Parikia is the capital of Paros Island. It is also the main port and a famous tourist destination. Parikia is located on the western coast of the island and occupies the site of the ancient capital Paros. Ferries depart from the port town to the neighboring Cycladic islands and this makes it a great place to be based on the island. Most of the boat and sailing tours also start from here. In winter, it is a sleepy small town, but it comes alive in summer when filled with thousands of tourists from all over the world.
There is a quaint old town with sugar-cube-like houses decorated with blue-painted shutters, small hidden churches with blue domes, whitewashed windmills and lots of quaint little alleyways and side streets with loads of history. Lined with bougainvillea they are absolutely beautiful and create great photo opportunities. The old town is a great place to walk around in and one of the loveliest villages in the Cyclades. Amongst the alleys you can find small boutique shops, some of the best restaurants and many cute cafés. Restaurants and tavernas also line up the promenade and offer a seafront dining experience looking out over the Aegean Sea. With so many of them based on the water’s edge, it can be hard to make a decision where to dine.
There is enough to do and see in Parikia to keep you busy or you can just chill. This is where you will find interesting historical monuments and points of interest such as the 4th century Byzantine church of Panagia Enatontapyliani (Our Lady of a Hundred Doors), one of the most important and best-preserved Christian churches of Greece. Near the church is the Archaeological Museum with remains from a period spanning from the Neolithic to the early Christian times. Along the waterfront you will find an ancient cemetery dating from the end of the 8th century BC. However, one of the first things you will see on your arrival is a photogenic whitewashed windmill. It is the landmark of Parikia and a nice place to watch the sunset. Parikia offers visitors the opportunity to visit the Frankish Castle, a ruin leftover from the days when the Venetians had control over Paros, remains of the Archaic Temple of Athena and many quaint old churches such as Panagia Stavrou, Agia Anna, Taxiarchis and the church of Agios Konstantinos with great views out over the ocean.
Parikia is within easy walking distance of a number of nice beaches such as Livadia Beach near the Old Town, Souvlia Beach and Martselo Beach. They all have clear water and are fully equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas. Parikia is a popular town to stay at in Paros and there are plenty of accommodation options, yet if you’re planning on coming to Paros around August 15th, book well in advance because that day hordes of pilgrims come to Paros to celebrate the name day of the Panagia (Virgin) and take part in the big feast which is organized at the church of the Panagia Ekatontapyliani. If you are planning on seeing the entire island by using the buses or the excursion boats, your best bet is to base yourself in Parakia. Its central location makes it an excellent location for exploring the rest of the island.