If you rent a car or moped on Paros you can easily discover attractions on your own. Many small quaint towns are located in the center of the island and on the southeast side. Several beaches are best accessed by a moped because of their rugged and more remote locations. Looking for some time to relax, see Parikia, other small towns on the island while also visiting some beaches? I would highly recommend at least 5 days on Paros. 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 which may also be spelled Kolimvythres Beach. It is located in a beautiful bay across from Naoussa lined with 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 trails which branch out and 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. For those who want to reach the tip of the island where an old monastery is located, it is probably best to park the bike and walk the rest of the path. The trail becomes very rocky and is difficult on a moped.
The old monastery is located in a visually inspiring part of the island. One 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. Visitors can also look back and see much of the island. This land is devoid of trees and is extremely stark in comparison to the blue waters far below.
About a mile or two past Kolimbithres Beach heading towards Cape Korakas one will find several excellent 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 by vehicle. 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. The entrance is a few euros. During the summer, hundreds of butterflies (they really are tiger moths) gather 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 visitors 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 on the island. 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 rock found in this area. Interested parties can view the Venus de Milo in the Vatican in Rome. Locals are still quarrying from a new quarry across from the older ones. A well-trodden path that leads to the older quarries. This is well worth the short hike in – park a car or bike near the entrance to this path. There still seems to be a lot of marble that could be quarried if the locals ever decided to reopen this mine. Adventurous travelers carrying a torch can explore the three main shafts.
Heading towards the beautiful small town of Lefkes one might miss the small sign on the right side of the road that mentions an art gallery. A paved road leads up a steep hill ending at a gallery overlooking much of the northern part of the island. The interior contains a number of works of arts including ceramics, rings, and paintings. Picasso’s daughter has some of her work on display here.
Lefkes is the highest and arguably the prettiest village on the island. One can drive partway into the center of the village but then will need to walk the rest of the way. Limited parking is located near the main street. When I say main street I mean a narrow cobblestone street surrounded on both sides by white washed buildings.
A very talented artist maintains a studio displaying detailed religious icons painted on wood blocks. These are quite pricey but are well worth the money, especially for one of her larger pieces. A beautiful church in town is 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. Not many tourists visit Lefkes – rather most hang out on the beaches and near the water.
Some lesser visited beaches are located on the eastern side of the island away from the touristy areas. 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 absl). It is located near the Moni Agiou Ioannou Monastary; 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 ascend rather quickly 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.