Lefkes: The Ancient Capital of Paros

Normally I’m quite on the ball when I travel, I look up all the places to go and I know the destination inside and out before I have even stepped on the plane. But my trip to Paros was different, this was a holiday with my sister, this wasn’t a photography trip. However, anyone that knows me knows that part of my enjoyment of a holiday is taking hundreds of photos, I can just take them without the pressure of having to capture certain content. My sister knew I would be wanting to visit some different places on the island and it was actually she who stumbled upon Lefkes.

I had seen photos of this town before but I never knew where exactly it was, so I was pretty chuffed to discover it was only a 20-minute drive from where we were staying in Naousa!

Lefkes is a traditional mountain village in the heart of Paros Island. Whilst it is not on the coast as many of the other towns and villages, its mountainous location means you still get stunning sea views and you can see out to the island of Naxos, it also means you can find a bit of a breeze! The village was the original capital of Paros, now Parikia, and began to thrive in the 15th century. The original residents came over on boats from Crete, they built their village on the mountain to protect them from pirates.

Walking through Lefkes is like walking through time, backwards. The whitewashed sugar cube houses are still inhabited by local people. The population of the town dropped rapidly as many of its people moved to Athens for economic reasons, however, now that tourism has reached the island, the 545 inhabitants are able to live a largely peaceful life with some economic prosperity.

You can walk through the town on foot, there are parking spaces available too, however, there are no cars able to get into the village centre (one of the many reasons why Lefkes has remained so unspoilt). It is a photographer’s paradise, and if I had the time to get back into painting, I would have loved to sit here with an easel for the day and painted until my heart was content.

There are a number of churches in the village, as well as tavernas for eating and drinkings and a couple of tourist shops too. The Church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) is the largest church and overlooks the village. This Byzantine church is made of fine white marble that shines in the sun, it is also home to rare and valuable Byzantine icons that you can look at. Luckily the village has retained its authentic feel, with many of the residents tending to their olives, grapes, chickens and even donkeys! I imagine if we all had the chance to live here for a while we would have improved attention spans, blood pressure and our stress levels would be minimum!

My sister and I visited in early June which I would highly recommend. The sun shone and the temperature peaked around 27°C (80°F), we were treated to undisturbed views over to neighbouring islands. It was also a pretty quiet time to visit, I know during the height of summer some tourist buses arrive, I would have been slightly gutted had that happen when we came…

For those who don’t drive, you are able to visit Lefkes by bus from larger towns and villages such as Parikia and Piso Lavardi. If you want to visit by bus from Naousa you will need to first get a bus to Parikia and change to get one to Lefkes. You are also able to get a taxi from Parikia and Naousa which cost around €10-€15 and takes just 15 minutes. Please note if you have mobility issues you will struggle to walk in and out of the village as it is very hilly with some steps.

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