Greek Guide

 

Paros Car Hire Greece Greek Rentals

Buses run regularly to all the major places of interest on Paros but you may wish to hire a car or moped for at least part of your visit. With the freedom of your own set of wheels you'll be able to explore the island's many lovely beaches at leisure, visit the famous marble quarries of Marathi and take a trip to the remarkable Valley of the Butterflies.

The waterfront of the main port of Parikia is awash with car hire firms and both car and motorbike rental are also widely available at all the island's main tourist spots. Try Paros Rent a Car which shares the same offices as Santorineos Travel Services in Parikia.

Just a few years ago donkeys and mules were the main means of transport on the island but now you'll find a decent enough network of asphalt roads connecting all the main places of interest.

You'll no doubt want to pay a visit to the abandoned marble quarries at Marathi five kilometres east of Parikia in the centre of the island. Parian marble was once regarded as the finest in the world and was used to produce many of the most famous sculptures of antiquity including the Hermes of Praxitelous, now displayed in the museum of Ancient Olympia, and the Venus de Milo whose current home is the Louvre Museum in Paris (much to the vexation of the Greeks). The last slabs to be mined here in the 19th century were used for the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. Bring a torch and a strong pair of shoes to explore the caverns of these quarries which once supplied the whole of Europe. It's inadvisable to go alone in case of any mishaps.

Drive on towards the island's ancient capital of Lefkes the highest and loveliest village on Paros with a magnificent cathedral, a folk museum, medieval houses and labyrinthine alleyways.

From Lefkes you can drive north to the island's chic seaside resort of Naoussa where there's a picturesque working fishing harbour and some wonderful restaurants serving innovative cuisine and the freshest fish imaginable. A short drive to the west of the town takes you to one of the island's best beaches, Kolimbithres, where huge sculpted rock formations divide the coastline into a series of pretty coves. Or drive east along the coast to the excellent beach of Santa Maria (a paradise for watersports enthusiasts).

From Piso Livadi on the east coast you can take a ferry over to the neighbouring island of Naxos (one hour) which can easily be explored by car in a day. The island offers some lovely unspoilt beaches, traditional mountain villages and beautiful countryside peppered with ancient Byzantine churches and Venetian watchtowers.

If you're visiting between May and August you'll want to drive south of Parikia to the incredible Valley of the Butterflies at Petaloudes where millions of brightly coloured tiger moths smother the valley's dense foliage during the mating season as they have done for the last 300 years. Early morning or early evening is the best time to visit if you want to see any activity because the moths remain dormant during the fierce heat of the day.