Paxos: beautiful, unspoilt, tranquil - the smallest of the Ionian Islands
"This was our idea of the perfect Greek island holiday, with a chill factor of 100%! Good walking, fine beaches in easy reach on foot, a truly excellent variety (though not many in number) of bars and places to eat, a reliable bus service, interesting wildlife and entertaining boat trips."OUR CLIENTS' TOP RESORT 2011, 2012 2013, 2014 and 2015: LOGGOS.
Average Score from our clients:10 out of 10!
"Nothing in the world is like Loggos!"
Visitors to Paxos are always captivated by its picturesque setting and easy pace of life. A morning stroll to the baker for freshly baked warm bread, followed by a leisurely trip round the island by boat or a stroll through the olive groves. Maybe a relaxing day at the beach is more your thing. Then back in the evening for dinner at one of the harbourside tavernas and a romantic walk home under a sky of brilliant stars.
Paxos, the smallest of the Ionian islands, is an unflawed gem lying a short sea journey to the South of Corfu. Seven miles long by two miles wide, it can only be reached by sea and so is visited by relatively few tourists for most of the year. Only in peak season do the tavernas in Loggos, Lakka and Gaios, the three coastal villages, begin to fill with holidaying families and Italian lovers of Paxos.
The island's east coast is dotted with small coves and bays whose warm, clear water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Its tiny sister island, Anti-Paxos is a fast, exhilarating ride away by sea taxi from Gaios and offers two of the finest sandy beaches in Europe. Inland, the hills are covered with olive trees, more than 200,000 of them, which produce one of the world's finest olive oils. Walk among the olive groves in May and June, before it grows too hot, and discover the old Paxos, where goats wander among abandoned stone houses, and the ground is carpeted with wild flowers.
Little has changed in Paxos over the years, thanks to careful control of tourism and development.
"Most beautiful place I have been to!"
"Stunning Village, picture-postcard perfect"
"Loggos is the very epitome of the Greek island fishing village. Small, intimate and delightfully picturesque, it maintains all its innate charm and character whilst amply catering for the needs of the discerning visitor."
"Loggos holds a special place in our hearts; it has everything, friendly people, a choice of places to eat, drink and shop - and just the most beautiful place."
"Nothing in the world is like Loggos!"
Loggos is the smallest of the three main villages on Paxos, an enchanting old fishing port on the northeast coast. With its pastel-shaded buildings huddled around the harbour, it feels quite remote, but has a good range of facilities for holidaymakers.
During the day, the brightly coloured boats in the harbour offer a chance to explore the bays and beaches of the coast and their clean, crystalline waters. In the evenings, visitors and locals gather in the restaurants of the main square, enjoying food, wine and conversation late into the summer nights.
Loggos is also a good base for walks, with paths winding out of the village into the olive groves and along the coast. It's not necessary to have a car, because there is a good road and local bus that links the three villages on the island. Or you can take the scenic route by picking up a boat at the harbour.
Gaios, the village capital of Paxos and centre of the island's life, has a lively main square with cafes right up to the water's edge. Visitors can sit sipping drinks beneath the cafe parasols, whilst watching the caiques and yachts bobbing at their moorings a few feet away. The express boats for the stunning, sandy beaches of Anti Paxos leave from the quayside.
Behind the sqaure are the main shopping streets, with good food shops and places to buy souvenirs. There is a good variety of restaurants and tavernas.Across the water, lies Aghios Nikolaos island dominated by its old Venetian castle.
Fontana is one of the smallest village on Paxos, situated on the road from Gaios to Loggos. Many visitors love the fact that it is a traditional village with attractive buildings and few signs of modern life. Wellm situated in the centre of the island, Fontana has some pretty walks which start from the village and lead down to the nearby beaches. Kaki Langada, one of the most popular of beaches on Paxos, is just a short drive away down the new road that leads past the reservoir to Gaios and the New Port.
Fontana is also the home of a popular traditional taverna and one of the new ouzeries - bars serving light meals - which have been revived lately on the island.
Where it is and transport
Paxos is the smallest of the Ionian islands and lies about ten miles south of Corfu. Most of the population, numbering around 2500, live in the three main harbour villages.
Travel to Paxos is by ferry from Corfu. Ferries run daily during the holiday season. Paxos can also be reached by taking a ferry from Igoumenitsa on the mainland and, during the season, from Parga.
Travel a la carte is a well-established tour operator on the island and our local representatives can arrange transfers between Corfu and Paxos. Book in advance for our handy Meet & Greet service, which is to be recommended because local circumstances may change, making it difficult for independent travelers to arrange transfers themselves.
Paxos is small enough to explore quite easily on foot. The island has its own bus service linking the main village of Gaios with the other two harbours of Loggos and Lakka. Except in high season there are relatively few cars and only a handful of taxis. The best way to get around is by motor boat, allowing you to discover the numerous remote beaches of the east coast. The marvellous sandy beaches of Anti-Paxos, the tiny sister island of Paxos, are best and most easily reached by the express sea taxis from Gaios.
Paxos and Anti-Paxos, its tiny sister island, have preserved a landscape and way of life that have changed little in recent times. The Paxos landscape is characterised by the 200,000 olive trees that cover the island, originally brought to Paxos (as they were to Corfu) by the Venetians. The Paxos trees produce one of the finest olive oils in Greece.
Paxos has succeeded in retaining its original character chiefly because there is no airport and because the locals have allowed very little modern development. Visitors are accommodated largely in the existing houses.
The island is seven miles long by about three miles wide and has only three villages of any size: Gaios, the main harbour, Lakka on the northern tip of the island, and Loggos (pronounced Longos) on the northeast coast.
There are just two hotels on Paxos and very few roads, with the result that traffic is restricted.
Anti-Paxos is known chiefly for its wine (difficult to find, as the locals tend to keep it for themselves) and two beaches of "silken sand". The island has no permanent inhabitants but the Paxiots have summer villas there. Two tavernas near the beaches open during the season.
The main villages
The largest village on Paxos is Gaios, followed by Lakka, then Loggos.
Gaios is the island's capital and main harbour. Named after St Gaius, a disciple of St Paul who converted the island to Christianity, it has a variety of restaurants and shops, and the police station, doctors, dentist, banks and the telephone exchange are located there. The new port is where the large ferries arrive from Corfu and the mainland. The old harbour in front of the main square is where boats for Anti Paxos depart.
Lakka is best known for its beautiful natural bay and the watersports available there. The bay, well sheltered from the wind, is excellent for learning windsurfing or sailing. From Loggos and Gaios, Lakka can be reached quite easily either by bus or boat, and it offers various tavernas and cafes.
Loggos, the smallest of the three main coastal villages on Paxos, is noted for its picturesque setting and tranquillity. The village has half a dozen restaurants, a piano bar, cafes, two or three mini-markets and its own bakery, and plenty of boats are available for hire from the quayside. The Travel a la carte office is in Loggos, while our agent is located on the harbour front in Gaios.
Along the east coast there are around 30 beaches between the northern and southern tips of the island. They offer safe swimming in delightfully clear warm water and are composed for the most part of white pebbles or a mixture of pebbles and sand. The beaches can be reached by bus or on foot but many of them are best discovered by boat. Indeed much of the fun of a Paxos holiday lies in exploring the coastline in a small motorboat, looking for a beach to spend the day on, probably with a picnic.
There are two superb sandy beaches on Anti-Paxos, Vrikes and Voutoumi, which are reached by the frequent speedboats from Gaios. The same boats also go to the sandy beach on Mongonissi island, on the way to Anti-Paxos.
Around the island
InteriorThe island's interior can be readily explored on foot, either by setting out from the main villages or first taking the bus. Apart from the main road through the island, in the interior there are also networks of tracks and paths which can provide the routes for walking tours and expeditions. En route, there are a number of attractive churches of various periods, among them the very pretty church of Ippapandi, south of Lakka.
West CoastDo not venture along the west coast in a hired motorboat as the weather can change very quickly. However, there are frequent caique trips around the island to visit the west coast beaches which are most easily approached from the sea, due to the height and steepness of the cliffs. There are also a number of dramatic sea caves, some with strikingly deep blue water. Among the most impressive of the caves are Kastanitha, which rises 600 feet up from the sea, and Ortholithos, which has a massive sentry stone at its entrance.
Walking around Paxos
Walking is very popular on Paxos – in fact it’s a perfect island to explore on foot, being small, hilly but not mountainous, and with lots of paths. Until recently, there were relatively few cars on Paxos, so the foot- and donkey-paths leading all over the island were the only way to get around. There may be more cars now, especially in July and August, but the network of paths is still intact, if a trifle overgrown in places. The perfect time for a walking holiday is the early and late season when temperatures are more moderate and – in spring – more flowers and plants are on display.
For those who enjoy a car-free holiday, most outlying properties are no more than 25 minutes’ walk from the nearest beach, shop or taverna. The paths take you through picturesque countryside, winding through silent olive groves over a carpet of green grass and wild flowers or along narrow lanes lined with dry stone walls which pass through abandoned or semi-abandoned villages. The paths may not always be well sign-posted but finding new ways and paths is part of the fun and, with Paxos being such a small island, you are never far from a road or village where you can ask for assistance.
Abandoned villages aside, there are other sights of both architectural and historical interest to find on these walks. You will come across old Venetian houses, ruined olive presses and windmills from Venetian times, the ‘sternas’ or stone reservoirs built by the British during their 50-year administration of Paxos from 1815. There are even some British-built roads, such as the old military road leading down into Loggos from the Fontana road. A favourite walk from Loggos is to the pretty 17th century church of Ippapandi, where the bell tower affords wonderful views over Lakka to Corfu. From there, the intrepid walker can strike out toward the sheer cliffs of Eremitis on the west coast. Other grand natural sights include the Tripitos arch, on the southern tip of the island, and, in early spring, the flocks of migrating birds that pass through Paxos each year.
More information can be found in the standard guide books and there is a good walking map of Paxos available for sale on the island.
Paxos: Car Tours and Walks (Landscapes) [Folded Map] (Map)
Pocket-sized and in full colour, this new edition describes just one car tour on this tiny island, where most people get around on foot. There is a fold-out, very large scale map for motorists, cyclists and walkers (scale 1:18,000; revised 2009). This is the only book dedicated to Paxos, and includes timetables for local transport. Unique free on-line update service with specific route change information. Series (50 destinations) dubbed 'the blue Bibles' by the Sunday Times.
Greek Islands (Lonely Planet Country & Regional Guides) (Paperback)
Includes local insights into island living.
The Rough Guide to the Ionian Islands (Rough Guide Travel Guides) (Paperback)
The Rough Guide to The Ionian Islands is the most comprehensive guidebook to this beautiful island group. From the Loggerhead turtles at Laganás Bay and windsurfing off Vassilikí to the churches in Lefkádha and sampling the local Rombola wine; twenty-four full-colour pages highlights all the 'things-not-to-miss'. The guide includes listings of all the top hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants, to suit every budget, plus new 'authors' picks' to highlight the very best options. There is plenty of practical advice to help you make the most of the many activities available throughout the islands, plus comprehensive information on ferry and bus services, with features on mainland ports and day-trips. The guide comes complete with maps and plans covering the core islands and towns.
The Ionian Islands and Epirus: A Cultural History (Landscapes of the Imagination) (Paperback)
Scattered off the west coast of mainland Greece are the seven Ionian Islands, celebrated for their spectacular landscapes, olive groves and classical associations. Together with the mountainous mainland region of Epirus, the combined populations of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Kythira constitute less than a twentieth of the population of Greece, yet they have made a huge contribution to the culture of the country, before and since becoming part of the Greek state.The unsurpassed beauty of the islands and of the Pindus Mountains has stimulated the imagination of countless writers and artists from Homer to Byron, Edward Lear and the Durrells, Louis de Bèrnieres and Nicholas Gage, as well as scores of nineteenth-century travellers.Drawing a mosaic portrait of the Ionian Islands and special places of interest in Epirus, Corfu resident Jim Potts focuses on the landscapes, legends, traditions and historical events that have appealed most strongly to the imaginations of writers, residents and travellers. ODYSSEUS AND SAPPHO: the landscapes of the poets; Homer s Ithaca and Scheria; Sappho s leap; the identification of Dodona; classic ground; King Pyrrhus. THE SEVEN ISLANDS: Strategic issues; Corfu v. Kefalonia; Byron and Casanova; Empress Elizabeth of Austria; Greek writers, Solomos, Laskaratos, Theotokis and Valaoritis. TURKEY, VENICE, BRITAIN, GREECE: conflict and occupation; union and liberation; the Second World War and civil war; nationalism and identity; cultural differences.
The Greek Islands by Lawrence Durrell.
As every reader of Durrell knows, his writing is steeped in the living experience of the Mediterranean and especially the islands of Greece. This text weaves together evocative descriptions, history and myth (including flowers and festivals) with his personal reminiscences.
The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell
The Corfu Trilogy consists of the popular classic My Family and Other Animals and its delightful sequels, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. All three books are set on the enchanted island of Corfu in the 1930s, and tell the story of the eccentic English family who moved there. For Gerald, the budding zoologist, Corfu was a natural paradise, teeming with strange birds and beasts that he could collect, watch and care for. But life was not without its problems - his family often objected to his animal-collecting activities, especially when the beasts wound up in the villa or - even worse - the fridge. With hilarious yet endearing portraits of his family and their many unusual hangers-on, The Corfu Trilogy also captures the beginnings of the author's lifelong love of animals. Recounted with immense humour and charm, this wonderful account of Corfu's natural history reveals a rare, magical childhood. For the passionate zoologist, Corfu was a natural paradise, teeming with strange birds and beasts that he could collect, watch and care for. Gerald Durrell evokes his island paradise with passion and wonder.
My Family And Other Animals [DVD]
The eccentric Durrell family leave the grey skies of England and move to Corfu, where a succession of colourful characters appear in their lives. Adapted from popular Gerald Durrell's autobiography and features all ten episodes of the BBC series.