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Known for its beaches and traditional villages, Paros is something of a cruising hub for the Cyclades and acts as a jumping-off point for Santorini and islands further south. Rather pear-shaped – which doesn’t at all mean a visit here will not be a total delight – the coastline surrounds a single central mountain. It’s a fair size (nearly 200 km²). There is a small airport running mostly domestic flights to and from Athens and Thessaloniki. 

Like most Cycladic islands though, Paros is really all about arriving by water to the harbour that shares its name with the island although it is also known as Parikia, the capital. It sits around an extensive bay which seems to act as a horseshoe magnet into which ferries, yachts, gin palaces and catamarans alike are drawn like moths to a flame.  

It’s a really nice traditional town that dates back to antiquity, having played its part in Athenian legend, the Crusades and the Venetian and Ottoman Empires. Today it’s happily back to being simply Greek, the white walled flat-roofed buildings having picturesque blue doors and window-frames. If you’re on the cultural trail you’ll find the ruins of a medieval castle and a very much earlier temple dedicated to Asclepius. 

On the north side of the island the bay of Naoussa is a wonderful natural harbour, much loved by modern day sailors. To the south the harbour at Drios was the anchorage of the Turkish fleet in Ottoman times. Inland there are some pretty villages.   

Our recommendation: well worth an overnight visit if island hopping and great for a longer beach holiday. Parikia and Naoussa have become known for their tavernas, chic bars and nightlife 

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