Paros Off the Beaten Path: What to Do, See, and Eat on the East Coast
From Santa Maria Beach to Piso Livadi and Lefkés, here’s an ultimate guide on what to see, where to go, and where to eat on the east side of Paros.
Day two in Paros, Greece, and we are ready to explore half of the island. Best way to get around the island? Via quad. We rented ours from the ML Rent A Car a couple of steps away from our AirBnb in Naoussa. An ATV costs you just 28 euros for the entire day and an you could see half of the island on a full tank of gas. Refueling will cost you nothing as well.
Our first stop was Santa Maria beach. The drive there is AMAZING, to say the least. The only thing separating you and your quad from the crystal blue ocean are small coves. We stopped by Santa Maria beach, a gorgeous beach with sun beds and palm tree umbrellas, but Pat and I couldn’t stop thinking about the intimate and secluded coves on our way to the beach. Without hesitation, we decided to turn around and spend an hour tanning and bathing in one of the coves rather than at the beach. We chose one along the path to Santa Maria and highly recommend you all do the same! It is so much better than staying on a beach. You really feel in touch with nature and get your own private cove with an unobstructed view of the neighboring island!
We started to get hungry so decided to head to the fishing port of Piso Livadi. As you arrive, you see the village and small boardwalk peering through the trees. If you plan on eating lunch in Piso Livadi during prime season, I highly recommend you make a reservation since almost every restaurant was packed! It’s a hotspot for tourist during the summer months due to its picturesque location, sandy beaches, and of course numerous cafés and restaurants. If you’re looking to eat fresh fish caught the morning of, aside from Naoussa, Piso Livadi is the place to go. The port is lined with cute cafés with panoramic sea front views of the port and beach. Pat and I chose to enjoy lunch at Stavros Restaurant at the beginning of Piso Livadi. The menu is primarily Greek and because it is at the beginning of the promenade, it isn’t as crammed as other restaurants may be. Following lunch, Pat and I decided to take a stroll down the boardwalk before hopping on our ATV’s and heading off to Golden Beach – famous for its water sports – specifically, wind surfing. As you look out onto the waters of windy Golden Beach, you catch a glimpse of the small island of Drionsi just a couple of kilometers away that can only be reached by boat.
While we were exploring the island, Pat and I decided to take a detour and reach the village of Lefkés by crossing through the mountain rather than through the back roads. This was both a good and bad idea. Good because the views were breath taking and unbelievable on the way up (and down). Bad because we had no idea the trip would be so long and we were afraid our ATV would run out of gas..!! After a good hour driving to the top of the mountain and then reaching the halfway point on the way back down, we saw the old Paros capital of Lefkés. This is truly an off the beaten path city (literally) worth seeing. The town was quiety, cool – since we were in the mountains, and peaceful. Most of the townspeople where up at the main church, it seemed like some sort of festival was going on. So we decided to take advantage of the quiet village and explore what this old ancient capital of Paros had to offer. Cycladic architecture, neoclassical buildings, and quirky boutiques surrounded by vineyards and forests make for a perfect island getaway. I highly recommend everyone take a day trip out here if they can!
We returned the ATV to our rental place in Naoussa and went home to get ready for dinner. We chose to go to Barbarossa right in the center of Naoussa for dinner on our last night. There we enjoyed salmon fillet with basil lemon-oil & boiled vegetables (and an ocean view). It’s unlike its more traditional counterparts and has a more upscale feel to it with a view of fishing boats and the harbor. It might not be the traditional and local feel one might be looking for, but it’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Paros by far – both for the food and the experience.
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