A first timer's guide to enchanting Paxos, Greece

Paxos is the smallest of Greece's Ionian islands, and certainly one of the most charming. It's only seven miles from its big and busier neighbour Corfu, and easily reached by ferry. Once you step off the boat at the capital, Gaios, you leave the bustle of Corfu behind and slip into a totally relaxed way of life. If you're looking for a chilled-out holiday in Greece, this is the place.

A first timer's guide to Paxos, Greece © Sean Perry - Flickr Creative Commons
A first timer's guide to Paxos, Greece © Sean Perry - Flickr Creative Commons

A first timer's guide to Paxos, Greece: where to stay, eat, swim & more

From dreamy sunset spots to finding the freshest seafood and our pick of the best beaches, read on to discover more about enchanting Paxos and all it has to offer.

Stay

Most of the accommodation on Paxos is self-catering, with everything from simple apartments to sumptuous villas with infinity pools. If you want someone else to do the cooking however, then check into the island's first hotel, Paxos Beach Hotel, for some serious pampering. Here you can choose between an outdoor pool and a private beach.

Paxos Beach Hotel - photo courtesy of www.paxosbeachhotel.gr
Paxos Beach Hotel - photo courtesy of www.paxosbeachhotel.gr

Each of the three main villages on the island offers something different - and all very appealing. In the north, Lakka is in a horseshoe bay, which makes it a popular stop for flotilla holidaymakers. Smaller and quieter Loggos is a bit further south along the east coast, a pretty little place surrounded by pine and olive groves. The capital and largest village is Gaios, which, in comparison with laid-back Lakka and Loggos, positively buzzes. But even here, the pace is a wonderfully slow one. This isn't the place to be in a hurry.

Swim

Paxos might be small - six miles by two and a half - but it has more than 30 beaches tucked into its rugged coast. Almost all are pebbly, with incredibly clear water that makes snorkelling a joy. Stick to the eastern side, as the west coast is much wilder and more rugged - almost all of its beaches are accessible only by boat.

The swimming pool at Monodendri Beach, Paxos © Smoobs - Flickr Creative Commons
The swimming pool at Monodendri Beach, Paxos © Smoobs - Flickr Creative Commons

Strap on your swimming shoes to make easy work of the pebbles. At Harami Beach in Lakka in the north, the pebbles swiftly give way to smooth sand, and you've got the shade of olive trees to keep you cool. There's plenty of room along Monodendri Beach between Lakka and Loggos. Two tavernas - one with a pool - offer sunloungers and full facilities including free paddleboards.

If it's sand you're after, head down towards the southern end of the island to Mongonissi, a man-made sandy beach tucked into a sheltered bay. Families love the gently shelving sand, and the beachfront taverna has a huge terrace where they have entertaining displays of Greek dancing every week.

Eat and drink

Cosy tavernas in tree-shaded squares, waterfront restaurants with the sea at your feet, cute little cafés tucked into narrow alleys - all are atmospheric places to linger over meals and cocktails. Grab a terrace table at O Diogenis in Lakka, a friendly, family-run taverna serving excellent and cheap Greek classics. Take in the gorgeous views from the outdoor tables at Taverna Pratigos in Loggos while you tuck into fresh seafood. In Gaios, drink in the views of the harbour from the waterside terrace of perennial favourite Pan and Theo's.

Paxos sunset © Katchoo - Flickr Creative Commons
Paxos sunset © Katchoo - Flickr Creative Commons

Catch the sunset

In the mood for a sophisticated sundowner in a classy restaurant against the dramatic backdrop of limestone cliffs? Head to Erimitis on the west coast, where you can watch the sky turn a fiery red from Erimitis Restaurant's terrace. If you want something a bit more rustic, take a hike along a rocky path down to secluded Plani Beach near Lakka, one of the most romantic spots on the island as the sun goes down.

Getting around

Whizz around on two wheels or mess about in boats - they're the two top choices for getting around Paxos. Scooter hire is cheap and easy to arrange from bike shops in Gaios, and they're a fun way to get about the island and explore some of the further-flung beaches. To get to the more out-of-the-way beaches, though, your best bet is by boat, which you can hire from all three villages in Paxos. Just drop anchor and dive in.

Beachfront taverna, Vrika Beach, Antipaxos © Carolina Georgatou - Flickr Creative Commons
Beachfront taverna, Vrika Beach, Antipaxos © Carolina Georgatou - Flickr Creative Commons

Sail to Antipaxos

For a change of scenery, hop on a boat for a day trip to Paxos' even tinier neighbour, Antipaxos. Here the beaches are pure soft sand, and they make a change from the pebbles and rocks of Paxos. Stop for lunch in one of the beachfront tavernas and enjoy the wine made by some of the 150 people who live on the island and cultivate its vineyards.

Tempted to try Paxos, Greece, for your next holiday? Visit our dedicated Paxos holidays page for the latest offers from the likes of Olympic Holidays, Thomson, and James Villas, or check our selection of holiday discount codes and online deals. Don't forget to check out our weather guide to Paxos, or use our interactive tool to compare the weather with another destination.

Mary Novakovich

Mary Novakovich
Posted on Thursday 26th May 2016 in: Europe Nature Summer

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