Transfer over Mykonos, right here comes Paros Island. Picture / Getty Photos

With equal magnificence and fewer vacationers, Paros and Antiparos might not be as well-known as their neighbouring islands, however they’re extremely fascinating, writes Bob Wallace

Not each (already) top-class vacation spot can boast one other obscenely enticing vacation spot on its doorstep, but when anyplace can, it’s the Cyclades Islands in Greece. Well-known points of interest embrace the hanging white buildings and blue domes of Santorini, and the occasion island of Mykonos.

Nevertheless, the important thing vacation spot on this piece is Paros; of all of the 24 inhabited Cyclades islands, Paros is trending as one of the vital fascinating locations to remain in Greece. Higher but, its bonus attraction is only a quick ferry experience away – the smaller sister island of Antiparos.

The island of Paros is becoming one of the most sought after destinations in the Cyclades islands. Photo / Getty Images
The island of Paros is turning into one of the vital wanted locations within the Cyclades islands. Picture / Getty Photos

Having lately visited Paros as a part of an Intrepid Journey premium small-group tour that took within the a lot vaunted and photographed Santorini, in addition to the biggest of the Cyclades, Naxos, our group chief polled us on the ultimate night of the journey as to which of the locations we rated finest. To his shock, amongst our group from the USA, Australia and New Zealand, the unanimous vote went to Paros – maybe much more fascinating provided that we had simply completed experiencing the undoubtedly magnetic points of interest of Santorini.


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The group opinion was that picturesque Santorini was actually a star-turn, however Paros received by a hair’s breadth as a consequence of its virtually undefinable, evocative attraction. Maybe as a result of it doesn’t host so many vacationers – it has solely 4 flights inbound every day from Athens in contrast with as many as 20 into Santorini (or Thira as it’s identified regionally).

Paros appears comparatively unspoiled with its properly balanced combination of sandy seashores and water sports activities, attractive meals choices, vivid nightlife, conventional whitewashed buildings and nice pure surroundings. London-based mates who frequent Paros described it as not essentially exceptional – “simply prettily Greek”.

Paros seems relatively unspoiled with its port and natural scenery. Photo / Getty Images
Paros appears comparatively unspoiled with its port and pure surroundings. Picture / Getty Photos

It could have helped that our lodging was the wonderful Paros Agnanti resort, sited properly at Krotiri searching throughout the Aegean and above the sandy Krios and Marcello seashores, simply outdoors the principle Paros city of Parikia. Whereas there was no public bus service accessible, the resort offered its personal free of charge mini-bus transport to and from the city centre thrice a day. In any other case, a coastal mountaineering path was nicely definitely worth the 45-minute stroll; not less than within the daylight. Or maybe higher nonetheless, for only a few euros, there’s a half-hourly service by small ferry from Krios that takes about 10 minutes.

Attending to Paros from the Greek mainland could be one thing of an expertise. Taking one of many massive Blue Star ferries on a 3.5-hour journey from the Athens port of Piraeus to Paros is an effective means of moving into the Greek island vacation zone. Boarding and disembarking by the large stern doorways, you deposit your major piece of bags within the devoted areas on the opposite aspect of the deck to vehicles, vehicles and different autos; taking only a day pack upstairs to the seating areas.


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Tip for the hurly burly of disembarkation: Discover an identification level if you park your baggage if you board. That is the place travelling on a bunch journey helps – your group chief will be sure you go searching in the precise space when it’s time to get off.

The Blue Star ferry line serves the Cyclades islands. Photo / Getty Images
The Blue Star ferry line serves the Cyclades islands. Picture / Getty Photos

If you’re not a part of a bunch already, a Paros highlights tour is a straightforward come-by as soon as you’re there. Be certain that it takes in Panagia Ekatontapyliani, the Parakia monastery church with 100 doorways (99 are identified, the one hundredth is claimed to be secret) and the charming hill village of Lefkes, within the centre of Paros, with views of the scenic panorama under, and out to sea. Then head north to the picturesque port city of Naoussa.

You’ll go outdated marble quarries which have contributed to historical past in varied methods. Thought to be superior to marble mined on the neighbouring island of Naxos, prized Parian marble options within the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, in addition to getting used for well-known sculptures, most notably the Venus de Milo. Tiles from Paros as soon as offered the roof of the Parthenon.

It’s even simpler unguided to entry the gem that’s Antiparos. On-line, will present particulars of how one can attain it – basically through the port of Pounta, south of Parikia, or from Parikia itself in the course of the summer time months. Because the closest mainland port to Antiparos, the Pounta ferry takes solely seven minutes and prices a few euros, with autos further, offering as much as 36 sailings a day. The passenger-only Parikia ferry sails 5 instances a day, with the 30-minute journey an equally economical sum of 5 euros (to be paid in money on board).

It is even easier unguided to access the gem that is Antiparos. Photo / Getty Images
It’s even simpler unguided to entry the gem that’s Antiparos. Picture / Getty Photos

Aside maybe from helicopters, the ferries are the one technique to attain Antiparos. This may increasingly add to its enchantment for royalty, rich-listers and film stars, together with Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Pierce Brosnan, who’re amongst its common superstar guests.

However that is no unique escape. Take the general public bus from the principle city and port of Chora (also called Hora, a typical Grecian identify for the largest settlements) to succeed in any considered one of half a dozen sun-kissed seashores – some with extra tavernas or lodging than others. One or two don’t have any such amenities. Remember that on the seashore near Chora, often called Tenting Seashore, clothes is non-obligatory – it has been an official naturist seashore for 50 years.

Idyllic quiet streets on Antiparos Island. 
Photo / Getty Images
Idyllic quiet streets on Antiparos Island.
Picture / Getty Photos

Aside from offering an affordable and straightforward technique to get to the seashores, the bus additionally goes inland and uphill to the exceptional Antiparos cave, within the southern centre of the island. It’s the solely “upright” collapse Greece that’s with out water in its inside and descends 100 metres.

Intrepid travellers can go all the way in which down by a collection of well-constructed stairways and greater than 400 steps. On the descent, marvel at numerous stalactites and stalagmites, together with one large stalagmite that’s thought to be Europe’s most historical.

The cave has been an attraction, shelter and refuge for quite a few legendary figures, in addition to notable others who’ve left their mark in graffiti – the engraved names embrace these of French botanist Coronelli, Venetian cartographer Laeke, and varied non secular heads and royalty, together with Greek ruler King Otto and Queen Amalia in 1840.

Taking place to the cavern’s depths is a memorable expertise and a great degree of health is required. Even the keenest of fitness center attendees might want to relaxation sooner or later. In any occasion, afterwards you possibly can recuperate on a kind of heavenly Paros seashores.


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