Three Easy Pieces for Hikers on Paros
Yes, you guessed it : We are in Greece!
On the beautiful island of Paros, to be precise, the pearl of the Aegean Sea. And just to prove to you that we are not simply taking it easy – although the temptation to just have a good time and let writing duties go hang may sometimes be hard to resist …
… here are the results of the first few days on our Cyclades tour and a few suggestions for pleasant, short and not overly taxing walks.
We are based in the north of Paros, near the town of Naoussa, so our first brief excursions have naturally centered on this part of the island. First up, a trip up Vigla mountain north of Kolympithres, which takes you around the west of Naoussa Bay and then uphill to the very top of the ridge from where you have not only magnificent views of the bay itself but also across the Aegean to the neighbouring islands of Delos and Mykonos.
This is a very fine walk but perhaps – coming from Naoussa – a trifle on the long side, so it may be best to hire a car or take a cab to take you at least halfway up the hill where there is a friendly little tavern with an equally friendly little parking place, and you may just want to take it further up from here.
Secondly, there is Naoussa itself, a lovely and curiously unspoilt small town which combines everything you love about the Cyclades: the colour …
… the history …
… and the Mediterreanean flavour …
… without spoiling it all through garish vulgarity or overbearing cuteness.
And while you are here, and feeling perhaps a little bit peckish after the exertions of having climbed up Mount Vigla, Mario’s Restaurant in Naoussa’s Old Harbour is just the ticket to round off your visit: with products that are sourced straight away from Mario’s own farm, it blends all the charms of traditional Greek cuisine with contemporary Mediterranean stylishness. A sunny afternoon on Mario’s terrace, with an assortment of seafood dishes on the table and surrounded by the chatter of large Greek families is a wonderful experience. Life simply does not get much better than this.
Finally, we took a brief walk on the eastern half of Naoussa Bay, eastward from the Kalypso Hotel, following the coastline of the hotel’s own little bay inside the much larger bay of Naoussa (much of the coast of Paros is constructed like a Matryoshka doll, with a bay inside a bay inside a bay) and further to the “lighthouse” that you can see across the sandy dunes on your right hand side.
But while the bay on the other side of that sandy ridge was (nearly) as beautiful as the one we were coming from, the “lighthouse” turned out to be nothing of the sort but instead some part of a rather ghastly agribusiness facility.
The walk, however, was still a great deal of fun, not least because it led through a landscape that defied the common clichés of Greece nearly every step of the way: flat, grassy and more than a little melancholy, on a largely overcast and fairly windy afternoon to boot. It nearly succeeded in making us believe that we were somewhere along the Baltic. (Greece is a much more varied country than common prejudice would make you want to believe.)
The Kalypso Hotel just outside of Naoussa – our “home away from home” on Paros – is the perfect base for all the walks described in this post. It is a family-run and very friendly place with guests from Greece and all over Europe, including many people who come back here year after year.
The breakfast buffet features Greek specialties such as fresh goat’s cheese (lovingly produced by the owner Mr. Bafitis’s father) …
… the interiors as well as the rooms are tastefully decorated throughout …
… and, perhaps best of all, the views from the balcony fill you with the desire to go out and explore this beautiful island.
We thank Mr George Bafitis, owner/manager of Hotel Kalypso (and who also happens to be the President of the Paros Hotel Association) for his warm hospitality.
Follow our discoveries of the island as guests of the Municipality of Paros (under the wings of the town’s Deputy Mayor Mrs Maria Chanioti) as we explore and enjoy the Cyclades.
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