The island of Paros has everything one would expect from a Greek destination in the archipelago of Cyclades: white countrieshe asked from blue domesbeaches of golden sandsmall fishing ports overlooked by the inevitable taverns but also, to please everyone, modern bars and clubs to stay up late. The landscape is perhaps not dramatic and poignant as in other islands of the same archipelago but on the whole it is true: there is everything. And if we talk about theisland of Paros it must be recognized. Adding that a motorbike trip along the coast always offers unbeatable views of the nearby islands.
Paros island: a long history
The first foreigner in our time who made the island known was Kevin Andrewswho in his book “The flight of Ikaro“He recounts, among other things, his stay in Paros, in 1948, as a guest of a local family near Naoussa. It was a poor and almost forgotten island that emerges from the pages of the book. But since then the fortunes of the island have changed completely and little by little it has conquered a place as an obligatory stop (together with the nearby Antíparos) along the bizarre migrations of hippie who began to discover new destinations between Ibiza and Asia.
A change that every guide of the island of Paros in Cyclades he will recall becoming evident in 1981 when an article in the New York Times entitled “Here is the quiet heart of the Cyclades”Made official the launch in the great tour of trendy tourism. Since then, and not only, Paros was no longer peaceful even if somehow the island has managed to preserve a certain integrity and a minimum of defense of the spirit of the place.
And this is an achievement that many other islands have failed to defend. Then in 2014 the island saw the first cruise ships anchor but, luckily some say, the main port is too small for the cruise giants and therefore the ships have to anchor in the bay, while the boats shuttle from the land to the landing ladders.
When to come to the island of Paros
As for all the others Cyclades one of the most suggestive moments for the visit is the late spring the landscape is still green, the sea has warmed up to a temperature that makes swimming pleasant but the crowd of tourists has not yet reached the silence of the islands of the gods. The same can be said for the beginning of autumnwhen the summer hordes have moved away and the sea, even better, gives its best to those who want to swim.
In addition, in both cases, the prices are lower and since the Greece it is no longer the super cheap place it once was also due to the crisis it hit Athens this also counts. But don’t wait too long: many at the end of September facilities close and the connections are reduced (a Mikonos And Santorini the season lasts much longer, remember that). In addition, between September and October, it is easy to be bothered by swarms of wasps and hornets.
Paros island: what to see
You come to Paros for the sea and beaches. But between a bath and a pleasant and long sleep in the sun pampered by the meltemi there are some things that deserve to be seen as our guide of the island of Paros tells. The starting point is necessarily the capital, which is located about nine km from the airport on the western side of the island and which is called Parikia. This is also the main one port of the island and it is therefore easy to understand that it is one of the liveliest and most lively places in Paros.
But not only nightlife: the city retains its elegance not completely distorted by the tourist development with a pretty promenade on the bay, restaurants and beautiful white houses with courtyards shaded by trees. First, wander around the narrow streets and enjoy a coffee and then spend some time at the Archaeological Museum which preserves some artifacts from the era in which this was the capital of Greek sculpture. In fact, this art has been practiced assiduously since the Archaic era and again to the Roman era since the local marble it was considered the most precious in the world. It is no coincidence that the stone for Napoleon’s tomb comes from here.
Then go without delay to the nearby church of Ekatontachoni: it means from one hundred doors. Check it out but they are much less. Any guide on the island of Paros will tell you that it is one of the most important in Greece and that legend has it that it was founded by the mother ofemperor Constantine during a pilgrimage. If this is true, it is clear, there is no certainty. But the visit is more than deserved and they are striking the baptistery and the splendid marble decorations.
The view from the old monastery
Then go up the hill and go to see the monastery of Agii Anargiri. Founded in 1660, it saw the last monk leave in 2000 but a caretaker will allow you to visit it. If you want to bring a bottle: one gushes out here source which is said to be sacred and you can collect water.
Then you can go on to Naoussa, the second city of the island of Paros. It is a pleasant country on the north coast, sprawled in a beautiful Bay. Tourism has also arrived here and it shows. And quite a lot. But there is still a pleasant atmosphere and it is pleasant to stop and eat in one Tavern perhaps obtained from one of the deposits once used by fishermen who still keep their banks moored in the harbor.
Aren’t you tired yet? So let’s focus on the village of Marpissaabout 9 km to the south, inland and especially towards Prodromos, one beautiful village where it is nice to walk labyrinth of alleys and pass under the arches of the houses, throwing the eye in the rare cafes and taking pictures of the inevitable bougainvillea waterfalls.
Discovering the ancient capital
From Pródromos, for those who like to explore, you can take the old cobbled path inland which comes to Lefkes, the ancient capital of the island of Paros. Finally we pass the sea: no, do not worry, it is a few tens of meters to land on the nearby satellite islet of Antiparos. Here the must visit is a big one grotto known since ancient times that never fails to amaze despite the ugly concrete walkways with railings that nevertheless fail to take away the beauty of the galleries transformed into jewels from the forest of stalactites and stalagmites.
They are 45 million years old and still blow visitors away. Among them we remember the most eccentric: the Marquis of NointelFrench ambassador to the Ottoman court, who in 1673 wanted the mass of the Christmas Eve for him and his entourage of at least 500 people, using a rock as an altar. How do we know? Simple: he wrote a memory and his name on the cave walls. At the time, certain things, at least to the marquises, were allowed. And the tolerant island of Paros let it go.