Paros is one of the up-and-coming Greek Islands, falling in that brief sweet spot right between under-developed and over-touristed. There are essentially two main cities in Paros – Parikia and Naoussa (also spelled Naousa). More people are familiar with historic Parikia because it is the island’s main port, is close to the airport and is where most people arrive. It is functional, attractive, central and has lots of beaches and other things to do.
So, yeah, Parikia is the practical, responsible one. Which makes lovely whitewashed Naoussa the pretty one. Maybe a little bit scattered, lacking focus, a bit too obsessed with food and shopping, but, damn, undeniably gorgeous. With its jumbled old town alleys, postcard-worthy harbour, 15th century “kastro” and beautiful beaches, Naoussa is understandably the top choice among dedicated returning Paros visitors.
Even the drive from Parikia to Naoussa seems designed to prepare you for the disarming good looks you’re about to experience. Pleasant road, nice hills, outstanding ocean views, etc. All of which you forget about when you get your first glimpse of pretty little Naoussa Paros.
Of course, even though the old town still looks the part, these days all those cute little white buildings with flower-filled balconies and iconic blue shutters aren’t home to local fisherfolk as often as they are designer clothing shops and tourist souvenir stands but, as they say, progress stops for no Greek village.
And despite the growing number of tourist boats dotting the colourfully photogenic harbour, there are still plenty of traditional fishing boats as proof Naoussa hasn’t entirely strayed from its roots. Even more proof can be found among the extensive freshly caught options at the many seafood restaurants lining the waterfront.
And if seafood isn’t really your thing, or maybe just not your thing for every meal, well, you won’t want to miss Pita Frank. But we’ll get to that later.
For now, let’s start with some of the best Naoussa hotels if you decide to make this adorable little port town your base during your time on Paros island.
Is it better to stay in Naoussa or Parikia?
In general, Naoussa Greece is a more expensive place to stay (and eat, and drink, and do stuff) than Parikia. For many, though, that is a small sacrifice to make to enjoy this gorgeous place morning, noon and night, instead of just for a few hours on a rushed day trip.
If you can afford it, Naoussa is probably slightly nicer. Meanwhile, Parikia is more economical and a bit more central for exploring the rest of Paros.
Where to Stay: The Best Naoussa Hotels
For a complete breakdown on where to stay on Paros, check out our full list of the best Paros hotels. Or if you’ve already decided that Naoussa is the place for you, just read on…
Small, family-run Hotel Manto is an outstanding budget option with a great location right in the centre of the old town. The rooms are basic but comfortable and there is a nice, relaxing courtyard where guests can hang out.
Check prices and availability at Hotel Manto
Villa Isabella is a terrific mid-range choice on a hill above Piperi Beach. They have a good mix of comfortable rooms with TVs, A/C and wifi, some of which also have ocean views. Plus, if you have a car they even have some parking spots.
Check prices and availability at Villa Isabella
A little bit more expensive but with an exceptional swimming pool, Christina Hotel is also located right in the heart of Naoussa old town. It features a wide range of rooms, a bar, a restaurant and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the town.
Check prices and availability at Christina Hotel
If you don’t mind being a short drive from town, Kymo Luxury Suites is a phenomenal place just a short walk from the amazing Kolympethres Beach. Modern suites with air-conditioning, wifi, balconies and sea views share a beautiful garden and pool.
Check prices and availability at Kymo Luxury Suites
Another step up is Hotel Senia, a stylish hotel on the outskirts of Naoussa with an impressive pool, excellent restaurant and even a spa and fitness centre. The spacious rooms are modern and comfortable with private balconies and good views. There are even some suites with private pools. One of the best hotels in Naoussa Paros.
Check prices and availability at Hotel Senia
12 Amazing Things to Do in Naoussa Paros
Despite appearances, Naoussa is more than just a pretty face. There are actually quite a few great things to do in Naoussa, plus several more just a short drive away.
1. Wander the Old Town
Arguably the best thing to do in Naoussa is simply wander, gawking and taking photos along the way. Luckily, that happens to be one of our specialties (along with wearing the same clothes for multiple days and finding Subways on flight days).
The endlessly charming old town of Naoussa Paros is filled with narrow streets, whitewashed houses, blue shutters, colourful flowers and traditional Greek architecture. And though it may be small, it is still possible to get lost now and then. Which is a good thing in this context, in case you were wondering.
2. Take Photos of Naoussa Harbour from Every Angle.
The picturesque harbor of Naoussa is a great place to see the colourful fishing boats and watch the luxury yachts come and go. It is best enjoyed while relaxing and soaking up the local ambience while enjoying a meal or drink in one of the many waterfront cafés and restaurants.
3. Admire the Venetian Fortress
This 13th century kastro (then renovated/rebuilt in the 15th century) sits out in the harbour at the end of a long, stone breakwater. It is no longer in the greatest condition (you probably wouldn’t be either if you were 700 years old) but it is still an intriguing place to explore. Just take care getting out there as the waves can come right up and over the walkway on windy days.
4. Take in the Views from Faneromeni Church
This Greek orthodox gem is hard to miss, looming down on the Old Town from the top of a huge, wide set of white steps, offering spectacular views of the Old Town, harbour and sea. It “only” dates back to the 19th century but the original 14th century chapel is still there, dwarfed next to the newer version. Faneromeni Church gets very busy during times of worship.
5. Envision History at the Byzantine Museum
With an expansive collection of both Byzantine and post-Byzantine artifacts, icons, frescoes and pottery, it is a fascinating window into the ancient past of Naoussa Paros. Located in the town’s old market in the monastery Church of St. Athanasius, it is the idea place to learn more about Naoussa’s rich cultural heritage.
6. Relax on One of the City Beaches
There are two small but attractive little beaches located on either end of Naoussa, both framed by pretty headlands and sheltered for good swimming. Piperi Beach is just at the southwest end of the harbour and easily spotted as you wander the harbour.
Agioi Anargyroi Beach, on the other hand, can be found on the other side of the town. It is also close enough to walk to, is great for swimming and has good views of the higher portions of the Old Town (including the big church).
7. Explore Kolympethres Beach
This terrific beach is just northwest across the bay from Naoussa. It is a fascinating jumble of rocks and coves and tidepools, all with exceptional views across the water. There is a beach bar, a taverna and, if you look closely, even a bit of sand.
8. Taste Some Local Wine
Naoussa Paros is famous for its local Xinomavro red wine, made from indigenous grapes. Not surprisingly, there are many wineries in and around Naoussa where you can taste, buy and learn about these highly-praised vintages. Moraitis Winery is one of the most popular places in town.
9. Go Hiking in Paros Park
Paros Park is also across the bay on the Arene de Kamares, an empty corner of the island just past Kolympethres Beach. It also features lots of interesting rock formations, cliffs, a lighthouse, a couple of beaches, some high hills and more wonderful views of Naoussa Paros.
There are a bunch of hiking trails criss-crossing its 80 hectares, plus a little monastery and even an outdoor theatre. And it’s free, no less.
10. Relax on Santa Maria Beach
Maybe not as interesting as Kolympethres Beach, Santa Maria Beach is much larger, more spacious and has more facilities. Located just east of Naoussa, this is the most popular spot in the area to catch a few rays.
11. Gear Down at Lageri Beach
The most popular beach in the area for the nudist crowd is lovely Lageri Beach, a short drive from Naoussa and not far from Santa Maria Beach. The distance is deceiving, however, as the road to get there is very slow and rough, which is probably what makes it popular with those who prefer a little privacy.
12. Discover the Mycenaean Acropolis
History buffs will be happy to undertake the short hike up Koukonaries Hill to these evocative ruins that overlook Naoussa Bay. Dating back to 1200 BC, it takes a bit of imagination to picture it in its heyday but there’s still enough there to explore and the views are great.
Where to Eat: The Best Naoussa Paros Restaurants
Naoussa is full of great seafood restaurants, charming cafés and atmospheric tavernas. Pita Frank, however, is none of those things but was still our favourite place to eat in Naoussa. Cheap, fast, friendly and tasty, we couldn’t get enough of their wide variety of pitas and gyros.
For a more traditional Naoussa Paros dining experience, though, you should try Barbarossa, named after the famous pirate yet, thankfully, not responsible for any cases of scurvy (that we know of). Great views, fresh seafood and classic Greek dishes, plus great service.
Tucked into a sheltered corner of the harbour you’ll find Mario, a casual place with a large, varied menu including both Greek and international dishes. The location is amazing, the portions large and the prices reasonable.
Soso is a popular family-run place on an atmospheric alley right in the centre of the Old Town. They pride themselves on using only the freshest ingredients and offer more vegetarian and vegan options than your average Greek taverna.
Nonna Crema is considered the best place in Naoussa for delicious gelato. The perfect thing to help you pass the time during your old town wandering, in my opinion.
Mediterraneo is another popular choice on the other side of the harbour on the way to Piperi Beach. It has a lovely terrace with harbour views and a large, traditional menu.
We didn’t actually eat there, though, as we were concerned about the sign welcoming only “cool, open people”, which we took to mean that either the service is shit (asking us to bear with them) or they were actively experimenting with polyamory. Neither prospect appealed as much as another pork gyro at Pita Frank.
When to Go: Naoussa Paros Weather
Like most of the Greek islands, Paros enjoys a very mild climate year-round thanks to the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. It doesn’t get as hot in summer as some of the other parts of Greece (22/28 low/high) and remains pretty reasonable even in the dead of winter (10/14 low/high), although there is also more rain at that time (especially in December).
In summer, though, Paros gets virtually no rain and, overall, enjoys a very dry climate. Although there are some hills in the centre of the island, the wind on Paros can be fierce and is probably the biggest variable for your stay on the island. Spring and fall are generally the calmest times.
While Naoussa gets very busy in the summer months, May-June and September-October can be ideal times to visit for good weather and fewer fellow tourists. From November until the end of April many of the restaurants shut down and there will be fewer accommodation options, although there will still be enough open to keep you fed and housed.
Naoussa Paros Map
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How to Get to Naoussa Paros
With its very own airport (albeit a very small one), Paros is poised to burst onto the Greek island tourism scene in an even bigger way. So far, you can only fly to Paros from other places in Greece but that could eventually change as its popularity grows.
And, either way, “change planes in Athens” has practically become a tourism rite of passage for visitors to Greece, so if you’re looking to maximize your time you can certainly arrive by plane. From most places, we find that SkyScanner is the fastest and most accurate site.
Although it is practically on the other side of the island, Paros Airport is still only about 20 km from Naoussa – less than 30 minutes by car.
Paros is a major hub for Greek island ferries, with Parikia serving as the main port. Paros is easily connected with pretty much every other Cycladic Island, plus many others scattered around the Aegean. Schedules and fares vary considerably throughout the year. In summer, the most popular routes often sell out well in advance so it is a good idea to reserve your ferry tickets as soon as you have finalized your dates.
Click here to check ferry prices and availability
How to Get Around on Paros
Parikia is where you’ll arrive by ferry, although if you fly in you’ll need to either rent a car, take a taxi or catch a bus from the airport. By far the easiest way to get around Paros is by car, which lets you reach the less popular spots and set your own schedule.
We always use Discover Cars while in the Greek islands and got a terrific deal through them (with SurPrice Rental) for our entire time in Paros.
Driving Times to Naoussa Paros
Parikia to Naoussa: 10 km / 15 min
Lefkes to Naoussa: 12 km / 15 min
Pounta to Naoussa: 17 km / 20 min
Golden Beach to Naoussa: 15 km / 20 min
Alyki to Naoussa: 22 km / 25 min
Naoussa Paros Parking
It’s not easy to park in the centre, I can tell you that. Although it all depends where you stay. And how far you’re willing to walk.
There is a large, free municipal parking lot just on east edge of the town with quite a bit of space. Plus, there are usually spots along the main roads on the way out of town. If you’re looking to park in the town itself, you’ll probably have to rely on reserved hotel parking. If they have spots, most will mention it in their online descriptions.
Paros is relatively easy to navigate via the KTEL buses that connect all the most popular spots around the island. Using buses will never be as easy or flexible as driving your own car but Paros has a better system than most in comfortable, affordable buses. Most fares are in the €2-3 range or you can buy a full-day pass for the entire island for around €10.
Timetables change often so it is best to check the latest info before arriving, then have a look at the lists posted at each bus stop when you’re there. Starting in October, routes get more and more sporadic through the winter until they start ramping up again in April or May.
7 More Fun Things to Do on Paros
If you have time for a longer stay in Naoussa Paros, there are plenty more things to see and do around Paros. You can either rent a car and explore on your own (we recommend Discover Cars) or you could book a guided Paros tour with someone who knows all the best spots and will take the driving out of your hands.
1. Check out Parikia
Despite the fact we described it as the dull, practical sibling of Naoussa, that description only applies in relative terms. Compared to most places, Parikia is a vibrant, fascinating place with its own mazey old town, loads of classic churches, a few nice beaches and a wonderful harbour-front boardwalk.
2. Take Walk Around Lefkes
Lefkes is located up in the hills on the spine of Paros. It is a superb traditional village with appealing little cafés and restaurants, typically narrow white streets and loads of charm. It is also the starting point for the Byzantine Path, an ancient stone path that leads east down out of the hills to the even smaller and quainter villages of Prodomos and Marpissa.
We hiked down as far as Prodomos, wandered around, then hiked back up to Lefkes in just over an hour and a half (roughly 6 km return, with some hills). There are fantastic views back up the hill to Lefkes, then down to the sea after you crest the hill.
3. Visit Butterflies Nature Reserve
The reserve was closed for the season when we were in Parikia but we’re told it is a pleasant, natural park that feels noticeably lush compared to the dry hills elsewhere on Paros. Oh, yeah, and there are, like, millions of butterflies. Actually, Jersey Tiger Moths, which, in Greece, are only found on Paros and Rhodes.
They migrate to the valley from June to September to mate and lay their eggs and are most active in July and August.
4. Sidle Down the Malecon in Alyki
Speaking of captivating fishing villages (weren’t we?), the tiny southern village of Alyki (or Aliki) more than fits the bill. There is a tiny beach, a tiny malecón and some regular-sized waterfront tavernas (although they do have some tiny tables right on the water if you want to stick with the theme).
It is comfortably sheltered from the prevailing north winds, isn’t nearly as busy in summer as Parikia or Naoussa and is even home to the Museum of Cycladic Folklore where you can see models of traditional Parian boats and buildings
5. Track Down the Paros Grotto
If you’re in the mood for a tricky-to-find, off-the-beaten-path Paros gem, head a few minutes east of Alyki and start your search for the “Paros Grotto”. As far as we can tell, there is no established official name but it is one of the coolest natural attractions we saw on Paros.
The parking spot we have marked on the map is a dead-end dirt road (pretty rough but we made it – carefully – in a small rental car) with room for (maybe) two cars (be sure not to block the driveways).
From there it is about 5 minutes on foot down to Tripiti Beach (a cute, hidden little highlight in itself) on a small path between private fences. Then you can follow a relatively easy cliff-top trail that leads about 15 minutes east to the grotto (make sure you close the fence behind you).
If those two parking spots are taken you can park on the highway and walk about a kilometre down to the beach, or park farther east along the highway (marked on our map as “Paros Grotto Alternate Parking”) and jump the fence and hike up and over the hill to the grotto on a more direct (but maybe more confusing) route.
Full disclosure: I’m not sure if any of this is public access, although my impression was that at least the route we took still is, based on the fairly specific, maintained trails wedged in between private lands. However, I suspect this access is only provided very reluctantly (hence, not doing us any favours with the parking).
6. Discover the East Coast
The east coast of Paros is a wonderland of beaches and is the area people visit to surf and scuba dive or maybe windsurf and snorkel. Whatever watersport you fancy, really. You could spend all day just beach hopping along this side of the island – Molos Beach, Kalogeros Beach, Logaras Beach, to start – but Golden Beach (Chrissi Akti) is probably the best all-around beach on Paros.
A huge beach with sensational sand, good surfing and diving and some good accommodation and tavernas, and there is even a nice hiking path heading south along the coast.
A bit farther south, Agios Prygaki Church is worth a stop on any Paros road trip, not so much for the church itself (which is quite small and usually closed) but for the scenery and views across the strait to Naxos.
7. Day Trip Over to Antiparos
The next big thing in the Cyclades Islands, in our humble (but purely speculative) opinion, phenomenal little Antiparos looks like we imagine Paros did around 20 years ago. Of course, we weren’t in Paros 20 years ago, so that’s yet more speculation.
What we can say for certain, though, is that we loved Antiparos. It is small enough to explore fully in a single day but we will definitely be considering it for a longer stay the next time we return to the Greek islands.
There is a massive cave that used to house a cult, plus tonnes of awesome beaches, some photogenic cliffs, hidden coves, good hiking and a picture-perfect little harbour village. Even the short ferry ride across was fun and scenic.
Antiparos: Reasons to Visit the Trendiest Island in Greece
The only downside was that we didn’t spot its most famous occasional resident, the universally adored wife of the guy who starred opposite a volleyball in Castaway, but we were kind of in a rush so we weren’t able to check in every corner, maybe she was just well hidden.
Trip Planning Resources
Here is a list of the most important resources we use when planning our travels, all in one convenient spot. Full disclosure, when you use any of these links to reserve or sign up for something, we receive a small commission which, of course, is greatly appreciated. However, your price does not change and we have only included products and websites that we can honestly recommend.
- We book the majority of our hotels on Booking.com. With frequent stay discounts, thousands of reviews and free cancellation, it is very rare for us to have a bad hotel experience these days.
- Wise is by far the best international multicurrency bank account we’ve found. We can now send and receive money in half a dozen different currencies, convert to dozens more with no exchange premium and pay or withdraw local currencies. Highly recommended.
- When travelling we always get SIM cards with data for our phones. Local SIM cards are sometimes a bit cheaper but if you have a relatively new smartphone (iPhone XR or newer, Samsung S20 or newer) you can just buy an eSIM online, get a QR code by email and you’re good to go. After extensive research I have decided that KeepGo eSIMs have the best coverage and prices for most of our trips.
- If you’re interested in local guided tours, including everything from city tours to cooking lessons to adventure activities, check out the huge range of options at Get Your Guide.
- World Nomads offers some of the best global travel insurance coverage. It is especially good for frequent travellers and digital nomads but also has competitive plans for short trips.
Naoussa Paros Summary
Bottom line, Naoussa is the prettiest town on Paros, and you’ll have to trust us when we tell you that is high praise, indeed. With a unique combination of classic Greek architecture, an enthralling harbour, interesting historical attractions and natural beauty, Naoussa is arguably the best place to stay during your visit to Paros.
Budget options are a bit thin on the ground and the restaurants will set you back more than those in Parikia but, if you can afford it, the ambience and photo ops will be well worth it.
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