Paxos Island: Tips to Plan Your Visit to Paxos Greece
I had always wanted to visit Paxos Island, also known as Paxi, a tiny hideaway island a few nautical miles off the south of Corfu Known as the romantic hideaway of the god Poseidon, it’s the smallest of the Ionian islands. As I was planning a trip to Corfu, I decided this was a good opportunity to spend a few days exploring Paxos Island.
Find a Hotel in Paxos CLOSE to Town
I booked a pension online that on the map showed it to be close to the main town of Gaios. The pension hostess met me at the ferry and drove me to her pleasant home on a hillside above the port.
Unfortunately, once I got there, I realized I was nowhere near the town but in a rather isolated rural area. I arrived early morning with nothing but my suitcase and I needed to find somewhere to eat. So I walked down the long hillside to port only to find that there was no taverna there, just a stand offering sandwiches, pop or beer.
Then, when I wanted to return to the pension and called a taxi, I was told there were only four taxis on the island, and all of them were busy. What to do? It was a long walk back up the hill for an elder like me. I phoned the hostess and explained my plight. Thankfully, she drove down to get me. Lesson number one: When visiting this island, make sure you book a hotel near the town or have your own transportation.
The next morning the kind hostess brought me a tray of breakfast. Lesson number two: take along some snacks and drinks just in case there’s no store nearby. But do try the local food, as Paxos Island is a dream destination for Foodies! I explained my plight – that I had come to explore the island and not anticipated that I’d be in such a remote place with no transportation of my own. She kindly offered to give me a lift into town.
Gaios – Paxos Island
Gaios is the capital of Paxos and an attractive port that is worth exploring. It’s set in a fjord-like cove protected by two islets, Panagia and Agios Nikolaos. According to legend, the town took its name from a student of Saint Paul who taught the Paxiots Christianity. The islet of Panagia is dominated by a monastery, and the other islet has a Venetian castle dating back to 1423.
I enjoyed a walk around the streets of Paxi, admiring the traditional Ionian architecture. Neoclassical mansions painted pink, sky-blue, and ochre line the harbor front, a picturesque sight that reflects in the water along with the lush green foliage that surrounds the town. I visited the old Church of the Agoi Apostoloi and the Museum of Paxi which had exhibits of the island’s history. The harbor walk eventually leads to the ferry port, but instead, I went back to a café near the waterfront and enjoyed an iced frappe while trying to decide how I was going to get back to my lodgings.
Beaches on Paxos Island
There are a number of good beaches on Paxi but you need transportation to reach most of them. A caique takes you over to visit the small islets off Gaios’ port and there is a bus service to other parts of the island. I had been told that the town of Lakka was worth a visit and a short bus trip from the port so I decided to catch a bus and go sightseeing.
The eight-kilometer journey went through tangled olive groves and dusty farm homes until it arrived at Lakka, a pleasant little village built around an aquamarine bay surrounded by lush vegetation. The town has picturesque tavernas and an old Byzantine church dating from 1600.
I explored the narrow streets and made my way to the nearest stony beach where people were sunbathing or swimming off the rocks. There are other beaches near Lakka where you can swim and Lakka also has a sailing club that offers water sports. And if you are looking for a special treat, take a look at this hotel. The Torri e Merli Hotel looks like a dream, doesn’t it?
Loggos – Another Cute Beachtown
Another town worth visiting if I’d had time, is Loggos where there are two beautiful beaches and excursions by boat. The second largest settlement on the island is Ozias where there’s a small bridge over the islet of Mogonisis. Unfortunately, I’d only planned a three-day stay on the island. Here is more info on Loggos, if you decide to go.
When I got back to Gaios, I phoned two taxis and both were busy. Just when I was in a panic wondering how I’d walk the long trek back to my pension, my hostess and her husband drove up to the bus stop. They’d been in town shopping and stopped to give me a lift back up the hill.
Thanks to the generosity of my hostess my visit to Paxi wasn’t a total disaster. I learned something important: to always check the location of where you will be staying and make certain there are things nearby such as tavernas or mini-markets. And if you don’t plan to rent a car, be sure there is local transportation such as buses or taxis available. Otherwise, like me, you might find yourself stuck in an isolated area, unable to explore and enjoy your surroundings.
Written by and photos by W. Ruth Kozak for EuropeUpClose.com. She also wrote the following books about Greece and Greek History:
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Friday 9th of March 2018
AHh I've always wanted to visit Paxos! I'm thinking I'll be making it back to Greece this summer though, so maybe this is my year! :-)