”Páros… was all the more charming for what it wasn’t – it wasn’t busy, it wasn’t expensive, and it wasn’t as ostentatious as elsewhere. But it was still sufficiently Cyclades-esque swank and downright seductive, almost coquettishly so. And pretty. Oh-so pretty.”
Image || In the whitewashed lanes of Parikiá, Páros. May 1, 2017.
Páros, Cyclades, Greece
Time to slow it down a notch. Páros, the second island I got to savour as part of a 6-isle Greek island hop, was all the more charming for what it wasn’t – it wasn’t busy, it wasn’t expensive, and it wasn’t as ostentatious as elsewhere. But it was still sufficiently Cyclades-esque swank and downright seductive, almost coquettishly so. And pretty. Oh-so pretty. Two islands in and one was quickly discovering that ‘oh-so pretty’ is par of the course on these Cyclades isles.
Of course, it’s all relative. While Páros wouldn’t be top of the Premier League table of Cyclades island escapes (mid-table, maybe), it’s still popular, especially in July and August (when I’d be sure to steer well clear). But having travelled here (by boat, of course) on the last day of April from league-topping Santoríni, Páros felt positively asleep. The change of pace, the drop in fellow tourist numbers, and the reduction in prices helped get over the Santoríni hangover.
dMb Country Overview - Greece
Region – Southeastern Europe/The Balkans (dMb tag: The Balkans). Capital – Athens. Population – 10.8 million. Official Language – Greek. Currency – Euro (€) GDP (nominal) per capita – US$21,000 Political System – Unitary parliamentary republic. EU Member? – Yes (10th member joined January 1981). UN Member? – Yes (founding member joined October 1945). G20 Member? – No. Size – 132,000 km² (Europe’s 15th largest country is approximately half the size of Ecuador, twice the size of Sri Lanka, and roughly the same size as the US southern states of Alabama and Louisiana. Topography – A mountainous interior (80% of Greece is mountainous), a long and convoluted coastline, and hundreds of offshore islands. Independence – 1830 from the Ottoman Empire following 1821 to 1830 Greek War of Independence. Brief History – From the eighth century B.C., the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis (singular polis), which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great rapidly conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century B.C., becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, which adopted the Greek language and culture. The Greek Orthodox Church, which emerged in the first century A.D., helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. After falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, Greece emerged as a modern nation state in 1830 following a war of independence. UNESCO World Heritage sites – 18. Tourism Catchphrase/Slogan – All Time Classic. Famous For – Endless coastline and beaches; shipping; democracy (born here); a classical and hallowed past; ouzo; sun-drenched islands; Alexander the Great; the Olympics; being the cradle of Western civilisation; food (tzatziki, feta, souvlaki, moussakas, yogurt, grapes, olives and olive oil); economic collapse & austerity.
Highlights – Cyclades island-hopping and the remnants of all that ancient history (Greece boasts four millennia of sun-bleached ruins, artefacts and architecture). Greece Titbits – At nearly 14,000 km (8,500 miles), Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world; Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and the Olympic Games (the country’s rich historical legacy is reflected in part by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as of 2017); the Greek economy is the largest in the region with an economy larger than all other Balkan countries combined, this despite its well-documented economic battering and subsequent austerity measures.
Visits – 2 (May 2008 and April/May 2017). Where I Went/What I Saw – Thessaloniki; The Cyclades (Santoríni, Paros, Mykonos, Delos, Tinos); Zakynthos/Zante; Olympia; Sparta; Mystras; Athens.
Parikiá, the small bayside capital and main port of 200 km² Páros, is another one of those Cyclades isles settlements that’ll have you swooning over its idyllicay, its adorable presentation. Adding doggie parking to the mix does little to hurt Parikiá’s cause. Just when you thought you’d seen it all.
Signing Off | The Complete Páros Gallery