Travelling via superferry from Santorini to Paros was a memorable experience. The sheer size of the ferries is gobsmacking – large enough to drive trucks on with an escalator and air conditioning inside as well as indoor cafes, bars and lounges depending on the class of ticket you’ve bought. I had taken no chances and upgraded us to business class (or ‘distinguished class’) which gave us access to a lovely lounge upstairs which we had almost to ourselves for the three hours it took for us to get to Paros. A tip too to check your ticket once it’s printed/picked up as the departure time can vary from what’s online as we found out when we got to the port two hours early and had to kill time. Intermediary travel agencies will also charge you 1 euro per person for the privilege of printing tickets purchased online.
Still, we were super excited to dock in Pariklia – the port town of Paros before catching a taxi to Naoussa for 20 euro – it is cheaper to catch the bus but if you have a lot of luggage it can be easier to cab it and it was closer to our accommodation in Naoussa – the upmarket fishing village where we’d booked an old Cycladic ‘house’ (actually three separate apartments) on Air Bnb in the Old Town which was absolutely beautiful – stone laneways, Bougainvillea covered whitewashed Cycladic buildings with painted doors, more cats and locals still living in the village. I had a little giggle going past upmarket shops with houses next door where someone’s undergarments were on the clothes horse outside. It kind of summed up the whole experience of Naoussa which was equal parts extremely stylish and upmarket, but also endearingly local, authentic and charming – we loved saying Yasas and Kalimera every morning to neighbouring locals and their dogs and cats including the little old lady who made spaghetti bolognaise as dinner for her cats the first night we stayed. To our delight, we were also walking distance to a little grocery store as well as the small cove where a collection of waterfront boutique tavernas are housed including Ouzeri Mitsi (where we had dinner our first night), Taverna Glafkos (where I celebrated my birthday the second night) and Foti’s Art Cafe which was great for brunch and drinks.
We also met up with our friends – another local family from here – Alessandra, an Italian entertainment broadcaster and her partner Phil a classically trained musician and music teacher. Alessandra arrived the first night but Phil had missed the connecting flight from Milan to Mykonos and so arrived the next day. None of us had been keen to stay or visit Mykonos, which I’ve heard is like Santorini except around a port but its reputation as a party destination had put us off. As it was, Naoussa also has a number of all night bars and while we were further away – we could still hear the music in the early hours of the morning and were glad we brought ear plugs. We did wonder how the poor locals cope over Summer. I must be getting old…
I spent my birthday having breakfast on the terrace of our house as I did every morning we were there followed by drinks by the main waterfront. Mr Rosanna and our friends took the kids to one of the small local beaches in the afternoon, which allowed me the luxury of wandering the streets to do some birthday shopping and while I did buy a small handmade bag to match my Greek sandals, I spent most of my time buying small gifts for family. The afternoon is the hottest part of the day and only the silly tourists can be found on the streets and laneways with many shops closing for siesta and reopening later in the day. There are some beautiful shops if you ever visit Naoussa including high-end womenswear stores La Meduse (stocking Klotho linen clothing and Loom Handmade bags from Crete), La Isla (also stocking linen clothing with handmade embroidery), bohemian Electric and modern Sun.Set as well as artisan/craft store Handmade in Paros, modern ceramic store MX Ceramics, Zina Fragi jewellery and Fad Gallery for Trees n Blossom etched oxidised brass necklaces and earrings, Marble of Thannas silver and marble jewellery and Rhodesign bags. It is indeed one of the most stylish places I’ve ever visited and I can understand why my bestie Jules, who is a fashion buyer, honeymooned there. While Santorini has the wow factor, Naoussa is more understated and intimate with its secrets harder to find.
We stayed for 6 nights in total in Naoussa which was a good amount of time as it allowed us to explore the whole island, visit two of its closer beaches as well take the car ferry to Antiparos, which I will post about next.