What to see in Paxos – Main attractions
The island of Paxos is located south of the island of Corfu and is one of the smallest and most beautiful islands in the Ionian Sea.
According to mythology, Paxos, as well as all the small islands around it, was created when Poseidon, god of the sea and earthquakes, cut with his trident, a small piece of land from Corfu to create a cozy and comfortable place for himself. and for his beloved Amphitrite.
What to see in Paxos: traces of history
The island of Paxos has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is believed that the first inhabitants were the Phoenicians. In 31 B.C. C. this small island was the refuge of Antonio and Cleopatra before the battle of Azio. In the II century a. C. the Romans invaded Corfu and then Paxos, which later became part of the Byzantine Empire for seven hundred years. In the 13th century, Paxos was conquered by the Romans who ruled the island for 400 years. In 1797 the Venetians gave the island to France and Napoleon Bonaparte took control of it. Later, the island fell under the Russo-Turkish fleet which declared Paxos part of the State of the Seven Islands.
In 1814, the island of Paxos fell under British rule following the Treaty of Paris. In 1821, the island's inhabitants took part in the Greek War of Independence, but it was not until 1864 that Paxos joined Greece.
The island of Paxos is characterized by houses generally developed on two floors, with tiled roofs, elegant balconies typical of Gothic architecture, and are painted in soft, bright colors. There are also some old villas hidden between olive groves and the rookeries. Some of them are made of stone and maintain their own water tanks. Agriculture is an important part of the economy of the island of Paxos, along with tourism and fishing. One of the island's main products is olive oil, introduced by the Venetians and produced since medieval times. Excellent wine is also produced on the island.
The small island of Paxos can be easily visited on foot. Buses connect Gaios, the island's main port and town, with the ports and towns of Loggos and Lakka to the north. Another important means of transport is the motor boat: there are many fantastic beaches and bays that can only be reached by this means.
Paxos has become a very popular destination, just like the other Ionian islands. Luckily and due to its geographical position it is not affected by large mass tourism, as has happened in other places. Mainly because the nearest airport is on the island of Corfu and to get to Paxos from Corfu you have to take a boat. The journey is short but enough for many to "pass Paxos". The result? The island of Paxos has been able to maintain its character and charm.
What to see in Paxos: its three towns
Paxos is a small island, measuring only 11 km long and 5 km wide. And as a result, it has only a few villages. Gaios is the capital of the island and is named after the apostle Gaios, who preached during the first years after the death of Christ. Gaios is a natural port surrounded by an expanse of olive trees and about 500 inhabitants live almost all thanks to tourism. The town itself is pretty with several 19th century buildings around the typical narrow streets. The atmosphere is still that of the past, even if today many Italians and English arrive here, with yachts from all over the world in the port.
Behind the port of Gaios there are two very interesting islets, Panagia and Ai Nikolaos. In the first there is an old Orthodox monastery that opens every year on the day of the Assumption of the Virgin; it is possible to visit its silent rooms full of incense, decorated with splendid Byzantine-style frescoes. While in the second are the churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint John and the ruins of an imposing 14th century Venetian fortress, which for two centuries has defended the port from Ottoman pirates.
It is worth taking the time to stroll through the narrow streets that stretch from the pier and into the heart of the city with its blue and white houses in the typical Greek style as well as its churches. The classic example of these religious buildings is the Church of the Holy Apostle, which hides some of the oldest and most valuable frescoes on all the Ionian islands.
Despite its small size, Gaios is also home to three small museums: the Folk Museum, which contains a wide variety of objects of daily use, clothing and traditional instruments related to fishing that allow a better understanding of the life of the inhabitants of Paxos; the Paxos History Museum, which displays some of the island's archeological finds from ancient Greece to Ottoman rule; and finally the Museum of the mill, an exhibition dedicated to the main economic activity of the island, the cultivation of the olive tree and the production of oil.
In Paxos you can get around using public transport, by car or by bicycle, which, given the small size of the island, is the best way to reach the most beautiful places. The main road of the island runs from one end to the other in a north-east to south-east direction and is the most convenient route to reach the tourist centers of Lakka and Longos.
Lakka is located 7 km north of Gaios and has arisen between two promontories that create an almost circular bay. The town is also protected by a hill covered with olive trees that protect it from the strong wind, giving it a very suggestive atmosphere and making the port a safe haven. They can arrive by boat or with the bus service that connects the capital with the town.
The center of the town houses several Venetian-style buildings and in its center the overcrowding in high season can be a bit excessive. Here, in fact, there are also several clubs that are open until late at night and their restaurants are always full: also because it is said that Greek and Italian cuisine merge here with excellent results. To sleep, the advice is to choose accommodation far from the heart of the town and the port, perhaps looking for a room in one of the many isolated houses among the olive groves.
The town of Loggos, is the smallest of the three. The heart of the town is the port where there are good taverns where you can dine. There are no discos and therefore this is the favorite destination for families with children and those looking for a relaxing and quiet environment. The beaches around Loggos offer clean water and safe sea beds, and are the ones that attract many tourists, although not far away there are also paths that are highly appreciated by those who love to walk. Loggos is also home to the International Music Festival, an event featuring classical music held every year from late August to early September. The Spring Music Festival is another important occasion for the island - it hosts famous Greek artists and usually takes place in May.
Excursions from Corfu to visit Paxos and Antipaxos
If you want to visit Paxos in a day from Corfu, here you will find the best excursions!
Visit Antipaxos from Paxos
If Paxos is small, its little sister Antipaxos is minuscule: it is only a kilometer and a half away, and can be reached with the boats that leave from the port of Gaios, covering an area of only five square kilometers. The island is worth a visit for its natural beauties, it is quite uninhabited and you will find only a few taverns and two beautiful beaches. The small island of Antipaxos has a small port called Agrapidia, from which begins a dense network of narrow paths that reach the interior of the island. The islet is in fact covered by vineyards that produce a rich red wine. Then there are the two beaches: Voutoumi and Vrika, which are located at the northern end, with blue water and space for less experienced swimmers. To the south of these two beaches, there are some small and beautiful secluded coves. If you want to linger until the end of the day, climb the 152 steps to the Bella Vista Tavern for stunning views and fresh local specialties. Looking into the distance, there are those who claim to have seen the god Poseidon with his beautiful lover.
Best Beaches to visit in Paxos
Paxos is the ideal destination for those who love to dive into transparent waters. In particular, along the east coast, there are numerous bays that are easily accessible for everyone, including children, while the west coast offers spectacular cliffs and bays that are difficult to access. Among the most beautiful beaches in Paxos are Harami and Kanoni, which are located on the north coast near Lakka - reached by boat or a short walk and the waters are as turquoise as dreams. There is also a tavern for an aperitif by the sea. Orkos can also be reached with a 10-minute walk after having parked the car: what it offers is a bay with transparent blue waters in an environment of white rocks.
If you are looking for a more worldly and equipped beach, you can go to Monodendri, on the east coast, about 1 km north of Loggos. It's one of the biggest, with water sports attractions and a couple of taverns.
Levrechio, just south of Loggos, looks like a small beach with deep water, perfect for those who love swimming. Nearby Marmari and Kipos are two beautiful, much quieter bays. Finally, after Kaki Lagada, on the east coast 1 km north of Gaios, a beach with shallow water loved by those who stay in Gaios: Mongonissi, the only sandy beach on Paxos and therefore popular with families, thanks to the presence of numerous structures, including umbrellas with chairs and a tavern.
When to visit Paxos? In spring!
The island of Paxos is obviously a great destination for the summer, but not only: in the spring there are many hikers who visit the island for long walks through the olive groves. During the spring the abundant flowers fill the island with colors and essences. Paxos has a very rich bird presence and enthusiasts know they can count on sure sightings of local species, including birds of prey. The months of May and June offer the spectacle of olive trees illuminated by fireflies and there are also many species of butterflies, while in the sea it is easy to see dolphins playing behind the boats.
Where to stay on Paxos? Best hotels and apartments
How to get to Paxos
To get to Paxos, the easiest way is to get to Corfu (by plane or boat) and from there continue by ferry to Gaios. The ride takes about an hour or so. The distance from the airport to the port of Corfu is short: only a few kilometers. The only alternative are the connections with Igoumenitsa and Parga, the latter only in the summer. From Igoumenitsa there are also a couple of trips a day for car transport.
More about Paxos and other Greek destinations
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