With the first half of our Greek vacation done and dusted, we boarded a ferry in the port of Mykonos and arrived in the port of Parikia (on the island of Paros) about 50 minutes later. It was a fast journey and passenger-only ferries are faster.
Mykonos and Paros are very close to each other with the narrowest width of the channel between them being only a mile. In fact, Mykonos is so close to Paros and Naxos that we could see either Paros or Naxos (not sure which one) from Super Paradise Beach in Mykonos.
The photo below was taken one morning from Super Paradise Beach. The black arrow points to either Paros and Naxos. My gut says Paros but what do I know?
We arrived in the main town of Parikia and then got into a pre-booked taxi which transported us, along with two random strangers, to our hotel.
Our boutique hotel was located on the outskirts of the village of Naoussa. If you plan on visiting Paros, I recommend staying in or near Naoussa versus Parikia for not other reason than Naoussa has a better vibe.
Our first task after arriving at the hotel was to sort out our car rental situation. Similar to renting a car in Mykonos, the car rental company delivered our car, a Ford Focus, to our hotel and we signed the car rental agreement at the pool bar while drinking cocktails. This only made sense, right?
Our Ford Focus felt like a limousine compared to the Smart car we had in Mykonos but it drove much smoother and was a nice change from the jerkiness of the Smart car.
We visited Paros in mid-season and we paid, on average, 8€ per day for two loungers and an umbrella. The quality of the loungers was far inferior to the quality of the Santorini and Mykonos loungers. They did not have cushions, were shorter lengthwise, and were made of nylon and aluminum. In other words, they were pretty terrible.
The beaches of Paros also left a lot to be desired.
The first beach we visited was Monastiri Beach simply because it was close to our hotel. It was not great. Not even good. It was terrible.
There were cigarette butts all over the packed sand and the sun loungers were falling apart. Since I’m not a beach fan, a beach has to be really nice to get me to stay there. This one fell short and we left the beach shortly before lunch and drove to Santa Maria Beach.
Santa Maria Beach was also terrible. In fact, it was worse than Monastiri Beach. It was full of litter and I refused to walk barefoot in the sand because there were cigarette butts everywhere.
How can the beaches be so dirty when the water is so clear and clean?
We stayed at Santa Maria Beach until 4pm. Defeated, we drove back to the hotel and agreed that we would have another go at a third beach the next day and if we failed, then we’d spend the rest of our vacation at our hotel pool.
The following day, we drove to Golden Beach and it was slightly cleaner than the prior day’s beaches. It also had a decent restaurant nearby. I guess it ticked all of the boxes because we returned to Golden Beach for a second time the following day.
One downside to Golden Beach was that the sun loungers were made of aluminum and nylon but this had become a theme in Paros, so somewhat to be expected. We had been spoilt in Santorini and Mykonos with fancy wooden sun loungers with fat cushions.
A second downside was that it was about a 30-minute drive from our hotel to the beach and while Paros is not as small as Mykonos, it’s still a small island. It felt like the drive lasted forever. Peter slept both ways.
One upside to Golden Beach was that you could get a massage on the beach (excellent!).
As with our vacations to Santorini and Mykonos, we spent one morning exploring the quaint village of Naoussa.
Naoussa has a small port and scooters and cars are not permitted with the exception of on the main road that runs along the boundary of the village. I like pedestrian-only villages!
It was the complete opposite of Mykonos Town where scooters/motorbikes were permitted. Naoussa was completely quiet, especially in the late morning when we were exploring. It seemed like only the cats were out-and-about!
One extremely important thing to know about departures from the Paros airport is that it is imperative that you check in for your flight online the day before departure.
This is regardless if you’ve been allocated a seat when you purchased your ticket. Having a ticket means nothing when it comes to departing Paros on a plane and checking in early means everything. I repeat. Everything.
The owner of our Paros hotel approached us the day before our departure and asked us if we had checked in for our flight and we told him no. He told us that if we do not check-in online (ASAP), we’d need to get to the airport at least two hours prior to departure.
Thoroughly confused by his advice, we asked why he recommended that we arrive two hours early at a tiny island airport when we already had tickets.
He explained that the runway is extremely short and though the plane has ~30 seats, the flight crew never allow more than 16 passengers on the plane otherwise the plane would be too heavy to physically lift off of the runway before running out of runway length.
Oh. Oh boy.
We immediately checked in for our flight.
Our hotel owner was correct. The flight crew only allowed 10 people to board our flight and boarding was on a first-come, first-serve basis. Since we had checked in online the day before, we got priority over the queue of people waiting to check-in at the airport.
I think there were four people who were not allowed to board the flight. Don’t be those people!
Feeling grateful to be seated on the plane, the next hurdle was to physically lift off of the ground before running out of runway length. This was a first for us.
The pilot taxied the plane to the end of the runway and then turned it around. Then he reversed the plane to the very, very, very end of the runway to allow for as much runway length as possible.
Our plane obviously took flight but it was a little nerve-wracking!
In conclusion, four nights in Paros was just about right. As with Santorini and Mykonos, it would be unlikely that we would return to Paros.