Paros sits at the center of the Cycladic islands in the Aegean sea. Its immediate neighbors include the islands of Syros and Mykonos to the north; Naxos to the east; Ios and Sikinos to the south; and Antiparos and Sifnos to the west. Also to the north is the archaeological site of Delos, one of the country's most historically significant.
The Cyclades are some of the most popular Greek islands, due in large part to their beautiful sandy beaches and sparkling azure waters. Paros shares this blessing; the island's beaches are magnificent -- some bustling with bathers, music, and windsurfers, others quiet and practically untouched. Golden Beach, Kolymbithres, and Santa Maria are likely the most well known and perhaps the most spectacular, although each corner of Paros offers its own coastal treasures. Visitors to the Olive House are likely to frequent Voutakos, Pygadaki & Alyki beaches – all within a 10-minute drive of the house and each with their unique charms. Visitors to the Sea House are blessed with their own private beach just steps from the house.
A snapshot of Paros, like much of the Cyclades, reveals an island of ancient churches and whitewashed stone houses clustered in and between villages veined with narrow alleys. The island's main towns are Parikia and Naoussa, both of which offer a variety of shops and restaurants and a vibrant nightlife during the summer season. Yet Paros is also home to the tiny hamlet of Marpissa, and to Lefkes, a beautiful ancient village at the island's highest elevation from which visitors can embark on a Byzantine walking path through the hills.
Paros is perhaps best known for its marble. Prized by Ancient Greek sculptors, smooth white Parian marble was mined from the quarries of Marathi and used to carve countless masterpieces, including the Venus de Milo. No longer operational, the quarry is open to visitors. Paros is also the birthplace of Archilochus, an ancient Greek poet of great influence.
Paros is truly an island with something for everyone -- perfect for families with small children, older travelers, and honeymooners alike. Beyond the obvious delights of the sea and sun, visitors will discover rich historical treasures, a diversity of art galleries, and excellent locally produced food and wine. Visitors to the Olive House and the Sea House are particularly well positioned to not only indulge in a glorious, relaxing holiday but also immerse themselves in art and culture. The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts – a dynamic presence on the island for more than 30 years – offers workshops, seminars, and study abroad programs in such subjects as art history, painting, drawing, and photography. Paros is also home to a superlative three-week course in Modern Greek offered by College Year in Athens. For those eager to venture further afield, ferries to neighboring islands operate regularly throughout the high season. The islands of Antiparos, Naxos, Mykonos, and Tinos in particular are only a short boat ride away and can easily be seen in a day trip.
Paros is roughly 70 km in length. The island's main road runs its circumference and covers approximately 120 km of coastline. During the off-season, Paros is home to about 10,000 residents. Visitors can reach Paros by sea (3 1/2 hrs on the high speed ferry) or air (25 min flight). During the high season (June through September), temperatures range from the low to mid 20s C (70s–80s F). For the most part, visitors can expect warm days with bright sun and frequent island breeze, thanks to the ever-present Meltemi, a strong north-westerly wind felt throughout the Cyclades.