When we decided to go to Greece for our honeymoon, I didn’t think hiking would be a big part of it. But the islands have beginner-friendly trails that are a must for anyone traveling there. Besides the Caldera Path in Santorini, our other big hike was the Byzantine Road on another Greek island called Paros.
The entire trail is 2.2 miles total, taking you from the mountains of Lefkes to the beaches of Piso Livadi. Like so much of Greece, it’s incredible to be in places that are thousands of years old, no matter how much of a history buff you may or may not be. The Byzantine Road is the oldest road on Paros, dating back to 1,000 AD.
Hiking the road is beginner-friendly, incredibly beautiful, and shows you a different side of Paros you wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s mostly flat or downhill if you start in Lefkes, with just one big (but doable) hill.
You’ll walk through groves of olive trees and enjoy panoramic views of mountains, the Aegean Sea, and other villages (plus neighboring island Naxos is visible). The entire thing was originally paved with marble, so the path itself is also gorgeous.
Taking the bus from Naoussa (where we stayed) to Lefkes was very easy, and I would highly recommend the bus system no matter what island you stay on. It’s cheap, quick, and significantly lower stress than trying to drive yourself around.
We arrived in Lefkes on the first bus (not actually that early since Greek “early” is nowhere near American early!) to try to beat the heat. Most of the trail is in the sun, so we really didn’t want to be out there during the afternoon.
Lefkes is not that big, so it’s difficult to lose your way. The bus drops you off on the outskirts of town, but you just follow the main road. There are no cars allowed in Lefkes which was SO nice after fearing for our lives walking along the roads in Naoussa.
Once you get into the main part of town you’ll see a bakery and the first of several signs pointing you toward the Byzantine Road. We stocked up on water at the bakery in town before heading down to the trail.
Stopping at the bakery was a major exercise in self-control, but I reminded myself that hiking on a hot day with a stomach full of eclairs probably wasn’t a great idea. (There are no trailhead port-o-potties in Greece!)
We honestly could have easily burned half a day just exploring Lefkes – even the walk down to where the Byzantine Road started was really scenic. There are so many cafes and other places to explore (and photograph) that it took us a while just to get out of town.
The trail itself is just a few miles, but with all of our photo stops it took us a several hours. My self-control was limited only to inhaling pastries and I took a million photos (including about a dozen blurry olive tree photos if you’re wondering about the quality of my photography). But you’re on vacation in Greece, why would you rush?!
Walking from Lefkes, you’re going downhill almost the entire way. This was actually more difficult than I banked on since my knees started yelling at me for all that descending. We just took our time and stopped as often as we needed to.
This actually made going uphill a welcome change. It was definitely the first time in my life I found myself thinking, “Oh thank GOD we’re going uphill now!” The path does level out several times, which is obviously ideal, but there’s one last big hill before you begin the final descent into Prodromos.
Once we got to Prodromos we immediately threw our original plans out the window. We thought we would just turn around for the return trip to Lefkes, since we didn’t really want to go all the way to Piso Livadi. But we quickly realized walking back meant walking completely uphill in the sun at 1:00 in the afternoon. And our stomachs were growling. No thank you!
Instead, we decided to explore Prodromos and take the bus back to Naoussa, where we were staying. There’s a marginally helpful map when you first get to the edge of town, but we ended up just wandering around all the different alleys until we found a cafe to get a fizzy lemonade and enjoy some shade.
Since we weren’t walking back to Lefkes, we wandered around until we stumbled upon the bus stop…and discovered we missed the bus by just a few minutes. And the next one wasn’t coming for an hour and a half. Remember what I said about the bus being great? We loved it, but it have less flexibility than if you have a rental car.
By this time, we were getting hungry and had kind of exhausted all of our options for entertaining ourselves in Prodromos.
Despite no one in Prodromos speaking English, we managed to convey to the cafe owner that we needed a taxi. Stranded Americans needed a taxi didn’t seem to actually be that unusual because after a few times of me repeating, “Taxi?” with a pleading smile, the cafe owner whipped out a giant binder of people to call.
If you are interested in getting lunch in Prodromos, there are several restaurants that are actually right across from the bus stop. If you time it right, you could potentially eat at one of them and catch the bus back to Naoussa or Parikia.
Hiking the Byzantine Road was one of the highlights of our honeymoon, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get off the beaten path while staying in Paros. Public transportation and taxis are both readily accessible, the path is beautiful and easy to navigate, and you’ll get a slice of Paros history that you would otherwise miss if you only hit the beaches.
One thought on “Beginner’s Trail Guide: The Byzantine Road on the Greek island of Paros”
Gorgeous photos! I see you did not share the blurry olive trees! Probably a good call. I also felt your pain with the downhill treks. It all makes me want to return to Paros, where I did not hike, but still enjoyed it.