THE MARBLE ISLAND OF THE CYCLADES
Entirely flawless, with pure white homes encircled by wonderful beaches of fine-grained sand just like the Parian marble used for the sculptures of Venus de' Medici at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, displayed at the Louvre in France, the island of Paros is an island highly admired by many.
An island of contradictions, combining the notions of genuine hospitality, Cycladic authenticity and modern luxury, perfect for travellers in search for a one of a kind holiday destination. Either seeking for an authentic island living experience in a private home of their own near a remote coastline or a cosmopolitan holiday adventure with extreme water sports expeditions and a lively night-time scene, Paros is the place to be!
The island of Paros is located in the heart of the Aegean Sea, in the Cyclades island cluster. It is third in size with a population of 12,853 residents. Its shores have a length of 111 km, with many sandy beaches and scenic ports. The plentiful underground waters and the small plains make Paros one of the most fertile islands of the Cyclades. The climate of Paros is temperate, with few rainfalls and mild winters while the summer breeze (meltemia) moderate the heat during the day and calm down at night.
The island of Paros is easily accessed by many ships on a daily basis, conventional and speedboats, from the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio. The trip ranges from 2.15 to 4.30 hours, depending on the boat and the port selected. It also has daily airplane transfers from Athens International Airport: Eleftherios Venizelos and the flights are 35 minutes long. The island has daily boat connection with the islands: Syros, Mykonos, Naxos, Ios, Santorini and Koufonisia.
LIFE IN PAROS
Paros is the only island of the Cyclades which combines all the types of tourism: family holidays, athletic holidays,
peaceful, reveling, meditation, walks and tours of historical interest, a jet-set lifestyle, calm afternoons, noisy nights, crazy sleepless party nights.
It is an ideal vacation place which combines the plain island living with all its peacefulness and solitude with the rich cultural life, the cosmopolitan vibe and the renowned vibrant party scene lasting all summer long.
Paros is one of the most popular vacation destinations as it offers warm hospitality and excellent tourist services to both travelers and new residents who are warmly welcomed by the local community.
In Paros there are many opportunities for entertainment: large clubs, quiet bars, international cuisine, traditional taverns and ouzo bars for the entertainment of both locals and guests.
Many exciting happenings take place all year long including traditional celebrations and customs. Parians are renowned for their dancing and musical talents. The local island dances are syrtos and balos as well as ageranos (that reflects ancient dances), which is accompanied by the lagouto, the violin, the tsabouna (like bagpipes) and the toubaki (like a toubeleki which is a folk drum).
Winters in Paros are quiet but just as interesting. It is an ideal time for rest and relaxation, walks in the mountainous villages of the island and participation in the cultural associations of the island. Some shops remain open and offer a warm, family atmosphere.
Paros has a adequate road network and also features a public Health Center, private physicians, pharmacies in most villages on the island, boat marinas in Parikia, Naousa and Piso Livadi, bank branches, tourist agencies, car rentals, hotels of all categories, large supermarkets and mobile telephone coverage throughout the island.
Paros is an island with history, with findings of the pre-Cycladic civilization; with the most famous white, almost clear marble in the world used for the creation of the most significant sculptures of the Classical Years, such as Hermes of Praxitelis and Nike of Samothrace. The marble is renowned since antiquity for its unique quality and its ability to capture the light. It is characteristic that the depth of its transparency frequently reaches 6-7 cm.
The island also gave birth to many enlightened people, such as the great poet Archilochos who was considered equivalent to Homer and great sculptors such as Skopas and Agorakritos in the classical era whose works decorate the Parthenon.
Findings from excavations on the island during the last 150 years are hosted in the Archaeological Museum of Paros. Distinguished are the figurine of the Lady of Saliaggos and the excerpt of the Parian Chronicle.
Paros is home of one of the most ancient and significant Byzantine monuments in Greece, the church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani.
The climate conditions favor the development of viniculture and since 1981 Paros has been designated a grapevine Cultivation Zone with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), with the native varieties Monemvasia white and Mantilaria red. Local tsipouro called souma (distilled from grapes) is also produced each fall by the cottage industry.
The Parian cuisine which is based on olive oil, onions, greens, bread, wine and less on meat, is considered one of the most balanced in Greece and in Europe. Moreover an older study by UNESCO showed the residents of Lefkes in Paros to be among the most long-lived in Europe, exactly because of their diet.
Paros has one of the largest fishing fleets in Greece. There are fish of all categories on the island such as lobsters, crayfish, squid and cuttlefish. One of the island’s specialties is octopus cooked in wine or with pasta or sun-dried and grilled, urchins but also "gouna"(charcoal grilled sun-dried mackerel) and fish soup "kakavia".
There are also exquisite pies, chick-peas that are oven-cooked in an earthenware pot, meatballs made of legumes and vegetables, large escargot "karavoli ", island sausages, rabbit and squab but also amanites, wild artichokes, fresh broad beans, string beans or kalfa with garlic sauce and capers.
The cheeses of Paros are noteworthy, types like gruyere, sour skim-milk cheese combined with the barley crisps produced on the island, cheese made in goatskin and olive oil-cheese which are still made on the island in the traditional way.
The cultural movement is thriving on the island, where a number of artists work and live permanently.
During the summer period painting and sculpture exhibitions are organized, concerts and workshops by the Aegean University.
In Lefkes one can find the Home of Literature, a hostel for authors and poets, for accommodation, inspiration and creation.
The Aegean Sea settlements have inspired the modern Architectural movement.
"The wise, poetical and superb play of masses gathered under the light", a definition of Architecture by Le Corbusier, is a clear indication of him being influenced of the Aegean Architecture.
The traditional communities of Paros, Naousa, Lefkes, Marpissa, Prodromos and Parikia are considered some of the best examples of Cycladic Architecture, scenic villages, in complete harmony with the environment, humane and livable.
Touring aound the cobbled roads of our villages reveals an untouched world, a wealth of morphological elements of high aesthetic quality, the result of a lengthy tradition in marble-sculpture as well as the influence of religious architecture that gave significant elements such as the arched galleries and the character of the marble décor in some of the most remarkable home examples.