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Parikia-Monastery of Christos of Dasos-Pounta-Aliki

This full-day excursion includes sightseeing, swims at amazing beaches facing the sunset and fun for visitors of all ages.
Leaving Parikia behind, we follow the uphill road to the south leading inland, towards the Monastery of Christos of Dasos. It is a 4.5 kilometer drive along a small dirt road that is paved in some areas towards the end. There is an alternate route along a paved coastal road, but the distance to the monastery is much longer.

The longest part of the route is along the plains, between farmland and scattered cottages. For the last 500 meters, the road climbs and eventually comes to an end on the slope where the Monastery of Christos of Dasos was built. The nunnery was built in the 17th century and dedicated to the temple of Ekatontapiliani. The monastery bears the name of Agios Arsenios, as does its church dedicated to the patron saint of Paros (inaugurated in 2002), which also houses the remains of the saint. Located in the courtyard of the Monastery, the church is well worth a visit. It boasts an impressive domed basilica with a double bell tower, which the entrance is distinguished by three arched doors. The Monastery of Christos of Dasos, or Agios Arsenios, has two festivals each year on 31 January and 18 August, held in sacred solemnity as befits the spirit of the monastery.

Leaving the monastery behind, we descend the asphalt road towards the sea to the west to have a swim at some of the most beautiful beaches of the island, facing the amazing Aegean sunset. Parasporos beach is closest to Parikia, an appealing, untamed sandy beach, with sunbeds, umbrellas and a beach bar that operates in summer, and several sea pines that offer natural shade for the lucky few that arrive early.

Continuing to the south, the two sandy beaches of Agia Irini are next, facing the northern coast of Antiparos. The first beach is small, with natural shade from the trees and calm water (it is rarely rough here as the beach faces southwest), but offers few amenities. The seabed has rocks and seaweed but there is a sandy path in the water. The small beach is located almost directly opposite the large beach of Agia Irini, which is exotic due to its large palm trees. The palm trees are right on the sand, as are tall sea pines, and both children and adults will enjoy diving and playing in the water. Agia Irini is organized but not particularly cosmopolitan. There is a small pier to the west where small boats can moor.

In general, the west of the island where these beaches are located has been developed in recent years and there are several hotels and rooms for rent with a view to the west and Antiparos. Small coves with crystal clear water and sea pines for natural shade can be found in the region, offering visitors an opportunity for a swim far away from the cosmopolitan beaches.

Continuing south from Agia Irini, the road runs alongside the sea, which is dotted with water sports enthusiasts in summer. The road leads to Pounta, the port that connects Paros and Antiparos.

The sandy beach extends even further to the south to an undeveloped area and the lovely country chapel of Agios Nikolaos. Visitors will be able to discern channels dug into the sand, possibly from the ancient ships that ran aground to unload their wares on the shores of the island.

As we approach Aliki, the final destination of our excursion, we encounter more and more long sandy beaches and in order to reach the most pristine stretch we must follow the road near the Paros Airport.

Our tour of the western coast of Paros comes to an end in Aliki, which took its name from the salt marshes near the village. Aliki is a picturesque fishing village, ideal for a family vacation. The pretty port with taverns and Piso Aliki beach, with its small white pebbles, sea pines and pale blue water, compose a very attractive scene. Other nearby beaches include the four calm bays of Farangas,

which feature many hotels, taverns, bars, a playground, sports field and the Benetos Skiados Museum of Cycladic Folklore Art. The charming village of Agkairias is located just three kilometers away, and can also be reached on foot through the narrow cobblestone alleyways of Aliki.

Three well-known festivals of Paros are held in Aliki in summer: Ai Yiannis of Kleidonas in June, Sotiros (6 August) and Stavros on 14 September.


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