Long gone are the days when tourists are looking to venture to the most popular destinations in specific countries.
Since the pandemic, people have been looking for off-the-beaten-path escape routes to avoid the crowds- and the hefty price tags. But with so many travelers booking trips, where on earth is there left to explore that allows for some rest and relaxation?
When most people think of an island getaway, they may think of sun, sand, and popularity. While there’s no shortage of destinations that fit this list in Europe, there’s something to be said about Islands that offer the same, but with fewer crowds, lower prices, and an array of activities.
Launching their ‘World’s Best Awards,’ Travel and Leisure asked readers around the globe to give their opinion on various topics within travel.
Close to 165,000 voted in 2023, rating their favorite islands based on a multitude of factors: nightlife, ambiance, restaurants, activities, etc.
With a few classics on the list, there was also room for a number of lesser-known getaways too. This year, Santorini was overtaken by another Island in Greece, rolling in at number 3: Paros.
A Greek Island in the Aegean, Paros is known for its sandy beaches, charming villages, culture, and as the hub to the beautiful Cyclades Region of Greece. For tourists looking to venture to popular islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, Paros is often overlooked.
An Ideal Location
Close to many of the other islands, Paros is in a convenient location for travelers looking to hop around a bit. A boat trip from Mykonos to Paros will only take about 45 minutes out of your day, and there are plenty of other day-trip options available here too.
It’s very easy to fly back to the mainland from the island, with relatively cheap flights to Athens. Popular spots like Santorini show higher airfare, especially during the summer season, which makes Paros an ideal summer destination.
Not too big and not too small, Paros is a good size for those looking to explore its depths without getting lost. It’s always good to get your bearings when visiting a new place, so be sure to get a map or ask the locals before venturing out. While there are buses that go all around the island, the schedules can often be unreliable and restrictive.
Renting a scooter is the best way to explore any Greek Island. Renting a scooter for a day will cost anywhere between 10-15 euros. There are also options to rent ATVs if you’re feeling adventurous, and cars.
Greece is filled with white-washed buildings and blue roofs strewn with flowers. It’s easy to wander aimlessly through the charming streets, marveling at the local way of living and the smells of fresh seafood. Often overlooked, it’s easy to explore all that Paros has to offer- without the large crowds.
As the capital city of Paros, Parikia is a traveler’s dream. With narrow alleyways and historic charm, it’s easy to wander for hours here, taking in the thousand-year-old buildings.
If you’re in the mood for hiking, climb the Byzantine Route before jetting off to the mountain village of Lefkes. An enchanting village surrounded by olive trees and rolling hills, it’s the perfect island spot if you’re looking to find some relaxation.
The Best of Both Worlds
On many European Islands, it often feels like there’s no getting away from the crowds, high prices, and constant partying. If you want to experience all that Greece has to offer without going overboard, Paros offers the best of both worlds for most travelers.
By day, the island has a calming presence about it. Locals and tourists use this time to relax by the beaches and enjoy a little downtime. However, Paros certainly comes alive at night. Whether you’re looking for a dancing night-out or a classier vibe, the Island has it all.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com