Paros sits in the heart of the Aegean sea and belongs to the Cyclades. It is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece. The island is easily reachable from Athens by plane and by ferry (Piraeus Port). Being close to famous Cyclades islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos, Paros offers the perfect chance for island hopping!
Paros has something for everyone! Are you ready to discover it?
Margarita’s Studios in the heart of Parikia are tucked away in a quiet residential neighbourhood of town known as Tholos. The area has long been inhabited, as is well indicated by the adjacent historical, archaeological site, where 6th b.c.-century pottery and ceramic kilns can be seen. The studios benefit from their ideal location since it is just a few minutes stroll down the small, winding, stone-covered pathways that are so indicative of the Cyclades and have made Parikia, and Paros, such a perennially popular destination among the countless islands in Greece.
Kolymbithres is the most famous beach in the area of Naoussa, the second-largest village of Paros. The beach is known for its clean water and rock formations.
Golden Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Paros. It has crystal water, and soft sand and the wind is great for windsurfing there. In fact, an international windsurfing competition takes place there every summer.
Santa Maria is a beautiful, organized beach at a close distance from Naoussa. Many watersports centres are located along the coast.
New Golden beach is located on the eastern side of the island, right next to Golden beach. Less developed and popular than its neighbours, New Golden beach is still a nice and organized resort.
Parasporos is a very popular beach close to Parikia. Easy to access and with a nice background, Parasporos is well-organized and has many beach bars.
A peep at the Island’s history
Margarita’s studios is ideally situated for those who have an interest in the island’s history, lying as it does a short distance away from some of the island’s main archaeological sites. The island’s history starts to unfold in the third millennium B.C. when the first settlements appear on Paros, Greece – that was five millennia ago. Pelasgians, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans, Ionians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Franks and Ottomans are some of the people who settled on Paros and the neighbouring Cycladic islands and whose traces are still discernible today. Walking through the cobbled streets of Parikia the history of the island comes alive and invites us to find out more about the island’s past.
A stone’s throw from Margarita’s studios lies a ceramic workshop put to use during the Hellenistic times. It’s a wonderfully preserved workshop in the interior of which we can find the remains of six furnaces and two water tanks. The main furnace was built using slabs of slate that are found all over the island. It has a diameter of 2.50 meters and a height of 3 meters. The furnace’s opening, as well as two of its ventilation windows, are well preserved. Pottery jars were removed from the furnace and placed onto a stone rack that was made of slabs of slate that radiated out of a central stand. The other four furnaces were constructed from ancient jars that had their heads and bases chopped off.
On the opposite piece of land we can see the rusty axis of an olive press and the grounds where grapes were trampled upon to produce wine. Nowadays lying idle they are reminders of the important role that was played by agriculture on Paros up until the recent past. It is for this that one of the many names given to the island in ancient times was ‘Dimitrias’, in honour of the goddess of vegetation and harvest.
Continuing our walk up the road and crossing the ring road we will come across the remains of a ancient Greek sculpture workshop that was in use during the Hellenistic times. A large amount of half-finished sculptures and marble flakes found in the area confirm that the site was used as a workshop or a school of sculpture in ancient times.
Continuing our ascent up the road (and following the signs) we will arrive at a quiet spot from which we can enjoy the view of the town that lies below with the dome of Saint Konstantine in the background. The walls that were unearthed by the archaeologists on this spot mark the limits of the ancient town. These walls were constructed at the end of 7th century BC and used to enclose the whole of the city as well as its harbour. They remained in use in late antiquity.
A maze of cobbled streets awaits us when we return to the old town of Parikia. Don’t get frustrated in case you lose your way while walking through the streets of the old town–this was the reason they were designed like this. Although the island’s main town may seem to have been built in a random, disorderly fashion it served an important purpose: it offered protection to its inhabitants during the frequent pirate attacks. It also offered Parikia’s residents an escape route in case they received unwelcome guests: the adjoining houses meant that they could jump from roof to roof and escape from their pursuers.
Other parts of the old town bear the traces of Venetian influence: vaults and arched gates are hallmarks of Venetian architecture. At the same time we can find many examples of fragments of ancient temples being used in the construction of buildings constructed at a later date (the Frankish castle is a prime example of this). Kosmas Politis, a notable Greek writer, who visited Parikia in the ‘30s said that “the facades of the houses, even the most poorly ones, end up resembling open air museums.” The truth is that however many times you wonder through the town’s streets you are always left with the impression that the place has many more secrets to reveal…