Paros is the third-largest of the Cyclades after Naxos and Andros. It is famous for its white marble; Venus de Milo as well as most of the ancient temples were created from it. This material ensured the prosperity of the island for many years, from Cycladic Age onwards(this is indicated by the fact that 150,000 slaves worked at the quarries during the Roman Era); the prosperity of the island nowadays depends largely on tourism.
Gently rolling hills surround the centre and south-east of the island, which is predominantly agricultural and is occupied by endless vineyards, and lock within themselves the famous Parian marble. The coastline is indented, with numerous small inlets and two large bays, those of Naoussa in the north and Parikia in the west.
Paros has been inhabited since very ancient times, and was one of the centres of the Cycladic civilisation. Statues found at various sites on Paros are on display in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Parikia (or Paros), the island’s capital and main port, stands on the site of an ancient city. There is a picturesque and ruinous Venetian castle, and the courtyards of the houses of the town – all of them painted white -are full of pots of basil and hung with jasmine and honeysuckle.
In Parikia you can visit the most splendid church in the Cyclades, Panagia Ekatondapyliani (don’t say it; just visit the church!). The name means “Our Lady of the Hundred Gates”, but the church actually has only 99 doors! Behind the church stands the Archaeological museum with interesting exhibits from the Cycladic Civilization.
Naoussa, the smaller port and one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades, with whitewashed houses, narrow paved alleys, arches and tiny chapels, can also offer a range of excellent beaches and attracts many visitors each summer.
Among the beaches near Naoussa, special mention should be made to Colibithres (with rocks in very strange shapes). Other beaches are Monastiri, Golden Beach, Punta Beach, Drios, Santa Maria for surfers, and many others.