Paros, the third-largest of the Cyclades after Naxos and Andros, has developed into one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Cyclades during the past three decades. Gently rolling hills, which lock within themselves the famous Parian marble, surround the centre and south-east of the island, which is predominantly agricultural and is occupied by endless vineyards. The coastline is indented, with numerous small inlets and two large bays, those of Naoussa in the north and Parikia in the west. Paros has been inhabited since very ancient times, and was one of the centres of the Cycladic civilisation. Parikia, the island.s capital and port, stands on the site of an ancient city. There is a picturesque decrepit Venetian castle, on the .cutting edge. of the old town, with the courtyards of the houses of the town all of them painted white full of pots of basil and hung with jasmine and honeysuckle. There are also wonderful neoclassical houses in the centre's main roads. A broad paved avenue leads to the church of Ekatondapiliani or Katapoliani (6th century), one of the most important Byzantine monuments in the whole of Greece and a place mentioned in many legends. It is dedicated to the Dormition of Our Lady, and on her feast day (15 August) there is a great celebration on the sea-front with fireworks and songs of the sea. In Parikia you will also find the extremely interesting Archaeological Museum as well as the cemetery of the ancient city. Near the village of Marathi (3km. east of Parikia) you will encounter the ancient quarries where Paros marble was extracted and northwest of Parikia the Sanctuary of Apollo (at Dilio). Naoussa, one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades, with the picturesque port (site of a Venetian fortress), whitewashed houses, narrow paved alleys, arches and churches, also offers a range of excellent beaches and attracts many visitors each summer, as it is considered to be the 'hot spot' of the island.
Near Naoussa, special mention should be made of Kolimbithres, where huge rocks eroded into strange shapes remind the visitor of sculptures embedded in the sand. The chapels and monasteries of Paros are famed for their picturesqueness; among the most characteristic are the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi ‘‘Longovarda’’ and that of Christ of the Forest (Hristos tou Dassous). In the centre of the island is Lefkes, a beautiful village and the old capital of the island, while farther east you will find Marpissa, a picturesque large village with a medieval layout, scores of churches and a Venetian castle with a 16th-century monastery on a close-by hill. Finally, in the lush verdant area of Petaloudes, during the summer you can admire large populations of unusual species of butterflies. Among the best swimming beaches are Livadia, Krios, Agios Fokas (at Parikia), Mikro Piperi and Megalo Piperi, Limnes, Agii Anargiri, Langeri, Aliki (with an interesting exhibition of traditional crafts), Santa Maria, Ambelas, Pisso Livadi, and Drios (on the eastern side). Paros is an ideal destination for those in search of cosmopolitan bustle and for lovers of solitude alike. It has a full range of tourist amenities.
Things to buy: Ornamental pottery in Naoussa, elegant silver jewellery
Useful telephone numbers
Police: tel.: 22840 23.333
Municipal Offices: 22840 21.222
Port Authority: 22840 21.240
Municipality of Parikia (information bureau): 22840 21.200
Archaeological Museum: 22840 21.231