Don't Miss in Paros
Naoussa: Just 15 to 20 minutes away by car from the port and included on some cruise line excursions is the seaside village of Naoussa. This is the postcard picture of Paros: bright blue chairs scattered over whitewashed stone streets overlooking the bay. Meander through town to find one painfully cute shop or cafe after another. The streets are a literal labyrinth meant to confuse and trap pirates during ancient raids, but now the nooks and crannies are pleasant ones.
If you stay for lunch, be sure it's seafood. The fish is so fresh, octopus tentacles actually dangle near the boat docks, and the journey of your lunch from the sea to a plate is a short one.
Panagia Ekatontapiliani: Translating to the church of 100 doors, this is the main site to see while wandering Parikia. The story goes that there are actually 99 doors (even though you won't find that many), but the hundredth door will be found when Greece reclaims Constantinople. The church complex is one of the oldest examples of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture, dating from the 4th century AD. Note that if you plan to enter, women are expected to dress modestly.
Marble quarries: Paros is known for its abundant Parian marble, and tours run to the abandoned Marathi marble quarries. Learn about the white rock, the works of art that were created using them, and even visit a tiny gift shop inside where a man sells souvenirs he makes by carving the infamous marble. Walk the path, or have a chance to enter the caves where slave miners once toiled.
Parikia: The main port of Paros is also its capital, and it's well worth your time to explore the area before getting back on your ship. Photograph tiny churches, Greece's classic picturesque alleyways and an ancient windmill that still stands across from where you will pick up your tender back to the ship. Sit at a cafe and order an ouzo, the local aperitif, or a frappe (iced coffee).
Shops proffer everything from art to tacky souvenirs, but consider picking up something with an evil eye -- the national good luck charm -- on it. Just be sure to have someone else gift it to you, or it's said not to work.
Lefkes: For even more solitude -- with a view -- head to the mountainous village of Lefkes, in central Paros, and its pedestrian-only old town. About 20 minutes from the port, Lefkes is included on some cruise line excursion village tours for its history and viewpoints. (Bring sturdy walking shoes.)
Surrounded by olive and pine trees, the town feels lost in time, and it's the perfect place to stop and take in a lazy lunch. The Church of Agia Triada, which contains rare Byzantine icons, and its adjacent cemetery are worth a visit if they're open. (They're staffed by volunteers.)