At the top of preferences among the Greek islands in recent years, Naxos remains an island in direct contact with its tradition, organically integrating its development needs with the needs to provide an authentic experience. With its beautiful, sandy beaches in the foreground, as well as the rich history of its settlements and archaeological landscape in the background, the island’s rich cultural and gastronomic heritage goes hand in hand with the evolution of its tourist infrastructure, combining harmoniously the everyday life of the islanders with the genuine hospitality experience they provide to visitors.
A mosaic of details narrating not only the different phases of the temple but also the island itself, the imposing Ekatontapiliani church is the oldest Byzantine church in the Aegean, and one of the most important Early Christian monuments in Greece. The sculptures that adorn its interior come from the ancient temple of Demetra in Parikia, while the baptistery of the temple is the oldest of the Orthodox Church. Inside it houses the Byzantine Museum of Parikia with a collection of rare icons and relics.
The Valley of Butterflies
Less popular than the one in Rhodes, but fascinating thanks to the alternating landscape that welcomes the visitors, encircling them with a lush forest in the midst of a dry Cyclades island, the Butterfly Valley of Paros is a revitalizing biotope where hundreds of reddish butterflies find refuge.
Just half an hour’s distance by ferry from Punta, or a boat from Parikia, this Aegean diamond with crystal clear waters is Paros’s most sophisticated little brother, in whose territories lies a cave with Europe’s oldest stalagmite – 45 million years old!
Kolybithres are of unique beauty with huge sculpted rocks, a choice of youth with beach sports is the Monastery beach, demanding in access (and nudist-friendly) is the sandy Laggeri, quiet choices are Tsoukalia and Glyfades, for natural peeling Kalogeros beach clay is an ideal solution, best seller among the youth is Punta beach, ideal for windsurfing is the vast Nea Chrysi Akti and Punta, the cosmopolitan and leeward Faraggas featuring a beach bar. Small and popular Lolantonis, family-friendly Aliki and Glyfa, usually windswept but cosy (equipped with a beach bar) Parasporos.
A dish that connects Paros with its agricultural past, when the majority of Paros residents served their table with whatever their land gave them, revithada (stewed chickpeas) was prepared in a clay pot, with the chickpeas being mixed with onions or tomatoes and cooked all night long in the wood-fired oven, while absorbing the juice from the vegetables until they get a soft texture and woody but juicy flavour, bringing out the taste of simplicity.
The deep livestock farming tradition of Paros is going hand in hand with a rich cheese-making heritage, with the cheeses of the island having nothing to envy the more famous neighbours. Paros gruyere tastes mild and buttery like the one of Naxos, kefalotiri stays in the brine for some time before being transferred to oil or wine to become either spicy ladotiri or krasotiri, while mizithra and ksinomizithra are of exceptional quality which combined with chunks of kefalotiri becomes touloumotiri – an ideal appetizer for souma (local tsipouro).
Useful phone numbers
Tourist Police: 2284023333
Port Authority: 2284021240
Radio Taxi: 2284021500
General Hospital: 2284360000