Located south of Corfu in the Ionian Islands, Paxos Greece is an idyllic Greek Island that many say is one of the best-kept secrets in the country.
Small, lush, covered with verdant trees and with crystal clear water, Paxos has enough authentic villages and tavernas to keep visitors happy but with no airport and limited ferry connections crowds are rare and the summer days are warm and long.
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Where is Paxos?
Paxos is the smallest island group of the Ionian Islands and is located to the south of Corfu. There are two main islands: Paxos and Antipaxos. Paxos is the main island but is still very small with an area of 76 square kilometres (29 square miles).
Paxos is home to a population of 2,300 people, many of whom reside in Gaios which is the main port and capital of the islands.
When to visit Paxos
Tourist season in the Greek Islands runs between May all the way through early November. Visitor numbers peak in the summer months which is considered high season for the island.
With its Mediterranean climate, Paxos (or Paxi) is a sunny vacation destination. But it’s not just for summer as temperatures start to warm up as early as May with average highs of 24°C. August is the hottest month of the year with highs reaching 31°C, plenty of sunshine, as well as minimal rainfall.
Temperatures drop again in October when it can get as low as 13°C. The coldest month of the year is January (average temperature 5°C) with lots of cloud coverage and rain.
The shoulder seasons around May and September are best for those who want to avoid crowds. During peak season from June to August, Paxos can get very busy.
Further reading: When to visit Greece
How to get to Paxos
Paxos can be reached via a combination of different methods, but ultimately the only way to reach the island itself is to take a ferry.
ferry to paxos
The main route that most people take to get to Paxi is by taking the Flying Dolphin hydrofoil from Corfu. The hydrofoil takes around one hour and connects Corfu with Gaios harbour. It costs approximately €24 per person.
There are also ferry companies that connect Paxi with the northwestern Greek city of Igoumenitsa, a coastal town with one of the largest passenger ports in the country. This route costs €11 and takes an hour and a half. It also has the bonus of being able to take a vehicle across to Paxos with you.
The ferry schedules vary throughout the season. Peak season sees a higher number of connections with several services per day between these ports. You can purchase tickets in advance if you know your dates of travel.
fly to paxos
Paxos does not have its own airport.
The closest option for those looking to fly is Corfu International Airport. This busy tourist hub receives flights from both within Greece and across Europe.
The location is around three kilometres from Corfu town, which is the location of the port where you can embark the ferry to Paxi. You can catch a bus from the airport to the ferry terminal.
How to go from Paxos to Lefkada and other Ionian islands
The Ionian islands are spread far apart with over 800 kilometers seperating Corfu and Kythira. Visitors are often frustrated to realise that island hopping around the Ionians Islands is not that easy and it is best to usually spend time either in the north at Corfu, Paxos and Anti-Paxos or the south at Keflonia, Zakynthos and Ithaca. Lefkada is between the two but does not have an aiport making it somewhat challenging as well.
There is one main ferry, the Lefkada Palace, that travels between Corfu and Zakynthos, stopping at Paxos, Lefkada, Ithaca and Kefalonia along the way (although there are several small ferries connecting single ports as well, such as Fiscardo on Kefalonia and Nidri on Lefkada). It takes two and half hours to get from Paxos to Lefkada and six hours to get to Kefalonia. The ferry goes south on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and north on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Due to the lengthy ferry times many people like to drive from Corfu or indeed pick up a car on the Mainland in Igoumenitsa and drive down to Lefkada and beyond. There are sometimes also flights between Corfu and Kefalonia or even Zakynthos, usually with Sky Express.
Getting around Paxos
Buses on Paxos
Unless you have arrived on Paxos with a rental car or plan to hire one on the island you will be relying on public transport to get around. The bus network is run by national company KTEL.
The buses are not very regular but do still offer connections between resort towns and main sights including Gaios and Loggos. Buses are affordable, costing just a few euros per trip, and are a good way to see local life. Timetables are affixed to local bus stops.
Taxis on Paxos offer a more convenient way to get around than via bus but are more expensive. They can take you to most places on the island. One example price is €10 for a trip between Gaiso to Loggos.
There are only 5 on the island so ask your hotel to book you one of call and book ahead on these numbers:
Haris +30 697 4135660 Gaios/Loggos
Christos +30 697 7472747 Gaios/Loggos
Tassos +30 697 6648486 Gaios/Loggos
Costas +30 697 4002236 Lakka
Vasilis +30 697 6121923 Lakka
Car/scooter rental on Paxos
You may have arrived on Paxos with your own wheels already, but if not it is possible to hire a car or scooter on the island.
There is a wide choice of rental companies, though they’re mainly found around Gaios.
Both scooters and cars are available and offer more freedom than relying on either taxis or buses to get from A to B.
Further reading : Driving in Greece
The capital Gaios is one of the best places to stay on Paxos and easily the most convenient. Because it is home to the main port you can catch boats for easy day trips or travel further afield.
Gaios is a very pretty town and is also home to an array of entertainment options geared towards tourists such as shops, restaurants, and other facilities.
Being the travel hub that it is, Gaios has a whole host of accommodation choices from self-catering apartments, holiday homes with sweeping views and small family run hotels all the way to high-end villas with their own swimming pools.
Another large resort town is the fishing village of Longos. It’s situated on the east of Paxos and is almost unspoilt by tourism, making it an idyllic location for a relaxing vacation by the sea. If you want to stay here you’ll have the option of various villas with sea views and pools such as Glyfada Beach Villas and the charming and very affordable, Mermaid Cottage.
Nearby is Lakka, at the very northern tip of the island. This is the second-largest village on the island of Paxos with a beautiful horseshoe-shaped harbour.
Lakka is a tranquil village with a small but excellent selection of bars and restaurants to enjoy during your visit as well as a good choice of accommodation. Book a harbourfront room at Lakka Seaview apartments or Studios Leandros and watch the world go by in Greek Island heaven.
The tiny nearby island of Antipaxos is another option. This picturesque islet is three kilometres to the south of Paxos Greece. It comes with a collection of beautiful beaches and is a gorgeously relaxing place to stay. There is next to no accommodation so it’s very popular with boaties and sailors. In fact photos of the crystal clear water here is often used in tourist promotion for sailing the Greek islands!
Paxos restaurants and food
Food to try
Like everywhere in Greece, food in Paxos and the Ionian Islands at large is an important part of daily life. Influences from the Venetians and other invaders throughout history have resulted in a fusion of cuisine.
Something you must try is sofrito. The name comes from the Italian word meaning “fried” and it consists of thinly sliced veal dipped in flour and then fried. A sauce is added before being laid over mashed potatoes.
Pastitsada hails from Corfu and is a pasta dish that has Venetian influences. It is meat in a rich tomato sauce uniquely flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, and cumin. Another dish to try is bourdeto. This is stonefish or scorpionfish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce sometimes paired with potatoes. It is thought to date back to Venetian times.
Paxos Restaurants, Cafes and Bars
There is a great choice of restaurants to frequent as you explore the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos from traditional and low key to high-end and sophisticated.
One option for a romantic meal is Ermitis. This seaside restaurant is located in Magazia and serves up gourmet cuisine alongside cocktails (a great sunset spot). In Loggos there’s Vasilis Restaurant, a traditional Greek taverna serving authentic meals made with fresh local ingredients and paired with delicious wine.
In Gaios you should try La Vista. As well as amazing views, this restaurant serves up freshly caught fish and has an amazing wine list. We also highly recommend Celestino Trattoria where we have had an unforgettable night with friends in their beautiful garden setting. There is often live music too!
Things to do on paxos
Paxos is a small island and is limited with the types of things to see and do. The whole appeal of islands like this is to enjoy an idyllic, laid back vacation exploring the coves, caves, beaches on the island and at the surrounding islands during the day and enjoy quiet dinners in authentic tavernas at night.
If you are a history buff add on a few days in Corfu on your way home which has a colourful and complex past and offers a lot to see and do especially in Corfu Town.
One of the most popular beaches on Paxos is Loggos Beach. This small slice of coastline is well maintained and is a family friendly spot. There aren’t a whole lot of facilities though so make sure to bring things you need such as towels and umbrellas. Thankfully there is a wide selection of tavernas and shops nearby so you can grab a bite to eat.
Five kilometres south of Gaios is Pounda Beach. It’s close to Loggos but feels like an undeveloped spot. Bring your own food and umbrella as facilities are lacking. Also near Loggos is Levrehio Beach. This scenic spot is popular with locals and gets busy in peak season. The waters are calm and you have the shade of nearby olive trees as a bonus.
Voutoumi Beach is a sandy stretch on the east coast of Antipaxos. It is tucked away in a large cove surrounded by white rocks and lush Mediterranean greenery. Visitors from both Paxos and Corfu come to Voutoumi in the summer to swim in its shallow waters and laze on the sand.
Also an Antipoxis is Mesovrika Beach. This pebbly beach is a quiet spot for soaking up some sun and is situated on the northeast side of the island. The more secluded location means less crowds, but private yachts often moor here.
Things to do on paxos
Monuments and museums of paxos
The Church of the Analipsi or Ascension was built in 1853. Today it sits in the central square of Gaios. The church’s pink-terracotta walls make for the perfect picture opportunity, but step inside and you’ll be able to feel the coolness of this charming church.
Statue of Georgios Anemogiannis
On the south entrance to Gaios harbor is the statue of Georgios Anemogiannis. The statue is a popular photo spot for tourists to the island. Anemogiannis, who was born in Paxos in 1798, took part in one of the first naval attacks in the Greek Revolution against an Ottoman target. He was arrested and executed during the revolution.
Museums of Paxos
The historical and cultural Museum of Paxos dates back to 1996 run by the cultural association of the island. It is located on the beachfront at Gaios. The museum is housed in a building that dates back to 1906 and plays host to items from the classical history of the island until the modern era. There is an interesting selection of pieces including fossils, pottery, and other remnants of the islands’ prehistoric past. It also displays items from the Roman era.
Olive Press Museum
On the northern side of the island you will find the Olive Press Museum, located in Lakka. The museum is actually home to an original stone olive press spacing from 1865. Here you can learn about the tradition of olive growing in the region and have the opportunity to learn the secrets of the process.
Nature and outdoors
Scuba diving is a popular pursuit on Paxos Greece thanks to the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea. There are a multitude of different shops and services dedicated to scuba diving located on the island. Excursions and tours for different levels of diving ability and qualification can be arranged here, allowing you to see the underwater world of Paxos including the island’s many sea caves.
Paxos and Antipaxos are fairly compact but that doesn’t mean that hiking should be discounted here. It is actually a haven for hikers with plenty of well marked trails criss-crossing the landscape. There are coastal routes to try out, as well as more adventurous paths connecting up abandoned villages and far-flung beaches.
Antipaxos is known for its beautiful beaches and being next door to Paxos makes it a perfect place for a day exploring the beaches. Another island you should check out is the islet of Agios Nikolaos, which is situated just in front of Gaios port. Catching a boat here from Gaios is straightforward.
Boat trips to Paxos from Corfu and the mainland are very popular and there are several you can do from the main harbour in Gaios as mentioned. The Blue Caves is the most popular destination, a place with stunningy clear water that rivals that found in equally beautiful Milos, Alonissos or the Small Cyclades.
Events on Paxos
One of the most important religious events on Paxos, as it is elsewhere in Greece, is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This takes place on August 15 and sees nationwide celebrations including traditional music and dancing.
Easter is a colourful religious celebration everywhere in the Ionian Islands. Think food, marching bands, processions, and fireworks.
On June 29 there’s the Feast of Agios Gaios. This religious event has church services in the morning and traditional music and dancing late into the night. In July, there’s the celebration of Varkarola, which sees boats crossing the channel between Gaios and the islet of Agios Nikolaos and choirs singing traditional songs.
In June, the island of Paxos holds its Paxos Festival and sees the island playing host to performances of contemporary music. In Loggos in late August to early September, there’s the International Music Festival. Here classical music takes centre stage, performed by both Greek and international artists.
Throughout the summer there are regular events staged across the island as part of a celebration of art and culture run by Friends of Paxos. You can expect exhibitions, lectures, and workshops. The Cultural Walks initiative opens up different parts of the island for exploration.