There’s isn’t enough time in a life to see all the thousands of gorgeous islands across Europe. But those looking for the best of the best should head to the Greek island of Páros, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure, who voted it the best in Europe in their annual World’s Best Awards.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Páros is located in the heart of the Cyclades, a few hours away from Athens by ferry. The island is alternately described as Greece’s best-kept secret and its biggest up-and-comer — and it’s always raved about. While there are several reasons to book a trip to Páros, the island is most renowned for its natural beaches, cosmopolitan nightlife, and ancient monuments, such as the sanctuary of Delian Apollo and Artemis.
Travelers can start their Páros trip in Naousa, a traditional fishing village that’s considered to have one of the most beautiful ports in Greece. The town’s whitewashed alleyways are some of the most picturesque places to enjoy a glass of ouzo.
Windsurfers should make a point to stop by Golden Beach (or Chryssí Aktí), the frequent home of the windsurfing World Cup. Kolymbithres, on the island’s northern coast, is famous for its unique granite formations. The rock has been eroded by water to form smooth, swooping shapes punctuated by sandy coves and small caves.
Those looking to party on the sands should visit Ambelas, popular among locals for its gatherings, or Santa Maria, where the beach bar serves mojitos to go with sunset views.
Travelers who would rather explore the island’s history can hike along the Byzantine Road. The ancient marble footpath connects the island’s villages of Lefkes and Prodromos, providing a time-tested way for visitors to cover ground. Visit the capital of Parikia to tour the ancient cemetery, the 13th-century Venetian castle, or the Archaeological Museum, with artifacts dating back to the Neolithic period.