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Located in the Cyclades group of islands, the Greek island of Paros lies in the Aegean Sea, to the west of the island of Naxos from which it is separated by a channel that is around 8 km wide. The island is 160 km to the south east of the Port of Piraeus. Historically known for its fine white marble, which gave rise to the term 'Parian' to describe marble or china of similar qualities, the marble mines and quarries have now been abandoned and can be found around the island. Today, the island's principal source of income is derived from tourism. The capital of Paros, Parikia, is a typically beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed houses and lovely grand neoclassical mansions. Standing atop a hill in the centre of the village is a 13th century Venetian castle which provides glorious views of the town and surrounding area. There is also an important ecclesiastical attraction in the town in the form of the 6th century Church of Panayia Ekatontapyliani, also known as Katapoliani.
The island's port is also in Parikia and hosts both conventional ferries and high speed ferries. Ferries generally depart to Piraeus and to the other islands of the Cyclades.
Kos is a Greek island that lies in the eastern Aegean Sea and is situated to the south of the island of Kalymnos and to the north of the island of Nisyros. The island, which is only around 3 miles off the Turkish coast and sits in the Keramiko Gulf, or the Kos Gulf, is the third largest of the Dodecanese islands. Kos is a well known and popular holiday destination where visitors go to enjoy the island's beaches. Kos was also one of the first Greek islands to recognise the benefits of tourism to its economy and as a result many hotels were built along the island's long and sandy coastline in the east and south. Cycling is a popular activity on Kos as the island's terrain is quite flat and because there are many bicycle hire outlets throughout the island along with some dedicated cycle paths between some of the larger hotels.
There are daily services between Kos and Piraeus along with services between Kos and the rest of the Dodecanese, the islands of the north eastern Aegean and Turkey. The trip by conventional ferry can take up to 13 hours, depending on the intermediate stopovers, and the trip with a high speed boat can take between 5 and 8 hours.