What a wonderful decision it was for us to spend three weeks on the tiny island of Antiparos in the south Aegean. We have truly loved our time here.
Using Antiparos as our home base for island hopping wasn’t really what we set out to do, but it worked out well for us to take short day trips to some of the other islands around the area. However, something to note – because of the unusual weather pattern (around the world) the ferry from Antiparos to Paros was shut down for two days due to wind while we were here. Something to think about if you plan to stay only a short time. We had lots of time so it did not affect our plans.
You can hop to Santorini from here, but the off-season ferry schedule makes that tough. During the summer more boats run. But we had already spent three days there so no need to go back. But if you visit and want to do a day trip to Santorini check out both the ferry schedule as well as the privately operated tour boats. The private boats run more frequently. When we took the ferry from Santorini to Paros it costs us 58 Euro for both of us (one way) and took three hours, stopping at Ios along the way. We used Minoan ferry line for this trip.
Mykonos and Delos
We used a private tour boat to visit Delos and Mykonos together on one day. We took the ferry from Antiparos to Paros and we got on a van that transported us to Naousa (the van transfer was included in the tour price). Here we hopped on a boat that could carry about 200 people. It wasn’t full, but perhaps 100 people. It was an hour ride to Delos where we spent three hours touring this amazing island and its significant ancient ruins. Guided tours were available but we did the tour on our own and really enjoyed it.
Back on the boat we motored 15 minutes to Mykonos. We had three hours to wander here. We had a fantastic lunch at Salparo, sitting on the rocks overlooking the harbor. We then enjoyed sauntering around the historic blue and white village, visited historic sites and looked at shops. Three hours was just enough, since we had been to Mykonos once before eleven years ago.
That trip to Delos and Mykonos was an all-day adventure and costs us 50 euro each. We booked this through Polo Tours in Paros.
We visited the island of Paros twice. The first visit we had a car and we headed to Naousa in the north part of the island. The weather wasn’t great but we still enjoyed exploring the tiny alleys and hidden shops and homes in the old chora (village). Naousa also has a charming and picturesque port. We drove up into the mountains to visit the teeny village of Lefkes. This ancient town, far from the water, is unusual in how green it is, unlike most of the brown island landscape, and is home to a small agricultural population. Lefkes is one of the few remaining chora that retains its authentic roots.
The next time we visited Paros we spent several hours discovering Paroikia, the port town where the large ferries come and go. The port area is bustling and noisy, but hidden back behind it is an incredible old chora that many people miss. It once again had some fascinating buildings, tunnels and passageways, a spectacular old castle and temple of Athena, many lovely shops and of course, cats.
We traveled on the lovely Blue Star Ferries to the island of Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades Islands, about a 45 minute ferry ride from Pariokia. We paid 42 Euro total for both of us round-trip. It was a very windy day and I worried about the boat ride, but the Blue Star line runs large, almost cruise-ship style boats, and I did fine with my motion sickness issue.
It was also very windy in Naxos, and this port town is very exposed, so we spent a lot of time wandering the old chora up to the ancient castle and trying to stay out of the wind. It’s another beautiful ancient town. We enjoyed having a drink at the rooftop of 1739, which was out of the wind and offered a spectacular panoramic view. We had a nice lunch of simple souvlaki at Yasouvlaki. We then braved the crashing waves to cross the pedestrian manmade causeway to walk out to the famous ancient portara (door), site of an unfinished temple from 530BC. We got wet. Like I said, it was very windy. But it was worth it. The Naxos Portara was worth it.
At the end of the day in Naxos I told my husband that I have really enjoyed visiting all five of the islands, but in the end, I am so glad we stayed three weeks on Antiparos. It has everything we want; quiet and peaceful, small village, beautiful secluded beaches, a handful of shops and is still close enough to visit the surrounding islands.
I do hope to return here someday.
Where to next?
But now its time to leave. Next stop – ten-day tour of Egypt and Jordan. A definite bucket list destination for me ever since I was a child. We hope you will continue to follow along on our Fab Fifties Adventures.
Farewell Greece and Antiparos. I love you.
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