It was a pleasure to once again make the acquaintance of two Greek islands, Paros and nearby Antiparos, during July, 2013. In the past I have visited many of the fabled islands in the Aegean Sea, and this was an occasion to return to two of them in an all-too-short visit.
The stay on Paros was in connection with a family wedding—that’s another story for an article in itself. The hotel where the event occurred was the beautiful Paros Agnanti Hotel at Krios Beach, Parikia, where my wife Lillian and I remained for a week after the festivities.
Paros is accessible by plane from Athens via Olympic, only about a half-hour flight. Or one can take a fast boat from the port of Piraeus. The Agnanti is well-situated, featuring lovely rooms with terraces and views, and it is made extra pleasant by the congenial staff that is eager to please. Especially helpful at the front desk were the charming Maria Arvaniti, in charge of reservations, and in a subsequent shift, the also delightful Zeta Tzavara
The food at the hotel’s restaurant was excellent, whether at main meals or at breakfast, with its generous buffet and an attractive terrace, its tables shielded from the sun, and friendly waiters always ready to satisfy special requests or refill coffee cups.
Best of all was the large swimming pool, with beach chairs, umbrellas and a tall shade tree. As anyone with Grecian experience knows, the sun beats down relentlessly and one can easily get sunburned if not careful. The pool is large enough to swim laps, and one can lounge about and order drinks and sandwiches from the pool bar.
The other option is to visit the beach, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, or a quick run with a car. Thatched umbrellas dot the area, and there are informal restaurants from which to sample various foods. The only negative there is a tendency of the restaurants to blast disco music that can get on one’s nerves, at least for older travelers. But the clear water for swimming is well worth enduring the steady disco beat.
One major convenience at the Agnanti was a computer room where one could check e-mail and keep in touch with work if need be. The service is free and relieves one of the need to take along a laptop if keeping in touch is a requisite.
There is shuttle service into the town, and taxis are relatively inexpensive. One can enjoy looking at the shops and dining in some good spots. Our favorite restaurants in the area ware Levantis, on Central Market Street in Parikia, and the lovely Apollon Garden Restaurant, a superior taverna, also in Parikia. One can enjoy various specialties at both, as well as some excellent Greek wines.
Lillian and I decided to take a day trip to visit Antiparos, which is accessible from Paros with a 10-minute ferry ride from Pounta. I have a family connection to the island. The late parents of my former Greek-American wife built a home on Antiparos, which became a summer place for our two daughters, their husbands, four granddaughters and just-married grandson, but I hadn’t been back to the island for 44 years. Lillian had never seen Antiparos, and as a stepmother close to all of my offspring was curious to see it. What a shock! If I didn’t know where I was I might not have recognized the place.
The last time I was there the island had no electricity. There were no cars. The road to the village consisted of a bakery and little else. There were two small hotels at the port. Occasionally tourists ventured there to visit the local cave of interest or swim.
Now there are more hotels, in addition to the possibility of finding bed and breakfast rentals. There is, of course, electricity. Cars abound. The port area is bustling. I found it interesting to have a look at the Hotel Anargiros, where I had stayed so long ago. It is named after its owner, who has added a second hotel and to whom I had the pleasure of saying hello as he sat in his café.
The road to the village is lined with shops and restaurants. Youth is attracted by night spots that are open until the wee hours. The inviting beaches always were a draw, and now there are more visitors in addition to the locals.
A celebrity who has made a home on Antiparos is actor Tom Hanks, who those who have seen him report that he is not ostentatious but strolls about casually in the village on occasion. However, his fame inevitably provides excitement for those who come in contact with him.
There are quite a few large homes built strategically in various parts of Antiparos, which retains the classic charm of a Greek island. Even though it is busier than in the past, it still is less hectic than some of the other more famous isles, such as Mykonos. After a lovely visit topped by a family dinner at the seafood restaurant Pipinos along the sea at Saint Giorgios, we caught the ferry back to Paros, where a taxi reserved for us was waiting to return us to the Hotel Agnanti. Posted September 2, 2013.