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Paros, the third largest of Cyclades after Naxos and Andros has developed into an important centre of tourism in recent years.

Gently rolling hills surround the centre and south-east of the island which is predominately agricultural and is occupied by endless vineyards, and lock within themselves the famous Parian marble.

The coastline is indented, with numerous small inlets and two large bays, those of Naoussa in the north and Parikia in the west. Paros has been inhabited since very ancient times, and was one of the centers of the Cycladic civilization

Pretty Paros' softly contoured hills are the source of the island's famously pure white marble, which brought it prosperity from the Early Cycladic period onwards; both the Venus de Milo and Napoleon's tomb were carved from Parian marble.

Paros is now more famous as the main ferry hub for the Greek islands. The port town of Parikia is awash with ferry travellers, but it's well worth stepping back from the waterfront to visit the old town and its 13th-century Venetian kastro.

If you're into splendid churches don't miss the Panagia Ekatontapyliani, which dates from 325. The island's other major settlement is Naoussa , a laid-back resort with a picturesque fishing village at its core.