Paros – Heart of the Cyclades
Paros always enjoyed a special status among the Cycladic islands. Attractive for many reasons the island has succeeded to maintain a balance between keeping its natural beauty and developing a modern life style suitable for hosting visitors from all over the world. It offers a blend of sun and sea, nature, sports, art and style. Paros has rich community life all year around and although not so far from Athens it still is very peaceful. Some say this moderate quality is due to the fact the whole island is built on a white crystal rock, the famous Parian marble, that many of the well known sculptures from the Hellenic time are made from (such as Venus from Milos) . The Parian marble is known for its clear white color and for being transparent to light. Somehow the winter on Paros is not too cold and the summer tempered by cooling breezes. The islands shape is round so one can drive the main road and make a perfect circle. Its shape also reminds the shape of a human heart. The locales say Paros has a feminine quality as opposed to Naxos known to be more masculine. Something about the island attracts writers, painters, poets, sculptors, artists of all kinds. In fact the first known lyric poet from the 7th century BC, Archilochos, was Parian so apparently the island has been a source of inspiration for many generations.
Paros has two natural ports. The biggest is the port of Parikia, the gate to Paros where all of the ferries enter. The second is the port of Naoussa, a picturesque fishing port. Parikia is the main town. It has a beautiful old part that has small traditional streets full of cafés, restaurants, bars, art galleries and boutiques and a long Parallia (road by the sea) overlooking the port.
Naoussa, smaller but never the less charming and romantic, has two small ports, little alleys, a main courtyard surrounded with shops, fish restaurants and tavernas. Two more little ports that are active are the pretty port of Piso Livadi, from which smaller boats sail to neighboring islands and the delightful fishing port of Aliki. The island is knows for its beautiful sandy beaches. There really is a beach for any taste and even in the midst of high season one can still find a quiet spot. Livadia and Krios in the bay of Parikia, Kolimbithres, Lageri and Santa Maria in the North, Ampelas, Molos, Logaras, Golden beach, Gliyfa on the east side, Farangas and Aliki to the south, Pounda and Parasporos to the west. What do you prefer sun rise or sun set?
But Paros has more to offer. One of the Greenest islands in the Cyclades, the center of the island includes several amazingly located monasteries (like Ag Antoniou above the village Marmara), in a scenery full of old olive Groves and wind mills (around Lefkes) or archaeological sites with ancient ruins and breathtaking view (Dilion, Kolimbithres) At the end of kolimbithres is The Environmental & Culture park also known as Paros Park where walking paths by the sea are marked and in summer it hosts a variety of culture and music events. At Petaloudes, 7 km west of Parikia, near the monastery of Christos sto Dason, there is a place known as the Butterfly Valley – a small park with paths and steps full of one kind of butterfly (Panaxia Quadripunctaria). The place is green and full of water even in mid summer and is ideal for spending a very hot day when one seeks some shade… For those who prefer to spend their leisure being active Paros offers Diving, windsurfing, kite surfing, Tennis, bicycling, Yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, Sailing, archaeological sea excursions, and walking tours. Two art schools with top league teachers operate yearly on the island and in the mountain village Lefkes stands the famous house of Literature hosting each year writes, poets and translators from all over the world. Paros is not the largest (Create), nor the most stunning (Santorini) but the island definitely has all it takes to truly enjoy your time.