island Paros

6 of the Top Attractions Not to Miss While on the Island of Paros

When people think about Greek islands, their minds most often turn to Santorini or Mykonos, but a number of other islands are worth exploring. One of these is Paros, a mountainous island that attracts outdoor enthusiasts with its numerous camping options and a thriving watersports culture. A short ferry ride from Athens, Paros often becomes the first destination for individuals intending to island hop, but tourists who give the island more time will quickly realize its charm. With Venetian castles, picturesque windmills, and crystal-blue waters, Paros epitomizes the rustic appeal of Greece. Some of the top attractions for visitors while on the island include the following:


  1. Paros Park

This natural park features some incredible rock formations characteristic of islands in the Cyclades. Tourists can explore the park by walking along well-demarcated paths that will take them to some of the best vantage points in the area. In the summer months, they can take a dip at the beach of Monastiri or take in a free film at Cine Enastron, an open-air theater. Between June and October, the park features a music festival with jazz, classic, and traditional Greek concerts, along with other cultural events. Meanwhile, the Museum of the Park provides a unique perspective on the history of the island, and visitors can get even more historical detail at the Ai Yiannis Detis monastery.


Monastiri Beach

Monastiri Beach | Image by Sally Taylor | Flickr


  1. Archaeological Museum of Paros

Located in Parikia, the capital of Paros, the Archaeological Museum of Paros provides visitors with a glimpse of how the island has changed over time, starting with artifacts from the Neolithic period and moving all the way up to early Christianity. The museum is relatively small, so visitors can get a solid sense of the island’s history without burning an entire day. Furthermore, the museum features a number of notable pieces, such as a marble statue of Gorgon from the 6th century BCE and a massive statue of Artemis from about 490 BCE. Visitors should also be sure to see the Neolithic-era figurine of a seated woman.


  1. Panagia Ekatontapyliani

Also located in Parikia, Panagia Ekatontapyliani (“the church with 100 doors”) is a Byzantine church constructed in the 4th century. It has emerged as one of the most sacred sites in the country. According to legend, 99 different doors have been found in the structure, but the hundredth will not be found until Constantinople is again returned to Greek control. In addition, the icon of Panagia is believed to have made miracles happen. No trip to Paros is complete without an exploration of this landmark church.


  1. Byzantine Path

Fans of hiking should definitely devote some time to following the Byzantine Path. Built as a defense when Paros faced pirate raids, the path is comprised of stone streets connecting the village of Lefkes, which served as the capital, to other towns and ports throughout the island. A section of these streets is preserved as the Byzantine Path, which has become one of the best hiking paths in all of Greece. The trail starts at Lefkes and proceeds through olive groves and fields of wildflowers to Prodromos, a village that dates back 1,000 years. This section alone will take individuals about an hour. From there, people can hike to Marpissa, which has interesting 17th-century homes and windmills, or take the sharp uphill course toward the Agios Antonios monastery.


Byzantine Path

Byzantine Path | Image by Sally Taylor | Flickr


  1. Naoussa

Today, Naoussa serves as the primary resort town for tourists in Paros, and many would argue that it is also the prettiest part of the island. Venetians built the old quarter so that the backs of houses created a wall along the water as a defense against pirates. They also constructed a beautiful and colorful old fishing port that still features the ruins of a fortress. Here, tourists will find white-washed cobblestone alleys and passages that look almost like mazes. The town has a number of different bars and restaurants with outdoor seating where diners can enjoy the sights of the island while enjoying their meal. At night, Naoussa can become a party town, especially around the old port, so people craving some nightlife should definitely check it out.


  1. Golden Beach

Recognized as one of the best spots for watersports in the entire world, Golden Beach is ideal for kayaking, wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and more. In general, rental prices here are very affordable, although they can change between companies and across different seasons of the year. However, with several rental spots right on the beach, competition between companies helps keep everything affordable. When taking a break from these activities, tourists will find various beach-themed shops and boutiques, as well as tavernas serving some of the best seafood on the island.


6 of the Most Wonderful Ski Resorts for Winter Sports in Greece

For travelers, Greece conjures up images of sandy beaches and ruins from antiquity, but the country is also home to rugged mountains perfect for winter vacations. Tourists will find a number of excellent winter resorts that provide impressive slopes for skiing and snowboarding, with options for people of all skill levels. While Greece has become a popular winter sport destination among Europeans, international visitors are now recognizing its unique appeal, especially in the winter months when it’s possible to go from the beach to the slopes in less than a day.

Some of the top ski resorts in Greece include:


  1. Mount Olympus Elatochori Ski Center

Mount Olympus, famous for being the mythological home of the Greek gods, has emerged as one of the most popular choices for winter sports among tourists. Elatochori Ski Center is located on the northern peak of the 2,917-meter mountain. Individuals will find six slopes served by two lifts, as well as a run specifically for snowboarders and another reserved for sleds. Beginners can choose to take lessons from two different ski schools, and several nearby villages provide affordable lodging and restaurants. In addition, the Ski Center has a chalet where people can take a break and warm up during the day. Any travel mates who do not want to ski can opt to climb Mount Olympus instead.


  1. Parnassos Ski Resort

Among Greeks, Parnassos Ski Resort has become the most popular choice for skiers, especially because it’s close to Delphi and only a couple of hours by car from Athens. Mount Parnassos actually consists of two different peaks: Fterolakas at 1,950 meters and Kellaria at 1,750 meters. One of the largest resorts in the country, Parnassos features 19 runs, 10 trails, seven ski routes, and three smaller slopes meant for beginners. Children will enjoy a special playground if they do not want to take to the slopes, and novices can take skiing and snowboarding lessons. The resort is open from December until May, and most visitors choose to stay at the nearby town of Arachova. Generally, skiers should make a reservation as quickly as possible since the passes do sell out, especially on the weekends.



  1. Mount Pelion Ski Center

Mount Pelion is easily one of the most gorgeous regions in Greece—and one that provides a rich cultural experience as well. The area around the mountain is dotted with charming villages, as well as beaches and thick forests great for hiking. Here, especially in the village of Volos, travelers will find the traditional spirit tsipuro, similar to ouzo but without the anise flavoring. The resort itself does not always have snow, so it is important to check beforehand; when operating, it has five slopes and a chalet with both food and accommodations. The Ski Center also has clearly marked trails that take hikers to great vantage points.


  1. Kalavrita Ski Center

Another option not far from Athens is Kalavrita Ski Center on Mount Helmos, which is 2,340 meters high. Kalavrita boasts 12 slopes, half of which are rated as easy. While skiers and snowboarders with less experience will enjoy these options, two of the runs are marked as difficult, so experienced athletes can still have fun. In addition, two of the runs are specifically for beginners, and there are separate areas for snowboarders and skiers who like doing tricks. Most visitors will stay in Kalavrita, a quaint town known for its small train that transports people to the mountain from the waterfront town of Diakofto through the Vouraikos Gorge. At certain parts of the year, it is possible to go skiing in the morning and then swimming in the sea that same evening by a short train ride alone.


  1. Velouxi Ski Resort

Located in Karpenissi, Velouxi Ski Resort has 18 different slopes of varying difficulty, as well as a snowboard park and a shop for renting skimobiles. The resort is on Mount Tymfristos, which is 2,220 meters high. The greater region, called Evrytania, is known as Little Switzerland, although travelers from the United States have also compared it to the mountainous part of North Carolina. While most visitors stay in Karpenissi, a number of other villages nearby also have accommodations. Plus, the tavernas in this part of Greece are famous for their grilled meat and dishes made with fresh trout.



  1. Kaimaktsalan Ski Center

One of the most luxurious ski resorts in Greece, Kaimaktsalan Ski Center sits on the northern slope of the 2,480-meter Mount Voras. Individuals will find 13 different runs, as well as four ski trails, a park for snow tubing, and a designated area for snowboarding. Kaimaktsalan has earned the name “Winter Mykonos” because it attracts a wealthy, affluent crowd. Travelers who want to stay in a less ritzy town can look into Edessa and Florina, two charming villages. The resort is also not terribly far from the major city of Thessaloniki.


8 Awe-Inspiring Camping Destinations for Travelers in Greece

Because of its incredible climate and wide range of scenery, from islands to mountains, Greece is a top vacation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Many people choose to be as close as possible to nature by camping, which has grown in popularity in Greece. While there aren’t many official campsites around the country, those that exist often come with a lot of amenities. They also vary widely in terms of landscape, from campgrounds on the beach to sites in densely forested areas. Experiencing Greek islands and national parks from a campsite provides a unique perspective on the natural beauty of the country—those who love the outdoors should consider a Greek camping trip for their next vacation. A handful of the top locations for camping in Greece include:


  1. Gythion Bay

Located near Gythion in the Peloponnese, this site sits right next to the beach and provides guests with a swimming pool and equipment for windsurfing, as well as quick access to the many historical attractions of the area. The Peloponnese features a number of ancient cities and Byzantine ruins, as well as gorgeous beaches and endless stretches of orange and olive groves. For maximum convenience, the main camping area has a bar, a restaurant, and a miniature market. Guests can rent caravans or tents in addition to bringing their own gear.


  1. Leros

The island of Leros, part of the Dodecanese, sits off the beaten tourist track. The camping site on the island is located in the heart of an olive grove that has produced fruit for several centuries. Leros tends to attract scuba divers, since the campground features a diving club that offers lessons, scuba adventures, and snorkeling trips. People who do not want to sleep in a tent can rent a bungalow to get a bit of shelter from the hot Mediterranean sun. The campground also features a small café for easy meals and facilities for grilling.


Image by anybookers | Flickr


  1. Lichnos

On the western coast of Greece is Epirus, a mountainous region with lush forests. Outdoor enthusiasts often find themselves in this area because of the variety of landscapes situated in a relatively small area, including rugged mountains and rivers cutting deep valleys through them, not to mention some charming stretches of beach. The beach at Lichnos features apartments along with camping grounds that offer basic facilities, as well as umbrellas and sun beds for beachgoers. There’s also a beautiful garden. In all, the site is an excellent place for nature-lovers to stay while hiking through Epirus.


  1. Skiathos

In Greece, the island of Skiathos has become known for its excellent camping along Koukounaries beach. The camping site is located less than a quarter-mile from the beach, and a bus makes it easy to travel to Skiathos Town or the other beaches scattered around the island. Ancient trees around the camping grounds provide protection from the bright sun, making it a perfect home base for an island getaway. Travelers can reach Skiathos via ferry from either Volos or Agios Konstantinos, and these boats also serve the islands of Skopelos and Alonissos.


  1. Lemnos

Located in the Northern Aegean Sea, Lemnos does not receive many tourists, which means that its beaches are relatively pristine. On the island is Surf Club Keros, a windsurfing resort that offers guests a wide range of accommodations, including safari tents and luxury studios. You can also bring your own equipment if you prefer. The island features some truly breathtaking landscapes that are worth spending some time exploring, but Lemnos is also one of the best places in Greece for windsurfing.


  1. Evia

Travelers with children who enjoy the outdoors should definitely consider spending a few nights on Evia. Along the northeastern coast of this island is Agia Anna, a small village near the beach with a well-developed campground resort that boasts basketball and volleyball courts, as well as swimming pools. The programs and activities for children are extensive here, so the kids will have an unforgettable time. In addition to tents and bungalows, the accommodations include a special garden cabana and a luxuriously appointed yurt.


  1. Paros

A four-hour ferry ride from Athens, Paros has become a popular choice among people who want to introduce some nature into their vacation. Great campgrounds are situated in Agia Irini, Krios, Naoussa, and Santa Maria, and all are virtually right on the beach. Strategically planted trees provide shade from the sun as well, and guests have access to great facilities. In addition, Paros proves a great choice of home base for exploring several Greek islands, since the ferries can carry travelers to many surrounding destinations.


  1. Naxos

One of the more popular Greek islands, Naxos has golden beaches, ancient ruins, and beautiful stretches of land waiting to be explored. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are both popular pastimes for vacationers. Those who want to maximize their outdoor time often choose to camp on Plaka beach, which is famous for its watersports; or Maragas beach, known for its beautiful, blue waters. Both of these campgrounds are only steps from the sea and can be reached easily from the port of Naxos, where ferries dock.


8 Must-See Examples of Architectural Marvels in Greece

Home to a large number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Greece has served as the home to some of the most prominent civilizations in history, including the Minoans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Greeks, and Romans. Each of these civilizations has left its own mark on the country, especially in terms of architecture. Travelers will find an overwhelming number of incredible structures throughout Greece, from ancient ruins to modern designs that pay homage to tradition while demonstrating something new. A few examples of extraordinary architectural achievement in Greece include:


  1. Achilleion Palace

Located on the island of Corfu in the village of Gastouri, Achilleion Palace was actually constructed for the Austrian empress Elisabeth of Bavaria in 1890. However, the design borrows heavily from the heritage of Greece with the use of columns and other design elements. Inside the palace, visitors will find several different paintings and statues that celebrate the mythological figure Achilles. They’ll also be impressed by the elaborate gardens, as well as the wonderful views of Corfu Town and the surrounding sea from the top of the palace.

Achilleion Palace


  1. Agios Andreas

One of the most stunning Greek Orthodox churches in the world, the Basilica of Agios Andreas is located in Patras. Visitors will recognize the structure from far away, thanks to its massive dome topped with an elaborate gold cross. The inside of this Byzantine-style basilica is perhaps even more impressive than its exterior; the worship space is decorated with colorful murals on the walls and ceilings, along with an intricate chandelier depicting the saints. In addition, the basilica contains the relics of Saint Andrew, who is believed to have been crucified in Patras.


  1. The Parthenon

Many of the architectural wonders from the ancient world have eroded over the centuries, but the Parthenon in Athens remains an extremely impressive site. Perhaps the most influential building in all of Greek history, the Parthenon tops the Acropolis and was dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of Athens. Originally built as a celebration of the Greek victory over the Persians, the structure became a symbol of Athenian democracy and even Western civilization, and it continues to inspire architects to this day.


  1. Knossos Palace

Located on Crete, Knossos Palace once served as the center of the Minoan civilization during the Bronze Age. It was abandoned at some time between 1400 and 1100 BC; legends say the palace was the home of King Minos, who famously kept a half-man, half-beast creature called a minotaur in a labyrinth there. Today, visitors can see reconstructed versions of the mosaics and frescoes that once decorated the palace walls, and wander through a number of rooms connected by winding corridors.



  1. Stoa of Attalos

Built in the Agora of Athens, the Stoa of Attalos was a gift from King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled in the second century BC. A sprawling, elaborate building, the structure was built from Pentelic marble and limestone using a design that features both Doric and Ionic elements. Altogether, the building has two stories, each consisting of 21 rooms. While the Heruli destroyed the original building a few hundred years after it was built, a full reconstruction in the 1950s means visitors can get a true sense of the Stoa’s contribution to Greek architecture.


  1. Onassis Cultural Center

One of the best examples of contemporary design in Greece, the Onassis Cultural Center embraces simplicity but stands out thanks to an exterior clad in bands of white marble, which both play with light and allow the building to serve as a giant screen for projectors. The facade also features a massive painting by a Greek graffiti artist. Located in the Neos Kosmos neighborhood of Athens, the center hosts various cultural events and contains theaters, lecture halls, and exhibition spaces, as well as a café and a Michelin-starred restaurant called Hytra on the top floor.


  1. Villa Petridis

This mansion in Thessaloniki demonstrates a variety of architectural styles, including Romantic and Art Nouveau flourishes. The Great Fire of 1917 destroyed much of the city, but the villa, finished in 1909, was spared. When the building was abandoned in the 1990s after being acquired by the Petridis family more than six decades earlier, Thessaloniki decided to undertake a careful, conscientious renovation and restoration. Now, Villa Petridis hosts a variety of different public events, including the Open House series.


  1. Temple of Hephaestus

Located within the ancient Agora of Athens, this temple is one of the best preserved of all ancient structures in Greece. Dedicated to Hephaestus, the god of fire and craftsmanship, the temple is a wonderful example of Doric design, with some Ionic elements. Built in the fifth century BC, the temple has served a variety of different roles over the centuries, including as a Greek Orthodox church, a Protestant burial place, and a museum. Today, it has been restored to its original appearance so that tourists can enjoy it in its original splendor, complete with both Parian and Pentelic marble.