The island of Paros (Πάρος) has been famous since antiquity for its excellent translucent marble, called Lychnites. This marble was used for the Temple of Solomon, the Venus de Milo, the temples on Delos, and for Napoleon’s tomb. It is an oval shaped island with an area of 195 km2 and 10,000 inhabitants. It has two peaks: Profitis Elias 771 m (2530 ft) and Karamboli 747 m (2451 ft). Its main town and port, Parikia, is on the W side of the island.
Although the island is invaded every summer by tens of thousands of tourists, yet it still manages to remain one of the most pleasant Cycladic islands.
Nearby recommended marinas:
The summer weather in the Aegean is dominated by the Etesian winds (meltemi in Greek, meltem in Turkish) which comes from the NE in the north and west Aegean and from the NW in the south and east. Usually it is a light sailing breeze of force 4-5 in the early morning hours but as the day progresses it strengthens to 5-6 by the afternoon and subsides by sunset. However from middle June to mid September you can count on the meltemi to become a gale of force 7-8 and occasionally 9. These gales usually last 3-4 days.
From October to mid May the probability is equal for either northerly or southerly winds. Winds of force 10 are not uncommon in the winter months. Violent thunderstorms are also probable by late October to early May. The southern winter winds are particularly treacherous and unpredictable.
- Coast Guard – VHF channel 12; Tel. +30 22840 21 240 (Parikia), +30 22840 51 250 (Naousa)
- Olympia Radio – VHF channels 03 & 04
The two main ports of Paros have tricky approaches:
Danger: Be aware of the many low-lying rocks and reefs during your approach either Parikia or Naoussa. In October 2002 a Greek ferry ran aground approaching Parikia with the loss of 78 people.
Warning: The Antiparos Channel is very shallow. In anything but calm weather it is better to approach channel anchorages from the south.
Naoussa previously had only a small overcrowded harbor with room for only eight yachts. In 2011 it was completely rebuilt creating a nice marina with 74 places for yachts (and up to 80 yachts in calm weather). Laid lines along south wall, most other berths are side to with rafting common. If anchoring, watch for blocks and chains from the unused laid line system. Larger boats go stern to on their anchor where the large boat shows alongside in the satelite picture below (blocks did not seem to be a problem here, depth >3m) but watch for stones at the base of the pier running northward. The ferry comes and goes stern to the north end of the pier. Water and electricity was not available. Harbor master is a lady, may meet you at the end of western breakwater, show your place and help you with mooring lines. Mooring fee is €15, electricity €1.5 per kWh, €2 per 100 liters of water. Visit June 2018 – Harbourmaster on site (Youla, +30 6956 098080) water & electricity included in mooring price.
In good weather you can anchor off and visit the town.
There are daily flights and ferries to and from Athens.
Paros was first inhabited by Cretans and then by Arcadians under their leader Paros, after whom the island was named. The 7th century BC soldier-poet Archilochos who is believed to be the first to write iambic poetry was from Paros. During the Persian Wars, Paros sided with the Persians. When Athens emerged victorious from those wars, they dispatched Miltiades, the victorious general from the battle of Marathon, to punish the Parians. They resisted successfully. During the Peloponnesian War, Paros was forced by the Athenians to join them in the Delian League. In the 3rd century BC, the island was conquered by the Macedonians who were followed by the Romans. The famous Hellenistic sculptor, Skopas was from Paros. In 1207 AD Paros became part of the Dukedom of Naxos, established by the Venetian Marco Sanudo. In 1389 the then-Duke of Naxos gave Paros to his daughter as part of her dowry. In 1536 the island was captured by Barbarossa and eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire, but was mostly under the control of pirates. In 1670 it became the base of operations of the famous pirate Hugues Chevaliers who inspired Byron’s Corsair. In 1770 the Russian fleet spent the winter in Paros. During the 1821 war of Greek Independence, Manto Mavrogenous, whose parents were from Paros and Mykonos, led all of her ships against the Ottomans. Paros became part of the Modern Greek state in 1830. Today the island is invaded every summer by tens of thousands of tourists, yet it still manages to remain one of the most pleasant Cycladic islands.
Places to Visit
Both Parikia and in Naoussa are picturesque towns with wonderful Cycladic architecture. Naoussa with its small fishing harbor ( a sunken small Venetian castle) is a jewel.
In Parikia, in addition to the Venetian Castle, there is Paros’ most significant monument, the Ekatontapyliani (of a hundred doors) Cathedral. Legend has it that St. Hellen, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, stopped here, during a gale, on her way to Palestine to recover the Holy Cross. She prayed for the success of her journey and promised that if she was successful she would built a church. That she did. Today’s church was built by Justinian on the site of the original one. According to the legend, whenever the all 100 doors or entrances are found, Istanbul (Constantinoupolis) will once again be Greek. The architect of this church was Ignatios, a student of Isidoros the builder of Ayia Sophia. According to one legend when Isidoros came to inspect his pupil’s work was so jealous that he dragged Ignatios down a well. There is a representation of this incident on one of the columns of the marble gate to the north of the church. Again others say that the column is more ancient, from a temple of Dionysos, and it actually depicts two satyrs. At any rate, the marble iconostasis is a “must see” item. The Baptistry, to right of the church, dates from the 4th century AD and is believed to be the oldest Orthodox baptistry. Another story concerns Ayia Theoktisi whose tomb is in the church. She was a 9th century nun who was captured by pirates on Lesvos. She escaped the pirates and hid in the forests of Paros where she lived for 35 years until she was found by a hunter. He brought her to the cathedral where she had communion. As soon as she did so she died. The hunter realizing that she was a saint, cut off her hand so that he would have a valuable holy relic. He was unable, however to sail away from the island until he returned the hand.
The Museum in Parikia contains among many other significant exhibits a series of marble tablets, the Parian Chronicle, depicting the history of Greece from 1500 to 264 BC. Also at the outskirts of the town there is a second century BC Cemetery.
Near Parikia at Tholos there is third century BC Ancient Pottery Workshop worth seeing. To the east of Parikia at Marathi are the ancient quarries that have provided the fabulous Parian marble.
The beach of Kolimbithres near Naoussa with its strange rock formations is well worth a visit. So are the picturesque villages of Marpissa and Marmara (also possible anchorages).
When you drive around Paros note the many pigeon cotes built with stones in a typical Cycladic style. Source: www.cruiserswiki.org