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Top Tips for Touring Paros

By Paros Expert: Kapi Panou, Greece, April 2012

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Paros is an island for all seasons and all tastes, being authentic, traditional and intact in most of its parts. Being a typical Cycladian island, it gets very dry in summer, so for lovers of botany it is ideal to go in spring or autumn time (March, April, May or October, November). But for lovers of crystal, clear, blue waters and sunny virgin beaches, June and July are ideal. August is THE vacation month of the Greeks, so it gets very busy. No matter when you go you should try out these four great itineraries.

1. Walking tour through traditional Paroikia including the kastro area, the Ekatontapyliani, a unique byzantine church, and the archaeological museum (optional)

Ekatontapyliani is the oldest imperial church in Greece (16 centuries old), built, initially by Konstantine the Great and still in use; it’s a great pilgrimage for Christian Orthodoxy. Both the interior and exterior are dramatic and impressive no matter what your religion.

Walk on to the "Kastro area" where you can have a coffee in the Symposium, a traditional café, and enjoy gourmet dishes in "Dafni" restaurant or a drink at sunset by the promenade enjoying the unique colors of the sky.

Some of the great food you should try include the traditional "souma" (parian raki) with local crispi bread or wine from the local wineries, the typical Greek Island salad called "dakos" and the delicious local cheese called "xinomizithra". Parians also love mushrooms and fish right from the famous parian fishboats (you will see them all sailing away in the morning & returning in the afternoon, full of fish).  

2. Island drive (ring coastal road) with visits to Lefkes traditional mountainous town, ancient marble quarries and Naoussa, a picturesque port town

You can reach Lefkes in 15-minutes by car or 20 by bus

While here walk in the traditional alleys, have a gourmet, local dish at "Flora's", enjoy a coffee in the old square or hike on the old, byzantine path.

After another 20-minute drive (car or bus), come to Naoussa.

Visit the pirate's stronghold (sea castle), just be in the old harbor and be astonished by its beauty, enjoy a fish dish at "Barbarossa" or 'Marios" tavernas, by the water, do the best shopping on the island in the quaint boutiques, walk in the traditional alleys & relax! The old harbor has breathtaking views.

3. Hiking on the Byzantine Path, starting from Lefkes and ending at Prodromos, an unspoiled, traditional village

It is not difficult but, at some points the ground is uneven and there is a 20 foot uphill, strenuous walk. The rest is pretty easy. More or less for all ages but not for people with walking difficulties.

As you go, you'll get the feeling that you're following the steps of medieval people, the locals, invaders and even pirates that once used this route along the island. You should also do it just for the satisfaction of completing the journey, which is well worth it!

On the path you may see local plants & herbs that are great to collect if you're planning to make your own feast. Find plants like thyme, oregano and others. You'll also enjoy beautiful views of the island and the sea from one of the highest vistas of the whole island.

The hike will take approximately 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, depending on the pace.

4. Tour to nearby Antiparos by traditional boat, from/to Paroikia

This traditional city of the island, with its shops, alleys, restaurants and cafes is also worth a visit. You should definitely see the castle with its unique shape & function. If driving a car or bus, one can see houses of celebrities like Tom Hanks and a famous cave with the stalactites & stalagmites.

I suggest you get there by boat, which you can catch from the port of Paroikia (approx. 20 minutes each way) or the ferry from the little port of Pounta (10 minutes each way). Pounta is a 15-minute drive from Paroikia, on the western side of the island of Paros.

Kapi

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