Paxos is one of those secrets that people can’t help sharing. On the one hand visitors to the island find it hard not to tell others about its peace, its natural beauty and its inhabitants’ laid-back approach to life; on the other hand it’s the relative lack of crowds which help preserve this as one of the most charming of all the Greek islands.
So if you’re planning a first trip to Paxos, what should you expect when you arrive? Here’s a short introduction.
Calling anything on Paxos a town is probably stretching things a little. Around half of the total population of around 2,500 are spread between Gaios, Loggos and Lakka, three settlements which barely constitute villages. Gaios is the busiest of the three, and its main square and church sit right on the waterfront. There’s more than a trace of Venetian architecture in the buildings beside the harbour, a legacy of the island’s importance in the Mediterranean trade routes of the 15th century. The modern port is away from the centre of Gaios, allowing the harbour to maintain a leisurely feel with its fishing boats and water taxis. It’s here that you’ll find a decent selection of bars and restaurants.
Loggos is a tiny village on the east of the island with around 30 old houses, a few tavernas and a bakery. It offers total relaxation and a taste of typical Greek village life, while the waterfront cafes allow you to sit back and watch the people (and the boats) go by. Loggos is set against a backdrop of silver birches and olive groves, as is Lakka, the small village at the northern tip of Paxos. Lakka is a favourite with painters and photographers who come to capture its horseshoe-shaped harbour and the turquoise colour in its bay.
Despite its small size Paxos boasts around 30 beaches. Most are more pebbly than sandy, with the most popular beach on the island, Monggonissi, being man-made and the only sandy beach on Paxos. Other favoured beaches on the island include Levrechio, just outside Loggos, and the run of small beaches which make up the bay around Lakka. For the best sandy beaches it’s only a small trip across to Antipaxos, which boasts the type of beach settings more commonly found in the Caribbean.
As on many Greek islands there’s a dense network of old tracks which linked the villages long before the days of the motor car, and they now make for great hiking paths. Nowhere is too far (you can easily cover the full length of the island in a day), and in the spring the wild flowers create a delightful, colourful addition to any walk. For company on a walk you could far worse than Socrates, a donkey who leads (or follows) along the old trails on guided walks from Fountana.
The most popular excursion (and a very easy one to arrange) is the short hop to Antipaxos to enjoy the deserted beaches and the almost unbroken tranquillity (there are no shops and only 3 tavernas). Water taxis shuttle between Gaios and Antipaxos.
See our website for our selection of villas in Paxos and Antipaxos.