Paxos, Paradise in the olivegroves
Paxos (Paxi) and little sister Anti-Paxi are the two smallest inhabitated Ionian Islands, approximately 7 km south of Corfu and 8 sea miles east from Parga on the Greek mainland.
The largest is Paxos, it covers an area of some 25 square kilometres and is one of a cluster of picturesque small islands set in the Ionian Sea. Paxos is covered with endless olive groves and Anti Paxi is one large vineyard!
Main sources of income are tourism, olives and fishing. Olive oil and wine are of very good quality.
According to Greek Mythology Paxos was created by Poseidon. He was looking for a quiet place for himself and his beloved Amphitriti. With his trident he tore off the southermost part of Corfu, thus creating
Paxos. He lost his trident which the Paxiots later found and made their emblem.
Paxos has no airport,can only be reached by Flying Dolphin, ferry or Yacht and that most likely is the main reason that so far this island has escaped the strain of modern-mass tourism and stil can be considered "a little piece of heaven"; timeless Greece.
Paxos is a small island, with relative short distances between the villages Gaios, Loggos and Lakka. It is small enough to escape the tyranny of the motor car,
except in August, the busiest time of the year. There's a regular busservice between the villages and a lovely way to explore the island is by foot or bike. Taxi
service is good and not expensive. Gaios, Loggos and Lakka have taxi ranks. The sea taxis show you the other side of the island and it's a fast way to get around.
The three largest villages are Gaios, Lakka and Loggos. Dotted all over the island are small hamlets and tiny villages with nams ending on "ika" distracted from the names of their inhabitants; Bogdanika from Bogdanou or Bogdanos, Kontogianika from the family Kontogiannis etc. etc.
Along the 46km of coastline many beaches are to be discovered; some are only accessable by foot or boat. The east coast has many individual small pebble beaches and secluded coves. The most important are Giannas, Kloni Gouli, Kamini, Kaki Lagada, Kipiadis, Marmaria, Levrechio, Glyfada, Monodendri, Orkos, Kanoni Harami and Avlaki. Mongonissi in the south, is a larger sandy beach with facilities. Anti-Paxos has gorgeous translucent turqoise waters and beautiful white sandy beaches.
Paxos is a walkers paradise and it offers a surprising variety of scenery, from ancient olive groves to pine-covered outcrops and breathtaking cliff scenery. The villages are linked by shady tracks trough olive groves and you will pass old churches, deserted olive presses, small hamlets and old windmills, sometimes ending up at a quiet beach or a lovely viewpoint. The coastline offers fine walks or climbing up the steep slopes of the west coast to watch the waves crash against the sheer cliffs, with caves and arches som hundred feet below. The eastern coastline is gentle with many beaches.
There are some good walking guides and maps available.
Panayri-festivities: on the 15th of August the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary is celebrated. In the morning, the faithful gather at the Monastery of Panayia and the festivities last all day and night winding up with dancing on the square in Gaios. End of August - early September the annual International Music Festival
takes place in Gaois. In February the islands Patron Saint Charambalos is honoured is his church in Bogdanatika.
Ag. Nikolaos: is separated from Gaios by a narrow channel. The highest point is 56m. The visitor finds two Chapels, Ag. Nikolaos and Ag. Ioannis, a ruined windmill and a Venetian castle (1423). The walls of the castle are ruinous today, but there is a very fine view of the harbour from it. The island can be visited with permission of the Municipality. Phone 26620 32100.
Mongonisiis a small peninsula with Mongonissi beach south from Gaios. Accessable by coastal road and small causeway. From Gaios kaiks go to Mongonisi. Windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and snorkeling are amongst the available activities. There's a taverna right on the waterfront. On Mongonisi there's also the ruin of a chapel.
Panagia:the islet of the Virgin Mary is located in Gaios Bay and has a church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, which is built on an early Christian cruciform church, of which one part remains as the sanctuary. On the 15th of August the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary is celebrated here. From here there's a very nice view to Gaios.
Kaltsonisi: is a tiny, round island 50 m east of Mongonisi. On the waters edge there's the small St. Spiridon church (1686)
Daskalia is a small uninhabitaded rocky island south from Paxos. It is only accessible by boat.
Anti-Paxi the famous little sister with its wonderful beaches and turquoise blue water, is approximately 3 nautical miles south of Paxos.
The tiny island is only 12 square km. Its highest point is 106 m. Here you will find small hamlets like Vigla, Stavrou en Arvanátika. Anti-Paxos has a few tavernas and about 50 houses, mostly occupied at weekend or during the summer. You can get there by a boat excursion from Gaios to Agrapida port, or hire a boat and explore the island. There's a road and Anti Paxi is great for strolling around. The superb Vrika and Voutoumi beaches are are famous throughout the Ionian. The southern part of the island is rocky with beaches such as Rodovani. On Anti-Paxi the church of Ag. Emilianos is worth a visit.
Anti-Paxi is one large vineyard. The local wine is strong and of good quality. Anti-Paxi has no shops and is the perfect place for those seeking solitude, simplicity and serenity. Anti-Paxi has no hotel, only some rooms and private villa rental.
The island can be reached from Gaios by seataxi in 15 minutes. By kaiki it taks about half an hour. There are daily boat excursions from Gaios, Lakka and Loggos.
The main beaches on Anti-Paxi are Vrika en Voutoumi. Voutoumi is pebbly but sandy in the water, Vrika is a sandy beach. Both beaches have tavernas, sunbeds and umbrellas for rent. Above Voutoumi Beach is the Bella Vista taverna reachable after a short, steep climb but the view is definately worth the effort!
Around the island there are numerous small beaches, few small and beautiful secluded coves that can only be reached by boat. Also there are the more quiet beaches like Radovani and Sarakinika.
Agrapida is excellent for snorkeling. From Agripida port a network of narrow tracks leads up to the interior of the island, passing through orchards of fruit trees and vine yards. The local grape produces some good wines.