THE GEM OF THE IONAN SEA
Myth says that Paxos had been created by the ancient greek god Poseidon (ruler of the seas), as he cut off the southern part of Corfu using his trident weapon, in order to have a peaceful resort for him and his love, the nereid Amphitriti.
Paxos name by itself refers to Pax, meaning PEACE.
Paxos is the smallest island of the Ionian Islands of Greece. Paxos itself is a complex of even smaller islands, of which the largest are, Paxos and Antipaxos. They have preserved their peaceful way of life through the later years, and are still an escape resort of the Mediterranean. For this reason, Paxos is known to be one of the 20 most beautiful islands in the world. It is a small island, which would be highly suggested to those who want to relax and enjoy nature. The islands landscape is covered with green, traditional villages, and numerous small beaches, rich with white pebbles. The wholesomeness and clarity of the seawater will without doubt impress. Paxos, only 7 miles by 3, can easily be explored by foot, bike, car or boat.
The East Coastline is enveloped in a silvery green cloak formed by the olive trees sloping gently to glistering blue waters. Numerous secluded coves and bays offer solitude of which some are only accessible by boat, the clarity of the sea make snorkeling an excellent pursuit for the more energetic. Tiny harbors with colorful fishing boats complemented by picturesque houses typify the coastline.
The West Coast has a dramatic array of the most stunning limestone cliffs dropping away to bleached white shingle bays, huge caves, blue grottoes and crystal waters of aquamarine, truly worth a visit by boat. Paxos surely must be a walkers paradise with it network of mule tracks and donkey paths breathtaking views and natural geological wonders.
The hue and aroma fill the air as you brush past the naturally formed country herb gardens. Spring particularly holds a wealth of flora and fauna, the fire flies appear as darkness falls twinkling like fairy lights. Dramatic views over Erimitris cliffs, stretches of pure blue Ionian Sea and beyond, the mountains of Epirus.
The island of Paxos is green with many olive trees (200.000 in total and plenty of really old ones), pine trees and fields with grapes that are used for making local wine. There are only a few farming and fishing villages. The olive trees that grow here in large numbers are still a major part of the island's economy.
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 capital of the Paxos island has about 800 inhabitants and is called Gaios Town. It is situated in a bay that is protected by two islets (Agios Nikolaos and Panagia). These two islets are covered with pine trees and shelter Gaios from the sea and the wind.
It is a charming little village with red-tiled houses, a square with a kafenion and a couple of shops, a bus station and a small pebble beach. In the harbor stands the green statue of Constantinos Canaris, a hero of the Greek resistance. Gaios Town has two ports: the old port is for the excursion boats and the caiques (traditional wooden boats) and the new port just outside the town is for the larger ferries. This is because the "canal" in between the island of Paxos and the islets in the bay is too narrow.
Gaios is the capital of Paxos and the largest resort on the island. It is still relatively small and quaint with Venetian architecture, a maze of side streets and a pedestrianised square on the seafront. Restaurants and snack bars are scattered throughout the town and surrounding olive groves of Gaios offering a high standard of local Greek cuisine, traditionally made pizza, pasta and souvlaki are readily available. Local amenities include a post office, banks, chemist, doctors surgery, gift shops, gymnasium, jewelry and handmade craft shops as well as the essential supermarkets, bakeries and butcher. Gaios hosts the only night club on the island and its range of waterfront bars is extensive from a quiet traditional café bar to livelier bars playing a variety of music.
OZIAS PORT AND MONGONISSI BAY
Mongonissi, 5 kms south of Gaios, is connected to the island of Paxos by a small causeway and provides a naturally beautiful and very sheltered inlet for visiting yachts on Ionian island sailing holidays. With a welcoming taverna right on the white sandy beach and crystal clear waters ideal for snorkeling Mongonisi island has a friendly and laid back atmosphere. With plenty of space to moor in the harbour free of charge or anchored in the sheltered bay opposite the beach the island makes for a great overnight stay.
The village of Loggos lies on the northeast coast of Paxos in between Lakki and Gaios. The distance to the main town is about 4 km. Loggos with its 200 inhabitants, is slightly smaller than Lakki, but you will still find a number of supermarkets and a bakery here. This fishing village has a cozy and colorful harbor with a number of dining options. Both north and south of Loggos are several beautiful beaches. Like Lakka the village of Loggos is also served by regular busses.
Loggos is the smallest resort, a picture perfect postcard fishing village with beautiful beaches on the coastline either side of the harbour. Marmaris beach is shaded in parts by overhanging olive trees, then Kipos and Kipiadi with crystal clear waters further round and currently only accessible by foot or boat. Monodendri is a wide stretch of beach between Loggos and Lakka and has windsurfing and canoes with a beach taverna and is accessible by car followed by a steep walk down to the beach. This village has probably the highest standard of cuisine on the island with a sprinkling of seafront tavernas, here you can sample local delicacies from stuffed tomatoes to fresh lobster! Exquisite bars offering you strawberry daiquiris, homemade tiramisu or just a great ouzo with surroundings you will never forget. In the evening Loggos is lit with fairy lights reflecting on the water around the harbour, and a blanket of stars above. Local amenities are limited but include a bakery, three supermarkets a tourist office for money exchange, small gift shop selling postcards, stamps and cigarettes, a jewellery shop and the most beautiful craft shop owned by Sarah who designs and makes jewellry, cards and sells a wonderful range of gifts.
Lakka is the second largest village on the island and has about 400 inhabitants. It's in the north of the island in a beautiful and sheltered horseshoe shaped bay which is surrounded by pine trees. Here it is very safe to swim in the sea. Around Lakka there are many olive trees and cypresses. In the harbor of the village lie fishing boats and yachts and there is plenty of choice in outdoor cafes, restaurants and taverns. There are also a few supermarkets and a bakery. In and around Lakka are many beautiful beaches. Lakka is about 8 km away from the main town Gaios and is easily reached by taxi or bus.
Lakka is on the north tip surrounding a large harbour where flotillas and gin palaces can be seen mooring. It has two main beaches with a beach taverna and other beaches are accessible by foot over to the west coast. Here there are two squares, the first you come to on arriving in Lakka where all the locals congregate in the cafeneon for an ouzo or Greek coffee and catch up on the local gossip. There are also restaurants offering local and Mediterranean cuisine, then a walk through the narrow side streets leads to the waterfront and a larger square also housing tavernas and bars. Local amenities include tourist offices for money exchange, a bakery, butcher, beautiful craft shops and mouthwatering cake shops! For those of you interested in water sports water skiing and scuba diving are available with qualified instructors.
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.
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.
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.
Kaltsonisi: is a tiny, round island 50 m east of Mongonisi. On the waters edge there's the small St. Spiridon church (1686)
Antipaxos: 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 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.
Most of the beaches are made up of white pebbles and the wonderfully clear water is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Very few have sunbeds or umbrellas but rely instead on the natural shade provided by the olive trees that in places come almost down to the water’s edge. Most can be reached on foot and some can be reached by road but many are best discovered by boat. Indeed, much of the fun of a holiday on Paxos lies in exploring the coastline in a small motorboat with a picnic lunch, looking for a beach on which to spend the day.
The beaches of Paxos are mostly pebble or a mixture of pebbles and sand. On the more sheltered east coast there are about 30 beaches, varying in size, all best accessed by boat though a few can be reached by road and most of them on foot.
Kaki Langada .
This beach is north of Gaios and is sheltered with pebbles. There is a cantina on the beach during the high season.
A fine shingle beach about five minutes walk south of Loggos and one of the busiest beaches on Paxos in the high season.. It has a very popular taverna with a wide selection of food on offer.
Kipos And Marmari
The beaches of Kipos and Marmari are near to Loggos. Beautiful small coves in a pretty bay with welcome shade from the olive trees that grow right down to the shoreline. Only accessible by walking or by boat.
Pounda And Kipiadi
Further south from Loggos can be found the beach of Pounda, down a small track from the main road. This track also branches south to the long, pebble beach of Kipiadi. This is a favourite anchorage for yachts
Harami And Kanoni
Harama and Kanoni are two lovely beaches inside the bay of Lakka. Beautiful clear waters with a sandy bottom, gently shelving, so very popular with families. HAbove the shoreline are bright pebbles - bleached white by the sunlight. The beaches here are perfect for swimming - especially those with young families as the protected bay of Lakka ensures that is does not become rough at anytime.
Monodendri And Glyfada
The most popular beach along the stretch of coast from Lakka south to Loggos is Monodendri. (the name means single tree). It has several facilities. Glyfada is further south but as this can only be reached along a steep footpath from the south, it is rarely visited. Water sports are available at Monodendri Beach
Mongonissi Beach is a sandy beach which is situated in the south of the island. It is artificial in such away that the place where the beach is was created by blowing a hole in the cliffs and filling it up with sand. Mongonissi is situated 5 kilometer south of Gaios. It used to be an islet, but it is now connected with the island of Paxos. The water is shallow and the beach of Mongonissi is situated in a protected bay, so it is very child friendly. There are trees on the beach for shade and there is a taverne where you can get a drink and something to eat. The bay of Mongonissi is one of the safest anchorages in the area and so there is also a mooring for yachts. Around Mongonissi Beach there are more pebble beaches and coves.
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.