Travel guide to Paxi. The most beautiful island in Greece

A stone rock in blue clear water of the sea in Paxi

In the Ionian Sea, just south of the famous island of Corfu, you can find Paxos. With just 19 square kilometers of land, it is one of the smallest inhabited islands of Greece. The island is still quite untouched by tourism, but asking the Greeks about Paxi, they say it is the most paradise like island in the country. It is a place where you can completely relax and enjoy the absolutely stunning beauty of nature.

General information

Naming explained

There is some confusion about the naming of the island, especially amongst foreigners. Is it Paxos, Paxoi or Paxi? To start with, Paxi is the English version of Paxoi. But what about the other two?

Let me explain you something about the Greek language. Because the difference between Paxoi and Paxos is the ending of these two words. When a Greek words ends at -os, it means this word is singular, and most of the time masculine. An ending with -oi, however, is used in words that are plural.

So when you say Paxoi, the Greeks will understand this as referring to all the islands in the municipality of Paxoi. The island group. Paxos, the singular version of the name, is the main island of this group.

Mythology

Did you ever hear about Poseidon or Neptune? The ancient God of the sea, the earthquakes, and the horses? The one that always holds a trident? Well, according to the Greek mythology, he is the one that created the beautiful islands of Paxoi, as an act of love.

Poseidon had many lovers, but in this story, we will talk about his love for Amphitrite. When Poseidon saw this beautiful spirit of sea water dancing, he fell madly in love with her. Amphitrite, however, did not share his feelings and ran, far away.

But Poseidon as the God of the sea not getting what he wants would not make a good story. So he sent a dolphin out to find the love of his life and convince her to marry him. This worked. Amphitrite came back and married Poseidon, who then wanted to create a romantic get-away just for them.

Poseidon went to the southern tip of Corfu. With his trident, he hit the ground so hard that the land broke off and traveled over the Ionian Sea. The chunks of land bounced to the horizon, and came to a stop about 50 kilometers off shore. Creating the islands of Paxi.

How to get to Paxi?

The only way to reach the small island of Paxos is by boat. Easiest is to take a ferry from Lefkimmi on Corfu or Igoumenitsa on the main land. The journey takes around 45-90 minutes, making this island pretty easy to access.

Coming from the other Ionian islands however, a trip to Paxi is bit more time consuming. With a travel time of 10 hours from the famous Zakynthos, 7 hours from Kefelonia and ferries going just once every couple of days, this combination is not the best option for island hopping in Greece.

There is one more option for a visit the beautiful islands of Paxi. A day trip from Parga, in Epirus on the main land. In the summer season there is a boat every day that takes you along the beautiful coastline of Paxos and Antipaxos. However, these boats are extremely crowded and have a strict schedule. There is no time to relax while relaxing is the thing to do on Paxos.

Why to visit Paxi?

The answer to this question is simple. Paxoi is an amazingly beautiful island. The island itself is packed with old olive trees. Half a million of them were planted in the sixteenth century by the Venetians. Now, five hundred years later, they are still there, providing a stunning landscape, shade from the sun and amazing olive oil.

On the west of the island, there are huge white limestone cliffs, shaped by the erosion of thousands of years. Underneath them are many caves you can explore, swimming in the most clear and blue water in whole Greece. The island is almost too beautiful to be real.

  • daylight entering a cave in Greece white stone blue sea
  • white cliff with a cave in blue sea with little boat
  • girl steering a boat in Paxi
  • tall white limestone cliff with blue sea and caves in Paxi
  • white cliffs during sunset in Paxi
  • two people in a boat in clear turquoise water in Paxi
  • eroded rock in blue sea in Paxi
  • the best beach in Greece with crystal clear blue water in Antipaxos

What to do in Paxi?

Turn off your phone, forget about time, completely relax and enjoy the extreme beauty of nature. A trip to Paxi is really about disconnecting from the busy life you usually have and the landscape is perfect to help you doing that.

Beaches

On the west of the islands there are quite a few beaches. All with a combination of green trees and white lime stone around the turquoise clear water of the sea. The beaches of the island are sometimes hard to access but they all feel so paradise-like that you can easily spend just one day on one single beach. Good to know before is that all the beaches in Paxi have pebble stones, so when you are planning to visit this island, it might be a good idea to bring to water shoes.

Gaios

Another must-do on the island, is a visit to Gaios. Gaios is the main town of Paxoi and is picturesque village with colorful house, and narrow streets, located around the natural port of the island. This is quite unique. The island of Agios Nikolaos and Panagia, protect the coast of Gaios from rough waters and winds, naturally creating the perfect conditions for a port that is still used today.

From every point in Gaios you will see the islands that protect its shores as well as the many boats that lay in the port and this makes for a stunning view. Stroll along the water or get lost in the many narrow streets surrounded by traditional colored houses. Enjoy food next to the sea or on the main square. You will pay a bit more than the average Greek prices, but in return you get a really good view for your money.

Rent a boat

The one thing I would absolutely recommend you to do in Paxi, is renting a boat. Although the island of Paxos is amazing by itself, the even more beautiful part of Paxoi is there where you can not reach from land. The white cliffs and their caves in the west, as well as the island of Antipaxos in the south are only accessible from the sea.

There are many organized day trips to explore this part of the islands, however, for almost the same price you are able to rent a small boat yourself. In most of the boat rental places it is enough to have a driver’s license in order to be able to rent a boat, and the rental company will teach you how to handle the boat before you go out on the sea.

I payed around 100 euro’s renting a boat for a day from the company called Panos. This might sound expensive but thinking back on the experience of that day, it would have been worth it to pay even more than double. Plus, this boat holds a maximum of 4 people, making it actually just 25 euro’s per person per day. Panos also offers a boat including a captain for when you don’t own a drivers license or if you are afraid of staring this journey by yourself. For both options, make sure to book before.

When renting a boat on Paxi, it is good to keep in mind that the later it gets in the afternoon, the rougher the sea will be on the south-west side of the island. Starting your trip early in the morning. First visit the caves and cliffs on the west, then go to Antipaxos and keep checking the roughness of the sea to get back safely to the main island to explore the east.

Antipaxos is famous for Voutoumi beach, which is an absolutely stunning one. However, in the summer months, it can be extremely crowded here. I would recommend you to keep following Antipaxos’ coastline till you find a more quiet place and enjoy the sea here before you make your way back to the main island to finish your tour.

How many days to spend in Paxi?

I visited Paxi for three days and this was a pretty good amount to explore the island and it shores. But where I combined this holiday with a roadtrip through Epirus and a month at the family beach house, three days might be a bit short for an entire holiday.

If you truly want to relax, slow down and disconnect from the rest of the world, you can stay longer. Maybe stay a couple of nights at Antipaxos instead of visiting the two islands in one day trip. But if you’re more about seeing things and exploring, I would say three days is enough, combining your trip to Paxi with a stay in Curfu or Parga.

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