Paros is one of the largest islands in the Aegean Sea and a highly popular tourist destination with a rich history. It is located roughly in the middle of the Cyclades, between Naxos and Antiparos. Through the booktickets platform, you can purchase cheap ferry tickets with just a few clicks. Here, you will find all available routes with all the applicable discounts for passengers and vehicles.
History of Paros
Paros is an island that was born during the Neolithic period and emerged as one of the most important centers of Cycladic civilization. From the 4th century, there is evidence of a flourishing ecclesiastical life in Paros, as shown by the findings of Christian basilicas. During this period, the first church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani was built, which was later expanded and reconstructed by Emperor Justinian. From the 6th century, a new period of development was observed in Paros, attributed to the reorganization of the Byzantine fleet and the commercial activity between the East and the West.
In 1204, after the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders, Paros became part of the Duchy of the Aegean. During the Venetian rule, Paros suffered from repeated pirate raids and the destruction of olive trees by the Venetians, causing a decline on the island.
During the Greek Revolution, Paros actively participated. One of the heroines of the Revolution, Manto Mavrogenous, was from Paros. From 1960 onwards, Paros entered a new period of development, mainly due to the rise of tourism
Beaches in Paros
Paros is known for its beautiful beaches that cater to all tastes. Let's mention some of them:
- Agia Irini: Agia Irini beach offers an exotic atmosphere with lush green waters and palm trees. It is located near Paroikia and features charming taverns, making it an ideal choice for those who don't want to stray far from the center. The beach is divided into two parts by small rocks, and at its end stands the homonymous chapel.
- Ampelas: In the picturesque fishing village of Ampelas, east of Naoussa, you will find three consecutive small sandy coves with turquoise waters, combining tranquility and protection from the winds. It is perfect for seafood lovers after a swim and for children due to its safe shallow waters.
- Kolymbithres is one of the most famous and photogenic beaches in the Cyclades islands. It consists of small sandy coves hidden between large rocks, creating characteristic "swimming pools." The beach stands out for its wild landscape, with natural granite sculptures formed by the sea plunging into the azure waters. It also offers water sports for adventure enthusiasts.
- Monastiri beach is located west of Naoussa and offers golden sand and shallow azure waters. It is one of the most popular beaches on the island and has a vibrant beach bar. Additionally, there is a small theater where concerts and art exhibitions are often held. The beach took its name from the nearby Monastery of Agios Ioannis Detis.
- Santa Maria beach is an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and all-day fun. It is considered by many as the best beach on the island. The beach bar serves refreshing cocktails, while diving and windsurfing are popular activities here.
- Pounta beach offers powerful music from well-known DJs, a large pool, plenty of alcohol, and a lively party vibe. This is the most famous beach club on the island, where you will encounter a beautiful crowd partying until late afternoon. There are also two schools for windsurfing and kitesurfing, as well as various other water activities.
- Golden Beach is the favorite beach of windsurfers and hosts the World Windsurfing Championship every year. The coast boasts an endless beach with golden sand and numerous beach bars. Additionally, there are diving schools, kitesurfing, water sports, shops, restaurants, and more.
Sights in Paros
- The Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a church built in 326 AD, is located across from the port of Paroikia and is one of the most beautiful churches in the Cyclades. The building consists of three different churches. Agios Nikolaos, the largest church, features beautiful columns made of Parian marble and a magnificent wooden iconostasis in its eastern part. There is also the ornate church of Panagia and the ancient baptistery. In the Byzantine Museum, located just behind the church, there is a rich collection of icons and other artifacts.
- The Archaeological Museum, located behind the cathedral of Ekatontapiliani, offers a beautiful journey into the island's past. There, one can see some remarkable works, such as a 5th-century Nike and a 6th-century Gorgo. There are also beautiful examples of pottery, such as the "Chondri Lady" from Saliagos, as well as an important exhibit consisting of a piece of the 4th-century Parian Chronicle, recording the most significant artistic achievements of ancient Greece.
- The Frangkiko Kastro is a fortress with external walls built in 1260 by the Venetian Duke Marco Sanudo of Naxos. These walls were constructed with stones from ancient buildings that were previously in the area. Inside the Frangkiko Kastro, one can see remains of the Athena temple's arcade and an Ionic temple from the 5th century BC. The Frangkiko Kastro is located a short distance from the old town of Paroikia.
- The Venetian Fort of Naoussa is situated in the old harbor of Naoussa and was built by the Venetians in the 15th century. It was used as an observatory for pirate and enemy attacks, as well as a frontline defense during times of war. Today, only a part of the fortress remains, a semi-submerged observatory connected to the rest of the island via a small path.
- The Valley of the Butterflies is located 7 kilometers west of Paroikia, near the Monastery of Christ of the Forest or Saint Arsenios. It is an idyllic landscape with dense vegetation and abundant running water, making it a unique monument of natural beauty. The area has been transformed into a small park with paths and stairs. The park is open from June to September, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Activities in Paros
- Paros is the ideal destination to practice your favorite sports activity. The island offers the right climate, infrastructure, facilities, and people to inspire you.
- For Kite Surfing enthusiasts, the beach of Pounda in the strait between Paros and Antiparos is a paradise. This beach has gained popularity among kite surfers due to the favorable winds that blow there. It is even the location for the World Kitesurfing Championship. With colorful kites filling the sky, athletes from all over the world showcase their skills with impressive maneuvers between the sea and the air, thanks to the strong wind. Professional instructors can introduce you to the magic of kitesurfing with lessons for every skill level, providing certified training from organizations such as IKO and VDWS.
- As for Windsurfing, Paros has earned the reputation of being the island of winds, sea currents, and water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfers from around the world come here, as the sea routes between Paros-Naxos and Paros-Antiparos make it a global destination. The hospitable sandy beaches are ideal for windsurfing enthusiasts. The strong winds and waves challenge you to refine your skills. You can also practice windsurfing at beaches such as Santa Maria, Golden Beach, Tsoukalia, Kolympithres, and Pounda.
- Water Skiing is a popular water sport on Greek beaches during the summer, as the calm seas are suitable for practicing this activity. It offers a sense of freedom and allows athletes to exercise without exerting themselves. In Paros, there is a water ski school in Kolymbithres with many years of experience in this sport.
- Horseback riding is a unique way to discover the beauty of Paros, traversing paths and areas that are not accessible by conventional means. With the company of these wonderful, well-trained horses, you can enjoy the mountains and the sea. Experienced instructors with suitable horses offer safe rides on the island. It is highly recommended to explore the trails and routes created to discover a different side of Paros, away from crowded areas, walking through fields and sights that are only accessible on foot or by horse.
How to travel to / from Paros?
The island is connected to various destinations through maritime routes. Among these destinations are the ports of Athens, Piraeus, and Rafina, as well as numerous islands of the Cyclades, such as Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, and most of the Cycladic islands. Additionally, there is a connection to the island of Crete.
There are numerous and diverse ferry routes available. Some of the most popular destinations are as follows:
- Ferry Routes from Athens to Paros: The three ports of Athens, Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrio, serve ferry routes to , but most ships depart from Piraeus due to its proximity to the center of Athens. The cost of a regular economy ticket ranges from 20€ to 80€, depending on the type of vessel you choose to travel with. For the route from Athens to Paros, both conventional ships and high-speed catamarans are available, and ticket prices vary depending on the category of the vessel you select.
- Ferry Routes from Mykonos to Paros: There are daily available ferries that operate the route from Mykonos to Paros all year round. Both high-speed catamarans and conventional ferries serve this route, departing from the port of Tourlos and arriving at the port of Parikia in Paros. The duration of the journey is about 1 hour, and ticket prices for a regular economy ticket range from 40€ to 60€, depending on the ferry company.
Apart from the above, there are also many other routes and destinations connected to the island, offering a wide variety of choices for travelers.
In Paros, travelers have the option to board either conventional ferries or high-speed catamarans. Conventional ferries are larger in size and offer more economical tickets, while high-speed catamarans are faster but come with higher ticket prices.
Conventional ferries are mainly operated by Blue Star Ferries, while several other companies, such as Seajets, Fast Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, and Minoan Lines, have high-speed catamarans in their fleet.