Greek Island of Paxi (Ionian)

greece travel map paxi greek island This 2nd smallest of the Ionian islands is perhaps also the most expensive, frequent by many yacht owners and both Italian and British tourists.

At the same time, it is far from the world of package tourism that dominates Kerkyra (Corfu), attracting lovers of old Venetian architecture, lovely countryside, fine villages and little swimming coves.

Paxi also boasts olive orchards that produce award winning olive oil. The port and capital of Gaios has lovely pastel buildings on its waterfront with a Venetian square, streets too narrow for cars (though there are traffic jams of tourists in peak season!), and two islets out in the bay.

Panaghia islet is the scene of a huge 15th of August festival and Aghios Nikolaos, the other, a 15th Venetian castle and old windmill. Gaios is one of three port towns on Paxi, with a Cultural Museum, good restaurants and a small sandy beach. Of the three, it is the most cosmopolitan, though the others (Lakka and Longos) are more interesting; Lakka has the best beaches on the island.

beach on paxoiThere are good walking options on Paxi, with two books to help one find one's way. The fishing village and port of Longos, 5 km north of Gaios, is the prettiest town on Paxi, with a tiny bay surrounded by steep green hills, with little coves and pebble beaches nearby.

There are hot springs at the town beach, some of the island's best restaurants, and camping (with permission asked first) at Levrehio beach. The third port of Lakka on the island's northwest tip is on an almost circular bay, popular with yachts, with a Byzantine church with wonderful Russian bells; the insland church of Ipapandi, reachable on foot from this town, has a freestanding campanile with an onion dome.

A longer walk is to Ermitis Cliffs. The beach of Kanoni, with an olive orchard where people camp, is nearby, though there are no facilities; the other beach is Harami.

 Andipaxi

This tiny island is a mile south of Paxi, reachable by kaiki, with three villages, vineyards, a sandy beach at Vrika with two tavernas, a longer pebble beach at Vatoumi with a little campsite, and very clear water. Some of the only rooms are in the hill village of Vigla (arrangements made with the taverna owner in Vrika). Paths lead to quieter coves, as these can get crowded in season. There are a couple of tavernas in the little port of Andipaxi.