Paxos – Overview

Not a lot happens on the tiny island of Paxos, and that’s just the way its 2,300 inhabitants like it. There’s no airport, one petrol station, and only one sandy beach (there are another two on the nearby island of Anti-Paxos, which also produces excellent wine). But there are plenty of facilities for smart yachts and motor cruisers, and tucked away among the gnarled old olive groves and cypress trees are some of the most expensive holiday villas in all of Greece.

Paxos is easy to love. Its west coast is dominated by dramatic white cliffs scalloped at sea level with tantalising 'blue caves'. The east coast is gentler and where you’ll find the island’s capital, a pretty harbour town called Gaios, strung out around a horseshoe bay. If you’re here at 7am, you can buy fish fresh off the island’s little fishing boats. 

It’s an island of simple pleasures: feast on local yogurt, honey and sweet peaches; pick your way along an ancient goat track to a secluded pebble beach; have dinner under clear, starry skies. Legend has it that Paxos was created by the Greek god Poseidon who chipped a piece off the neighbouring island of Corfu with his trident. The chip then became his island love nest.  A god of excellent taste, clearly.

Learn more about the island of Paxos or read about our chartered British Airways flights.

FLY TO

Corfu International Airport (CFU)

FLIGHT TIME FROM UK

3 hours 15 minutes

TIME DIFFERENCE

+2 hours

CURRENCY

Euro

Paxos – Location & Map

   

Paxos – Villas

   

The Cliff House

  • Paxos, 4 bedrooms/sleeps 8
  • Well designed property with great views
  • Stunning setting 
  • Wifi and air-conditioned

Kipos House

  • Paxos, 6 bedrooms/sleeps 8-10
  • Family villa with beautiful terrace views
  • Beach a short walk away
  • Wifi and air-conditioned
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Paxos – Regions

Corfu

With a dramatically mountainous interior and a generous coastline dotted with picturesque coves, sandy beaches and rocky inlets, Corfu has much to offer the discerning holidaymaker. Choose from pretty cottages that sit close to the water’s edge, spacious character homes and exclusive hillside residences overlooking tranquil bays.

Crete

Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands is a romantic one, retaining much of its character with stunning archaeological sites and medieval harbour towns. The Island can offer quiet relaxed experiences or a busy lively break. Explore the rocky landscape, unwind on golden shores lapped by azure waters or linger over a bottle of fine wine in a number of chic cafés.

Meganissi

Lying just off the coast of Lefkada, this petite and pristine island is characterised by countless hidden inlets, white pebble beaches and the clearest turquoise sea. Meganissi is wonderfully unspoilt with just a handful of tiny villages and a wild, forested interior.

Sivota

Sivota sits prettily in its own natural harbour across the sea from Corfu and Paxos. There are two, pristine sand-and-pebble beaches within a short walk of the harbour, and many more to explore on the tiny uninhabited islands just off shore. You can happily potter from one small island to another in your own motor boat or take a leisurely drive down the glorious Epiros coastline, with its picturesque harbours, hidden coves and long sandy beaches. 

Paxos – Our Guide

Tiny Paxos is just 8km long by 3km wide, covered in ancient olive groves and surrounded by sheer cliffs and dazzling, white-pebble beaches. With no airport there is no mass tourism, just a series of idyllic coves and postcard-perfect ports sheltering unexpectedly chic shops and restaurants. Three small villages have grown up around the natural harbours at Gaios, Loggos and Lakka. Part working fishing port, part yachting honey pot, each has its own individual charm, authentically Greek yet with just enough facilities for a really relaxing break.

Paxos lies off the south of Corfu and to the east of the Epirus coast of the Greek mainland. The island is served by various vehicle and passenger ferries and a fast hydrofoil service in the summer months.

Paxos – History & Culture

Venetian influences can still be spotted
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According to legend, the island of Paxos was created by Poseidon, who sliced off the southern tip of Corfu in order to make a private island retreat for himself and his wife Amphitri. Paxos may have been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the Phoenicians are generally believed to have been the first settlers here.

There followed a long saga of invasion and settlement, as various empires, naval powers and rogue pirates seized upon the strategic location and wonderful natural harbours that Paxos affords. At the start of the 13th C, a Byzantine-Venetian alliance saw the occupying Norman forces evicted, and a 400-year Ventian occupation began. 

 

Traces of the Venetians are still in evidence today. It was they, for instance, who first planted olives here, spawning an industry that remained the island’s primary source of revenue until it found its own small and distinguished place in the Greek Islands tourist boom of the 1980s.

After an unsuccessful invasion attempt by the Ottoman Empire, Paxos and Corfu fell to the French under Bonaparte in 1789. When Bonaparte abdicated in 1812, the great European powers of day decreed that the administration of the Ionian Islands – including Paxos – should pass to Great Britain. This regime lasted until 1864, when the islands became part of the Kingdom of Greece.

Natural harbours attracted pirates
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Paxos – Climate

The sea remains warm into October
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Paxos enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and mild wet winters. The islands are generally a few degrees cooler than the rest of Greece, with noticeably higher rainfall apart from the summer, which is reliably dry. Spring runs from March to mid May, with daytime highs rising to 19˚C, feeling much cooler at night. By late May you can expect up to 9 hours of sunshine a day and temperatures into the 20s.   

 

From June till September, the days are long and hot, with temperatures peaking around 31˚C in July. Temperatures remain in the 20s well into October, when the sea is still warm enough to swim in although there may be some rain showers. The higher annual rainfall gives the Ionian Islands their distinctive lush landscapes in contrast to the more barren countryside elsewhere in Greece.

Temperatures peak in July
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Paxos – Activities

Enjoy a slower pace with boat hire
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A holiday in Paxos is more about being than doing, making it the ideal place to switch off from the world and reconnect with friends and family. The pace of life is supremely relaxing, imbued with a gentle natural rhythm orchestrated by simple daily events such as the arrival of the morning’s catch. The key visitor pastime on Paxos is messing about on boats. Hire a little outboard motor boat and you can explore the many secret inlets and coves around the coast or putter over to Anti-Paxos, with its white sand and clear waters.    

 

This famously clear water is ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving, and there are a couple of diving schools operating from the ‘capital’ Gaios. Walking is another great pleasure here as the entire island is criss-crossed by footpaths, and cars are outnumbered by goats. If you happen to be on Paxos in May, take a stroll through the olive groves in the early evening and you are almost guaranteed to see 1000s of tiny sparking fireflies (fotini) lighting up the inky night.

Take a stroll along the coast
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Paxos – Feasts & Festivals

Easter is celebrated across Greece with feasts
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Even a tiny island such as Paxos likes to party, and the key Greek holidays and saints’ days are marked here just as they are all over the country.

The 1st of May is Labour Day, a public holiday generally celebrated on Paxos with a flower festival. On 21 May, the Ionian Islands commemorate their official unification with Greece which took place in 1864, while 28 October is ‘Ochi’ Day (‘No’ Day), celebrating the Greek refusal of Italian occupation during World War II.       

 

Greek Easter is a big, family orientated event marked by processions and feasting. 15 August is the Feast of the Virgin Mary, a major celebration held on Panayia Island by Gaios harbour.

The big cultural event on the Paxos calendar is the week-long music festival held annually at the end of August/early September. The festival features Greek, British and other international artists playing mainly classical music. The programme is based in Loggos, and includes workshops and opportunities to meet the performers as well as concerts.

A flower festival marks Labour Day
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Paxos – Food & Drink

Olive oil and feta are a local staple
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Local olive oil is a vital staple of Paxiot dishes. Other classic ingredients are feta cheese, which varies depending on whether it comes from sheep, cow or goat milk, plus wild herbs. You might like to start your day with a sweet cake or pastry at your local zacharoplasteion; these indulgent cake shops also serve coffee and are often attached to a bakery. Fish tavernas always have a ‘personal’ fisherman (often the owner) who supplies the catch of the day.     

 

A psistaria is the place to try charcoal-grilled meat, served with a simple starter or salad. If it’s too hot for a full meal then you can order a mezze of snacks and starters at an ouzeri bar. And if you feel like a change from traditional Greek food after a few days, there are several good Italian restaurants, especially around Gaios which is very popular with the Italian yachting crowd in August.

Tavernas have their own fishing boats
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Paxos – For Families

Young children can spend hours on the beach
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The low-key, relaxed atmosphere of Paxos makes for peaceful holidays with a young family: overly rowdy nightlife is basically unheard of.

Once you’ve invested a few euros in cheap but essential jelly beach shoes, most young children can spend literally hours throwing pebbles into bright clear water, or for the very young, simply exploring the fascinating mix of shapes and textures on the beach. There is a beautiful sandy beach at Mogonisi with two good tavernas, or you can take the boat over to Anti Paxos.     

 

Renowned for its fine white sand and clear turquoise sea, there are still a few working fishing boats at each of the main harbours, and a freshly-caught octopus can be a pretty intriguing spectacle for the under 5s, especially if it then appears on the menu a few hours later.

Once evening falls, children are very welcome at all the island tavernas, and older ones can exercise a little independence exploring the virtually car-free village squares while you linger over coffee.

Paxos has white sands and clear waters 
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Paxos – For Couples

The village of Loggos winds down for the evening
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There is something very romantic about Poseidon’s ‘love nest’. For a true getaway, nothing beats having your own little motor boat which you are free to anchor where and when you chose for a secluded swim or a peaceful picnic. At the end of the day, watch the sky turn from blue to gold to blush pink from one of Paxos’ fabled sunset tavernas on the west coast, or pack a blanket and a bottle and take the steep path down to Emiritis beach, created by a landslide in 2008 and now one of the most magical spots on the island.

The villages of Loggos, Lakka and the capital Gaios all have their own character, plus a surprisingly wide choice of places to eat. Lakka sits at the head of a deep inlet, a magnet for luxury sail boats and the perfect spot for people-watching over an iced coffee or a cold beer. 

 

Peaceful and enchanting, the tiny fishing harbour of Loggos is an idyllic spot for a freshly-caught lunch just metres from the water’s edge.

Paxos has around 250,000 olive trees, and the Venetians reputedly rated Paxiot olive oil above all others in their sizeable empire. For top quality at local prices, you can buy olive oil direct from the producer in Gaios. The main town on the island, Gaios also has a little museum of local history, which makes for an interesting counterpoint to the influx of flashy yachts that jostle for space in the horse-shoe shaped harbour in high season. For an alternative island view, take one of the excellent walking maps of Paxos and head off into the olive groves for a taste of life that feels virtually unchanged since Venetian times.

Watch the sunset from a waterside taverna
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Paxos top properties