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So you have also seen all those pretty Instagram pictures of white-faced Greek island of Santorini and you are ready to go? I don’t blame you, Santorini looks fantastic and I was looking into traveling there myself but when I saw the price tag on a one-night stay, I quickly changed my mind. Surely, Greece should be much cheaper than this! And it can be, for example, Paros island can be your alternative to Santorini. What to do in Paros, you ask me? Situated in the same Cycladic group of islands, Paros offers the same amount of typical Greek white houses with cheaper prices.
What is Paros like?
Paros is one of the islands in Aegean sea representing a group of Cyclades. It is famous for its traditional white Greek houses and a number of great Paros beaches. It is big enough to have plenty of options to do and villages to see. On the other hand, it is not too big that it would be difficult to get around it.
How to get to Paros?
Paros can be reached from many destinations by ferry. A ferry from Athens (Piraeus or Rafina), for example, will take you around 4 hours. Blue Star Ferries offer the cheapest prices, however, the sail might take a little longer than with other providers. Other ferry booking options include Hellenic Seaways and Sea Jets. Be aware that sea travel might be affected by weather conditions and therefore, you might face some delays. So, allow enough time for traveling, especially if it is connected to your flight.
What to Do in Paros: Things and Places Not to Miss
Use this map I have created as an easy guide to what to do in Paros and what places not to miss.
Naoussa – a famous fisherman village, but not only.
Naoussa might be the most famous village in Paros island and there is a reason for that. Cute, trendy, flourishing with seafood restaurants and cute shops, this is a place where tourists go to for everything Greek. You should definitely try some local Greek food in one of the lovely local restaurants right by the waterfront. Many of those places are reserved well in advance, therefore, if you wish to have a dinner by the sea, better reserve the table beforehand.If you want to take pictures of Greek streets without being disrupted by flows of tourists, all you have to do is go out during the day. There is literally no one there! But do not be fooled.
Strolling through Naoussa’s white faced streets in the afternoon is nice, but it looks nothings like its real self. The village might seem quiet, but this is when everyone is hiding from the midday heat in the privacy of their rooms or under the waves of the Aegean sea.
In reality, Naoussa is a nightlife city. The only time you can experience Naoussa to the fullest is after 20 o’clock. This is when all the parking spots in and near the city become densely filled (often to the extent that drivers have their paths blocked). Dressed up people keep flooding the city and tiny Cycladic streets become lively, with flows of tourists and all the shops opening up. This is the time to be exploring Naoussa. Enjoy a cocktail on one of the streets, or have a fresh seafood dinner on the waterfront, whatever it is, Naousa is pretty good with luring you into its relaxed atmosphere.
Lefkes – a traditional Greek village experience
Lefkes is one of the tiny little towns situated in the middle of Paros in between the mountains, but in my view, it is one of those places that show you the real face of life on Greek Cycladic islands.
The settlement has those iconic white-faced little streets that you are in search of in the Cyclades. Long labyrinths of white houses with blue doors and windows are even prettier with typical flowers and add on to the uniqueness and style of the entire village.
Lefkes is rather clean and, to my own surprise, much more affordable than Naoussa. Here you can buy the local craft, such as handmade pottery, paintings, jewelry and many other things, which differ from the typical touristic stuff. Lefkes showed itself to be a cradle of Paros culture, as in has many artist studios to its little square footage.
Parikia, your route connector, and a transition hub
Parikia might be just a transition point on your route to other things to do in Paros, as this is where you will be dropped off by the ferry, but there is more to it. If you have a few hours to kill on your way to/from ferry, take this time to walk the streets of this settlement. It has plenty of shopping possibilities, cozy cafes and the same cute houses as the other villages.
This is also a hub that will allow you to easily move around some other Greek islands. From here you can catch a short ferry to Mykonos, Naxos, Antiparos, Santorini, Ios and Crete.
Paros has plenty of beaches to offer, from small private ones to long golden sand beaches with many water activities.
It is rather easy to travel around the island with bus connection, via which you can get to many beaches all around the island. See my post on BEST PAROS BEACHES for more information on where to go.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to most famous Greek islands, such as Santorini and Mykonos but still want to experience the nightlife and traditional Greek villages – consider visiting Paros island in Greece. It is big enough to offer plenty of options and still holds that charm of typical Greek streets.
For a more private dream vacation, I highly recommend to stop by Paros small twin – Antiparos island, which often gets overlooked, therefore, has fewer crowds and the same amount of beauty.
I have only visited Crete and I didn’t really like it but Paros looks much nicer. Maybe a should give Greece a second chance.
I have heard that Crete has its own vibe, so I guess they are quite different.
Greece has so many islands to explore. Thank you for suggesting Paros, looks very beautiful indeed. I am always looking for off the beaten path options.
I think it won’t be off the beaten path much longer 😉
Soo so pretty! Love it. And I’ve done the same thing with Santorini -minus the alternative :/ but glad you suggested this. Looks gorgeous.
I would still love to visit Santorini one day…
I really want to visit the Greek islands and I had not thought about Paros. It looks so picturesque and nice to know that its not as expensive or crowded.
And it is big enough to choose your favorite spot!
I’m so in love with these little Greek islands. Paros seems like the ideal little island, with awesome locals and great food. Loved the post.
Thank you Kellyn!
One of my biggest regrets was not having had the opportunity to island hop while in Greece 🙁 Athens was just not what I had in mind. Hopefully I’ll make a trip down to Paros sometime
Athens and the islands have completely different vibes! I didn’t enjoy Athens as much myself, but that’s because you want to be by the sea in the middle of August, not in the humid city.
I am DYING to visit Paros! We went to Santorini and if we had more time would have gone to Paros, Naxos, Milos and Antiparos as well. Beautiful photos girly!
Thank you! I would love to visit more islands as well.
I saw this island when our boat docked in Paros port to take passengers going to Santorini. Too bad I wasn’t able to explore the island. Thanks for sharing beautiful photos at least I have an idea of what it looks like. Perhaps we will consider this island in our next visit to Greece. 🙂
Island hopping is a good idea, for sure.
Paros! What a great little island. We loved the peaceful, tranquility of it all. Step backwards from Mykonos and Santorini!
Is it really a step backwards? Sorry, I can cannot compare because I haven’t seem them all..
Paros looks stunning! How much did you save compared to Santorini? I keep reading about these amazing places in greece, I think you are sending me a big hint…
I ended up skipping Santorini because the prices during high season (August) were just ridiculous. I found plenty of white house cuteness in Paros and I don’t regret making this choice 🙂
thanks for the information
Thanks for this wonderful information.