When our good friends invited us to their wedding in Paros, we were convinced they said “Paris”. I mean, it made sense. She’s French, they’d met in Boston (where the civic ceremony was held), and he’s from a beautiful part of Romania called Timisoara (I love you Romania, but Paris… is Paris). So when talk started circulating of warm climates and beach vacations, we were a bit confused. It was only when we received the official invite that we realized they hadn’t been talking about Paris, at all.
Paros: Greek Island. Not French Capital.
Paros? The first thing we did was Google it. Long behold, nestled somewhere close to Naxos, floating in the middle of the Aegean Sea, was Paros. After 2 wonderful days spent lounging in Santorini, we took a 3 hour(ish) ferry ride to Paros. The ferry, by the way, operated by Blue Star Ferries, was BY FAR, the best ferry ride I have ever, ever taken.
First of all, it was enormous. There was no cramming in between fellow passengers, running to get the first seat, or panic that you might be left standing for hours on end. Second of all, it was luxurious! Of course, this is coming from the backpacker who camped on the floor under a table on the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm – so maybe take my opinion with a grain of (sea) salt. Tons of space for everyone to sit on couches, with tables on every level and a restaurant/cafe smack in the middle of things. Not to mention, the bathrooms which had walls facing out to sea and undoubtedly the best view on the boat.
A place of quiet, a feeling of calm
After the hustle and bustle of Santorini, the calm aura that filled the air in Paros was more than welcomed. We were picked up by a driver, sent by the hotel, at the harbour and drove the 20-30 minutes to Chrisi Atki, on the complete opposite side of the island. As we drove the noticeably flat terrain (the first thing you notice after 2 days climbing the ups and downs of Santorini), we passed scattered houses and the old town of Marpissa, an unspoiled, authentic village on the hill of Kefalos, where you can find ruins of an old castle and the Monastery of Agios Antonios (Monastery of Saint Antoine).
There were no hotels, and very few restaurants along the way. We started wondering if we’d booked a hotel that was maybe a little too secluded? And then suddenly, when it seemed as if we’d reached as far as we could drive, we took a left turn, came upon a sign for Golden Beach, and arrived the Poseidon of Paros, Resort and Spa.
Welcome to paradise on Paros
White wash beauty. Green leafy foliage. Shimmering waters, and – true to its name – a very golden looking beach. After we’d picked our jaws up off the floor, we were ushered into the reception area, where we were greeted with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice while the stylish looking woman behind the counter kindly checked us in. The serenity inspired by the unique decor was instantaneous. Walls were painted an olive hue, that immediately calmed the weary traveler, while white shelving, vintage leather luggage, frayed ropes, and industrial lighting provided a modern feel exuding both comfort and style. It was strange, and delightful! It also matched the persona of those working behind the counter, in their starch white shirts and cool dark glasses. We weren’t sure if was high-end or hipster, but we liked it!
We were welcomed into our room with a complementary bottle of red wine and a view of the beach that proved the best wake-up we’d had in a while! My favourite part? I found the world’s BEST reading nook. It helped that I was reading A House in the Sky, one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever opened. (In case you’re interested, it’s about a Canadian’s woman experience before, during and following being held captive by extremists in Somalia for over a year, and it’s fascinating).
In addition to the lovely pool and the gorgeous hotel room, the Poseidon offered a delicious breakfast combining favourites from every country. It was here that I got to dive into a bowl of yogurt drizzled in delicious Greek honey, a treat I’d been waiting to enjoy since setting foot in Greece!
The Shimmering Waters of Golden Beach
The beach. Oh, the beach. Since we’d spent most of our time in Santorini on the elevated side of the island, we hadn’t yet dipped our toes in the Aegean and were aching to dive right in. We couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful beach than that we found a few steps from our hotel door.
Golden Beach is the perfect oasis for a couple looking for a quiet getaway. Whether you’re celebrating recent nuptials, or taking some time away from the kids to re-connect (ahem), the serenity that awaits you in Paros is a breathe of fresh air. The heightened sense of calm we experienced was definitely due to the contrast we had following two days in Oia, Fira and Imerglovini, surrounded with people, restaurants, and hundreds of hotels. Here on Golden Beach, we found ourselves again. We sat with our books, we walked on the beach, and we swam in the sea. And it was absolute bliss.
What to do, when you’re done relaxing
That being said, there were also a lot of activities for those of us who have a hard time relaxing. Equipped with a rather short attention span (or so it’s been said), I was a bit nervous about being so far away from the main island towns like Naoussa and Parikia. Without the distraction of shops, restaurants, cafes and history – what was I suppose to be doing? It got worse once I finished my book and, five minutes later, stared at my husband and uttered “so, what do you want to do?” He realized I no longer had a distraction and was already bored. After making a mental note to find me another book, we had to find something to do.
We tried out the fitness room but unfortunately, that was the only part of our hotel that wasn’t up to par. The equipment itself was okay if you were after a quick cardio workout (there were a few treadmills, an elliptical and a bike) but it was located underground, with no access to fresh air in a really, really, really small room. So, working out the traditional way wasn’t really an option. Thankfully, there were a number of water activities available to visitors of Golden Beach! For around $10 or so, my husband and I both rented a paddle-board and surfed the crystal clear waters of Paros, falling once or twice before getting the hang of it and having an amazing, and unforgettable experience.
Shout out to the Saint George, Beachfront Resort!
Both our first and second night spent in Paros, we ventured out of the Poseidon and into the neighbouring Saint George to celebrate wedding festivities with good friends and great food. No, I’m sorry, let me make that clear. By great food, I mean delicious, drool-worthy, should-be-award-winning food. From satisfying my newly developed craving for Gemista (where have you been all my life?) to serving the tangiest, zestiest tzatziki this side of the caldera, the Saint George proved a culinary sanctuary that I’d recommend time and time again.
Moreover, it provided the perfect wedding venue where, I ( and 70+ of my new closest friends), danced the night away, sipped on bubbly and enjoyed plate after plate of traditional Greek cuisine! All I have to say is that I’m glad I chose the stretchy dress.
Traveling to Paros? The Poseidon of Paros and the Saint George Beachfront Hotel are definitely among the top hotels to consider, for romantic getaways, for special occasions, for any occasion! Opa! (It’s a blog about Greece, I had to sneak that in somewhere).