If your idea of an idyllic getaway is ‘ Mykonos without the crowds ’ Paros is your Paradise. This secret gem of an island is known for gorgeous beaches, shimmering turquoise waters and enchanting Greek villages. And the gastronomic fare is so sublime, it’s practically addictive. The fashionable and fabulous have taken note; Jon Bon Jovi was spotted in the town of Naoussa.
It’s also a preferred stop off for yachters sailing the Aegean. No wonder – Paros is considered one of the most beautiful Cyclades islands with its endless variety of silky sand spots to sun and swim. Kolymbithres Beach is renowned for its giant moon like granite rock formations large enough for sunbathing, sea gazing and great photo ops. Visitors also love the tiny coves that make perfect swimming pools.
Golden Beach with its crystal clear waters and amazing scenery attracts wind and kite surfers along with sun worshippers and stretches two thousand three hundred feet long. The name comes from the glass elements in the fine sand that produce a warm, sparkling effect. Someone pointed out a handsome Greek movie star at Santa Maria Beach Bar, near Naoussa. Truth be told, he resembled a Greek God. Frequented by the smart set, the venue is more like a beach club replete with loungers, umbrellas, food, drinks, chill music and of course, lovely Santa Maria Beach.
The picturesque village of Naoussa with its traditional, small white washed flowered houses, churches and chapels is located on Paros’ north coast. Built around a Venetian port with colorful fishing boats and a fifteenth century castle, it’s utterly alluring. Chic cafés, buzzy bars and boutiques selling voguish clothing, jewelry and handmade sandals, open into the wee hours, line the winding narrow, stone paved streets of this fashionable ‘ in ’ destination.
Park yourself at a table on the terrace of Bon Jovi favorite ‘Barbarossa’, the ‘hot’ dining spot near the harbor. Feast on mouth watering seafood dishes such as yellowfin tuna tataki with truffle oil, sea bream ceviche marinated with bergamot and tangerine and exquisite crab with chicory and asparagus while taking in the views and happening scene.
Mr & Mrs White, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, debuted last June, just down the road from the center of Naoussa. Showcasing a glamorous take on classic Greek design, it’s as stylish as the well – traveled habitués attracted to the trendy town. A guest told me that she had seen Patricia Arquette at the resort a few days before I arrived.
The intimate boutique hotel is nestled in a secluded spot with landscaped gardens and palm trees so guests wake to birdsong. The white on white theme gorgeously heightens the blue of the 2 snazzy pools and purple of the bougainvillea. Interiors with plush white furnishings feature dove grey as well as black and white striped accents plus some tawny flourishes. In addition to supremely comfortable beds the handsome rooms offer balconies or verandas with a table and chairs.
It’s easy to get blissed out on the cushy loungers by the resort’s pools amid the stunning ambiance. With an excellent buffet breakfast, pool bar and lounge with yummy Greek bites and international delectables, a cool Shisha Bar, attentive staff plus the location – a few minutes walk from town and just minutes by car from the beach – Mr & Mrs White delivers the ultimate Paros getaway.
Driving around the pretty island dotted with Cycladic windmills, historically preserved villages and age-old grand churches, you may even find some architectural marvels. Don’t miss Parikia, the port and capital of Paros. This authentic Greek village with typical arches and medieval vaulted passageways houses the magnificent 6th century Ekatontapyliani Church Of A Hundred Doors, impressive Archaeological Museum and the splendid Frankish Castle.
A ten minute ferry ride takes you to the small companion island of Antiparos where Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Pierce Brosnan have villas. Here you’ll find more beautiful beaches, sleepy tavernas and a traditional town. You may see Bruce Springsteen, Hugh Jackman or Madonna meandering about. While there, enjoy a leisurely lunch on the terrace of waterfront Captain Pipinos Seafood Taverna. Tom Hanks signed a photo on the wall inside. Outstanding octopus, mussels, marinated anchovies, shrimp saganaki and melt in your mouth lobster transported me to foodie heaven.
To Arrange: Mina Agnos and her team of consummate professionals at Athens-based Travelive are experts in arranging customized luxury travel in Greece. They provide top, personalized itineraries with guides, the best hotels, gastronomic picks, transfers between islands and VIP services. If you want authentic Greece at its best, you will love Mina.
How to Get There: Last spring Emirates Airline launched nonstop service from Newark to Athens making it the only carrier to fly this route year round, not just in season. Now travelers to Greece can enjoy the ease of direct flights and experience Emirates’ superior service onboard. The plush private suites in First Class Cabins take traveling in style to new heights. Premier amenities in business and first class include cushy, spacious seats that turn into supremely comfortable, lie flat beds, and most notably, impressive in flight cuisine. A 40 minute flight from Athens takes you to Paros.
Village of Naoussa At Night Photo/Christos Drazos