After an eventful time spent in the party paradise of Greece, it was now time to head to the next island on our itinerary and that was Paros.
Considering there are several islands to consider when visiting Greece, we had researched a lot and finally had chosen a balance of party plus relaxed islands. While a lot of people head to Ios or Naxos after Mykonos, our research had revealed that Ios majorly was a hub for super young crowd as tourists. Considering we were definitely not a group which fell in that category, we decided to choose a different island which suited our needs and style better.
This is how we finally closed on to Paros, an island which is around 90 mins away from Mykonos by ferry.
Paros as an island is a good mix of nightlife, great beaches, traditional villages and excellent vibe in general. Especially for those who have partied way too hard in Mykonos and now just want to relax, I highly suggest that you consider visiting Paros. In fact another option to visit or stay is Antiparos, which is much smaller than Paros and quainter.
While we had originally planned to do a day trip to Antiparos, we unfortunately missed out on our visit.
Our Blue Star ferry ride was very comfortable and luxurious as well. There was a lot to do on the ferry and we didn’t even realise how the time passed.
In Paros, we had booked a 3 BHK Airbnb villa which had great reviews for the property as well as for the hosts. Our hosts were gracious enough to even offer to pick us up from the port and get us back to the property.
And so, as soon as we got off the ferry, I contacted our hosts, and soon we were settled in their cars (since we were 5 of us, they had got two cars keeping our comfort in mind) and heading to the villa which as per them was just 10 mins away.
Parikia, is the port town of Paros and since it was considered as the heart of the island, I had purposely booked a villa close to the town. While on the way to the villa, our hosts gave us a little info of the town and apart from telling us where to eat, where to head in the evenings and what to eat; they also gave us some numbers on who to contact in case we wanted to rent a bike, quad or a car.
While we were really keen to rent quads, we all decided that it was best to stick to vehicles we could actually ride and thus for the 2 days here, we decided to stick with bikes. YEAHHH….
Soon we were at the villa- Villa Petra, and we were all superrr happy to be here. Not only was the place as good as it looked in the pictures online, but it was actually even better. The house was so well maintained, with spacious bedrooms, a huge kitchen area and an even bigger living room. But my favorite part of the villa as the porch area. While the view from the porch wasn’t as good as the view from our Mykonos villa, however the seating was extremely comfortable and there was a Jacuzzi as well (which we didn’t use. Stupid us..). The villa also came along with a cat attached to the porch. Like a real cat guys, not a statue or anything. While I am so not a cat person, but this little white fur ball was different. She just straight away came fearlessly to us and welcomed us to her home. Since the hosts had already left by then, I could not ask them for the cats name and hence decided to give her a name myself. I decided to call her- Princess Laila :). A princess indeed she was.
After having a cup of tea and some fresh fruits(our super amazing hosts had left a well-stocked kitchen for us), we decided to walk it to the town and get some bikes on rent and then head out for a little ride around the town.
A thing to keep in mind- some of the rental companies can get finicky with the driving license you hold. Unless your driving license clearly has the word motorbike printed, the bike/car rental shops refuse to rent out their vehicles. Thankfully three of us had licenses which met the requirement and after negotiating rates with few shop owners, we finally got our bikes.We asked the locals on where we could head at this point to see a good sun set and chill on the beach. Most of the suggested we go to Marcello Beach. It was just far enough for us to ride our bikes with the wind in our hair, without the backs starting to hurt.
The ride initially though was hot but soon enough was bearable because of the wind.
We reached the beach around 6 pm and it was almost already sunset time. We had carried some beach mats and so while few of us went to park our bums and admire the view, the others decided to go for a swim. It was a perfect, go with the flow kind of day.
We did end up clicking lots of photos and with the jokes and the laughter and of course the beer to accompany all of this, it was indeed a great day.
By 7.30 pm we decided it was time to head back to Parikia, where we decided we would grab some dinner and then head back to our amazing Airbnb to just do nothing. The bliss of ‘keeping it light’ was indeed an enjoyable one.
Once back in town, we parked our bikes and walked around the Parikia port area. There are a number of small shops which sell great stuff like clothes, bags, accessories, shoes etc and walking around the lanes was amazing especially now that the sun had set and the cool sea breeze was starting to become cooler.
Finding a cozy restaurant next to the sea wasn’t very difficult as there are several options, however, keep in mind, that Parikia unlike Mykonos is not a party town. And hence, most of the shops and restaurants shut off early i.e. by 9 PM.
Our cuisine for the night was Italian with some amazing wine and I could so get used to this kind of living. Sighh..
It was still early in the night, and we decided to see go see the FIFA World Cup match which was ongoing on our travel days. In fact, in the whole trip, there were several days when we went and watched the match as there were few of us who were football fanatics (I definitely was not one of them).
Someone mentioned the Dubliner Irish Pub for the same and told us that it was one rare place where the party went on later than the rest of the town. We need no more convincing and headed right there.
Almost at the other end of the port, near the wind mills, we located the Irish Pub. A huge place with a very young crowd, and quite buzzing for the quaint little town of Parikia, is how I would define the Dubliner Irish Pub. We did go in for a while, had a few drinks and then decided that since tomorrow was going to be a heavy drinking and party day (it was my birthday eve tomorrow night 🙂), we would call it a night early tonight and save the energy for the next day. When a group of friends make such sane decisions, you definitely know that they are no longer in their twenties..lol.
Next morning, we all gathered at the breakfast table, with everyone buzzing around and fetching from the well loaded fridge whatever they felt like eating. While eating, we all made plans to hop on to our bikes again and to head to the Santa Maria beach. A lot of good reviews online prompted us to make this decision. Luckily for me, in this trip I had one of my closest friends who was an even bigger planner than I am. And so, this vacation was perfect for me to step back and just go with the flow.
Santa Maria was a good hour and a half away and hence we decided to leave by 11 am so as to be able to make it by lunch time and then nap it off at the beach beds. Beach destinations make it so easy to plan what to do throughout the day. It mainly is as follows, pack up your stuff- reach the beach- get a drink- put sunscreen- doze off in the sun. Simple.
Soon we were all heading to Santa Maria on our bikes, with my friend and me taking turns to keep the GPS on for navigation. We did manage to still take few wrong turns, but that was no biggie. In fact, in one such wong turn we managed to spot a great place called Naoussa where we found out that the night life was superb. Perfect spot for us to head to tonight for our ‘wild-night’.
Once we had made it finally to the Santa Maria beach, we looked around for a good place to eat as we were already hungry. This is one area where you will have no problems in Greece. There is literally a great restaurant in every corner.
We food our food paradise for the day and ordered a good mix of salads, breads, pizzas and seafood to go along. Without even saying it, drinks with every meal should be assumed my dear friends. Once we had our share of food, we decided to doze off the laziness by finding a great spot of the beach. That was again not a task. In fact, we managed to get some beach beds which was even better than lying on the hot sand.
In between the naps, we managed to get into the water, go hiking on the small rock structure near the beach beds and even play some volleyball. Multi taskers aren’t we 😉
By 4 PM, we decided to head back as we had decided to go home, freshen up and then take a bus from Parikia town to our new found treasure- Naoussa for the night. Taking bikes at night time especially after drinking wasn’t an idea we were all keen for(responsible ‘non-twenty’ year olds’ remember), and hence the town bus suited us perfectly.By 6.30 PM, we were all dressed up and seated in the town bus ready to paint the town (literally).
Naoussa has gradually turned from a quiet fishing village into an increasingly stylish resort and visitor destination. Perched on the shores of the large Plastira Bay, there are good beaches nearby, excellent restaurants and an ever-expanding number of chic beachside hotels, cafes and bars. Behind the waterfront is a maze of narrow, whitewashed streets.
We had read about this description in Lonely Planet, but only once we reached did we realise how true it actually was.
The cutest little town everrr. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. We managed to get some good shots before it became completely dark, post which we decided to see the FIFA finals (yes, it was also today) before finally heading to some clubs to drink away.
I tried a local beer which was Red in color and I loved it. It was kind of sweet tasting and that’s why I liked it so much. I managed to have two huge mugs of it before the match got over, which was so much fun to watch btw. By the end of it, we were soooo ready to party.
That night was one crazy drinking night. We hopped bars like it was no body’s business, had zillion shots of Sambuca (throat still burns thinking of those shots that I had), danced like it was our last night and in short had a ball of a time. There are several places that you can head to when in Naoussa, some of the ones I recommend are Insomnia, Fouska, Summer MINNiE Chez LINARDO and Kosmos Bar.
I have no recollection when the night ended, when and how we caught a ride back to Parikia, what time we got into bed and how many times I had to rush to the bathroom to puke my guts out(sorry, but had to give you all the details you see ).
Thankfully, we had an afternoon ferry to Santorini and so could sleep off our tired little not so young bodies and gather the courage to pack all our belongings, head over to return our bikes and finally managed to catch the ferry where we again crashed and slept through out the journey.
That’s all about Paros, but hang on, as the Greek chapter is yet not over. Next up- our Santorini experience.