Are you wondering what to do in Parikia, Paros?
Parikia is the capital of the Greek island of Paros and also its biggest city. More than 4,000 people live here permanently, and while that might not sound like much, it is pretty large for a town in the Cyclades.
Plus, this is where you find the port, so you’re going to arrive here if you come by ferry.
If you’re visiting Paros on a day trip, you’ll find lots of great attractions and activities in Parikia. And if you have more time in Paros, this town is the perfect base for your stay as it serves as the island’s transport hub. Plus, you can find lots of amazing things to do in Parikia.
Things to do in Parikia, Paros
#1 Walk around the Old Town
One of the best things to do on Paros is to explore the cute towns and villages, and the Old Town of Parikia is one of the most beautiful ones we’ve seen in Greece.
You can easily spend a few hours getting lost in the maze of alleyways that make up the centre of Parikia. Start your exploration by the port and follow the small pedestrian paths.
Along your way, you will discover lots of small boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.
One of our favourite views in the Old Town is the Orthodox Church near Hotel Dina. With its blue dome and white-washed facade, it looks just how you’d imagine a Greek white church. Plus, the street in front of it widens up just enough to allow you to take a photo.
If you are staying in the evening, make sure to go for another walk after 6 pm. Many of the smaller shops only open up at night, and you can do some of the best shopping in Paros later during the day.
#2 Explore the waterfront
After exploring the Old Town, you should head to the waterfront. The promenade here is another one of the best places to visit in Paros.
Along the waterfront, you can find lots of bars and restaurants. The stretch south of the port is especially nice if you want to enjoy a drink next to the sea.
It’s also worth walking north from the port, as you can find more restaurants there and watch the sailboats anchored in the harbour.
If you walk far enough, you will eventually end up at the beach, where you can find some nice bars and cafes. Their tables take up a large stretch of beach, and the atmosphere is pretty relaxed, perfect for enjoying a drink or snack.
30min (longer if you sit in a bar/restaurant)
#3 Visit the Archaeological Museum
Are you wondering what to do in Paros to learn more about its history?
Then head to the Archaeological Museum in Parikia.
While the museum is pretty small, it’s perfect if you want to see artefacts from Paros from different time periods. The oldest exhibits date back to the Neolithic Period, while the newer ones are from Roman times. That means that humans have inhabited the island for thousands of years!
One of the most impressive exhibits is the statue of Gorgon, with its wings almost intact. We also liked the statue of Nike and many of the smaller artefacts. Some of the pottery found on Paros had pretty interesting shapes and was different to most things we had seen in Athens.
In the courtyard, you can see an ancient mosaic from the Roman period and multiple larger reliefs, columns and other building parts.
#4 Visit the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani
The Church of Panagia Ektontapiliani is one of my favourite Paros attractions.
It’s a complex of multiple chapels and a baptistery, with the oldest parts dating back to the 4th century.
The name Ekatontapiliani means “a hundred doors”. According to one legend, it got its name because it has ninety-nine visible doors, and the 100th door will become visible when Istanbul becomes Greek again. More likely, though, the name comes from the word “katapola”, which means “towards the city”.
When going inside, take your time to visit the different chapels and admire the many icons you can see in the church.
Also, don’t miss the small museum of Byzantine art. You’ll see some stunning exhibits in the three little rooms. Plus, the entry includes access to the upper floor in the church and to the baptistry.
We had some great views from up there, and the baptistry dates back to the 4th century. This makes it the oldest well-preserved baptistry in any Orthodox church!
#5 Sample Greek food
One of the best activities in Paros is, without a doubt, eating Greek food.
You can find lots of great restaurants in Parikia, where you can sample traditional dishes. If you like seafood, you should head to the waterfront, where you can sit down and enjoy freshly caught fish.
But you’ll also be able to eat other traditional Greek dishes, like Moussaka or Souvlaki.
It’s worth noting that in Parikia, many restaurants only open in the evening. We tried to have a late lunch on our first day and were surprised that we had very limited options. That’s because most nice restaurants only open at around 6-7 pm.
And for Greeks, that is still early. Most locals will only go out to eat at around 9 pm. Until then, you’ll mostly find tourists in the Greek tavernas around the Old Town.
#6 See the Kastro
While walking around the Old Town of Parikia, you’ll come across the remains of an ancient Venetian castle. For locals, this is known as the Kastro, and it dates back to the 13th century.
The walls that still stand today have mostly been integrated into the houses in the area, but you can still recognise the funny architecture. Many of the building elements come from ancient structures that stood on the island, including some temples.
In fact, the Kastro doesn’t even look like an old castle, but more like a piece of art, making it one of the most unique things to see in Paros.
#7 Relax on a beach
The Greek islands are famous for their beaches, so one of the top things to do in Paros island is to relax on one.
You can find most of the best beaches in Paros dotted along the coastline, but you don’t need to go very far to have access to a nice beach in Parikia.
Livadia Beach is only a few hundred metres away from the port in Parikia, and you can easily get here on foot. The water is shallow, which is perfect for families, and you can also rent sunbeds and umbrellas here.
as long as you like
#8 Discover the Ancient Cemetery
In the middle of Parikia, you can find an Ancient Cemetery.
I wouldn’t say that this is one of the highlights of Paros, but if you’re in town already, it is worth checking out. Plus, it’s only a short walk from the harbour to get here.
The cemetery is home to graves from Greek times, with the oldest one dating back to the 8th century BC. The graveyard is not open to the public, so you can’t wander around in it, but you can take a good look at it through the fence.
Next to the cemetery, you’ll see a small museum. When we visited, it was, unfortunately, closed. You can get a good look through the windows, though, to see some of the artefacts and bones found here.
#9 Find the windmills
When I think about the Greek islands, one of the first images that comes to my mind is white windmills.
The most famous ones stand in Mykonos, but did you know that you can also find many windmills in Paros?
If you arrive by ferry, you will notice the windmill roundabout next to the port. Inside, you can find the tourist information.
Walk along the waterfront towards the south, and you can then see another windmill in the distance. It houses a cafe, and from here, you have a great view of Parikia town.
Nearby, you can discover two more windmills. They are a little less accessible, but they look very cute and are perfect if you want to take some windmill pictures.
#10 Enjoy sunset in front of the Church of Saint Constantine
Parikia faces west, so you can find lots of great spots in the city from where to watch the sunset.
One option is to sit down in a bar at the waterfront and sip a cocktail while the sun goes down.
Another option is to walk up to the Church of Saint Constantine. This church is located on a small hill, which you can easily access from the waterfront via the staircase next to the public toilets.
Its elevated position makes the church a popular location from which to see the sunset, so expect to share the place with a few other people. Fortunately, there’s lots more space to the right where you can sit down on a bench and enjoy the view of the sun disappearing behind the sea.
How to get to Parikia
To get to Parikia, you first need to get to Paros, and for this, you have multiple options.
The first one is to take a ferry. Paros is well-connected with Athens, and the ferry crossing from Athen’s port Piraeus takes around four hours. You can also find ferry connections to multiple other Greek islands.
Make sure to book your tickets in advance, as the most popular routes can book out. This especially applies if you are travelling in high season with a car! We went in late October without a vehicle and would have been able to buy ferry tickets at short notice, but this is not always the case in summer.
As there are many ferry companies that operate in Greece, we found it easiest to search for ferry tickets through an aggregator website like Directferries. Here, you can get an overview of all of the available connections and book your tickets directly with them.
The second option is to fly to Paros. For this, you first need to fly to Athens, from where you can then catch a flight to Paros. This is a good option if you’re coming from abroad and are at the airport anyway.
From the airport to Parikia, you can either take a bus or a taxi. The buses only go three times a day, so you might have to catch a taxi or arrange an arrival transfer through your hotel depending on your arrival time. You can look up the bus timetable online here.
If you are already in Paros, you can use public transport to get around the island. Buses in Paros operate fairly often, especially between the main towns of Parikia, Naoussa and Lefkes. You can even look up the bus schedule online!
Last, you can also get a rental car for getting around Paros. This is a perfect option if you want to be more flexible and visit some lesser-known places. For getting to Parikia, though, this is not really necessary.
Where to stay in Parikia
You can find most accommodation in Paros in the island’s biggest towns, Parikia and Naousa.
We based ourselves in Parikia, which was an excellent choice. As we already mentioned, Parikia is the island’s transportation hub, so it’s easy to catch a bus from here to explore. Plus, we loved being close to the Old Town and going for walks through the narrow alleys.
Here are some hotels we recommend for staying in Parikia:
Mid-Range: When we booked our trip to Paros, our first choice was to stay at the Argonauta Hotel. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they had to end their season early and therefore closed before we arrived in late October. However, I still think that they are one of the best places to stay in Paros if you’re looking for a mid-range hotel. The interior is bright and nicely decorated, the rates include breakfast, and they have a perfect location next to the port and the Old Town. Check availability and prices now!
Budget: It’s hard to find true budget accommodation in Parikia. Most hotels are in the mid-range section, with some towards the lower price range and others that are a bit more expensive. We stayed at Aegean Village, which is one of the more affordable places in Parikia, and we loved it. The hotel is set up in the Cycladic village style, with white-washed buildings and colourful doors and windows. We had breakfast in the garden, which was lovely. Plus, it’s just next to the Old Town! Click here to see pictures and book your stay now!
A bit more comfort: As we said, most hotels in Parikia are in the mid-range section. If you want more comfort, you will likely need to stay out of town. Paros Palace is a great option. It features bright, white rooms and a pool. Plus, all rooms have a balcony where you can relax. Click here to find out more!
As an alternative, if staying in a luxury hotel is a must for you, you can consider basing yourself in Naousa. This fishing village is where you can find many of the boutique hotels in Paros. The Stelia Mare Boutique Hotel is gorgeous and receives excellent ratings. Mr. and Mrs. White Paros is also a popular choice in Naousa.
Best time to visit Parikia
You can visit Parikia all year long and have a fantastic time.
The summer months of July and August are high season, so expect to see a lot of tourists at that time. They can also get quite hot, but on the other hand, these are the months which are best if you want to spend lots of time at a beach.
If you want good weather and fewer crowds, consider coming in the shoulder season. Mid-May and June, as well as September and early October, are fantastic times to visit Parikia. You will have lots of sunshine, but fewer people.
We visited in late October and still had great weather, with temperatures of around 20ºC. During the day, it was often warm enough to go outside with just a t-shirt, but we needed a thin jacket at night or when the sun disappeared.
An advantage of going later in the year, or even in winter, is that you’ll see far fewer tourists. Be aware, though, that some of the hotels and restaurants close for the winter, so you might have less options available than during the summer.
We absolutely loved Paros, and strolling through the old town of Parikia was one of the highlights of our trip to Greece.
What about you? We would love to hear back from you, so leave us a comment below!
Also, make sure to check out these other resources that will help you plan your trip to Greece:
- Hike to the stunning monasteries of Meteora with our hiking guide
- Coming from further away? Then check out these long-haul flight essentials you need to pack
- Find out about our favourite travel apps and resources
Until your next adventure!
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