Paros

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Paros is one of the gems of the Cyclades, a group of islands that makes up the Greek islands. The Cyclades are my favourite collection with their white washed domes, pebbled streets and of course crystal clear hidden away beaches. It’s normally an annual trip for me to visit Mykonos, one of my most treasured summer spots on earth, but this year I yearned to discover somewhere new.

Myself and two of my closest friends made the trip to Paros from Athens. We took the four hour boat from Rafina, a little port not far from Athens airport (and a stone’s throw from my family house which is convenient) Rafina is a much easier option than Pireaus as its a much smaller port but of course does not offer boat services to all the islands (it currently serves Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, IOS, Naxos and Santorini) We jumped on at 7am and arrived at a leisurely 11am, the perfect time to make the most of our first day.
Where to stay?
We made it to Paros and hopped in a taxi to our hotel in Naoussa. In Paros there are two main towns – Parikia and Naoussa. Parikia is known to be slightly quieter than its neighbour Naoussa, so we opted for the spot with a bit more partying, hehe. Our home for the three nights was Hotel Papadakis which I cannot recommend enough. At just €100 per night for a triple room it is more than affordable but more importantly boasts beautiful Cycladic architecture. I really wanted to show my friends what staying on the Greek islands was all about and this hotel was exactly what I had in mind. I must add though that it is on a bit of hill so not the best option for the elderly (or if you love high heels haha) but it’s stunning nevertheless.
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What to do?
The first thing we did after checking in was to jump on the pool bar and grab an ice-cold Frappé – a Greek iced coffee. Summer isn’t complete without one of those. We decided to find our bearings in the town so took stroll down to the little port at the front. What a stunning gem that was – I can never get over how picturesque the Cyclade towns are with their rickety boats and winding streets. You can find the most beautiful handmade jewellery, local fashion and of course, food that is out of this world. If you are after those bright white shots of the towns without too many people milling about, then head down around 1pm when people are at the beach – be aware though, you will get beautiful shots but you’ll probably melt!
There are a few beaches on the islands I would recommend. We spent a couple of afternoons on Santa Maria beach which is fab and has a gorgeous beach restaurant and bar with fresh fish and lunch snacks. If it’s a windy day it’s always good to ask the locals which beach is best, as you’ll want to find that one that is shielded from the wind that day depending on its direction. Kolimbithres is another little gem and easily accessible from Naoussa and then of course there is Punda beach, the party beach.  All the towns have buses in the center which take you to the different beach spots, they are cheap but get quickly full so try and be there a few minutes before schedule!

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Where to eat, drink & party?

Greek food as you might know is delicious, especially when its good, fresh, local produce. Naoussa has a bunch of different spots for delicious food – below are some of my favourites:

  • Yemeni – Handsdown best spot in Naoussa. This is a small taverna which does incredible traditional Greek food with a twist. Make sure you get booking because it fills up really quickly.
  • Mario’s – This is right in the harbour which is totally buzzing at night. It’s amazing you’ll see people still eating at 2am in the morning, that’s a real Greek summer, no one sleeps!! They have fabulous fresh fish and awesome pasta. Be ready to wait for a table for a little while, the crazy waiters have got the serving down to an art so it will be worth the wait!
  • Barbarossa – We didn’t get chance to try the food here but have heard its amazing. A little bit more pricey, this would be your upmarket choice. Again it does brilliant seafood and local dishes.

Next up are the drinks. In Greece cocktails are never that light, so get ready for a bombshell of alcohol. They are delicious though. Our favourite spot for a pre-dinner tipple was the Panorama bar. It overlooks the little port and has beautiful views of the sunset. All the bars along the front of the port are also great little spots for a glass of wine or a dessert if you fancy.

Last, but not least, is the partying. After about 2am the town comes alive. All the young Greeks working on the island for the summer finish up their shift and get to the bars, the tourists are waiting for a boogie and the clubs finally open. There is a mini collection of bars next to each other which hilariously work in a domino effect. Earlier in the evening you start at Babarossa then you move to Agosta and finally for the 4am-ers who still want a party, they can move to Come Back. We lasted pretty late most nights and did enjoy a couple of sunrises – but what is a Greek summer without a beautiful sunrise?

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