Feel the heartbeat of Paxi by village-hopping
Paxi has only a few settlements, which are no more than a handful of kilometres apart, but they embody everything that is quintessentially Ionian about this gorgeous corner of Greece. This, after all, is an island just opposite Corfu where everything feels scaled down to be intimate and intensely beautiful.
The colours and architecture of the shops and houses, the quaintness of the squares and bars, the blues of the sea and even the greens of the olive trees (a different, taller variety of olive tree than those planted elsewhere in the Ionian islands by the Venetians)… You’ll feel it all with an intensity that will stay with you every bit as much as the memory of the beaches and bays for which Paxi is rightly famed.
The main settlement of Paxi has retained all of its identity as a charming little fishing port. Its coastal road overlooks colourful fishing boats and overflows with cafes and tavernas serving the island’s lucky visitors and 500-odd permanent residents. There’s a wonderful contrast between the traditional 19th century buildings and little alleyways and the cosmopolitan crowds mooring their yachts and sailing boats here. You’ll especially like the colourful touches of shop and bar owners and there’s a good Folklore Museum. A special tip is to visit the islet of Agios Nikolaos opposite the entrance to the port, where you’ll find the ruins of a Venetian fortress and a chapel.
There’s something irresistible about the little village of Lakka. A naturally safe harbour, it’s a favourite of yacht and sailing boat crews who come not just for the setting of turquoise-coloured water and hillside greenery but also the flavours and character of the village itself. The architecture is unmistakably Venetian and the cuisine is a mix of Greek and Italian (the ice creams are excellent). You’ll have no difficulty finding a cosy bar or restaurant for dinner (or filling your Instagram feed). And it’s clear that even the locals are inspired by everything around them. There are shops selling beautiful artwork, painted on clay or tiles, of different scenes from Lakka.
The smallest coastal settlement on the island, but no less colourful than the rest, is Loggos, with its intimate marina and a quiet little beach. Famous for its seafood, Loggos is a must for lunch or dinner, whether you’re in the mood for something traditional or gourmet. Boats also leave from here for day tours around Antipaxi. And a final tip is to follow your nose to the bakery in the port, where you can buy snacks and fuel up for more exploring.
And a bonus
Near the village of Magazia, Erimitis (Hermit) is possibly the best beach-sunset combination on Paxi (high praise indeed). It’s a wonderful spot for dinner or a cocktail, especially when there’s live music.
How you get between the villages is up to you. You can move between them by car, bus, bike or even on foot, and the longer you take the more you’ll feel the magic. Gaios has the most to see, so it’s a good place to start. But as the villages are close to each other, it makes sense to set out from wherever you’re staying.
- By car or taxi: 11km (25mins).
- By foot: 7km (1hr40mins)
- By car or taxi: 4km (10mins)
- By foot: 4km (50mins)
- By car or taxi: 7.7km (15mins)
- By foot: 7.7km (1hr45mins)
To Gaios (Paxi)
- From Corfu & Igoumenitsa: By ferry or flying dolphin (hydrofoil): Around 1hr all year round.
- The island gets busy during peak summer, so May-June and September are the best and quietest months to visit.
- If you do visit in July-August, exploring the villages and sunbathing are best in the cooler and quieter morning or afternoon.
Museums and cultural sites: Folklore Museum (Gaios)
- June, July and September: 18:00-22:00
- August: 19:00-23:00
- Closed in winter
- Tickets: €2
You can enjoy village hopping in Paxi at any time of year
Exploring all the villages outlined here will take the whole day, including meals and time on the beach.
Plan your trip
Let’s all try to keep the magic of Greece’s island villages alive for future generations.