Paros

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Getting to Paros

Cyclades map

Where is Paros? It lies in the centre of the Cyclades group between Crete, in the south, and the Greek mainland, to the north.

With no international airport, arriving by air is usually on a domestic flight from Athens. Otherwise it's a ferry from Athens or one of the other islands that have large airports such as Mykonos and Santorini.

Paros lies at the heart of the Cyclades and at the hub of the Greek ferry network with many boat connections to other islands.

The roads are good and there are plenty of hill trails for walking. A bus network links the larger villages and most of the beach resorts.

The offshore island of Antiparos has regular daily ferry links and offers even more remote hill trails for those visitors who enjoy walking.

Paros has a good range of accommodation, from luxury hotels to self-catering studios and apartments, and there are several large camping sites.

Updated for 2016

Paros flights: travel by air

Paros Panteleio Airport (PAS) is located near Alyki in the south of Paros looks likely to be abandoned in 2015 to make way for a new airport near Pounta on the west coast.

Like Alyki the new airport will still be too small to take international charter aircraft, but it will accommodate domestic flights from Athens (45 minutes) and from other Greek islands such as Crete and Rhodes, which will continue to fly to the old airport until the changeover.

Until the new airport opens, buses will run from the old terminal to Parikia and Naoussa. The transfer time to Parikia is about 10 minutes and many hotels also offer private mini bus pick-ups.

With cheap flight options opening up, the flight routes to Mykonos and Santorini, followed by a ferry to Paros are increasingly attractive options.

There are plenty of ferry connections to Naxos but timetables don't always coincide with flight arrivals and it may require an overnight stop en-route. Hellenic Star have three flights a week from Athens.

A flight to Mykonos International Airport (JMK) is probably the cheapest bet. The airport is four kilometres from Mykonos Town where there are daily ferries to Naxos and Paros but none after 10am.

The transfer time to Mykonos port is about 10 minutes and there is now a regular bus service operating from the airport to the main port town.

Travelling via Santorini may be the quicker as ferries to Paros and Naxos are more frequent and visitors landing before 11am may be able to catch a ferry on the same day, avoiding an overnight stop.

Paros ferries: travel by sea

Paros, like neighbouring Naxos, is a hub of the Cyclades ferry services and there are ferries connections both to the mainland and to many other islands.

Ferries leave daily from mainland Piraeus (Athens) and Rafina. Around six ferries a day departing from the mainland, the last one leaving for Paros at 5pm and the journey takes five to seven hours depending on the ferry type. Fast ferries and catamarans will do the crossing in under three hours.

Hellenic Seaways run seven crossing a week from Piraeus (3 hours) and seven a week from Heraklion on Crete. It also operates two ferries-a-day to Naxos and Mykonos and three-a-day to Ios.

Blue Star Ferries runs up to four days-a-week to Amorgos, Dounoussa, Iraklia, Naxos, Syros, Astypalea and Koufonissi with around three crossing weekly to Ios, Santorini and Naxos.

Fast ferry services are operated daily by Sea Jets to Milos, Naxos (30 minutes), Mykonos (45 minutes), Tinos (80 minutes) and Rafina (just over three hours).

NEL Lines runs services to Schinoussa, Syros, Santorini, Anafi, Katapola, Aegiali, Donoussa, Ios, Iraklia, Koufonissi, Naxos, Folengandros, Thirasia, Sikinos, Mykonos, Kimolos, Serifos, Milos, Sifnos, Kea, Kythnos and Lavrio.

Also, Aegean Speed Lines offer routes to Naxos and Piraeus.

Paros has a pleasant port at Parikia with a traditional quayside windmill to greet visitors. The main bus station and the taxi rank are on the waterfront to the left of the windmill as you disembark.

There are several daily island cruises to both the popular and the more remote beaches of Paros, especially those around the bay from Naoussa.

Ferries cross to the islet of Antiparos daily, usually hourly, from the west coast port of Pounda from 7am to 11pm with tickets sold on the boat

The small east coast port of Piso Livadi has sailings to Naxos, Ios, Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Amorgos as well as day excursions to southern Naxos and the Koufonisia as well as other islands. Details on Perantinos Travel.

Paros map: getting around

The third largest island in the central Cyclades group. Paros lies about 8km west of Naxos. It has many offshore islets as well as the relatively large islet of Antiparos to the south-west.

It;s roughly leaf-shaped and around 165 sq km and 20 kilometres north-south by 16 kilometres east-west with the central mountain of Agios Illias (724 metres) surrounded by coastal plains.

The two biggest resorts are in the capital of Parikia and the nearby port of Naoussa, while the best beaches lie to the south-east.

Paros has a population of about 13,000 and it's noted for its fine white marble.

Antiparos is a long, thin island with an area of just 38 sq km and a high point of 300 metres at Profitis Ilias.

Weather on Paros

Islands in the Cyclades have a typically Mediterranean climate, with hot and sunny summers and mild winters. Low winter rainfall can make many island look burnt out and barren in the high summer but the rich, fertile soils on the plains keep much Paros looking relatively green.

April and May have pleasant sunny days and uncrowded beaches. June sees temperatures rise sharply and by July and August the thermometer often tops 30°C In August the strong meltemi wind gives cooling breezes especially on the north and east coasts.

Autumn temperatures hover around 20°C and the rainy season starts in October peaking in December and January, the coldest months at an average 11°C.

Paros transport: travel on land

Car rental

There are fairly good roads on Paros connecting all the main island resorts and visitors can rent a car or a bike, take a taxi or use the local buses. The waterfront at Parikia has several car hire outlets as do most of the main Paros holiday spots, including Naoussa and Piso Livadi.

Car hire isn't particularly popular on Paros as most resorts are concentrated on the west and east coasts. The roads are in reasonable condition, but drive times can be long as many country lanes are narrow and winding.

Paros buses

Paros has limited bus services but what they have are cheap and efficient. The main route is along the road between Parikia and Naoussa. Buses run regularly to all the main villages but they may only run a few times a day.

Apart from the Parikia - Naoussa route the main bus services are Parikia - Lefkes - Marpissa - Drios; Parikia - Alyki; Parikia - Pounda (for Antiparos) ; Naoussa - Drios; Naoussa - Kolimbrethes; Naoussa - Ampelas; Naoussa - Santa Maria. All of the island bus routes are posted near the small parking area next to the ferry dock in Parikia.

Click here for KTEL Paros bus timetables but note that the actual route often depends on the number of passengers and that Santa Maria and Ampela are also often visited in the summer months.

Paros taxis

The main taxi rank is in Parikia in the central square, left of the windmill by the port. There are is also a taxi rank in Naoussa along the main road. Taxi fares are set each year and are fixed for each destination. There are no taxi meters. Taxi drivers may be a bit pushy but they are generally honest and friendly. A good tip is to keep the taxi driver's mobile phone number so that you can call them for a pick-up.

Paros walking

Paros tends to be a little large for walking and there are not that many walking trails. A decent hiking map is the Road-series (no. 112) which has a few trails marked, such as the well-known 'Byzantine' trail from Lefkes to Prodromos and some good paths in the south of the island, but transport is needed to get to the start points. There was a coastal path around the whole island but some parts have been badly eroded.

Paros rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Paros has a wide range of holiday accommodation, from luxury hotels to family-run small hotels, plenty of self-catering studios and apartments and several good camp sites.

Parikia is the busiest resort, especially in summer when island-hopping visitors pour into the port for a ferry connection. Most of the accommodation in Parikia is in three areas - the old town just inland, the waterfront the north of the port and at Livadia beach at the northern end of the town.

Room owners meet ferries on arrival with offers of rooms. These are generally cheap and good, although you should check exactly where the accommodation is before you go.

Quayside kiosks have information on Paros hotels and rooms to let. The road from the ferry port to Livadia beach is lined with modern hotels offering sea views and easy beach access. The old town has hotels with more character but, unless they are in a quiet back street, they can be noisy at night.

Budget visitors have plenty of cheap rooms to choose from as Paros is a favourite with student backpackers. Paros is also a good island for campers. The Camping Naoussa site at Kolymbrethes has a bar, taverna and mini-market; Camping Koula at Livadia in Parikia has car and bike rentals.

Krios Beach is the choice of young backpackers while Camping Captain Kafkis offers tents at Piso Livadi. Antiparos island also has a campsite at Camping Antiparos.

Another favourite for hotels is Naoussa in the far north-west of Paros. There are also hotel and rooms to let at the pretty village of Lefkes, high in the hills and an ideal base for walkers. Piso Livadi on the east coast and the popular Chryssi Beach nearby also have plenty of good accommodation.