Paroikia is the capital of Paros Island and typically Cycladic. A maze of shimmering, white cubic houses meander uphill from the bustling harbour and associated restaurants and bars. Not as fertile as its next door neighbour, Naxos, Paros can seem a little barren at first sight. However Paroikia has a surprising amount of water which is turned into a delicious local red wine. It’s fabulous for sipping whilst contemplating the next leg of your sailing holiday.
Ashore the most pleasant daytime pastimes are wandering the streets, people watching and ducking into the odd delightfully cool church or chapel. At night there are plenty of options for those that want to party.
Paroikia also offers good shelter if you want some quiet time out of the wind? If you’re sick of a screaming meltemi it offers a pleasant respite from those strong northwesters.
Mooring in Paroikia
The harbour and its combined marina are very popular in the summer months with sailors. The marina is often full and the overflow is made welcome on the outside wall of the north facing quay; fantastic in fair weather but to be avoided if it is blowing strongly from the north. Under these conditions a better bet is to anchor on the north side of the main bay and let things calm down if there is no room on the inside.
Remember to give both sides of the main bay entrance a good offing as shoals extend from either side of the coast. Red and green buoys mark the channel. When manoeuvring within the vicinity of the marina and quay keep a sharp eye out for other watercraft and watch you depths. Silting can occur here.
The marina has lazy lines. These are sometimes a little short, depending on how many times they have been “prop-wrapped” during the season! The outer quay is med-mooring (i.e. you own anchor and stern lines). Water and electricity are available on the quays and fuel is delivered by tanker.
Things to do in Paroikia
There are plenty of opportunities to stock up on supplies here and most other needs (including gas bottle refills) can be met somewhere in town. Just ask around. A well-stocked chandler y store is helpful for replacing those lost items or picking up a new pair of sailing shoes.
Restaurants and bars of every shape, size and budget crowd the harbour streets. A wide variety of tastes are catered for. Likewise there are plenty of clubs and live music venues to keep you rocking to all hours of the day and night. Great news for crews, and skippers alike, who need to blow off a bit of steam!
In Paroikia you can discover many archaeological sites including the famous Ekatontapiliani Church and neighbouring Venetian castle built in 1260. Panagia Ekatontapiliani, dating from 326AD, is one of the finest churches in the Cyclades. The name roughly translates to Our Lady of the Hundred Doors. It is actually three separate churches; Agios Nikolaos, the Church of Our Lady and the ancient Baptistery. There is a Byzantine museum within the same collection of buildings.
Climb up to the Frankish Kastro at sunset to enjoy one of the best views on the island. The churches of Agios Constantinos and Agia Anna with its two mills are also nearby. Down towards the beach lies an ancient cemetery and a former ceramics workshop. A trip to the Archaeological Museum of Paros reveals finds from around Paroikia town and archaeological digs from the rest of the island of Paros.
If you fancy a swim there are many sand beaches dotted around the main bay of Limin Paroikias.
If you run out of things to do in Paroikia you can always hit the road and visit the beautiful northern port of Naousa with its quirky craft shops and pretty little harbour. Another outing to be enjoyed can be found four kilometres south of Paroikia. The verdant, Valley of the Butterflies makes a beautiful side trip that usually rewards you with glimpses of Paros’ tiger butterflies among other species.