Forget Santorini and Mykonos — these photos show why Paros, Greece, was just named Europe’s best island

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According to Travel + Leisure, the small fishing village of Naoussa is said to have ‘one of the most beautiful ports in Greece.’ Carol Yepes/Getty Images
  • Paros in Greece was just named the best island in Europe in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2020.
  • Every year, Travel + Leisure releases its World’s Best Awards, based on a survey that includes responses from thousands of experienced travellers.
  • Travellers rate destinations based on their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
  • Paros won first place for the second time since 2018 thanks to its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and great seafood.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Every year, Travel + Leisure releases its World’s Best Awards, based on a survey that includes responses from thousands of experienced travellers who rate destinations based on their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

This year, Paros, Greece, took the crown, winning the title of best island in Europe for the second time since 2018. In 2019, Milos, Greece, briefly stripped Paros of its illustrious title, but now the often overlooked island is back on top.

Never heard of this tiny island? Keep scrolling to see why Paros has earned its accolades.


Paros is usually described as up-and-coming, an underdog, an insider secret. But the secret is out now.

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The water is so clear it looks like it could be in the Caribbean. Marco Scarfogliero/EyeEm/Getty Images

It’s only a few hours from Athens by ferry, though you can also fly into Paros National Airport.

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The small fishing village of Naoussa has a famously beautiful harbour. Poike/Getty Images

The tiny island is only 76 square-miles, but those pack a punch, with gorgeous white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, traditional villages, and ancient architecture.

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The whitewashed architecture is typical for Greece. Sven Hansche/ EyeEm/Getty Images

One of its most famous sites is Panagia Ekatontapiliani church, built in the 4th century and known as “the Church with the Hundred Doors,” according to Greek travel site Greeka.

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Greeka calls it ‘one of the best-preserved Paleo-Christian monuments in Greece.’ saiko3p/Getty Images

Source: Greeka


Another famous attraction is the Venetian Fortress of Naoussa, which, as the name implies, was built by Venetians in the 15th century as a fortress and watchtower guarding the island from pirates, per Greeka.

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The Venetian Fortress is one of the island’s top attractions. Socha/Getty Images

Source: Greeka


For more history, take a walk down Byzantine Road, the oldest trail on the island. It’s around 2 miles long, paved with marble, and dates back to 1,000 AD, according to visitor information site Paros.gr.

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The trail connects the village of Lefkes (pictured) with that of Prodromos. Patrik Bergström/Getty Images

Source: Paros.gr


Paros Park offers more hiking trails, as well as rock formations and caves to explore. In the summer, the park hosts concerts and shows at its outdoor amphitheater.

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Paros Park is a nature preserve. pkazmierczak/Getty Images

According to Travel + Leisure, the small fishing village of Naoussa is said to have “one of the most beautiful ports in Greece.”

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Naoussa has plenty of waterfront bars and restaurants. Kite_rin / Shutterstock

Source: Travel + Leisure


Of course, the island — which boasts 75 miles of coastline — is famous for its beaches.

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Paros has a number of beautiful beaches. pkazmierczak/Getty Images

Kolymbithres, dramatically wedged between cliffs and stunning rock formations, is a local favourite.

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The water is crystal clear. saiko3p/Getty Images

Shallow Santa Maria beach is great for families — but also for drinks at sunset.

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Santa Maria is near Naoussa, and features tons of spots to rent gear for water sports. Sangriana/Getty Images

Golden Beach is a stop on the Professional Windsurfing Association’s World Windsurfing Tour and a favourite for water sports.

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The international windsurfing competition takes place every summer. RAndrey/Getty Images

Kitesurfing has become popular around Pounda.

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Pounda is a world-famous kitesurfing spot. sangriana/Getty Images

The island is also known for its nightlife, boasting many clubs and bars, especially along the promenades of Parikia and Naoussa.

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The nightlife is mainly concentrated around the touristy areas and harbours. Nurphoto/Getty Images

The cuisine is seafood-heavy, delicious, and super fresh.

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It doesn’t get much fresher than straight off the fishing boat. Ald/Getty Images