Paros and Antiparos

Paros quickly become one of my favorite islands of the Cyclades. Located in the heart of the Aegean Sea, Paros has many traditional villages showing off the unique Cycladic architecture with cobblestone streets, whitewashed sugar houses and blue-domed churches. The beaches are famous for their exotic turquoise  crystal clear water and the warm golden sand.  It is very easy to get around the island on an ATV and they are readily available at the port for about $25/day.   Given that we only have a small roller and a backpack to house all of our possessions, it makes traveling on an ATV very easy and allows us to see areas that a regular vehicle would have trouble accessing.

We first stayed near Naoussa, one of the prettiest and most cosmopolitan  yet  authentically charming villages in the Cyclades.  It’s labyrinth stone paths open to cute boutiques filled with original artisan souvenirs and wares intermingled with white washed churches, cafe’s and tiny flower covered houses.  The village was built around a tiny picturesque port where little colourful fishing boats called caiques moor and remains of a Venetian castle can still be seen, creating a unique and enchanting atmosphere.

Monastiri Beach Park is absolutely stunning.  There are many single track paths that circle high above some of the most inviting beaches on the island.  The shallow warm water beckons sun lovers to leave the golden sun and dip in.  There are strips of beach that are abandoned and other parts that are surrounded by cafe’s and bars – something for everyone.

Lefkes was the first capital of Paros and is the best example of traditional villages there.  Located on a mountaintop under a pinewood forest where we heard the sounds of cicadas, crickets and screech owls.  The village’s boutique’s, chapels, cafe’s and restaurants are dotted along it’s mostly white washed hill covered with grape vines and colorful bougainvilleas.

Piso Livadi is a fishing port on the east coast of the island.  It has a small sandy beach and many cafes.

Traveling clockwise we reached Aliki, a picturesque fishing village with a well used sandy beach.  This is a very popular tourist destination for many Europeans as the town has much to offer.

From the port of Pounta on the west coast of Paros, we took our ATV on a 7 minute ferry ride to the island of Antiparos.  Fira is the capital of this pristine island which is where the ferry dropped us off. Filled with sun drenched cafe’s, boutiques and a number of beaches, Fira is a lovely place to spend a day.  Riding our ATV south (the only way you can go from the ferry) we headed towards the islands ancient cave.

Antiparos’ Cave is the number one attraction for visitors and is the only vertical cave in all of Europe with a depth of approximately 85 meters. The cave showcases stalactites and stalagmites with one stalactite being the oldest in Europe; estimated to be 45 million years old.   Definitely worth the 6 euro entry fee.  As we rode further south we continued to see some of the least populated and pristine beaches of the islands.  I wished we had more time to spend on this island.