If you rent a car or moped on Paros you can easily discover attractions on your own. There are many small quaint towns in the center of the island and on the southeast side. There are several beaches that are only best accessed by a moped because of their rugged and more remote location. If you want some time to relax, see Parikia, other small towns on the island and also visit some beaches, I would highly recommend at least 5 days on the island. Do not just come for the nightlife as there is much more to do on the island then that. If you strictly want nightlife go to Mykonos or Corfu or Ios.
One of my favorite beaches was on the road from Parikia to Naoussa which is located on the north eastern side of the island. It is called Kolimbithres Beach and may also be spelled Kolimvythres Beach. It is located in a beautiful bay across from Naoussa with many smooth rocks at the water’s edge. On summer days many people will by lounging around on the rocks, often in the nude. Follow the dirt road that runs near this beach to the end. It will run for several miles until ending in several branching trails that lead to the northern most tip of the island (known as Cape Korakas).
If you are on a dirt bike or moped this part of the Island is well worth the extra effort to visit If you want to reach the tip of the island where an old monastery is located you will probably be best off at some point parking your bike and walking. The trail becomes very rocky and is difficult on a moped.
The old monastery is located in a visually inspiring part of the island. You can stand at its base and look down hundreds of feet and watch small fishing boats slowly cruise around the steep cliffs at the water’s edge. You can look back and see much of the island. The land is devoid of trees and is extremely stark in comparison to the blue waters.
About a mile or two past Kolimbithres Beach heading towards Cape Korakas you will find several excellent dusty mulberry trees located on the right side of the dirt road. These make for an excellent meal if you are here in May or early June. I stopped and feasted for about 1/2 hour. By the time I was finished it looked like I had killed a pig. My hands were covered in red and so was my white shirt. I did not care, those mulberries were some of the sweetest I have ever eaten.
Petaloudes, the Valley of the Butterflies is located south of Parikia. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to get there. It is not located in a valley rather it is perched on the side of a hill. However, it is one of the few places on the island where you can take cover in a refuge of large trees. There is a small fee, about 4 Euros. In the summertime there are hundreds of butterflies (they really are tiger moths) gathered on the leaves of the trees and bushes. They look black when they are perched on the leaves, but if you can get them to fly you will be amazed by a colorful myriad of orange, black, and red. The butterfly preserve is open in July and August from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm and on Sunday from 9am to 1pm and then from 4pm to 8pm.
From Petaloudes you can cruise some of the side roads. I was able to find several that took me straight up to some of the higher hills on the island. From the tops of these hills I had a excellent views of both Paros and Antiparos, the smaller neighboring island. I was also able to bike right up to several gorgeous small homes with brilliant blue tiled roofs and whitewashed walls. There is nothing quite like biking around the island with the warm wind whipping through your hair and the smell of wild oregano in the air.
There are plenty of water sports to keep one occupied. The Santa Maria Diving Club, located near Naoussa can be reached by calling 094 385 307 and the Odysseus Dive Center is located on the eastern side of the island in Logaras and can be reached by calling 41 530. Both of these companies offer scuba diving lessons. Golden Beach on the eastern side of the island near Logaras offers sailing, water-skiing and wind surfing. The eastern side of the island around the Logaras area caters to tourists interested in water sport activities more so then the rest of the island. Supposedly wind surfing had its beginnings around Logaras.
Marble Quarries located on the road that bisects the northern part of the island are well worth a visit. This road leads from Parikia to the Logaras area. The famous Venus de Milo was quarried and created from these particular quarries. If you are interested you can view the Venus in the Vatican in Rome. The locals are still quarrying from a new quarry across from the older ones. There is a nice marble path that leads to the older quarries. This is well worth the short hike in, you have to park your car or bike at the entrance to the path. There still seems to be a lot of marble that could be quarried if the locals every decided to reopen this mine. If you are adventurous you can explore the three main shafts by flashlight.
Heading towards the beautiful small town of Lefkes you might miss the small sign on the right side of the road that mentions an art gallery. There is a paved road leading up a steep hill which ends at a gallery which overlooks much of the northern part of the island. Inside you will find various art forms including ceramics, rings, and paintings. Picasso’s daughter has some of her work on display here.
Lefkes is the highest and prettiest village on the island. You can drive partway into the main part of the village but then need to walk the rest of the way. There is limited parking near the main street. When I say main street I mean a narrow cobblestone street surrounded on both sides by white washed buildings. There is also a very talented artist that paints detailed religious icons on wood blocks. These are quite pricey but are well worth the money, especially for one of her larger pieces. There is also a beautiful church here called the Agias Trias Cathedral. This is a fun town to get lost in. I enjoyed wondering around the narrow streets, peeking in abandoned buildings and browsing through several of the small shops. There are not many tourists that visit this town. Most tourists hang out on the beaches and near the water.
There are some good beaches on the eastern side of the island away from the touristy areas, unless of course you like crowded beaches. These isolated beaches are best explored with a moped or with an older car that you don’t mind (or the rental company) taking off roads. I found a beautiful beach that stretched for at least 1/2 mile and I was the only one on it. It wasn’t the milky white sands that you find on the beaches in western Florida or in other well-known beaches around the world but I would rather choose solitude over fine sand and crowds any day.
Agios Ilias or Agioi Pantes is the highest point on the island (about 1000 feet tall). It is located near the Moni Agiou Ioannou Monastary and believe me it truly takes some investigative prowess to find the correct road that takes you near the top of this mountain. The public cannot actually reach the true summit because this is where the island’s radio towers and equipment are located (protected by a chain link fence). Once you find the road to the top, it will climb rather steeply and then skirt the edge of a high ridge until its’ final push to the summit. In the summer, there is a noticeable difference in temperature on top of this hill compared to the warmer breezes close to the ocean. Often it is windy and and can get cold even during the middle of the day in the middle of the summer months.