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Beaches

Paros has some fine sand beaches. If you're really pressed for time, you can walk in less than 15 minutes from where the ferry docks past where the fishing boats and small pleasure boats are moored to sandy Livadia beach, which has cafes and umbrellas. If you can visit a couple of out-on-the-island beaches, here are some suggestions. All have chairs and umbrellas to rent and lots of tavernas and cafes. Chrissi Akti (Golden Beach), on the island's southeast coast, is 1km (1/2 mile) of fine golden sand (with umbrellas and chairs to rent, tavernas, and cafes), is generally considered the best beach on the island. It's also the windiest, although the wind is usually offshore. As a result, this has become the island's primary windsurfing center and has hosted the World Cup championship every year since 1993. Aegean Diving College (tel. 22840/43-347; www.aegeandivingcollege.com) and the Aegean Diving School (22840/92-071; www.eurodivers.gr) offer scuba instruction and guided dives. There's frequent bus service here from both Parikia and Naoussa. If you're interested in kiteboarding, try (crowded, built-up) Pounda.

One of the island's best and most famous, picturesque Kolimbithres is also served by bus from Parikia and Naoussa. It has smooth giant rocks that divide the gold-sand beach into several tiny coves -- and appear on lots of island postcards. As at Golden Beach, there are umbrellas and chairs to rent and lots of places to have a bite.

There's bus and caique service from Naoussa to Santa Maria beach, one of the most beautiful on the island. It has particularly clear water and shallow dunes (rare in Greece) of fine sand along the irregular coastline. It also offers some of the best windsurfing on Paros. The Santa Maria Surf Club (tel. 22840/52-490) provides windsurfing gear and a brief lesson for about 20€ per hour.

Walking

Paros has numerous old stone-paved roads connecting the interior towns, many of which are in good condition and perfect for walking. One of the best-known trails is the Byzantine Road, between Lefkes and Prodromos, a narrow path paved along much of its 4km (2 1/2-mile) length with marble slabs. Begin in Lefkes, as from here the way is mostly downhill. There isn't an easy way to find the beginning of the Byzantine Road among the labyrinthine streets of Lefkes; we suggest starting at the church square, from which point you can see the flagstone-paved road in a valley at the edge of the town, to the west. Having fixed your bearings, plunge into the maze of streets and spiral your way down and to the right. After a 2-minute descent, you emerge into a ravine, with open fields beyond, and a sign indicates the beginning of the Byzantine Road. It's easy going through terraced fields, a leisurely hour's walk to the Marpissa Road, from which point you can catch the bus back to Parikia. Check the schedule and exact pickup point beforehand.

Windsurfing & Scuba

The continuous winds on Paros's east coast have made it a favorite destination for windsurfers. Golden Beach has hosted the Windsurfing World Cup for the past 17 years. The best months are July and August, but serious windsurfers may want to visit earlier or later in the season to avoid the crowds. The free Paros Windsurfing Guide is available at most tourist offices in Parikia or Naoussa; www.diving-greece.net is also a good resource. On Golden Beach, the F2 Windsurfing Center (tel. 22840/41-878) has lessons and sponsors the Windsurfing World Cup. The Aegean Diving College (tel. 22840/43-347; www.aegeandivingcollege.com) offers scuba instruction; director and marine archaeologist Peter Nikolaides is also connected with the Aegean Center in Parikia. At the port town of Pounda, the Paros Kite Pro Center (tel. 22840/92-071; www.paroskite-procenter.com) rents them from 25€ and gives kiteboarding and windsurfing lessons (from 25€ for 1 hr.).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.