Looking for a magical place to relax and soak up endless sunshine? Then the enchanting Greek island of Paxos is for you! Just 13 kilometres long, this beautiful island has no airport and is reached by hydrofoil from Corfu. The breathtaking coastline is indented with glorious bays and coves, some of which can only be reached by boat. Inland, dreamy olive groves are spread over hills dotted with traditional villages. The pretty island capital of Gaios is a buzzy little harbour town, full of tavernas and boutiques. The other main towns are Loggos and Lakka, which are each blessed with charming ports and plenty of traditional places to eat, drink and relax. If you really want to get away from it all, head to tiny, rural Magazia, lost in a sea of olives.
Paxos does sheer relaxation like nowhere else. Exquisitely beautiful landscapes and coastline, enchanting towns and villages, and a host of picture-postcard beaches make for a blissful holiday. Browse the cobbled streets of Gaios, popping into the little shops and galleries. Sit on the seafront in Loggos or Lakka and soak up the heavenly views of azure seas, as you tuck into delicious Greek food. Rent a boat or take a tour to explore the secret bays and coves. Relax on the miniature beaches, soaking up the sunshine and the gentle pace of island life.
Tasty, healthy Greek cuisine is based on delicious fresh produce, and the island of Paxos is a wonderful place to tuck into local dishes. The king of them all is the famous Paxos fish stew, made with sea bream, prawns, wine and delicate spices. You’ll find it in restaurants across the island, but it’s best enjoyed on a harbour front, with the brilliant blue sea as a backdrop. A refreshing Greek salad of juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber and fresh local cheese is the perfect antidote to the summer heat. You’ll also find classic mezes such as tzatziki, as well as moussaka, stifado (a tasty beef stew), delicious little pies wrapped in filo pastry and, of course, plenty of wonderfully fresh seafood.
Sleepy little Paxos is ideal for a relaxed family holiday in the sun. There are no major attractions such as theme parks or water parks, but kids will enjoy messing about on the beaches and splashing about in the sea or in the hotel pool. While most of the beaches are pebbly (don’t forget to pack the beach shoes!), there are sandy stretches at Mogonissi and on the little island of Antipaxos, which has the added bonus of a boat trip (just 15 minutes) thrown in. Kids may enjoy a boat tour along the gorgeous coast, and teens might enjoy the opportunities for diving and snorkelling.
There is little in the way of adrenaline-fuelled action in Paxos, which is precisely the island’s charm. But, there is plenty for the adventure-seeker to do, whether you want to explore the underwater marvels on a diving trip, or explore the magnificent coastline by boat or on a paddle board. Sailing is the main water sport on Paxos, and there are lots of options for boat rental or for chartering yachts. You could also consider taking one of the fishing trips available. If you enjoy hiking, there are some beautiful treks across the island, many linking charming villages set amid olive groves. One of the most exhilarating (although not particularly demanding) hikes is to see the magnificent Tripitas Arch, part of a collapsed sea cave: the trail leaves from the village of Ozias.
Most of the beaches are found on the east coast of Paxos, while the west coast has rugged cliffs pocked with caves and little islets. The beaches are mainly pebble-strewn coves, but most boast at least a couple of tavernas and facilities for renting sun loungers and parasols. There is a manmade sandy beach at Mogonissi, on the southern tip of the island, which has lots of amenities and is particularly popular with families. You’ll find plenty of pretty, easily accessible bays near the main towns of Gaios, Loggos and Lakka, including the island’s largest beach of Mononendri (just north of Loggos). This has some facilities for water sports and a clutch of places to eat and drink. If you want to escape to the wilder shores of the west coast, head to Eremitis, stunningly set between high cliffs, and Avlaki, renowned for its fantastic diving. You could even take a boat trip to the even tinier island of Antipaxos, which boasts two heavenly stretches of white sand: Voutoumi and Vrika.
Nightlife on Paxos is relaxed and laid-back, centred mainly on romantic little bars and cafés clustered in the trio of larger towns. Gaios has the biggest concentration of bars, including some very stylish places where you can dress up and sip your cocktail in elegant surroundings. Loggos and Lakka are also pretty places to bar-hop, and each has plenty of places to enjoy the summer nights around the harbour. The atmospheric beach bars are a wonderful place to enjoy a quiet drink and enjoy the magnificent sun sets. The nightlife cranks up a few notches in July and August, but the rest of the year, you’ll find the island is perfectly peaceful.
If you want to relax with your partner somewhere beautiful and romantic, few places compare with Paxos. In fact, according to legend, the island was once the love nest of Poseidon and the sea nymph Amphitrite. The enticing little town of Gaios is a delight to explore on foot, perhaps enjoying a romantic dinner on the buzzy harbour front. If you enjoy walking, there are scores of beautiful treks across the inland hills, where you’ll find sleepy villages with perhaps a tavern or two where you can stop for lunch. If you just want to kick back and soak up the sun on the beach, you are spoilt for choice: there are more than 30 intimate little coves on the east coast alone. And a visit to Eremitis beach at sunset, where you can enjoy a cocktail as the sun slips over the horizon, is essential.
There are few museums or ancient monuments on Paxos, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the traditional island culture. There is a delightful little museum of folk culture in Gaios, which provides a fascinating insight into local history and culture. The town itself is a charming jumble of Venetian-style houses, painted in warm pinks and ochres. You can admire the elegant Church of the Apostles, which contains some fine frescoes, or visit the tiny islets in the bay to explore the remains of a 15th-century Venetian fortress (rebuilt in 1510 according to plans devised by Leonardo da Vinci) and a whitewashed monastery.