Visit Paxos, it is worth the trouble

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Gaios, PaxosOn one of my first visits to Paxos, I found myself staying in a simple cottage that seemed to be incredibly remote and was surrounded by ancient olive groves. I arrived there at night, and as the taxi drew away the power, already flickering unsteadily, went off completely. Luckily I had a torch and picked my way out into the stone paved courtyard and sat on the wall. An owl hooted.

I looked up at the sky – what else was there to do? - and was stunned by the awe-inspiring sight of a sky free of light-pollution, where galaxies and unthinkably  distant planets and constellations blazed and  where shooting stars flared brightly on their journey to infinity. This was my first introduction to the magic of Paxos.

In the years to come I was to return many times, and would see some inevitable changes, but would also be relieved to observe the continued absence of what passes for progress elsewhere.

Lakka, PaxosMagical is a word that continues to be apt and not just tour operator-talk when applied to this small and incredibly beautiful island, about an hour’s journey south by hydrofoil from Corfu. The island is so small that its vital statistics can be dealt with in a short paragraph – created by the god Poseidon according to the myths as yet another love-nest for yet another nymph; nine kilometres long and three wide, home to over 60 ancient churches; 14kms south of Corfu; three main settlements, all with harbours, Gaios, Loggos and Lakka; tilted so that the east coast undulates gently from one beautiful beach to another while the west coast is the epitome of ‘rugged’.

It has never been easy to get there – no airport and ferries that change year by year but never seem to cut the journey time. For a brief and rather glamorous period it was possible to get there by sea-plane from Corfu, but this venture sadly failed. The visitor to Paxos requires almost as much patience and perseverance today as a Victorian traveller in times long gone, but it is this that has kept Paxos unspoilt.

Is it worth the trouble? Oh yes.

Loggos, PaxosThe local people are kind and hospitable to visitors but do not fawn over them – tourism takes its place with the production of olive oil as the chief sources of employment and income and as a result the olive groves of Paxos are well maintained and productive and not left to decay and decline as they are, sadly, in parts of Corfu for example. Those olive groves are intersected by countless paths which make the island a walker’s dream, especially in early and late summer, when the heat is considerably less oppressive. Butterflies and birds enliven the peaceful hillsides and in spring the carpet of wild flowers takes the breath away. Many of the paths end at a beach, where water of the most startling clarity laps against the large, egg-shaped white pebbles.

Think of a word for ‘blue ‘ or ‘green’ and it will be present in the sea that surrounds Paxos and its tiny neighbour, Anti-Paxos. From aquamarine to indigo, from jade to malachite green, it is hard to imagine waters more vividly coloured. When it is too hot to walk, hiring a small motor boat enables the visitor to explore the eastern shores of Paxos – the west coast is better left to professional seafarers who will gladly take you to see the caves and rock bridges and the immense monolithic rock that rears out of the sea like a breaching whale. West coast, PaxosThe small harbours of Gaios, Loggos and Lakka are favourites with yachtsmen and in high summer are packed with the glittering craft of rich Italians and Russians, who bring a fleeting sense of sophistication and international glamour to the island and provide amusing people-watching for the rest of us.

There is nothing much to do on Paxos, if living at a quieter pace, languishing on  a lovely beach or by a villa swimming pool, eating good, simple food and drinking the local wine far into the night can be called nothing. Re-charging the batteries is a phrase that comes to mind.

CV Villas is one of the best of the few travel companies that offer villa rentals on the island. Its properties are comfortable, idyllically located, and have that combination of traditional Paxos charm and modern amenities that makes a holiday here quite unforgettable.

Oh – don’t forget the torch – the power still flickers from time to time.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends CV Villas

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • R.-M.-McKeag
    almost 7 years ago
    We have been going to Paxos year after year. It is the most relaxing place - even though we walk miles through the olive groves - to a secluded beach - to a favourite restaurant - to the impressive cliffs on the west coast - to the next village. We stay in Lakka in a minute apartment up 60 steps - worth it because of the wonderful view of the beautiful horseshoe shaped bay with yachts and fishing boats and little motor boats and ferries coming and going. Lakka's open air restaurants are excellent - one specialises in fish - one invites you into the kitchen to regale you with the contents of the cooking pots - one is set in a lovely garden - one sits you beneath vines and Bougainvillea - and they all have delightful staff, who remember you from year to year. Just Google PLANOS, a company that specialises in this one little island and has been doing so for very many years - the British and the Greek components of this business together ensure that everything goes smoothly - and nothing is too much trouble. No, I don't work for that company and I don't have shares in it - I am just one of many very satisfied customers.
  • PamN
    over 7 years ago
    We had a wonderful fortnight in Lakka on Paxos and it's one of the few places we would return to for a holiday. We hired a boat for a fortnight, which was much more fun than a car and we found our own deserted beaches. The restaurants in Lakka are great, plenty of choice. Yes, the journey is a bit of a pain, but well worth it.
  • midwifesue
    almost 9 years ago
    Oh Angela it worth it? Oh yes! Having visited Corfu for years we took the opportunity to visit Paxos just for a few days. How I wish we could have stayed longer.
    I thought I had died and gone to heaven. We had a small villa which slept 4 just for the two of us and had to keep the garden gate shut to prevent the sheep, who wander at will, from helping themselves to the beautiful plants growing in the garden.
    We even hired a car so visited as many coves and places as we could manage. A storm blew up just before we were due to return to Corfu, I was hoping it would blow for days so we couldn't leave. Alas, the wind dropped and I was whisked back to Corfu town.
    Will I go back to Paxos? Absolutely.