Playing with the waves: Surfing!
Paros is the surfers’ favourite island. They meet here every summer for their daily crossing on the surf board.
700 meters long, covered with fine golden sand and fully organized, Golden Beach (Chryssi Akti, in Greek) is the largest beach of Paros and one of the most popular to the water sports enthusiasts and specially to windsurfing lovers. Placed at the “exit” of the Paros-Naxos channel, with reliable meltemi winds blowing most of the days of July and August, a favourable topography and a broad variety of services, it offers a unique combination for surfers of all levels and their families or company, as well.
Golden Beach is an open bay that faces south, and is protected by a small peninsula at the NE. Inside the protected bay, the sandy bottom and the usually flat sea, allow the beginner to start out in the sport with safety and the intermediate to perfect his skills. Outside the bay, though, the wind and the waves get strong, offering the experienced surfer an ideal combination for endless play with the waves…
Main Wind Behaviour: During the popular months of July and August, meltemi winds prevail in Golden Beach, like everywhere else in Paros. Inside the bay the wind is offshore, but further out it changes and becomes side-shore or side-onshore. There are also a lot of gusts (“spiliades”) in strong wind.
Beyond the summer season, from autumn till spring, two southern winds are of special interest for windsurfers in the area: the southwesterly libeccio that blows side-onshore and the sirocco that comes onshore. When they get above 5 Bft, the area becomes a wonderful playground for those who love waves. (Not for beginners, of course…).
Local Waters: Relatively swallow, with sandy bottom, protected and usually flat inside the bay, even in strong meltemi winds. Very good conditions for beginners, for freestyle and slalom. Further out, at the channel that is formed with the small neighbouring islets, you will find waves that reach 1-2 meters in height, ideal for wave play.
Getting there: Golden Beach is at the SE side of Paros, at a distance of 1.5-2 km from the village of Drios. The buses that start from Parikia or Naoussa with final destination Drios, will leave you at the main road, about 200-300 meters from the beach. There are two asphalted roads leading to it and plenty of parking space.
Attention: At the peak of the summer tourist season, there are a lot of swimmers here, so when you are near the beach, you must use the appropriately signed area at the center of the bay.
Other activities: Canoe, kayak, SUP, kiteboard, wakeboard, sea bicycle, catamaran, tubes, water ski, beach volley, dance lessons, massage, diving lessons.
Nea Chryssi Akti (Tserdakia).
Nea Chryssi Akti (Tserdakia)
Featuring the most reliable, stable and strong winds in Paros, and home to PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) World Cup competitions for years, New Golden Beach (“Nea Chryssi Akti” in Greek, also known as “Tserdakia”) is legitimately one of the most famous windsurfing spots on the island.
It is a relatively small beach with golden sand on a small open bay that faces SE, within a few hundred meters north of Golden Beach, and approximately 3 kilometers away from Drios. Despite its small size, it is fully organized, it hosts a particularly active windsurfing center, and offers ideal conditions for the intermediate and more advanced surfers.
Main Wind Behaviour: Stable and stronger by up to 1-2 Bft compared to other places in Paros, the wind here is ideal for windsurfing during the meltemi season. The wind inside the bay is side-offshore and sometimes gusty, though less so than at Golden Beach. Outside the bay, the wind gets really strong and steady…
Due to the small size of the bay and the topography of the area, southern winds are of no interest here…
Local Waters: The water is usually flat inside the small bay, whereas it offers good waves further out, creating an ideal playground for jumps. On the northeastern part of the beach there is a small, shallow reef, which needs caution. Its position is usually marked with a buoy.
Getting there: New Golden Beach lies between Marpissa and Drios. The buses connecting Parikia or Naoussa with Drios will take you to the main road, approximately 500 meters away from the beach. The road leading to the beach is paved. The same road continues up to the neighboring Golden Beach, except it is a dirt road for the most part.
Caution: Due to the small size of the beach, caution is advised with swimmers. It is also advisable not to sail beyond the two small isles and to always save some strength to handle the offshore winds, otherwise you may drift away without being able to get back to shore… (Of course, the windsurfing center is equipped with a boat to help in such unexpected cases…).
Other activities: Sea kayak, beach volley, mountain bike, scuba diving.
Facilities: Hotels, rooms, restaurant, sun loungers and umbrellas, parking.
On the east side of Paros, deep in the entrance of the Paros-Naxos channel, the relatively secluded Tsoukalia beach is a favorite meeting spot for those who love playing with waves – often in intense ways.
This is a long beach –in reality two separate, adjoining beaches – located in a wide northeast-facing bay. When northern winds blow, the bay has the best waves in Paros, even though it is not the spot with the strongest winds on the island.
When meltemi winds exceed 4 Bft, Tsoukalia have a lot of waves that break unhindered onto the beach. So, you will find here more surfers than swimmers. This beach is generally best for experienced surfers, though the wind here usually blows towards the land, which will bring even the inexperienced surfer back to the shore.
Main Wind Behaviour: Meltemi winds here typically blow parallel (side shore) or diagonally (side on shore) to the shore, and meets the waves on a very favorable angle for lots of play. What is more, thanks to Tsoukalia beach being located relatively high up on the Paros-Naxos channel, the wind tends to blow less intensely here compared to beaches more to the south, by about 1 Bft. Consequently, Tsoukalia is a good option when meltemi turn into gales. Southern winds are of no interest here.
Local Waters: Again, due to the geographical location of Tsoukalia, the waves come here relatively unhindered from the open sea, and are “cleaner” compared to those in southern beaches, something much appreciated by those who are into wave riding. The water is also relatively deep, however the seabed close to the shore – in the wide zone where waves break when it is windy – is for the most part rocky and needs caution, although there are a few sandy parts as well.
Getting there: You will need your own transportation to get to Tsoukalia. Coming from Lefkes or Marpissa, get on the road to Naoussa, and as soon as you pass “Bit of Salt” – a shop that is a very popular with sport enthusiasts- you will see a sign reading ‘Tsoukalia/Glyfades’. Turn right on a wide dirt road, which will lead you to the beach after about 1 Km.
Caution: As one can easily notice, once the meltemi winds get stronger, Tsoukalia becomes unsuitable for beginners. Even experienced windsurfers need to accurately estimate the conditions and their own abilities and be careful with their fins and feet when they are close to the shore, inside the reef zone where the waves usually break (especially if they sail near the rocky area that separates the two beaches…).
Other activities: Just windsurfing…
Facilities: There is a seaside restaurant at Tsoukalia, where you can optionally leave your equipment.
Santa Maria is an organized beach with golden sand and crystal-clear waters, located on a wide -but relatively protected from northern winds- bay at the northeastern part of Paros. It is also situated near the northern ‘entry’ of the Paros-Naxos channel, which explains why the wind here is less strong than further south, at Tsoukalia or at Golden Beach.
In close proximity to Naoussa, offering easy access and fully organized -with camping, beach bar, umbrellas, long chairs and a variety of water sports- Santa Maria attracts a lot of people, primarily of a younger age, in July and August.
Main Wind Behaviour: Even though the wind here is weaker by about 1-2 Bft compared to other spots in Paros, you still have sufficient wind to enjoy your sport when meltemi winds blow. The wind does of course get above 5 Bft on occasions, offering much more thrill. Due to the small peninsula and the islet in the southern part of the bay, Santa Maria is not a good spot for southern winds…
Local Waters: Both the shore and the seabed are sandy – with the exception of a small protrusion in the center of the bay, where the organized beach ends. Since the bay is closed to the north, the waves typically come from the NE. In order to find them you will need to either go farther in or move towards the southern part. Always be careful to stay away from the rocks and the little islet located there. (When the wind blows strong and the waves are good, you may see some people testing their abilities in regular surfing or body boarding there…).
Getting there: Santa Maria is just 3 kilometers away from Naoussa on a fully paved road. During the summer months, there is also a regular bus service that connects it to Naoussa (and with a connection to Parikia from there). You can also reach the beach via boat from Naoussa.
Caution: Since Santa Maria is a very popular beach during the summer months, you need to be mindful of swimmers.
Other activities: Water ski, canoe, wakeboard, kneeboard, tubes, beach volley, scuba diving.
Facilities: Camping, bungalows, beach huts, beach bar, restaurant, swimming pool, parking, car and motorbike rentals.
This is the kite surfer’s Mecca in Paros, and one of the most popular kitesurfing destinations in all of Europe. It is a long, sandy beach on the western tip of the island, where the steady side-shore winds that prevail in the Paros-Antiparos channel, are perfectly combined with a sandy seabed and shallow waters without big waves, offering ideal and safe conditions for kitesurfing (and more…) on all levels.
Beginners can find safety here, whereas those more advanced will find a protected environment for practice. Seasoned kiteboarders can also find a perfect playground here, when the wind blows strong. The fact that international tournaments of the PKRA (Professional Kiteboard Surfers Association) and KPWT (Kiteboard Pro Tour) have been held at Pounta says a lot.
Pounta is not to be confused with the beach with the same name on the east side of Paros, close to Marpissa, known for its beach parties and extremely popular among young people.
Main Wind Behaviour: When meltemi winds blow, the wind here is consistent, stable and side-shore, with a strength that is just a little weaker than that of the winds that prevail on the eastern beaches. Pounta is also good during southerly winds.
Local Waters: The water is relatively shallow with a sandy bottom and usually flat. When the meltemi gets stronger, there is chop that also comes from the north, parallel to the beach.
Getting there: There is a regular bus service connecting Pounta with Parikia, since ferries going to Antiparos depart from the former. Kitesurfing centers are located approximately 500 meters away from the bus terminal. Pounta is within 10 kilometers of Parikia, so you can get there by car or motorbike in just a few minutes.
Caution: On the northern entrance of the channel, within about 500 meters of the kitesurfing centers, is the ferry line connecting Paros with Antiparos. It is forbidden to stray there.
Other activities: Windsurfing, SUP, wakeboard, water ski, scuba diving, horse riding, spa, massage, yoga.
Facilities: Hotels, rooms, camping, restaurants, beach bar, surf shop, repair shop.