Need help with Mykonos vs. Naxos/Paros

Aug 11th, 2017, 08:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 36
Need help with Mykonos vs. Naxos/Paros

We are planning a trip to Greece and will be staying in Athens and Santorini for sure. We originally had Mykonos on the list also but now I am thinking either Naxos/Paros may be a better fit?

We are couple in our 50s and 60s and are very active. We like to walk, hike, shop, drink good wine and eat at nice places but we are NOT into clubbing or staying out at bars late into the next day so we are starting to think Mykonos may not be for us after all. Also, while we love to walk/run along the beach we don't do lots of water sports or lay out in the sun for long periods so water activities are not important to us but beautiful vistas of the water are!. Basically we are looking for places where we can active during the day and then chill in the evening.

My questions:

1. Since we are going to Santorini, would Mykonos be just more of the same?

2. Between Naxos and Paros which island is geared more towards adults with the likesI have mentioned above?

3. Which island (Naxos or Paros) is easier to get around without having to rent a car?

4. Which of these 2 islands would have the nicer hotels and more upscale restaurants for nice evening dinners with great views?

5. Finally if we want to do a day trip to Mykonos/Delos, is it easier to get there from Naxos or Paros?

Thanks to all for any insight you can provide!
lcontr is offline  
Aug 11th, 2017, 02:43 PM
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I’m currently writing a trip report that includes Santorini (see my post of Aug. 6, 17 @ 11:16 p.m.), Mykonos (included in my post on Naxos), and Naxos (see my posts of Aug. 8 @ 2:53 a.m. and Aug. 9 @ 1:07 a.m.) – OR use the search function. You might find some useful information there.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Aug 11th, 2017, 10:59 PM
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Hi Icontr,

Unless I missed it, you don't say which month you are travelling. I would never stay on Mykonos in July or August, but May/Jun and Sep/Oct are pleasant. Ironically, given its over the top reputation in high season, Mykonos is quieter than Naxos and Paros in winter, because it has a smaller permanent population. There is little to see on Mykonos apart from its pretty town and the archeological site on Delos.

Naxos and Paros each have their own fans, who usually recommend their favourite island. Some even recommend one island because they have never been to the other! I will recommend either Naxos or Paros—take your pick.

During school holidays Naxos is very popular for families with small children, especially Scandinavians in June and July. The island is larger than Paros, but most development is in the small area from Naxos Town and the western beaches of Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, and Plaka. The rest of the island is mountainous, with a scattering of small villages, a joy to visit on day trips. Buses run to the villages, primarily in the morning to get villagers and schoolchildren into town, and again in the afternoon to get them home. There are also bus tours to the villages for tourists. I like Naxos, and have visited several times.

Paros, although smaller than Naxos, has resorts all round the island, served by frequent buses. I'm a little older than you, and have never rented a car in the 20-odd years I have been going to Paros and Antiparos.The two main centers are Parikia, the island capital, and Naoussa, a picturesque former fishing village. There are quieter resorts, including Aliki, Piso Livadi, and Drios, the latter furthest from the main ferry port.

There are ferries to the adjacent island of Antiparos where I like to stay. The ferry to Antiparos from Parikia takes 30 minutes, and the main ferry from Pounta port takes only 7 minutes after a 15 minute bus ride from Parikia.

There are a few inland villages on Paros, including Lefkes, which is really a gem. One of the popular walks on Paros is the Byzantine trail from Lefkes to Prodromos: You can take a bus to Lefkes, and then meet another bus at Prodromos to take you back to where you are staying.

You asked: "Finally if we want to do a day trip to Mykonos/Delos, is it easier to get there from Naxos or Paros?"

The same two tour boats (Naxos Star and Alexander) go to Delos/Mykonos from both Naxos and Paros. You will spend about 1½ hours less at sea if you take the tour from Paros, because Naxos passengers get picked up first and dropped off last. If seas are rough that day you may appreciate that point.
Heimdall is online now  
Aug 12th, 2017, 02:33 AM
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thanks to both for your great feedback and insightful information. We will be there last week in Sept. so this information is all very helpful. Sounds like both islands are lovely!
lcontr is offline  
Aug 12th, 2017, 06:41 AM
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Heimdall has given you a splendid overview .. and is very restrained about his own favorite place, Antiparos ... after years of reading his tips about it, finally I got around to visiting there, and fell under its spell immediately!

In 12 extended visits to Greece; I stayed on Naxos every time, and ALSO on Paros at least 6 times. Relevant to your query, on 9 of my trips I had travel companions who drove, but 3 trips were solo & without a car. Based on these experiences -- and pleased that you've chosen September -- here are some observations:

NAXOS - (1)IMHO, easiest to explore without a car, mainly because of its bus network set-up. One Bus line goes all along the S.W. coast, stopping at each beach, enabling you to even sample a couple of beaches in 1 outing. Other bus lines go thru the interior, covering many of the hill villages, and one goes to the very topmost town. Since u have just a week I recommend the v.good day-excursion bus to all scenic and ancient-ruin highlights so u can decide what you may want to return to. (2) There are MANY terrific hiking options! lists 37! One of the easiest/shortest is #15 above the harbor, wonderful for a FAB sunset. Note: a good longer-hike strategy is to take local bus to start-point, then when ready to quit, use phone to fetch a €5-6 taxi ride back to port town. (3) Naxos has extensive vineyards, so has September wine festivals - ask about these at the seafront store that specializes in 100% Naxian products. (4) of the 2, I find the Naxos port town the most attractive & interesting, tho Parikia is certainly rewarding for a day's exploration. (5) in late September, best to stay at/near the Port Town, and Naxos has advantage of a Very attractive beach (Ag. Giorgios) directly adjacent, so u can enjoy a sea-view balcony, yet just a 10-15 minute stroll to town doings.

PAROS (1) As noted, while interesting Parikia is not as attractive for a stay, and the nearby beach. Livadi, rather straggly & mediocre lodging choices compared to above. Naoussa, while postcard-pretty, is more of a holiday village, may be rather quiet by late September; I'd say, good for a visit but not for a week (2) Paros has fine beaches, but all on different bus routes -- because the network is more like fingers of a hand stretching up from Port. (3) the Byzantine walk is indeed great & I also recommend it. (4) a big advantage Heimdall notes, is the shorter sea-time for the day-trips. NOTE: if you day-trip, MV Alexander is bigger vessel, smoother, choose it.

Finally, One way to have your cake & eat it too ... Fly to Naxos for 5 days, then Ferry to Paros (1 hour), zip to Antiparos (a 15 minute ride) spend a couple of nights right on Antiparos' tiny harbor at Mike's Place. Devote a day to exploring Parikia. When you are due back in Athens, Paros has more flights, and the ferry trip is 1 hour shorter than from Naxos.
travelerjan is online now  
Aug 12th, 2017, 07:36 AM
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Yes, I am restrained about my own favourite island, which is overcrowded in August, but very quiet by the end of September. I didn't mention the stalactite cave on Antiparos, which has been well known for hundreds of years:

Another place I didn't mention is the archeological site on Despotiko, similar to Delos on a smaller scale. Lots of excavation work has been done in the last few summers, but there is much left to be discovered. It can be reached by Captain Sargos' boat from Agios Georgios, a settlement at the south of Antiparos:

I agree with travelerjan that you could easily split your time between Naxos and Paros, and would recommend spending more of your time on whichever island you plan to do the day trip to Delos/Mykonos from. Be aware that these trips run only about three times per week from Naxos and Paros.

If your heart is set on visiting Delos, it may be better to split your time between, say, Naxos and Mykonos, where boats to Delos leave 7 days/week. By the end of September Mykonos will be fairly quiet but still have a pleasant buzz. It may get busy around the old harbour and Little Venice when cruise ships are in port, but walk a few streets away and it all changes. Most of the cruisers get back on their ships by late afternoon, leaving the island to overnight visitors.
Heimdall is online now  
Aug 12th, 2017, 08:13 AM
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Hi Icontr,
I am a little younger than you are but my DH and I have the very same interests as you. During my Greece research I came to the same conclusions as Travelerjan mentioned above. We flew from the US and spent 4 nights on Naxos first, which we absolutely loved. We stayed at Naxos Resort Beach Hotel. I too struggled with Naxos/Paros but chose Naxos for its more lush landscape and size over Paros. From Naxos we took a little ferry for a day trip to Mykonos and Delos and the ferry stopped in Paros. Although we did not get off the ferry in Paros, we saw a bit of the island and were happy that we had selected Naxos. We were also glad we did not decide to stay on Mykonos. We traveled late May into June and found that Mykonos was not as clean/pristine as Naxos and the main focus of the island seemed to be the bars/clubs which was not our interest. The waterfront was gorgeous and it was an easy walk to see the windmills and the pretty "little Venice" area on all the postcards. Delos was interesting but rather hot and we were ready to go after a couple hours. On Naxos we rented a car one day and traveled around the entire island visiting hillside villages etc. We took a high speed ferry from Naxos to Santorini and spent 3 nights in Oia which was magical. We stayed in the Fanari Villas with a beautiful balcony with amazing views. We flew to Athens for 3 nights to end our trip and stayed at the Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square. All in all we will never forget the small town, homey feel of beautiful Naxos or the magical sunsets of Santorini. You just can't go wrong with Greece. Have fun!
Dnf is offline  
Aug 12th, 2017, 06:37 PM
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We are just back from a repeat visit visit to Paros. IF you decide to go there, I can highly recommend two hotels, one in Parikia, one in Nauossa, both of which would make for a lovely and comfortable stay.

MINOIS VILLAGE HOTEL is about fifteen minutes from Parikia, toward the airport and Pounta. It's on top of a bluff overlooking Parasporos, which is one of our favorite beaches on the island. The hotel rooms are like having your own beach cottage in Greece. They're beautifully decorated with great AC, good beds, and stunning views of the water.

The hotel has a wonderful staff, a good spa, excellent breakfast, and provides a shuttle back and forth to Parikia twice a day. It's also a very short walk ( took us about ten minutes) to the beach, which is just below the hotel.

Best of all, there's an amazing taverna at Parasporos with great food!

In Nauossa, we've stayed many times at STELIA MARE, a small boutique hotel within walking distance of Nauossa. Rooms are simple, but very comfortable. Staff is incredibly welcoming and helpful. We would've gone back there this year, except that we waited too long to book. It's one of the nicest small hotels we've stayed at in Greece.

This year we also visited Antiparos for the first time, with a stop at the caves. It was a great day, and we would definitely go there again or even think of staying there on our next trip, though it's much quieter than Paros.

Good luck with your choice!
Weadles is offline  
Aug 12th, 2017, 09:27 PM
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& in Naoussa, (which really is as postcard picture perfect pretty along the harbour as it appears!) I have stayed at the PalioMylos hotel, 1 of the best boutique hotels I have experienced. Modern, smart, cool yet super comfy & friendly. 1 minute from a good sized beach & lots more beaches to explore, by foot or with small boats that go from the harbour, 5 mins walk away, including to a nature park with walking paths & bird sanctuary.
jwugg is offline  
Aug 13th, 2017, 07:41 AM
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jwugg you may have been going in mid-season or high season, OP is going the last week in September, I am afraid that those small boats that make beach access easy may be discontinued by then. I remember one visit to Paros when I was staying in Parikia, and only access to the somewhat grungy Livadia beach, but supposedly there were frequent small boats going from the main harbor to much nicer Krios beach just a 10 minute ride... but I was told o no those don't start until july, thru early september.
travelerjan is online now  
Aug 13th, 2017, 08:00 AM
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No problem getting to Kolymbithres (beach with the rock formations) or Monastiri Beach by road from Naoussa. Next to Monastiri Beach is Paros Park, which has an outdoor cinema and other attractions:

As travelerjan wrote, lots of activities wind down at the end of the season, but that applies to Naxos as well. Mykonos and Santorini have longer seasons, so there is more going on right into October.
Heimdall is online now  
Aug 13th, 2017, 09:23 AM
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Heimdall, when you say by road, do you mean walking? OP said they did not want to rent a car. I've only ever been to Kolymbithres by car, no bus goes.
travelerjan is online now  
Aug 13th, 2017, 09:40 AM
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During summer there are five daily buses from Naoussa to Kolymbithres, but I'm not sure how many later in the season. You can check the KTEL Paros timetable at, scrolling down to the bottom for the Kolymbithres buses. There are also buses from Naoussa to Santa Maria and all the other beaches along the eastern coast.

Walking would be a possibility, with a distance of about 3 km (2 miles) from the center of Naoussa to Kolymbithres. I don't imagine taxi fare would break the bank for such a short distance. ;-)
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 21st, 2017, 01:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2016
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Hi there! I just saw your post. For anyone having the same dilemma I would suggest trying Greek Island Hopping instead... At least that's what I did with my friends this summer and it was awesome. Took severeal ferries with this e-pass ( ) and went to Paros, Naxos, Ios, Santorini I love Greece so much, can't wait to return!
Evi84evaki is offline  

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