When researching holidays to Paros in Greece you will more than likely be faced with the decision of choosing between the main town of Parikia, and the smaller town of Naousa. Both are beautiful locations so how do you choose between the two?
When I first started organising a trip to Paros I didn’t really have any concept of the size of the island or how long it took to get anywhere. I could see from a map that the ferry I would be arriving on from Mykonos would take me to Parikia in the west of the island, so that is where I started my search. However, the more I looked, the more I realised there were some great hotel and B&B options in Naousa to the north of the island.
It was more by chance than planning that I ended up in Naousa. As we were only spending 4 days on the island, I didn’t want to be too far from the ferry terminal, this was my one and only concern about Naousa. However, I shouldn’t have worried, there was barely any traffic on the island and getting around is more than easy!
As I stated earlier, Parikia is to the west of the island and where the ferry traffic comes in. This means it has all the amenities you could want from a town and is a convenient place to stay. However, my issue was the seafront where the ferries come in. Something I look forward to about my holidays is spending time by the sea, but the ferries were offloading so much pollution I could barely breath when I had to walk off it. This did not go into any of the streets behind the ferry terminal however so don’t let that put you off too much!
Naousa is only a 15-minute drive from Parikia, so it is no bother at all getting to and from the ferry port. Paros is a smallish island, just 21km long so even getting to the south of the island took no more than 30 minutes! I preferred the location of Naousa as the harbour front is absolutely gorgeous and less industrial looking, with no road or traffic running alongside it. The majority of the centre of Naousa is pedestrianised too.
Naousa to Lefkes: 11km (17 minutes)
Naousa to Parikia: 10.7km (18 minutes)
Naousa to Pounta (ferry to Antiparos): 18km (25 minutes)
Parikia to Lefkes: 11km (17 minutes)
Parikia to Pounta: 8km (12 minutes)
Paros has a number of nice beaches, Naousa has some nice ones you can walk to and is just a few km from some of the nicest on the island such as Kolimbithres Beach and Santa Maria Beach too! There is a lovely beach not too far from Parikia named Parasporos, but you will definitely need to hire a car for this one.
As Parikia is the largest town on the island, it offers the best public transport with buses running to many sites of interest such as Lefkes, Naousa and many nice beaches. You can also take a short bus journey to Pounta where you can take a 5-minute ferry to the nearby island of Antiparos. The main ferry terminal is also in Parikia and it is easy to get a taxi from here.
Naousa also offers a good taxi service but I would recommend hiring a car if you stay here. My sister and I hired a car from for two days and we were able to see everything we wanted and even take it on the ferry to Antiparos.
Whilst Parikia is bigger, I thought the shops in Naousa were far superior. Parikia had more gift shops and things were cheaper, but if you are looking for really good quality clothes and beautiful boutique stores then you can’t beat Naousa, this aspect reminded me a lot of Mykonos.
Like the shopping, I felt the restaurants and cafes were better quality in Naousa than they were in Parikia and you could also enjoy the setting before. As I said above, Naousa is pedestrianised and there is no road along the harbour front. This means you can enjoy a really nice meal next to the sea with no ferry pollution or cars driving past. There were also lots of options within the maze of streets in town where you could dine al fresco with no cars around you either. The quality of food in Naousa was superb, some of my favourite restaurants were Mitsi Ouzeri which was right on the seafront, we had the whole place to ourselves at lunchtime, a wonderful experience, we also loved the Mare Nostrum which was located on the main harbour, and lastly, the Yemeni Taverna which is in one of the small side streets.
There were also many lovely dessert options in Naousa, our favourites being Nonna Crema which serves the BEST ice cream on the island, and also 32 Agosto where you can choose an ice lolly and toppings to go on it!
I think Parikia has got to win on this one. As there are more options for restaurants/places to stay, accommodation and food are a little cheaper. Naousa is an upscale town, similar to prices in Mykonos so really can hurt the budget if you’re not careful!
Both Parikia and Naousa are stunning places to visit and we would all be very lucky to get there. However, for me, Naousa comes out on top because it is so quaint, picturesque, and has everything you need!