While Santorini has dramatic cliffs, Corfu has forests and mountains, Syros has its city life and culture, Paros is known for its calm, romantic atmosphere perfect for poets, and painters.
Paros is a medium sized island with a winter population of ~16,000, with 11 main villages and over 40 named beaches. The island is mountainous in the centre where the villages Lefkes and Kostos are located and flat along the coast line. This makes it a perfect island for artists who want a variety of landscape to explore.
As a tourist turned local I love to share my top 10 painting locations on the island.
Monastiri (Paros) Park
Monastery Iera Moni Ag. Anargiron
Monastiri (Paros) Park
This natural park is located at the northwest tip of the bay of Naoussa. In the park you can find several walking paths through interesting rocky terrain and crystal clear seawater. In the summertime entrance can be filled with yachts however in the back of the park it is still quiet and beautiful for nature lovers.
In the western side of the park you can walk to a light house which is dramatically placed on a cliff edge by the sea. On days with northern wind the waves crashing against the rocks make marvellous scene ideal for photography and painting.
One of the most famous beaches in Paros, Kolymbithres is located in the idyllic bay of Naoussa. it is known for the large smooth blocks of granite are formed by the sea and wind to look like modern sculptures.
In the summer months the beach is very busy after 10:00am. The best time to photograph or paint this beach & it's natural sculptures is early morning in the summer (June-September). From
October to May this beach is not as busy and can be photographed in all it's natural beauty!
Monastery Iera Moni Ag. Anargiron (Ιερά Μονή Αγ. Αναργύρων)
This beautiful monastery is the home to Greek Orthodox nuns, and is located up on the mountain "Notia Paroikias" behind the main village of the island, Paroikia. If you enjoy hiking you can walk up 3km from the port of Paroikia, but you can also drive up. This location is incredible for sunset photography as well as a midday painting.
Lefkes is a traditional Cycladic village perched up at ~250meters above sea level in the mountains
of Paros. From the top right of Lefkes on the road towards "o milos tou xristou mpiza" you can obtain the best view of the village as a whole with the main church and the mountains in the background.
On this road you can also find traditional windmills on the mountain overlooking Naxos island. Inside the village you can find winding pedestrian streets from the 17th century with historical Cycladic homes.
During the summer months the village of Lefkes is best photographed in the morning before most tourists flood the streets. In the off season Lefkes is a quiet village, and the Kafeneo, Cafe Marigo in the traditional square is perfect for setting up an easel or watercolor block.
Agios Adonis (Marpissa)
Sitting behind Marpissa village is a volcanic hill with Agios Adonis church sitting on top. The hill used to be home to a small Frankish castle and along the 20 minute walk up from Marpissa you can still see some of the rocky remains of the castle wall. For painters packing an easel and chair, there is a road from Marpissa that leads to the top of Agios Adonis, however the road is very steep and has only a few parking spaces on top. I recommend only experienced drivers to drive to the top.
Agios adonis is great for photographers and painters because of its panoramic view. On one side of Agios Adonis is the view of the surrounding villages, Marpissa, Prodromos, Marmara, Piso Livadi and Lefkes, on the other side you can see the sea and Naxos. The patio of the church is partially protected from the wind and has shade on one side, making it an excellent place to set up paints and a picnic.
Paroikia is the main village of Paros Island and most lively of the island's villages home to the gallery and art studio Cecelia Art Paros. In Paroikia’s port you can capture the fishermen fixing nets in the morning and evening to the sailboats in the bay. Inside the village are many winding historical streets with bright bougainvillaes, some 18th century aristocratic buildings, and historical sights such as an ancient pottery studio, Frankish castle wall, ancient mosaic yard and the iconic ancient byzantine church Ekatontapyliani.
Paroikia is filled with cafes in the village, port and seaside perfect for drinking a coffee of fresh juice while painting the traditional Cycladic streets.
The quiet fishing village Piso Livadi is best for artists who want to capture a quite romantic scene. The village is very small but extremely beautiful any time of day.
You can set up your painting supplies on the beach under the trees or at one of the cafe’s. In the evening I recommend eating at the seaside restaurant “Gialos”. Gialos restaurant is owned by a Parian local, who uses some produce from his family’s farm to make delicious Greek cuisine with a modern twist. The location of Gialos in Piso Livadi is perfect for photographing the little port at sunset. During sunset at Piso Livadi the sea turns from blue to silver and the reflection of the sunset travels across the sky giving of a beautiful rainbow of pastels.
Lageri and Santa Maria are located at the most north east point of Paros island. This area is filled with inlets, little beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Laggeri beach is best for photographing Naousa bay at sunset. Along Santa Maria towards Ampelas there is a seaside path which is ideal for photographing the seascape without other tourists even in mid summer.
Aliki is known for fishermen, traditional
boats and a picturesque port with the view of Antiparos. Aliki is larger than the fishing village of Piso Livadi and is a popular dinner location.
In this village my favourite place to sketch and paint with watercolors is at Cafe Marina. The cafe's tables are located right on the low part of the port so you can watch the fish swimming by and paint the reflections of the water's surface.
Pounda Port to Antiparos
On the left of Pounda port is a seaside path & road leading towards Paros Kite Center. Along this path are many small beaches which face Paros’s sister island, Antiparos.
The landscape in Pounda is flat in comparison with other parts of the island making it an easy destination to setup painting supplies in the little port to the west of Pounda on a windless day. On windy days photographers capture kite surfers “flying” over the sea from jumping waves. Pounda is also a fantastic sunset spot as viewers watch the sun set directly over Antiparos.