Here’s our own mini travel guide for Paros: Made so that we can share our love for the island and make you fall in love with it too!
In this guide we will walk through different sets of information for making your stay more enjoyable while on Paros. The guide contains several topics so feel free to click on the sections of interest and read more about them.
We will cover the following sections:
Archaeological sites and museums - What are the must see sites?
Archaeological sites and museums - What are the must see sites?
Paros has been inhabited since 3200 BC. Paros was an ideal place due to its strategic position (in the center of the Cyclades) and the fertile land. The Cretans transformed the island into a naval station and gave it the name of Minoa, an honorific title given to Royal Cretan cities. In 1100 BC, the Ionians came to take the island and, after a first defeat, they managed to win the Minoans, destroyed their civilization and became rulers of the island.
During ancient times, Paros was famous, around the Mediterranean, for its high-quality semi-transparent marble, found at the Marathi Quarries. The same used to build many works of art and masterpieces such as the Temple of Apollo on Delos, the Venus of Milos, the statue of Hermes (Praxiteles) at Olympia and many others. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Paros became part of the Byzantine Empire and its inhabitants converted to Christianity, explaining why numerous churches, chapels, and monasteries were built during those times. Among those, the most famous is the Church of Ekatontapiliani in Parikia.
1) Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani in Parikia
Panagia Ekatontapyliani cathedral is a sacred jewel of Paros (dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary / "Panagia"), one of the most important paleochristian monuments on Greek soil ('ekatontapyliani' literally means 'of a hundred gates'). It is situated in the northeastern part of the town, very close to the port and dates back to 326 AD. There are many traditions connected with its founding, its name and the architect who designed it. According to the prevailing one, it was erected by decree of Constantine the Great (Saint Constantine / "Agios Constantinos"), the first Emperor of Constantinople, in order to fulfill his mother's, Saint Helen (Agia Eleni), vow.
Why visit? Enough said on the description of the church. In short, this one of the most important churches in Greece and its history dates back almost 2000 years!
Distance and time from Tonia Apartments : 23.4 km, about a 29 min drive
The Archaeological Museum of Paros was founded in 1960, in a room built next to the High School of Parikia. It is one of the most important museums in Greece because of its exhibits, which were found in excavations on Paros and Antiparos. These findings date from the Neolithic period to early Christianity, and include: the Nike of Paros, Cycladic figurines, mosaics, the Archaic marble statue Gorgon (according to the myth, Gorgon was a monster that terrified and petrified those who faced it), kouroi, the poet Archilochus, amphorae from a Parian workshop, deities, and many more.
The Archaeological Museum of Paros features findings from the pottery and marble sculpture workshops of the island, while statues and sarcophagi dating back to the Classical and Roman era, as well as mosaics discovered in Panagia Ekatontapiliani are exhibited in the atrium.
Why visit? Visit the museum to enjoy the ancient artifacts with several in display being over 2000 years old. Discover how Ancient Greeks and islanders were making marble statues, potteries and more.
Distance and time from Tonia Apartments : 23.3 km, about a 29 min drive
The splendid Frankish Castle was built in 1260 by the Venetians. Scholars believe that the castle was built from the vestiges of an assortment of ancient sanctuaries that were scattered in and around the island of Paros. The Frankish Castle stands out for its impressive architecture.
Why visit? The castle is situated in the traditional small streets of Parikia which are fantastic to walk in. You will enjoy the views of a castle wall on one side and normal house walls on the other. Also, the castle is just behind Agios Constantinos church where you can enjoy magnificent sunsets facing directly west.
Distance and time from Tonia Apartments : 22.8 km, about a 28 min drive
4) Ancient marble quarries in Marathi
The famous Parian marble, revered for its contribution to architecture and sculpture of the Classical period, was extracted from these quarries, the main source of wealth for the island in all periods of history. Parian marble is known for its purity and transparency. This unique transparency allows light to penetrate to a depth of 3.5 cm (versus 2.5 cm in Italian Carrara marble and 1.5 cm in Pentelis marble). Renowned sculptors like Feidias, Agorakritos, Praxitelis and Scopas worked with the marble of Paros. Masterpieces of antiquity were created from the pure white marble, including: the Venus de Milo, Hermes of Praxitelis, Korai of the Acropolis, Nike of Delos, the Temple of Apollo and the treasure of Sifnos at Delphi, the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple of Apollo on Delos.
It is estimated that 70% of the sculptures in the regions bordered by the Aegean are made of Parian marble. It was known as lychnitis because it was extracted from deep galleries with only the light of the "lychnon" (oil lamps). The corridors, galleries and inscriptions of ancient artists have survived through the years. It is currently possible to visit two of the entrances. The extraction of the marble began in the early Cycladic era (3200 BC - 2000 BC). The quarries ceased operations in the late 19th century.
Why visit? Beautiful to get down in one of the entrances with some strong lights and explore around the entrance. Also the area is beautiful for combining it with a hike towards the centre of the island and the mountains.
Distance and time from Tonia Apartments : 16 km, about a 25 min drive
The Venetian Castle protects the village of Naousa and the port asa separate fortification. The fortification was created in the 15th century. The fortress was used as a watchtower for pirate and enemy attacks. Today only part of this fort survives a half-submerged watchtower that is connected to the mainland via a short path. Originally there was a second watchtower however this one no longer exists.
Why visit? Great place to get amazing views of Naousa. Additionally, the castle is situated just moments away from Naousa’s picturesque port. Can’t miss it when visiting Naousa.
Distance and time from Tonia Apartments : 18 km, about a 25 min drive
The Museum of Cycladic Folklore is located near the airport of Paros. The garden of the museum is consisted of olive trees, agaves, amaranth and honeysuckle. The museum exhibits unique miniatures of the Cycladic tradition, made by Benetos Skiadas. All objects are hand-crafted with absolute precision to the smallest detail.
Different types of boats are built with traditional construction. In the yard you will see the monastery of Panagia Chozoviotissa located in Amorgos, Our Lady of Tinos, the war ship "ELLI" , the famous lighthouse of Andros, the Venetian Castle of Paros, the cave of Antiparos, the ancient theater of Milos, the Lions of Delos, Tinian pigeon and lots more !
Why visit? The museum of Cycladic folklore is a very fun activity where you will be amazed by the level of detail the artist has put into building all these monuments entirely by hand.
Distance and time from Tonia Apartments: 13.7 km, 18 mins drive