Paxos - Our Island
The captivating history of Paxos Island
An ancient Greek legend claims that Poseidon, the god of the sea, severed with his trident a piece of the island of Corfu, to make a secluded haven for him and his love, Amphitrite. That clipping of an island was Paxos, and the inspiration for this myth is obvious up to this day; Paxos is simply breath taking! Its history is rich and colourful; from ancient times, Paxos and the rest of the Ionian isles have been under the rule of several conquerors. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, French, Russians, Turks, Italian and Germans, they all left their small mark on the island, shaping its character into this colourful esprit of its few – but joyful – habitants. It has even shaped its culinary traditions, resulting in a fusion of cuisines, mainly Greek and Italian that is truly delicious and inspiring! The islands history is depicted in its buildings; charming chapels and quaint churches from several centuries past, traditional mansions and scenic cobblestone alleys, they showcase the rich heritage of Paxos. You can admire remains of the island’s past in the Paxi Museum, the Venetian fortress of Agios Nikolaos and the English Governor’s House, in the architectural style reminiscent of its Venetian era and the picturesque alleys of Gaios, Lakka and Logos.
How To Reach Us
As Paxos Island doesn’t have an airport, it is only reachable by sea. You can reach the Gaios port of Paxos by ferries, hydrofoils, catamarans and hydroplanes from the port of Corfu, which in turn has frequent connections to Igoumenitsa and Patras ports of Greece, as well as several ports of Italy such as Bari and Ancona. You can also reach Corfu by air; during the summer, direct flights from most major European cities are widely available, and domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki are conducted throughout the year. If you are travelling by car, Egnatia highway (E90) will bring you swiftly to the port of Igoumenitsa from any part of northern Greece, whereas coming from the south, you could opt for the Ionian highway (E55). There are several other, more private options for travelling to Paxos; chartering a skippered yacht or a helicopter are amongst the most popular options. For any additional information on reaching the island of Paxos, please don’t hesitate to contact the people of Paxos Luxury Villas; we would be delighted to facilitate your journey in any way!
Paxos the smallest of the Heptanese or Ionian islands as they are more commonly known is located nine miles from its nearest neighbouring island Corfu and only ten miles from the Greek mainland. Its unique geographical position has over the centuries led to diverse cultural influences, Byzantine to Venetian to British. In modern times Paxos has become a popular holiday destination but avoiding the mass tourism of some of the other Ionian Islands due to the fact that the nearest airport is on Corfu, a short transfer by boat away. This has allowed the island to maintain its character, charm and seclusion. A very off the map experience.
There are three main centres of population on the island. Lakka to the North, a small town sitting on a natural sea lagoon. Loggos, the smallest of the three is an intimate village situated further down the east coast of the island as is Gaios the largest town and the capital of the island. All three are well appointed with café bars, restaurants and shops and are typified by the traditional, colourful fishing boats that rest in their harbours. The centre of the island is dotted with picturesque hamlets and villages, small communities untouched by time with local churches and traditions. With a population of less than 3000 the Paxiots (as the islanders are known) are characteristically self-sufficient with some keeping livestock and producing their own excellent wine. Family and community orientated they build their own houses and manage small businesses through hard work and commitment.
The west coast of the island is largely uninhabited and has dramatic limestone cliffs that offer stunning views from the top. They drop onto bleached white shingle beaches and large caves with crystal blue waters. A trip round the island by boat to see them is highly recommended.
Although Paxos is small, 7 miles long by 3 miles wide, this beautiful island offers so much more than just a sunshine holiday. In the spring, walkers flock to the island to explore the olive groves and villages using the network of mule tracks and pathways. An additional attraction of spring is the abundance of colourful flora and fauna that bloom across the whole island. At dusk, fireflies illuminate the fading light with their mesmerizing display.
The crystal clear blue waters that surround the island are stunning. The clarity of the Ionian makes it a perfect place for snorkelling a favourite with families and scuba diving a growing activity on the island. Paxos is famous for its multitude of secluded bays accessible only by boat. Locals with an expert knowledge of the waters offer not to be missed trips to enjoy their beauty.
A mile south lies Antipaxos. This tiny island is largely uninhabited and has no local shops or holiday accommodation. It’s most famous for its vineyards run by Paxiots producing excellent wine and its beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters. There are two main ones to visit to relax in the sunshine both appointed with shaded tavernas offering an excellent variety of food and drink for that perfect lunch experience. No trip to Paxos should be without a daytrip to Antipaxos.
If you are in search of beauty, serenity, a charming and charismatic location that maintains its own unique sense of individuality, then look no further than Paxos.
The Island of St. Nicholas
This captivating and historic island can be found in the bay opposite Gaios, the main town of Paxos. A small conservation island, it is home to a Venetian fortress, an English cemetery, two churches and two cisterns. An old windmill perches on the islands’ peak originally used to grind flour for the inhabitants of the fortress, it now sits overlooking the landscape that surrounds it. The fortress dates back to 1423 and was built to protect the people of Paxos from the frequent invasions from pirates. Much of it is still intact, the towers of the fortress still have their original gun slits that survey the seascape looking out towards mainland Greece. It remained a prevalent building for the islands’ defences and was used up until 1860, when it was forced out of use by the British who controlled the island. This event was met with resentment by local Paxiots and put further pressure on the already tense relationship between locals and the British.
Taking a gentle stroll through the pine, cypress and fruit trees that stand amongst the scattered ageing cannons offers a sense of the varied and colourful history of the tiny island as well as its importance to the history of Paxos.
Paxos is one of the rare Greek islands covered in a blanket of dusty green olive groves and this habitat lends itself to a multitude of moths, butterflies and bird life. In the early months of spring the air is abundant with the sounds and sights of a variety of different birds including golden orioles, bee-eaters, and brightly-plumed hoopoes. Over 88 species of birds have been previously recorded on the island, yet more are discovered and noted each year by the Hellenic Orthinological Society. The most common are swallows and swifts, however the distinctive call of the scops night owl can frequently be heard at night. Species of eagles and buzzards may also be spotted circling high in the sky. The months of May and June offer the unique opportunity of witnessing the firefly-mating season, where the olive groves atmospherically glow as these little insects congregate. There are also numerous varieties of butterflies that appear at the beginning of the summer months. An abundance of moths linger throughout the hot summer nights all over the island.
The warm Ionian Sea offers much in terms of aquatic wildlife. During the summer dolphins and porpoises can often be spotted from boats, passing ferries and from shore as they frolic in the warm sea. The calm waters offer a great opportunity for snorkelling and the coastline teems with rock pools to be explored by young curious minds. The island is also charmingly scattered with resident donkeys, goats and sheep, a legacy of its agricultural past. These harmless and charismatic animals are left free to graze on the land but are often found on the roads and pathways and even stumbling into private gardens.
For those intrigued by life under the waves Paxos offers several scuba diving centres, two of which are licensed by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Opportunities for lessons and dives span from beginners to professional level. For those who plan to stay for an extended period of time there is the opportunities to pursue a full license. Tailor made packages are available for individuals and families. Programmes also include trips to the spell binding blue caves that are situated on the west coast of the island. The waters around Paxos are incredibly clear and offer a safe and invigorating visual environment to explore the beauties of the Ionian Sea. For more information please email [email protected] or browse www.paxosoasisub.com
We offer competitive car hire rates for those who prefer the freedom to explore the island at their leisure. Get the holiday feel and the breeze by choosing an open-top Jeep or stay cool the conventional way with an air-conditioned option. The full range of car hire available and rates can be found here. https://paxosmagic.caronline.gr/
There is no more enjoyable way of exploring the coastline of Paxos than by renting a boat of your own. You will discover numerous tiny coves and bays along the East Coast where you can swim and sunbathe in tranquil surroundings or visit the impressive caves of the West Coast. Antipaxos is situated one mile south of Moggonissi and here you will find magnificent gently sloping white beaches and the opportunity to explore the lesser known rugged side of this small satellite island. There are many boats to choose from however pre-booking is recommended in High Season to avoid disappointment. Call or email us for further information.
There are only five taxis on the island so you will soon recognize and get to know the drivers. The taxi rank in Gaios is opposite the Bus Station, in Lakka, in the main car park and in Loggos on the harbour front. Taxis can be ordered in advance, you will find numbers in your accommodation. The drivers will be pleased to take you on a tour of the island and share their knowledge. In the evening, bar and restaurant staff will be happy to phone one for you. Just ask!
A holiday on Paxos would not be complete without a trip on the local bus. It does a round trip of the island from Gaios to Loggos and then on to Lakka. You will pass through local villages negotiating winding roads and hairpin bends whilst enjoying the magnificent scenery of the centre of the island. In Low Season there is a service twice a day extending to several in High Season except Sunday
We do not recommend moped/scooter hire. Unless you have specifically requested it you will not be covered by standard holiday insurance for any accidents. The roads on Paxos are generally quiet but are winding, some are narrow and can be uneven. However, if you are an experienced rider and wish to do so there are several hires shops in Gaios, Loggos and Lakka that do offer scooter/moped hire.
For the more energetic holidaymaker, hiring a mountain bike offers a unique way of exploring the island on roads and pathways. You can visit our inland villages and hamlets and get to meet the local residents.
Paxos is an island of music passion and culture with much of it having a Venetian influence. This can be seen in almost all aspects of everyday life. Paxos’ musical entertainment is diverse and there are events arranged throughout the year with many open air performances. Throughout the year it’s possible to witness and be part of an array of different traditional festivities, including many of religious significance. The most important celebrations take place during the orthodox Easter week.
Paxos hosts and organizes numerous events and concerts throughout the summer. Live bands both traditional and contemporary play across the island and the local choir also have regular concerts. The Paxiots support all the events enthusiastically, high attendances are normal and tourist participation is welcomed. Another fun memory of your time on Paxos.
One of the biggest events is the Paxos Music Festival, an annual and very popular summer occurrence. For more information on programs and dates please click on the link and consult: http://paxosfestival.org.uk
Paxos enjoys an enviable temperate climate, with predictably long dry summers and calm warm waters. A mild but at times wet climate during the winter months mean the island is lush and green in the months of April, May and June. An added attraction is the abundance of colourful flowers making early season a spectacular time to visit the island.
The months of July and August are long and hot with warm seas. In late September and October, although the days are a little shorter, the sea is still wonderfully warm, flowers and foliage begin to re-emerge and the weather can be glorious after the heat of earlier months.