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Gone are the days when tourists sought to venture to the most popular destinations in specific countries.
Since the pandemic, people have been seeking off-the-beaten-path escape routes to avoid the crowds and high prices. But with so many travelers booking trips, what the heck is there left to explore that allows for some kick back 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 for islands that offer the same thing, but with fewer crowds, lower prices, and a variety of activities.
throwing his ‘Awards to the best in the world Travel and Leisure asked readers around the world to give their opinion on various travel-related topics.
Nearly 165,000 voted in 2023, rating their favorite islands based on a multitude of factors: nightlife, atmosphere, restaurants, activities, etc.
With some classics on the list, there was also room for a number of lesser-known getaways. 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 center of the beautiful Cyclades region of Greece. For tourists looking to venture to popular islands like 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 do some hopping. A boat trip from Mykonos to Paros will only take about 45 minutes out of your day, and there are many other day trip options available here as well.
It is very easy to fly back to the mainland from the island, with relatively cheap flights to Athens. Popular places like Santorini show higher airfares, especially during the summer season, making Paros an ideal summer destination.
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Neither too big nor 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 run all over 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 you between 10 and 15 euros. There are also options to rent ATVs if you’re feeling adventurous and cars.
Greece is full of whitewashed buildings and flower-covered blue roofs. It’s easy to wander aimlessly through the charming streets, marveling at the local way of life and the smells of fresh seafood. Often overlooked, it’s easy to explore all that Paros has to offer, without the huge crowds.
As the capital city of Paros, Parikia is every traveler’s dream. With narrow lanes and historic charm, it’s easy to wander for hours here, taking in the millennia-old buildings.
If you feel like hiking, hike up the Byzantine Route before flying to the mountain village of Lefkes. A charming town surrounded by olive trees and rolling hills, it is the perfect place on the island if you are looking to relax.
The best of both worlds
On many European islands, it often seems like there’s no escaping 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.
During the day, the island has a calming presence. Locals and tourists alike take advantage of this time to relax on the beaches and enjoy some free time. However, Paros certainly comes alive at night. Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing or a more elegant setting, the island has it all.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com