I’d been dreaming about the Cyclades for years and last August that wish finally came true, except I only had 24 hours to spend there. On our trip to Greece, we were predominantly staying in Crete but made some accommodations to fly to Athens, hop on a ferry & arrive to Paros Island with exactly 24 hours to spare. And if I’m being completely honesty (which you can always bet on me to do so!) Those 24 hours was probably the best day we had on our entire holiday.
Here’s 24 Hours on Paros Island:
We took the Blue Star Ferries from the Piraeus Port near Athens, leaving around 6 p.m. The ride was about 4.5 hours and, while I don’t usually do very well on boats, it was surprisingly pleasant as we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset from the back deck. Upon arrival to the island, our AirBnb host picked us up from the port and brought us back to the apartment for a quick tour. Since it was dark when we arrived, I was unable to take in the full beauty of this island until the sun rose the next day.
A Quick Snooze
I knew that we’d be on a time crunch while in Paros and understandably, I didn’t want to waste our precious time sleeping. After a quick couple of hours, we rose up with the sun to a beautiful view outside of our French casement windows.
Our AirBnb was situated a little south of Parikia, about a 10-15 minute walk from the port. We stayed in a small studio beneath our host’s home and were blessed with a paradise view from our window, overlooking the terrace and the bay. Our hosts stocked our refrigerator with fresh juices and fruit from their garden, wine, and Souma, a homemade Paros moonshine. They also supplied us with various snacks and multiple guides on how to enjoy Paros while we’re here.
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For a morning snack, we visited a small gem of a bakery situated on the main road above Parikia. Aliprantis Bakery has plenty of different choices, from fresh buttered croissants to sugared doughnuts and the most exquisite cappuccino I had in Greece.
After a quick breakfast, we headed back to our AirBnb to change into some beachwear. While there are many options of beaches in Parikia near the AirBnb, ours was equipped with a private beach. Walking towards the water through the gardens on our property, we found a door that led to another, opening up to a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea.
Unfortunately, towards the end of the summer, the Greek islands can experience some ridiculous winds, making it almost impossible to enjoy a day on the beach without eating a mouthful of sand. Go figure our one day in Paros it was too windy to sit in the sand but it ended up being a blessing in disguise as we searched for something else to do.
Exploring on a Quad
We suddenly remembered walking past many rental places with ATVs sitting out front so we decided that this would be the best way to explore the island. Walking back on the main road to Parikia, we found a place to rent a quad and paid 45 Euro for a 150cc, spending about 20 Euro in gas for the day. If you rent a quad, try to find a place that isn’t directly near the port as prices tend to be higher here.
Equipped with a brochure map and our little green machine, we headed off to explore Paros on the ATV.
After starting in Parikia, we headed south along the main road that loops around the entire island of Paros. Our host described this road as the California Pacific Highway of Paros. Along this route, we were able to experience the most breathtaking views and stopped at almost every beach on the way for a quick dip. Paros has 25 beaches, and we made it to over half of them by exploring the western, southern, and eastern parts of the island.
Acting as the main port of Paros, Parikia is filled to the brim with restaurants, bars and shops, all characterized by that typical Cycladic look. Windmills dominate the village with pristine seaside views of the bay. Cobblestone alleyways wind you through white-washed buildings with blue shutters where the smell of fresh Greek Bougainvillea flowers float around in the air.
The first town south of Parikia to stumble upon is a tiny fishing village called Aliki. This area has become more popular for tourism in the past few years due to its peacefulness and local charm, accompanied by the crystal clear blue waters decorated with fishing boats. The bright pink flowers, seaside cafes, large beaches, and homemade Greek cuisines make Aliki a tough competitor for a place to stay on Paros Island.
Read More: The Fishing Village of Aliki Guide
Trypiti & Glyfa
After leaving Aliki, we came to a “T” in the road with arrows pointing to Trypiti to the right and Glyfa to the left. Since I wanted to visit every beach on our map, we first took a right to see Trypiti and then headed to Glyfa. While the beaches were predominantly rocky here, it was a perfect spot for a quick dip before continuing on our journey.
The small village of Dryos was next on our stop. Quiet, serene, and maintaining the Cyclades’ blue and white theme, Dryos is a perfect spot to spend a day on Paros with its sandy beach and seaside cafes.
A small distance northeast of Dryos is one of Paros’s most famous beaches. The Golden Beach has sands that stretch quite a distance and many access points to reach the water. A wide variety of water activities are also available here such as scuba diving, waterskiing, wind surfing and kiteboarding and there are multiple shops to rent equipment. Umbrellas and chairs are also available to rent with a small beach bar that offers food and refreshments.
By the time we stumbled upon Logaras, we were hungry for lunch. We parked near the beach and strolled the boardwalk where multiple restaurants and cafes are available to sit at. We settled on Fisilanis, a wonderful Greek-cuisined restaurant which doubles as a hotel and is famous for its daily display of octopus.
It was here at Fisilanis where I tried my new favorite dish: Potato Logaras, a boiled potato with ham, bacon, feta cheese, and milk cream and Saganaki, the Greek’s version of fried cheese. During our lunch, a local’s cat decided to sunbathe on the step next to us.
After eating, we dipped our toes in the water and headed off to the next stop.
Nestled in the middle of a bay, Molos is the perfect place to enjoy a day of sun without the craziness of the wind. The bay actually helps create more waves here, proving as one of the most popular spots for water activities on Paros.
When driving away from the area, beautiful white-washed buildings with blue shutters and gorgeous pink flowers decorate the small villages.
After visiting Molos Beach and taking a quick dip, we headed right at the split in the road towards Kalogeros. The roads on the drive to Kalogeros were very uneven and full of gravel and large rocks; I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking a scooter as a vehicle or a quad is necessary to make it safely.
Kalogeros is known as Paros’s “natural spa” as it contains mineralized mud suggested by locals to cure illnesses and diseases. Follow the beach to the right towards the edge of the cliff to find an abundance of the mud. I only spread it on my legs so I didn’t ruin my bathing suit but beware that most people just strip down naked to rub it all on!
Heading Back to Parikia
Since it was getting a little late in the evening by the time we finished visiting Kalogeros, we ended up heading across the radius of the island to get back to Parikia. I was a tad bit upset about this because I wanted to see Naousa to the north but we didn’t want to get caught in the dark on the ATV on these roads. Unfortunately, my camera died at this point so I was unable to capture the amazing mountainous scenery on the drive back. The roads constantly wind at around 2000 feet above sea level, passing by ancient marble quarries, dating back to 2500 BC.
Once we reached Parikia, we returned our quad and walked back to our AirBnb where we freshened up for an evening on the island.
Wanting to eat somewhere close, we mosied down to Parikia where we had our choice of multiple restaurants looking out over the sea. We chose a restaurant called Nufaro, where I ordered Spaghetti Bolognese with fresh grated parmesan and my husband ordered the Pasticcio filled with beef & a traditional Greek sauce. The food was outstanding and the staff were so very friendly trying to accommodate everyone during a busy dinner hour.
After dinner, we headed back to our AirBnb and down to the private entrance to the beach where a bench, a bottle of wine and a sunset awaited us.
After spending only 24 hours here, I definitely felt like I only got a little taste of what the Cyclades are like. I would’ve loved to stay forever, and probably would’ve, but we unfortunately had to adhere to our itinerary! We hopped back on a ferry and returned to Athens where we flew back to Crete for the rest of our Greece vacation.
Read More: A Western Crete Travel Diary
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