Paros is a picturesque island which manages to retain its warm and traditional character even tough its cosmopolitan atmosphere attracts large number of tourists every year. The narrow winding alleys, the arches, the small charming port of Naoussa, the majestic beaches and the interesting variety of entertainment opportunities guarantee truly unforgettable vacations. Paros is well known for the production of its unique white marble, from which numerous Antiquity sculptures, such as the Aphrodite of Milos and the Hermes of Praxiteles, were sculpted, as well as for its strong winds, which have rendered the island a favorite windsurfing center. Its population runs at about 13.000 inhabitants, while its ground covers 195 sq. km.
Paros has been inhabited since the prehistoric times and was one of the most prominent centers of the Cycladic civilization, which flourished between the 5th and the 3rd millennium BC. During the Bronze Age, Paros was under Cretan influence up until the decline of the Minoan civilization, half way through the 2nd millennium BC. During the archaic period (8th–5th century BC) the island flourished as a center of art and commerce and this thriving development —with the exception of brief intervals— endured until the Hellenistic era. In the Persian Wars, Paros allied with the Persians and in revenge the Athenians under General Miltiades unsuccessfully attacked the island after the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Then, the island became a member of the Athenian Confederacy in which it remained until the end of the 5th century and the demise of the Athenian hegemony. A few centuries later, Paros along with the rest of Greece was occupied by the Romans. Since then Paros changed many hands and finally in 1207 the island was annexed to the Duchy of Naxos. The castle of Parikia was built during Frankish rule. Paros was eventually occupied by the Turks and suffered many pirates’ attacks — Franks and Turks being a regular plague. During the Greek War of Independence, Paros, being a naval power, played a significant role by contributing with its powerful fleet and its fierce seamen.
Paros has a reputation for outstanding beauty for a reason. Countless small gulfs and reclusive bays, sandy beaches and significant historical sights gather harmoniously to enchant every traveler. The site of “Petaloudes” with numerous water springs, lush vegetation and a vast population of butterflies, and “Kolymbithres”, a beautiful beach surrounded by smooth rocks that nature has so elaborately sculptured, as well as the innumerable golden beaches of Paros are some of the island’s beauties. The island is full of ancient ruins, castles, windmills, churches and monasteries. Close to Parikia, you can find the remnants of the Temple of Asclepius as well as visit the Frankish castle. Prehistoric remnants have been discovered on the hill of the ancient acropolis of Paros. The imposing Byzantine church of Ekatontapyliani (the church of one hundred doors), built in the 4th century, is situated in Parikia, and the historical events and traditions that are associated with this impressive medieval monument are worth discovering. If you are interested in the museums of the island, we suggest you to visit the Archaeological and Folk Art Museum is in Parikia as well as the Folk Art Museum in the village of Lefkes.
Entertainment – Sports – Shopping
The island of Paros has a fully developed tourist infrastructure. Its airport and road network, the frequent boat services to and from the island as well as the local radio taxis and public buses facilitate visitors not only to come to the island itself but also to access all destinations upon it. The accommodation facilities are numerous and of the highest quality throughout the island. Paros is famed for its luxuriant night life, while the restaurants and taverns meet every need and satisfy any appetite. The markets in Parikia, Naoussa and Pounda are booming while some of the best buys are ceramics, jewelry, cheese and wine. One of the most noted local specialties is “gouna”, sun-dried fish with a hot flavor, which is ideally accompanied by ouzo or wine. Sport facilities are everywhere, including football fields, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts even though most visitors undoubtedly prefer to lie on the island’s splendid beaches.