Travel Tuesday takes you to a lesser known spot
We had the option of 3 nights in Mykonos or doing 2 nights there and 1 night on another island. Naxos and Paros kept coming up in searches and when I saw an article about Paros being “the next Santorini” I booked it. It is, indeed, beautiful.
Day 5: Tuesday, 9/3
Was I exhausted when I woke up after our last night in Mykonos ? Yes. But I remembered how good that breakfast looked and was determined to eat it at least once. After some fresh pineapple juice, yogurt (with fig syrup and coconut flakes), and other buffet goodies, I ran back to the room to grab our suitcases and hop on the transfer to the ferry.
This time, our ferry wasn’t quite so early. It was set to leave at 10 AM but was running about 30 minutes late…still, at just 45 minutes, we got to Paros plenty early. This was the one island where we didn’t set up a transfer from the port, but it was cheap and easy to hop on the bus. They packed the bus in and we were a bit confused where our hotel was when we got dropped off, but it wasn’t too bad.
After enjoying our welcome drink, we decided to take the 10 minute walk into town, which pretty much looks just like Mykonos – white walls, blue doors, bright pink bougainvillea, stone streets. It’s what I imagine Mykonos was like 50 years ago.
We walked along the water and up to the Venetian castle, an old fortress. We didn’t bother learning any history, just enjoyed the beauty of it all.
We went to lunch at Taverna Glafkos, right on the water. We had Greek salad, tzaziki, shrimp saganaki, and grilled octopus. It was all very tasty.
We walked around for a bit more then went back to the hotel to rest for about 30 minutes. Then it was off to the beach! I think there are some very nice beaches in Paros (and I’m sure a catamaran around the island would be extra lovely), but you know what else is nice? Being about 100 feet from a beach. Any beach. The one by our hotel wasn’t the best but it was close, which made it ideal.
After an hour at the beach we went back to the hotel to do a little work by the pool. There may not have been a bar right up against the pool, but it was a really nice and calming pool area.
After showering up, we went back into town for supper. Since we ate lunch on the water, we wanted to do dinner in the alleyways. We noticed a few of the restaurants I’d been recommended but decided to go rogue when Albert spotted a restaurant called Safran, with an adorable table for two outside calling our names.
Sitting outside gave us the best cat interaction opportunities. There are so many cats in Greece! But back to the restaurant…Safran still served Greek food, but they took a slightly modern approach. After lots of uber-traditional meals, a little twist or two was welcomed.
We started with grilled bread with dips, but instead of the tzaziki norm, we got a spiced whipped goat cheese and a lighter than air whipped chickpea spread. We also got mini spinach pies that were a cute take on spanikopita. Instead of many phyllo layers, these were wrapped in the pastry, filled with spinach (little cheese filler), and topped with yogurt and mint.
For entrées, Albert got osso bucco, and I got a dorado special that was fileted tableside. For dessert, they brought out a complimentary chocolate bread thing that looked like halva or biscotti but was [thankfully] neither.
After dinner, we walked through the town and I picked up my first real souvenir, a piece of art. I then picked up a second souvenir on the walk back to the hotel…some pastries from a bakery.
As we walked back (at 11 pm), we noticed all the restaurants in the center square were just getting started. If you were by the hotels, you’d think this was a sleepy little town, but Paros seems to be the one you gotta watch out for. It’s always the quiet ones.
- Accommodations: Kanale’s
- Our suite was large and included a huge balcony. Some parts (like the bathroom) were very nice but not necessarily luxurious. That said, Paros is like Mykonos without the pretentiousness so it worked. Also, all common areas were nice and modern with a fun touch.
- The location of the hotel was pretty perfect. Very easy walk into Naousa, a small beach nearby, and easy access to ATVs if we wanted to explore.
- Foodie Field Notes:
- Once again, seafood seafood seafood. This is a fishing village, so I recommend getting yourself some freshly filleted fish at some point.
- There were some really good restaurants here. You’ll be able to tell which are tourist traps so just avoid those. Otherwise, there are a few spots that tackle more modern cuisine, even sushi, so this is a good island to break out of your souvlaki shell.
- Shrimp saganaki is popular all over Greece, and I really enjoyed it here. It’s the kind of seafood dish that appeals to meat eaters. Maybe it’s the rich and creamy tomato sauce?
- Rent an ATV: Everyone told us to do this in Mykonos so we could bounce around from beach club to beach club; however, with only 2 days there, we weren’t doing much bouncing. Since Paros is more low key, we would have enjoyed going from neighborhood to neighborhood – with an ATV, we could have gone to Lefkes or some of the nicer beaches, for instance.
- Stay in Naousa: The town center stays open late (dinners just starting at 10 PM), but the rest of the island feels very quiet. That can be nice, but I recommend staying within walking distance to Naousa center so you can enjoy the nightlife and late night shopping. You can always take a car to the beach during the day.
- Bottom Line: This is a perfect spot when you don’t want to party party but still want to feel like you stayed out late and experienced the Greek night life. It’s all bright blue and white with the same cobblestones you fell in love with in Mykonos…just without feeling like you need to be dressed up and awake at 3 AM.