10 key DIFFERENCES – Parikia or Naoussa – The best and worst
Parikia or Naoussa? This is the first question that you may have when planning a trip to Paros.
Be sure that you are not the only one with this dilemma.
Let me say first that both Parikia and Naoussa are great choices with their own unique charm.
While Parikia, the island’s capital, has a more cosmopolitan feel with a busy harbour, Naoussa (also written Naousa), has more of a village charm, with a few beautiful and picturesque beaches.
Both are great, however, they do have some key differences that may drive your decision in one or the other directions.
But let’s jump straight away to the meaty stuff, with all the differences between Parikia Vs. Naoussa.
Parikia vs Naoussa: Which one is more beautiful?
Parikia is a charming town, with traditional Cycladic architecture and beautiful white-washed buildings.
The town has a relaxed atmosphere and a lovely seafront with plenty of restaurants and bars.
As soon as you approach Parikia by ferry you will notice the lovely windmills, one of the landmarks of Paros Island.
They were built in the 17th century during the Venetian occupation.
A photo with the windmills in the background is a must on any trip to the island 🙂
Naoussa has a postcard-perfect harbour, colourful fishing boats, and narrow alleys lined with bougainvillea.
You will fall in love in no time with the unique charm and character of the town.
I particularly enjoyed strolling through the alleys and discovering hidden cafes and boutique shops.
As much as I love Parikia, Naoussa wins the beauty contest in my opinion. The romantic and charming setup is unbeatable.
Parikia or Naoussa for nightlife
Naoussa is one of the most popular places to go for the Greek young crowd between July and August.
You will not be disappointed with plenty of live music, vibrant bars, and a couple of clubs to finish off the night, till the early hours of the morning.
In Parikia, the nightlife scene is more cosmopolitan, attracting a diverse mix of people, of any age and origin.
There are still plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, but the vibe is much more relaxed, and the pace of the evening is slower.
Chilling out at a lounge bar with a few friends is the typical night out.
It must be said that Parikia works better for nightlife in May-June and September, when the Naoussa young crowd tends to be absent from the scene.
That is easy, Naoussa is the winner for the best nightlife between the two towns, especially in July and August, when you can experience a few crazy parties.
Parikia or Naoussa for families?
Parikia has a good local beach, Livadia Beach, which is easily accessible from the town centre. Walk a few minutes more and you will be in Krios Beach, another lovely one.
Both beaches have shallow and calm water, perfect for small children.
The Old Town is great for a walk, some shopping and ice cream after dinner with the little ones. Very easygoing.
It is also a very convenient destination, being next to the ferry port and well-connected to the airport.
Naoussa, on the other hand, may work better with grown-up kids, thanks to the livelier atmosphere, which can however become a bit too noisy (don’t worry, I have a few suggestions below for a quiet night).
The local beaches, in my opinion, are better in Parikia.
Parikia works better for families with children, being more relaxed, with nice local beaches and overall better value for money. There are, however, other great places to stay in Paros for families that you may want to check out.
Parikia or Naousa for couples?
Naoussa is a very romantic town with a lovely atmosphere, especially in June and early September when it’s not that busy.
I loved its narrow lanes, boutique bar/cafes, and of course the local restaurants facing the sea (book a table in advance in July and August).
Moreover, grab a bus or a boat for a short trip to some of the most beautiful beaches of Paros, and I may say of Greece.
Parikia is more of a relaxed and laid-back destination, certainly not as romantic as Naoussa.
Its proximity to the port makes Parikia a better place to stay for a short stay (1-2 nights), less so for a week stay.
Of course, you can find lovely restaurants in Parikia too, but they don’t offer the same romantic ambience as those in Naoussa.
Naoussa is the winner in this section, thanks to its romantic atmosphere, waterfront restaurants, and easy access to idyllic beaches.
Where to stay in Parikia or Naoussa
Both Parikia and Naoussa have some of the most beautiful places to stay in Paros.
Here are a few suggestions, safe from any loud activity, and perfect for a quiet night’s sleep.
Sandom is a beautifully designed accommodation that works great if you are after a boutique stay (see photos here).
The location is also perfect, close to bars and restaurants, however, still far enough for a secluded stay.
Bizas Rooms work better if you are travelling on a budget and you are looking for a simple clean accommodation.
Location-wise, works very well, being a stone away from the action of Parikia
If you are after a fantastic view, then look no further than the Bocamviglies By The Sea (see photos here).
It is also located in a quiet area of Noussa, however, still within walking distance of bars and restaurants.
Despina’s Mare is another awesome choice in Naoussa. The rooms are spacious and spotlessly clean.
But the main reasons to book here are the amazing view, once again, and the best breakfast in town (see photos here).
Just keep in mind that Paros is a big island. If you are still unsure of your destination, I wrote a full guide on where to stay in Paros, with all the best areas of the island and a few suggested accommodations, with maps and more tips.
Parikia or Naousa for local beaches
Parikia has a local beach called Lavidia Beach, located a stone away from the old centre.
The beach is long however very narrow. Usually, the water is clean and calm, but keep in mind that you are next to a busy pier, so expect some waves when the ferries arrive on the island.
There are several beach bars and restaurants, making it a great place to spend a lazy day.
Naoussa has two beaches in town, both reachable in a very short walk.
The first one is Agioi Anargyroi Beach, which is a lovely one with a beautiful view too.
From far away it looks like a special idyllic beach, but unfortunately, it is not really looked after by the local council. It should be cleaned on a regular basis, but it is not. There is plastic in the water too.
The second local beach is Piperi beach and it suffers from the same cleanliness issue, although on a minor scale.
Both beaches can be windy, especially in July and August with the northerly Meltemi wind.
When you are down to a showdown Parikia Vs Naoussa for a local beach, in my opinion, it’s a tie. Both towns could deliver so much more. Naoussa has so much more potential. In saying that, from both Parikia and Naoussa you can reach some amazing beaches in no time.
Parikia or Naoussa for nearby beaches
Naoussa is definitely the winner when it comes to nearby beaches.
Close to town you can find some of the most amazing beaches in Paros, which can be easily reached in just a few minutes by boat or bus.
If you ask me for my favourites: Kolymbithres Beach and Monastiri Beach.
Kolymbithres Beach is the special one with its unique rock formations and crystal-clear waters.
Monastiri Beach, on the other hand, offers a more secluded and peaceful experience.
Close to Parikia, you can find some lovely beaches too, like Krios Beach (within walking distance, around 20-25 minutes from the Old Centre).
This beach is very well repaired from the wind, even on the worst Meltemi days, with flat shallow water.
It must be said that the beach club is very expensive with the price of the sunbeds hovering around €50
Parasporos Beach, 2.5Km south of Parikia is another possibility. Grab a taxi and you will be there in 5 minutes.
Agia Irini Beach is another option, around 10km south, better repaired from the northerly wind.
There is a beach club (expensive) and the Laris Tavern providing affordable sunbeds if you eat/drink there.
If your decision of staying in either Noussa or Parikia is driven by the beaches’ quality, then Naoussa is the clear winner, with the most stunning beaches of Paros in the near proximity.
Parikia Vs Naoussa for restaurants
Naoussa is home to some great restaurants in Paros, and there is something to suit every budget and taste.
The harbour area is a great place to find traditional Greek tavernas, while the small backstreets offer hidden gems that serve delicious local cuisine.
One of my personal favourites is Notos, a charming restaurant serving fresh seafood and Greek specialities with a modern touch. The ambience is lovely, and the service is excellent.
Parikia also has a terrific selection of restaurants, including a few affordable options for those on a budget.
I suggest venturing into the Old Town, you will not be disappointed. And if you are tired of Greek cuisine (how can you?) you will find also a few international options.
Make a point to walk a few hundred metres to Parea Cuisine, one of my favourite restaurants in Parikia. The outdoor seating area is so lovely with picturesque and somehow fairy-tale lighting in the backyard.
It is a family-run restaurant with genuine local food, cooked to perfection, so yummy.
Honestly, it is impossible to choose a town that offers better food options. This is definitely a tie.
Public transportation in Parikia and Naoussa
Parikia is the hub of the bus network on the island, and you can easily get anywhere you want from here.
There are regular bus services to other parts of the island, including the beaches, making it very convenient for travellers without a car.
During the summer, you can also take a small local boat to Antiparos, a nearby small island famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. This is one of my Greek hidden gems and personally, I suggest spending more than just an afternoon. You can also find some beautiful places to stay in Antiparos, especially if you are after a more secluded and relaxed experience.
I loved my time there and I was so disappointed I didn’t book a longer stay, actually.
In Naoussa, public transportation is less convenient, with fewer bus services and no direct boat connections, besides the ones to the beautiful nearby beaches.
You can of course rent a scooter or a car and in this way overpass the small issue with public transportation in Naoussa.
Easy enough to have a favourite here, being Parikia the hub of the Paros bus network, next to the ferry harbour.
Best months for Parikia and Naoussa
Naoussa can get quite busy and crowded during the peak season from July to August, with lots of tourists and party-goers.
However, from mid-September until the first week of June, the town becomes very quiet, with many restaurants and shops closing down.
Moreover, keep in mind that boat services to the beaches also stop during the low season.
This is the time you want to visit Naoussa if you are after a relaxed stay. My favourite time is in fact mid June and September, warm and not as busy.
Parikia is a year-round town, with locals living there throughout the year. It is in fact one of the few towns in the Cycladic Islands with people in winter.
During the peak season (July and August), it can get quite busy and crowded with tourists.
Outside of these two months, the town is much more relaxed, however, with more people around than Naoussa.
Personally, I prefer visiting Parikia outside of the peak season when it’s quieter, but still lively enough to have plenty of options for dining and entertainment.
Parikia and Naoussa on a budget
Parikia has a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options. Some of them may be a bit basic, but they are usually clean and comfortable.
There are also some affordable restaurants and cafes in the town, particularly around the ferry area and outside the Old Centre.
Naoussa, on the other hand, can be a bit pricier. There are still some budget-friendly options available, but they may be harder to find.
Restaurants and cafes are probably a bit more upscale, but you can still find some affordable places if you look around.
I would say it is a tie with probably better value for money in Parikia.
Keep in mind that if you are travelling on a budget, there are other great places to stay in Paros besides Parikia and Naoussa.
Best for Boutique Stay
In the last decade, Naoussa has been transformed into a boutique destination, with the construction of charming and exclusive accommodations, with stunning views of the sea.
Some of them even have private pools and deluxe service.
Parikia has some great boutique options as well, but they may be a bit harder to find.
Some of them are located in more residential areas of the town, outside the Old Centre, which can be a bit quieter and more secluded.
Naoussa is probably a better option for a boutique and charming stay, especially if you are after the sea view.
Best for windsurfing/kitesurfing/foil surfing
Neither Parikia nor Noussa offers good wind-related sports.
For that, you would have to stay on the east coast, around Golden Beach, the best spot to stay in Paros for surfing.