll find epic dishes like octopus, stuffed peppers, and plenty of delicious sides like chickpeas or beets.
Kafenio Palia Agora
Yemeni Taverna, Naoussa: try the boneless lamb cooked in the oven with carrots, the horta, and if you’re into cheese: the eggplant stuffed with goat and sheeps cheese. They also have large servings of steak, and epic grilled sausages.
Captain Pipinos Seafood Taverna: in Antiparos for amazing seafood and great views. I suggest just asking for the daily recommendations, but their grilled sardines, shrimps, horta, and whole grilled fish are delicious. You can’t really go wrong.
There aren’t many options for groceries, many of the shops are mini marts. There are a few better shops across the island where you can buy fresh produce and bulk foods. Some of my favourites include:
Super Foods shop Με τη σέσουλα -Me ti sesoula: is a gem of Paros. Located in Parikia, this bulk food store has lots of local products (olive oils, wines, figs, jams, honey, herbs, soaps etc), as well as a wide selection of teas, nuts, dried fruits, superfoods, herbs, spices, etc.
Me ti Sesoula
The “Crete lady’s vegetable shop”: as the locals call it, this spot is hard to find… not going to lie. But once you find Me ti Sesoula, this fruit and veggie shop is just about a block up the road (on the right side of the road). They have the best selection of fresh produce on the island, as well as a few miscellaneous items. The roads aren’t properly named (nor do the names come up on Google maps… but you can CLICK HERE for a screen shot of exactly where the shop is on the map).
Images left to right: inside of the shop, sign outside of the shop (it’s covered by the overhang), and view of the shop from the street.
Agios Nikolaos Orthodox church market: you’ll find a little local farmers markets happening in the alleyway behind this church, most days. The selection will be slim pickings in the off season, but the market picks up in July/ August. This little church is located across the street from the water/ port, about 2-3 blocks from the windmill.
This island is small, but offers a great number of opportunities for great hikes. The hike along the Byzantine trail (day 3) is a must, but there are many more possible hikes if you’re in the area for more than 5 days.
Hitchhiking is a dream on Paros. There’s essentially one major road that runs around the whole island, so you generally know where people are headed. The bus system is great and reliable, but I still opted to hitch my way to and from many places.
Paros by sea is about 3½ hours by high speed ferry from Piraeus (5-6 hours on the slower ferry) or you can fly from Athens in about 25 minutes.
The bus system is great (run by KTEL), and will get you to almost every town/ beach on the island
Line 1 runs from Parikia to Drios via Marathi, Kostos, Lefkes, Prodromos, Marmara, Marpissa, Piso Livadi, Logaras, Pounda beach, and Golden beach
Line 2 is a direct between Parikia and Naoussa (although it appears it also makes one detour to Kolimpithres
Line 3 is a direct between Parikia and Aliki
Line 4 is a direct between Parikia and Pounda (this is the bus you want to take to get to Antiparos)
Line 5 runs between Parikia and Drios via Naoussa, Prodromos, Marpissa, Piso Livadi, Logaras, Pounda beach, and Golden beach
Airport buses run to/ from Parikia, and Pounda port
where to stay
I stayed at Hotel Margarita, in Parakia. It’s an affordable spot run by two lovely humans. The rooms are colorful and the energy of the place is beautiful; there’s a big rooftop and rooms have small private balconies. There are many places on the island for every budget, but I recommend Parikia because it’s central and buses run to-and-from there all day.
A few tips
Always withdraw cash from actual banks, the ATMs charge much more in withdrawal fees.
Always buy your bus tickets before getting on the bus (either at the counter or at the machine), they charge more to pay on the bus (so if you know you’re going to and from a destination, get both your bus tickets in the morning at the Parikia ticket kiosk or machine, because most towns don’t have a ticket kiosk.
Some shops close between 2:30 pm and 5:30 pm, and many stores close entirely on Sunday (the buses still run, and many tavernas stay open).
One of my favourite things on Greek menus is the ‘horta’ which is essentially boiled greens. Normally this wouldn’t sound too appetizing but the Greeks just know what’s up and (usually) horta is one of the tastiest things on the menu. Drizzled with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, it’s divine. Always go for a side of horta!!
Paros is easily accessed from many islands by ferry including Athens, Naxos, Mykonos, Milos, and Santorini, and it also has a small airport.
The tap water is not drinkable, because although it is fresh water (no nasty city chemicals) it contains sediments that can harm your kidneys in the long run. No worries for shower or teeth brushing, in fact I reckon the Paros tap water is much safer than toxic pharmaceutical/ chemical sludge that comes out of taps in big developed cities.
Every place in Greece has at least three spellings: the way it’s spelt in Greek, it’s spelt on most maps in English, and also the way it’s pronounced (but also spelt) in English. From roads to towns to cafés, you’ll see multiple spellings of the same place. For example Taverna Balcone, Balcony, and ταβέρνα μπαλκόνι. Even the town of Parikia is also spelt Paroiki… just get used to it!
This one is a tip for Greece in general: no throwing TP (or anything else) in the toilets. All toilet paper is to be thrown in the garbage (it’s kind of gross, but their pipes can’t handle it. So trust me, it’s much grosser to cause a flood).