Where is Paxos?
Paxos belongs to the Ionian island group and lies below Corfu and above Lefkada. Together with the uninhabited island of Antipaxos, it is sometimes commonly referred to as Paxi. Although small, Paxos has majestic appearance maybe due to the Venetian-influenced architecture of the Ionian sea, or because of the luxury yachts moored at the promenade of Gaios, the main village.
How to reach Paxos?
Paxos has no airport, the closest is on the neighbor island of Corfu. It can be reached via regular ferry connections from the mainland town of Igoumenitsa (both for cars and passengers), or from Corfu (passengers only). The journey from Igoumenitsa lasts about 2 hours. Another way to visit Paxos is by a daily boat trip from Parga and Syvota.
Where to stay in Paxos?
Gaios is the main village and port of Paxos, followed by the north village of Lakka. Both are good to stay at as they have plenty of eating options and nice promenades where you can wander in the evenings. Longos is a small fishing harbor which also has accommodation options but it is much quieter. Populated inland villages are Magazia, Bogdanatika and Ozias, where you can have quiet stay but you will definitely need a car to drive around.
Looking at Paxos map you will notice many other names marked as villages, all ending in "tika" like Aronatika and Manatika but they are not real settlements. Some of them consist only of a few ruined houses along the road, or a few renovated old houses, or nothing at all. Namely some of the renovated old houses are turned into luxury villas and cottages to rent, guaranteeing privacy and isolation, yet only minutes drive from the lively Gaios or Lakka.
Which are the best beaches of Paxos?
If you are fans of soft sandy beaches, beach bars and water sports you will be disappointed because none of these is presented. All beaches of Paxos have small or big pebbles and boulders, excluding Mongonisi islet which has a miniature sandy spot. As a compensation, the water is blue and transparent and there is no chance of crowds.
Kipiadi and Orkos are the most scenic beaches of the island, along with the quaint Erimitis where you must go for the sunset. The east coast is dotted with isolated tiny coves between the settlements, some of them visible from the road and easily accessible via short paths, like Defteri, Plakes and Stafioucha. There are a few small beaches in the seaside villages as well - the beach of Gaios is called Gianna, Lakka has Kanoni and Harami, and next to Longos is Levrechio but they tend to have more visitors because of the easy access on foot. Sunbeds and parasols to rent are available only at Monodendri, Kamini and Mongonisi.
Speaking honestly, the best beaches of Paxos are on Antipaxos and you can reach them in 10 min by water taxi from Gaios.
Which are the best things to see and do in Paxos?
♦ The scenic villages of Gaios, Lakka and Longos
♦ Antipaxos - the small unpopulated neighbor of Paxos with its vivid blue water
♦ Daily boat trip around the Blue Caves and the island - most boats depart from Gaios but there are options from Longos and Lakka as well
♦ Erimitis, a beach which appeared after landslide in 2007 and the scattered rocks pieces are still there
♦ Tripitos, also called Kamara - a huge natural sea rock arch. It can be seen during the boat trip around Paxos but you can also visit it on foot
♦ Mongonisi island - the southernmost part of Paxos is in fact an islet but it is connected to Paxos via short causeway and there you can find a miniature sandy beach with shallow water and a beach taverna.
♦ Boat ride to the islets of Agios Nikolaos and Panagia, located in the middle of Gaios harbor. They are so close to the promenade that the journey takes only a few minutes. On the top of Agios Nikolaos you can see the ruins of ancient fortress.
♦ The old stone cisterns near Magazia
What to eat in Paxos?
The local cuisine of Paxos is very much similar to those of Corfu, its specialties being stifado (veal cooked with wine and garlic) and bourdeto (fish with tomato sauce and peppers). Dishes like pastitsio and moussaka also have a slight difference in taste, due to the local herbs they put inside.
Our personal experience
We spent one day on a boat trip to the Blue Caves and Antipaxos and we did not regret it. We had the chance to swim inside some of the caves and to take a glimpse of Erimitis landslide from the sea. Antipaxos is a must, the sea has such unique color that it looks unreal. But our most memorable experience on Paxos was the walk to Tripitos arch on foot.
We need to admit here that we took the wrong direction a couple of times after we left the car but there were no signs (in our gallery of Tripitos you can see the correct route). The navigation insisted us to pass through roads closed by private residence. Finally we managed to get to the arch and its surroundings and it was spectacular: we could see the entire Antipaxos in the distance, and right next to the arch we noticed another weird rock formation - something that looked like giant flippers plunged into the sea. Tripitos itself was very imposing and a bit frightening. At first sight it looked very narrow in the part above the sea but when we carefully approached it, we could see it was terraced at the back and it was wide enough to walk on the top of it (yet attention is required). Some of the boat trips pass very close by Tripitos and even stop for a swim but the feeling to see it from the land is different and much more thrilling.