As the third largest island of Cyclades, Paros is located west of Naxos, from which is separated by a 3-miles narrow channel. Piraeus is 90 miles range. The area of the island is about 196.308 sq. km. And its coastline is about 118, 5 km long. The cruise around the island is about 35 miles. The key location of Paros in the center of Aegean, the marine crossroads of routes connecting Greece with the islands of the Archipelago, and generally, Asia with Mediterranean became the enduring reasons for the development of the island.
Paros is one of the most popular tourist destinations not only for greeks but also for tourists from around the world. The island’s coasts, some of which have created amazing beaches (mainly on the eastern side of the island) and natural harbors with steep and rocky characteristics are spreaded on the north side. There, the big gulf of Naoussa is created, one of the most scenic harbors in the Aegean. The other two large bays of the island are located in the west (Parikia) and east (Marmara). The main capes of Paros are: Agios Fokas at the port of Parikia where there is a lighthouse, Korakas at the north end of the island where there is a traditional stone lighthouse built in 1887, Turhan east of Korakas, Agria at the northernmost point opposite of Naxos, Stafida, Vigla and Pirgos or Pirgaki at east- southeast side and the cape called Mavros at the southernmost tip of the island.
Near the island there are many islets and reefs, such as the dangerous Paros Doors, Saint Spyridon, Drosonisi, Makronisi, Glaropoda, Pateroniso, Fiji and Evreokastro (or Vriokastro).
The main ports of Paros are: Parikia, Naoussa (ancient Argos, naval port) between the capes Korakas and Turhan and the port of Drios (or Porto Trio) in south. The beaches are ideal for everyone as there are isolated as well as organized, rocky or sandy.
Internally the island is crossed from north to south by four bare mountains, whose highest peaks are Profitis Ilias (776 m.), Marpissa and Stroumboulas (730 m.). Spring water can be spotted only at the area of Drios.
The soil is rocky and consists of granite, limestone (marble), gneiss and mica. The Parian marble was known, since ancient times, as the best in Greece. Another type of rock, at a small amount, is manganese, which the locals operated until 1960 in the mines of Thapsana.
The climate is typical Cycladic: temperate, dry, with mild winters and little rainfall. The average annual temperature is about 18 degrees Celsius, while from May to September, the temperature rises. During August, for about 20-30 days, the summer heat is mitigated by the wind, the “Etisia” as called by the ancient Greeks, which blows at 5-7 Beaufort volume during the day while at night it settles down.
The name “Paros” is not the only name used in ancient times for naming this Cycladic island. Other names are recorded by the Alexandrian grammarian Nicanor (2nd c. BC) in his project called “Metonomasia” and rescued by Stephan of Byzantium in his work called “Ethnica”:
The name Paros is not mentioned in any work of Homer nor in the signs of Linear B. it’s first appeared in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, a work created at the 7th century BC and the Hymn to Demeter.
The national name of the inhabitants of Paros was “Parios” and was found in the works of Pindar and Herodotus. As for the etymology of the name “Paros” we learn from Stephan the Byzantium that the grammarian Callimachus claimed that the name came up due to the Arcadian settler on the island called Parrhasius, a view accepted by Aristotle. In ancient times well-known products of Paros was figs, melons and Parian pies. More specifically, the famous Parian satirical poet Archilochus, traveling to Thassos, could not forget the black figs called “emonia”, which were a Parian product. Moreover, Athenaeus called Parian melons as the “cikious spermaties”, while Plinios claimed that in Paros there was a forest whose trees could not bear fruits, and the catches around Paros was more salty than normal.
Since 2009, The Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros organizes the “Festival in the Park”, a summer program of cultural, sporting and environmental events on its premises, which lasts from June to September and hosts various cultural events.
Since 1992, the Paros Nautical Club is operated with its headquarters at Livadia in Parikia. Its main activities are in water sports with swimming sections, triangle-offshore sailing, as well as cultural or environmental activities. Due to strong winds, Paros offers the possibility of developing similar sports such as kite- and wind-surfing. The main beaches where this kind of activities is developed are those of Punta and the Gold Coast, with learning centers and equipment rental.
The airport of the island is the “Paros National Airport” which connects the island with Athens. The port in Parikia is the main port of the island. The ports in Naoussa and Piso Livadi unite Paros with other Cycladic islands, especially in summer while the port in Punta connects the island with Antiparos via ferry boats throughout the year.
The flora of Paros is no different from the other Cycladic islands, and the recordings so far have not identified endangered species on the island. Today, the following plant species can be spotted in Paros: carob, holly, tamarisk, cedar, juniper, mastic, wild olive and thyme.
Most of the natural vegetation of Paros is degraded due to grazing, construction activity and it is naturally replaced by scrub and grassland vegetation. Also, we are able to find some pine areas which are afforested.
The fauna of Paros are consisted of mammals such as hare and wild rabbit.
A featuring bird in Paros is the partridge while we can meet some migratory birds such as woodcocks, wood pigeons, turtle doves and other waterfowls. The main bird species of Paros are: dove, Scops Owl, owl, bee-eater, “stafrochelidono” (a swallow type) , crow, oriole, goldfinch, buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Audouin’s gull, herring gull, wild pigeon, minx (sousourada).
Protected areas called Natura in Paros are:
Paros is a popular tourist destination and has a significant number of beaches some of which are:
Santa Maria, little Santa Maria, Piperi, Agioi Anargyroi, Laggeri, Ambelas, Glyfades, Filizi
Livadia, Krios, Marcello, Souvlia, Kaminia (or Kaminakia), Agios Fokas (Parikia), Monastiri, beach of Agios Ioannis, Kolimpithres
Tsoukalia, Molos, Kalogeros, Piso Livadi, Logaras, Punta, New Golden Beach or Tserdakia, Golden Beach, Drios, Lolantonis, Glyfa, Boutari
Farangas, Piso Aliki, Ag. Nikolaos Aliki, Voutakos, Pounda (opposite Antiparos), Agia Irini, Parasporos, Delphini, Cove Bey