The first time we visited Paros back in 2016, as a couple, it was only for a day. On our way from Astypalea to Mykonos we stopped at the island to change ferries, but ended up loving Naousa so much that we decided to stay overnight. The island left us with a great impression and we left sure that one day we would return to spend more time and get to know it better.
On our second and recent visit, we spent 9 days on Paros, and enjoyed a day trip to Antiparos. Also, this time we had one more traveler with us, our little daughter, Little M, who was 21 months at the time of the trip. Having all this time and a car to explore the island, we gathered enough information and tips to share them on this Paros guide for families that we created for you. We hope to answer as many questions you might have about visiting this gorgeous and family friendly Greek island.
Quick facts about Paros
Group of islands: Cyclades
Population: 13,715 (2011)
Official Website: http://www.paros.gr/en/
Getting to Paros
There are two main ways to get to Paros, both are easy, not both are cheap.
The cheapest way: airplane and ferry
You can fly to Athens and from there take a ferry either from Rafina or Pireus ports. The trip from the airport to Rafina is about 20 minutes by car, and to Pireus approximately 40 minutes. The ferry trip from one of these two ports to Paros normally takes 4 hours, but there are some faster options with highspeed boats (all 3 ferry companies that offer this route also offer highspeed boats) that can take as little as 2 hours and 45 minutes (these are a bit more expensive).
The most expensive but fastest way: airplane
You can fly to Athens or Thessaloniki and from there take a regional direct flight to Paros. There are daily flights from Athens (ATH) and (SKG) to Paros (PAS).
We always chose to go with the ferry, which is also a fun way to travel, especially as a family. The ferries are big, with restaurants, terraces, bars, and even a business class which isn’t even expensive. For price details, see section Costs of a trip to Paros below.
On our both trips to Greece we flew with Aegean Airlines, which to be honest is great. They are very friendly with children, in some flights they even provide some toys. They serve warm food onboard, the airplanes are new, and the staff is very helpful. When flying with children under 2 you are allowed to take a stroller without extra costs, even if you haven’t paid for checked luggage.
As for ferry companies, here are the companies that take you to Paros from Athens and from other islands:
You can buy the ferry tickets directly on the ferry company’s website or on general websites such as Go-Ferry.com. What we always do is we search for the ferries on a general website, then we buy our tickets directly at the companies website. The good thing about searching on a general website is that you get the timetable of all ferries, this way you can choose what suits you best then head to the company’s website to book the tickets. As far as we noticed, the are no difference in price between the general websites and the ferry’s companies’ websites.
While buying your ferry ticket you might get confused with the seat/accommodation options. The business, VIP’s and airseats guarantee you a place to sit. We have previously traveled on economy, business, cabine and air seats.
Economy: you basically roam around the boat to find a place to stay: on the corridors, decks, restaurants, etc. It can be stressful if the boat is full, and especially if you’re traveling as a family.
Business: is a reserved area with couches, chairs and tables, and normally has its own bar/restaurant.
Airseats: similar to a business class in an airplane but with much more space.
Cabines: mostly with bunk beds and private bathrooms. I recommend this one in case your trip is really long, like ours from Athens to Astypalea (about 10 hours). Otherwise, I don’t find it necessary.
Why is Paros family friendly?
When I say family friendly I consider activities/places for everyone, babies, toddlers, teenagers, and yes, please, us parents as well, because we surely need to have some fun on a family trip, don’t we? So here are some of the reasons why Paros is family friendly:
1. The locals are incredibly friendly with children. Yes, the Greek in general love children, and they do their best to make them feel welcome and happy, wherever they are. Every restaurant you go, there are high chairs, people will always talk to your little one, will offer to bring a juice or something to keep them busy, and they even offer to keep your stroller when there isn’t space between the tables.
2. The food. The variety of Greek food is great enough that I’m sure your little one will end up loving something, if not everything. And they certainly will love the fact that almost every restaurant on the island gives desert for free. Also, though most restaurants don’t normally offer a kid’s menu, all you need to do is ask for a smaller portion, or something that’s not in the menu at all, like pasta and butter, if that’s the case.
3. The beaches are amazing, in every side of the island. There are quiet and secluded ones with calm waters, there are the ideal ones for watersports (which include surf, sailing, kitesurf, windsurf and diving), and others to enjoy great food and cocktails laying on a sunbed under the shade of an umbrella.
4. It’s laid back. Even during the peak season the island is never crowded, like Mykonos or Santorini for example. Here, you will only find stress with you’re looking for it. On the island, driving isn’t complicated, its size is perfect, from north to south takes about half an hour by car, which means nothing is ever too far from where you are. Also, there are plenty of beaches and they are almost never full, in some cases you might even have a beach all to yourselves. The same goes for the villages, during the day the streets are almost empty. It’s only at night it gets busy.
5. Good prices. In comparison to other islands, especially in the Cyclades, Paros offers great value for what you get. That being in terms of accommodation, car rental or food. Keep reading to have an idea about costs in a section below.
6. The island’s size is perfect, not a huge island to make it impossible to see half of it. In one week you can see almost the entire island if you want to, in detail.
Things to do in Paros
There are plenty of things to do in Paros, that being as a couple, with friends or as a family. We’ve selected the best for your family:
Relax on the beaches
Of course. One of the main reasons why you choose to spend a summer vacation on an island, am I right? Paros is paradise for beach lovers. There is a list of over 35 beaches on the island, we visited 11 of them, some in the north, but most in the south. Here they were: Glyfa, Faragas, Trypitis, Boudari, Aliki, Golden Beach, Kolympithres, Piperi, Logaras, Santa Maria, Piso Livadi
Soon I will publish a post with my top 5 beaches on Paros to make your decision easier, and on this post I will also give you a few extra tips for visiting each.
Wander around Naousa
Naousa is not the capital of Paros, nor has the main port of the island, but it is the most charming, the most beautiful and the busiest village among them all. Here is where most will meet after a day on the beach, here is also where most travelers will choose to stay while on the island. It’s no wonder, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Naousa with its white washed houses, bougainvillea, and narrow streets filled with cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.
Lefkes was Paros’ first capital, and though located in the center of the island, this village is incredibly charming and well shaded (in case you’re wondering if you’re going to melt visiting it in the middle of the day). It is also a village filled with white washed houses and composed by pretty narrow streets. It’s pretty small, so a couple of hours here is enough to walk through it all. The main sightseeing here is its Byzantine church, Agia Triada (Holy Trinity), which is famous for being made by white marble, glimmering under the sun.
Take day trips to nearby islands
Around Paros there are other amazing islands worth the visit: Antiparos, Naxos and Koufonisia. Our recommendation is Antiparos, where one day is enough to visit its main village, its famous cave and even go to the beach. Moreover, the trip between Paros and Antiparos takes about 10 minutes by ferry (yes, you can take your car/ATV/scooter on board). Ferries leave every half an hour, easily connecting both islands. Soon I will also dedicate a post to a day trip from Paros to Antiparos with much more details.
Many also recommend Mykonos, Amorgos and even Santorini as a day trip. We don’t recommend this for two main reasons:
1. It’s expensive. A ferry ticket with a highspeed boat to Mykonos, for example, is a bit over €50 per person, which means both ways will cost you €100 per person.
2. A day trip won’t do justice to these islands. I mean, if I want to visit Santorini really bad I won’t do it as a hushed day trip, I would like to stay longer.
However, combining a trip to Paros with other Greek islands it’s definitely worth it.
Kitesurf, windsurf and sailing are some VERY popular activities on the island. Paros is a beloved destination for those who love these watersports, as the winds are very favorable. On the island is also possible to go diving (if you follow the blog long enough you know we’re divers). We’ve seen many diving centers around the island, but because we didn’t have anyone to leave our little one with, we didn’t manage to go diving.
These watersports activities can be interesting not only for us parents, but also for teenagers. Snorkeling is also a great activity for everyone.
As mentioned above, the parents also expect to have some fun in their family holidays, so why not a wine tasting? We are wine lovers, and if there is an opportunity to do a wine tasting, we take it. In Paros you can taste the local wines at Moraitis Winery and at Asteras. We chose the first one, as we only learned about the second when we were on the island.
The wine tasting at Moraitis winery is child friendly, in case you’re wondering (this was our biggest worry). It’s done on their restaurant, so you have a table for you (and yes, high chair included). They also have some finger food that can be ordered, and instead of wine the little ones can drink juice. Though we recommend to get in touch with them in advance and make a reservation, it is also possible to just show up and ask to do the wine tasting. We can highly recommend this activity, and don’t be afraid to take the kids along.
Where to stay
In terms of location, if you have a car it won’t really matter which side/part of the island you will be staying at, from north to south takes about half an hour to forty minutes by car. Everything on the island will be easily reachable for you.
We stayed in Dryos, which is a very tiny village in the southeast, and we loved it. We found it to be the perfect location for us as it was close to the best beaches, and at the same time only 20 minutes away from Naousa, where we went every day for dinner. Also, if you have a car you don’t really need an accommodation by the beach. If you stay somewhere up in a hill you will get the bonus of having an amazing view of the sea.
In terms of type of accommodation, in Paros you have hotels and B & B’s, rented houses and apartments, all varying among luxury and simple places. It is really up to your budget and what you’re looking for.
We chose to stay at Dryades Family Hotel, a simple, beautiful and family friendly accommodation. The owners are lovely and do everything they can to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Some of their rooms have a small kitchen, and all of them have a beautiful sea view from where you can see Naxos.
Where to eat and drink
Greek food is amazing no matter what, you can’t really go wrong when picking a restaurant to eat in Paros. However, there are always the best among the good ones. After 9 days of eating out and trying different places around the island, these were our top of the top favorites and we can happily recommend them:
Anezina in Dryos
Everything you order here will be delicious. Everyone is very friendly and care about you. Their fried calamari, steamed mussels and beef in beer sauce are amazing. We came back here a few times, in fact our last meal on the island was here.
Ouzeri Halaris in Piso Livadi
Recommended to us by locals. It was here where I had my favorite meal of the trip, grilled squid. On top of it all, their terrace is by the little harbor of Piso Livadi, a pleasant and very Greek setting for a traditional Greek meal.
Kafeneio Palia Agora in Naousa
This little restaurant is located on our favorite little street in Naousa. It is a great place to have a bite. Their menu isn’t long, but you need to try their meatballs and pastrami. Though with small tables in the corner between two narrow streets, if space is a problem for a stroller, the staff offers to keep it inside the restaurant so you can have more space. This place can get quite busy at night, it’s no wonder.
Romantica in Naousa
Great for fish. W. claims that his favorite meal of the trip was here.
Itria Cocktail Bar
The most colorful bar of the island. Also located on our favorite street of Naousa, right next to Kafeneio Palia Agora. Here you will have the best and coolest Strawberry Frozen Daiquiri, trust me. And don’t worry, they are child friendly, Little M had a blast, while we were having our cocktails, she was having juice and felt like a grown up with us.
Cocktail prices: between €9 and €10.
On the island you won’t have problem finding supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, clothing stores and others. As usual, because you’re on an island, products here are normally more expensive than on mainland.
Supermarkets: they are small, but have all the basics you need, even many products from international brands.
Clothing stores: don’t expect to find stores of the international brands you’re used to, in Paros you will find local stores, some sell products of famous brands, but most are selling Greek brands, which I personally like and find it more original. I don’t really go to a Greek Island expecting to find a Zara store (though I love this brand). I rather buy handmade Greek sandals and dresses.
Paros has amazing weather from May to September. The first time we were on the island it was in May, at this time the water temperature is still too cold for a swim (at least for my taste). However, the air temperature in general was perfect to be out the whole day. The second time it was late June and the water temperature was ideal, though in the mornings the water was colder than later in the day. However, the air temperature during the day was incredibly hot, some days reaching 40 degree Celsius.
What’s important to know about the weather in Paros is the wind. The island can get pretty windy, 60km/h winds, and this can be quite annoying, especially on the beaches. Theses winds come from the north, which means the beaches in the north of the island are most affected, the water gets choppy with waves and the wind blows sand on your face.
Our tip for when it’s windy on Paros is to go to the beaches on the Southeast, especially Boudari, Glyfa, Trypitis, Faragas or even the little bay at Piso Livadi. Also, avoid hanging clothes to dry outside and pay attention to your belongings while on the beach so they don’t fly away. Luckily there are stones everyone on the island.
Costs of a trip to Paros
That’s probably a topic that interests many of you, especially those of you who followed our trip on social media. I did my best to break down to you how much you should expect to spend in different categories, I hope it helps. Here we go:
Accommodation: expect to pay at least €500 per week for a basic hotel room that accommodates two adults and a child under 2 years.
Food: expect to pay between €30 and €40 for a meal in a great restaurant, breakfast costs between €20 to €25 (prices are for two adults and a child under two).
Drinks: a beer on a restaurant/bar costs about €4.50 Euros, a cocktail varies between €8 and €14. 1L bottle of water is €1.
Rental car: the average daily price of a rental car varies between €35 and €50. This price depends on whether it’s a manual or automatic transmission (of course automatic costs more).
Gas: 1 liter gas costs about €1.86 Euros.
Beaches: some beaches are partially organized, which means if you want sunbeds and an umbrella it will cost you between €10 and €20 depending on the beach. Know that even on those beaches you are still free to take your own stuff, it is not mandatory to stay on the organized part.
Ferries: a ferry ticket from Athens to Paros varies depending on the company you choose, the seat/accommodation you want and whether it’s a highspeed boat or not. Children under 5 don’t pay for ferry tickets, and between 5 and 10 pay only 50% of the price.
I’ve done a price simulation for you to have an idea (prices are for 1 adult, in a normal boat, one way only during the summer season):
Plane fares: a return flight from Athens to Paros costs about €200 (per person), if you’re lucky you can get it for €150. Which means, if you’re traveling as a family it will be an expensive way to reach Paros.
What to pack to Paros in the summer for the whole family*
→ Light clothing (dresses, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, skirts… leave the jeans behind)
→ Flip flops and sandals
→ Beach bag
→ Beach towels (in case your accommodation doesn’t offer them)
→ Hoodie/cardigan/jeans jacket (for the windy days)
→ Beach toys (though you can easily find them on the local stores)
*I’m already considering that you’re taking the basics and your personal musts (i.e. toothbrush, shampoo, etc)
♦ Paros is a well located island among the Cyclades, which makes it very easy to combine your visit to other islands. Some of the islands you can easily combine with are: Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Amorgos and Ios.
♦ On the island is also very common to rent ATV’s, which is probably a good idea for couples who want more adventure while saving some money. We did this on our first visit to the island.
♦ It is possible to get around the island with the local buses, and it’s up to you if you prefer doing that. However, it takes longer to explore the island this way, and it also requires you to walk up and down the hills to reach the beaches.
♦ Renting a car: you can either book online in advance, or once you get there. We chose to book it online. Also, keep in mind that some of the ferries arrive late at night on the island, which was our case, and it’s still possible to get your rental car later at night, but it will cost you an extra fee of about €25 depending on the company.
♦ Always leave enough time between ferries and flights, if necessary book an extra night in Athens. I do highly recommend this. On our first trip everything went as planned, on our recent trip flights were delayed, ferries were cancelled and delayed. In the end we had to book a night in Athens so we wouldn’t miss our flight back home because of a delay on our ferry.
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*All costs related to this trip was on us, we didn’t get any discount or sponsored services during our trip. Therefore, none of the companies/brands mentioned on this post paid us for being included here. Also there aren’t any affiliate links either*