Driving into the interior of the Greek Island of Paros, the landscape just gets greener and greener. After the busy glamour and stark beauty of Santorini, the ancient terraces of olives and not a tourist in sight is a quiet relief. It was easy to get a room for the night right off the ferry.
Paros is part of the Cyclades island group and only eight kilometres from much larger Naxos in the Aegean Sea. In ancient times it was celebrated for its white and translucent Parian marble.
Through a gap in the hills the village of Lefkes appears, a cluster of white, flat-roofed houses surrounded by olive trees, cypresses and a grove of rich green umbrella pines.
As with many Greek villages, Lefkes doesn’t look like much until you start exploring the winding streets. Huge agaves with flower stalks as tall as trees; two chairs sitting outside a blue door in a white street overhung by a Bougainvillea vine. That’s the beauty of Greece.
In the main town of Parakia the locals are friendly and glad to see tourists. There are squat Cycladic windmills like sentinels on the hilltops and yellow grass sighs around a great block of weathered marble: all that is left of an ancient Hellenistic tower.
The seaside town of Naoussa lies lapped by gentle waters beside its curve of golden sand. On the waterfront a fisherman was getting his hair and moustache trimmed on deck.
The light played on the hulls of fishing boats. Flags and palm fronds fluttered in the breeze. I could hardly read the sign of the fish restaurant – it was so weathered – but a row of fresh octopus draped on a rack out front and fresh flowers on the tables drew me in.
A delicious meal of seafood, grilled vegetables and manouri cheese confirmed my choice. I spent an hour wandering the quiet streets and playing with the local cats. Bliss in Greece.
By Natasha von Geldern
I adored the quiet charm of Paros. What is your favourite Greek Island?
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