When we left Santorini, Chris and I both found ourselves wishing we had more time there. As we boarded the ship to Paros, we felt sad to watch the island and all its magic disappear into the abyss.
However, this feeling didn't last long. We quickly learned that Santorini is amazing, but Paros is OUR JAM. It's more rural, less populated and, at its core, still primarily a fishing island. Santorini is touristy and caters to the vacationer. Paros is slow, simpler and stole our hearts within minutes as we ventured in to the wide, open farmland.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at St. Andrea, which we highly, highly recommend.
Oh, St. Andrea! We dream of this place. This is not a resort for those who love ornate details. It's all about clean, white lines and simple, elegant details. It's what my dreams are made of! The pool, the food, the coffee, ah! It was perfection. The service was incredible, too.
We loved where it sat on the island. We walked into Naoussa for coffee and breakfast in the morning if we didn't want to eat at the resort, which was the perfect distance. It was an easy cab ride at night, as well.
The vibe of the island is so very relaxed - the cab drivers encouraged us not to pay and to "just give them money later." Chris and I laughed at the thought of trying this in Chicago or Atlanta: hey! could we pay you some other day? Chris was so caught off guard by their relaxed demeanor that he bought the driver ice cream the first night. Needless to say, she was a little confused :)
What We Did
After doing so many activities in Santorini, we intended to lounge by the pool in Paros. But then! We discovered it has just as much to do (if not more). We spent about 20 minutes by the pool the first morning and then I looked at Chris and said: wanna go explore? And he said yep! And threw his book down.
Rent ATVs and tour the island
The first day, we rented ATVs to explore the island. We had the good fortune to end up with one that only went 24 mph. This was good because I was mostly completely terrified of it. It was the perfect way to see the wide open, rural island, which is too large to try to cover on foot.
Spend a day on Santa Maria
We loved Perivolas & Kamari, but they had nothing on Santa Maria. The soft sand, bright, teal water and mountain views were unlike anything we'd ever seen. We rented two chairs for the day, which was $10 :) We also rented snorkel gear so we could explore under water. It was bath-water clear!
We had drinks and snacks by the ocean and dreamed of buying a house on Paros. Someday, someday :)
Naoussa is a tiny fishing village lined with whitewashed houses and bright flowers. The white, stone streets wind around and around, creating a maze of restaurants and shops. We loved every bit of it. It is worth saving some time to explore.
Go to Antiparos
Antiparos is an island off of Paros that sits less than a mile away. It could, easily, be a post of its own. It was my favorite day of the trip! It's a $5 ferry ride from Paros to Antiparos and takes only a few minutes. You can bring a car or ATV on the boat, or rent one upon arriving to Antiparos.
It's a superrrsmall island that, our waitress told us, until a few years ago, was basically still like Robinson Crusoe. Much of the island still does not have electricity.
We ate at the Beach House, which is also an inn. We absolutely would stay here again if we could. It was so beautiful.
We swam in a cove, rented SUPs and laid by the water. We drove an ATV all over the island and wrote down the phone numbers for the houses for sale - just in case, you know!? We went to Captain Pipinos, where they hang fish from the ocean along the docks, preparing them to be cooked.
Where We Ate
Because Naoussa winds around like a maze, we initially didn't realize we could eat dinner next to the sea. We ate at Open Garden the first night, which is in the heart of the city - enclosed between other restaurants. We sat outside on the little deck, drinking white wine and eating lemon honey chicken.
The second night, we turned a corner and stumbled upon a whole row of restaurants that overlooked the water. We tried out Taverna Glafkos and then we loved it so much we went back the next night! We ate grilled cheese, which is not to be confused with a grilled cheese sandwich. They took a block of white cheese, cooked it straight on the grill and served it with figs and honey. I still dream of it, y'all.
The Beach House
The best thing I ate the entire trip was the tuna burger at the Beach House. It came straight from the ocean and I still think about how amazingly fresh it was. I've tried to recreate it since returning, but it can't be done. They served it with ginger and fresh veggies. Pure magic!
After Paros & Antiparos, we took a boat over to Athens, where we spent a whirlwind 24 hours before flying back to Atlanta.