Travel Postcard: 48 Hours in idyllic Paros and Santorini

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:09am EDT
 
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By Michael Perry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Greece is struggling under a mountain of debt, violent street protests erupt in the capital Athens, and world financial markets fear Greece will exit the euro zone.

But Greece is still a great place to visit - just head to its idyllic islands. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors explore Paros and Santorini.

FRIDAY

4 p.m. - Fly from Athens to Paros, a short 30-minute flight. After settling in, stroll down to the road that hugs the main port of Parikia and walk along the seawall, where you will be joined by not only tourists but local families who routinely end their day watching the sunset over the Mediterranean.

The port road hugs the sea and is littered with tavernas offering relaxing lounges and cool sunset drinks, but keep strolling until you reach the 13th century Venetian castle which overlooks the port. Parts of the castle are made from the ancient temple that once stood in the same spot.

5 p.m. - You will reach Parikia's most popular beach, Livadia, after a short walk. It's a great place for your first swim in the Mediterranean and if you want a drink before heading back into the centre of the port for dinner.

7 p.m. - Now that darkness has fallen it's time for some shopping. Just wander through the maze of streets that bisect Parikia's old village. By day the heat is stifling as the sea breeze, like the pirates of old, gets lost, but by night it's cool and exciting. Shopping here is cheaper than Athens and Santorini, and the shops offer boutique, locally made items.

8 p.m. - Shopping can make you hungry. Many of the seaside tavernas serve chargrilled octopus and fish caught in the waters that lap Parikia. For something more upmarket, head to Central Market Street, for the whitewashed and vine-covered courtyard restaurant Levantis. Levantis serves modern Mediterranean dishes, such as oven baked lamb rolled in vine leaves with fresh herbs and feta, fava bean puree and mint sauce.   Continued...

 
The volcanic island of Sandorini is seen from the Blue Star Paros vessel during a nine-hour trip to the Greek islands of Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini, in the Aegean Sea March 14, 2012. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis