The Church of Our Lady of the Hundred Gates
Known as the “Hagia Sophia of the Aegean” this magnificent 4th-century church in Parikia is one of Greece’s most important early Christian monuments and one of its largest sites of pilgrimage. According to tradition, it was built by the first emperor of Byzantium, Constantine the Great, whose mother, Saint Helen, had stopped here while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Its name derives from its many gates, one of which is hidden, while its 4th-century baptismal font is one of the oldest and best preserved in the Eastern Orthodox world.
Paros Archaeological Museum
Constructed in 1960 and featuring a rich collection of finds from excavations in Paros and Antiparos, this is one of the most important museums in Greece. Its exhibits date from the Neolithic to the early Christian period.
Located in the Psychopania area, this is one of the country’s most important natural habitats. Visitors can see a dense forest of cypresses, plane trees, laurels, wild olives, and fruit trees, with running springs, which from May to July every summer is home to the beautiful Jersey Tiger Moth.
The Ancient Quarries
The famous Parian Marble was quarried outside the pretty village of Marathi, between Parikia and Lefkes. A tour of corridors and tunnels carved with the inscriptions of ancient artists is a highly atmospheric experience.
Situated on a pine-covered hillside in the mountains, Lefkes is one of the largest and grandest villages of Paros, with spectacular views of the east coast. A walk around its narrow, whitewashed streets with their distinctive Cycladic architecture and churches leaves an indelible impression. The main pedestrian street, called Ramnos, is lined with beautiful neoclassical buildings, and is overlooked by the arresting Church of the Holy Trinity (1835) at one end.
This beach resembles an outdoor geological park with granite rocks carved by time and the wind into various sculptural forms. The landscape is unique, with a succession of sheltered coves lapped by limpid waters in every shade of blue.
Built in 1260 by the Venetian Duke of Naxos, Marco Sanudo, this imposing fortress is located in the Old Market of Parikia and was constructed using parts of temples from the ancient city, so that marble columns and various geometrical patterns are breathtakingly incorporated into its walls. Inside are small chapels and the Church of Saint Constantine, an exceptional Byzantine monument with stunning sea views.
This once quiet fishing village has developed into a cosmopolitan resort and the heart of the local nightlife. The brilliant white settlement with its narrow streets and Venetian architecture curves around an attractive harbour full of fishing boats. At night, the illuminated Venetian castle (Kastelli) at the edge of the harbour makes it a splendid setting.
One of the island’s most authentic villages, with a unique medieval atmosphere. The winding streets with their whitewashed arches, 16th- and 17th-century houses, and tiny scattered churches, are like something out of a fairy-tale. The four white windmills on the small central square, which date from the 18th century, are one of the most photographed sights on Paros.
A day trip to this dazzling white getaway with a cosmopolitan atmosphere just one nautical mile from Paros will be a memory to treasure. Its 15th-century Venetian castle and charming shops immediately catch the eye, while its interior boasts one of the world’s oldest and most extraordinary caves.