Paxos

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Where is Paxos? It's one of the Ionian group of islands off the west coast of Greece, just south of Corfu and to the north of lefkas.

With no airport, getting to Paxos is not particularly easy. Visitors usually fly to Corfu then travel by boat. Several sea options are available; car ferries sail from Corfu to Igoumenitsa, on the mainland, for more ferry connections to Paxos; sea taxis also leave from Corfu daily over the summer.

Paxos is a small island so getting around is relatively easy. A local bus links the main villages and the island has several car hire and boat hire firms. It's hilly but not mountainous so walking the wide network of paths and donkey trails is a popular option.

Most accommodation is centred around the villages of Gaios, Lakka and Loggos but rooms will be difficult to find in high summer as this is a very popular small island.

Updated for 2016

Paxos flights: go by air

There is no airport on Paxos. Most visitors get a charter flight to Corfu and then catch one of the regular ferries to Paxos.

Mondays is the main day for charter flight arrivals and departures over the summer for visitors to Corfu and Paxos.

Cheap flight carriers Easyjet and Ryanair fly on different days from March to November from various UK airports.

In addition to the many package charters are daily domestic flights to Athens and to Thessaloniki. The flight from either city is about 50 minutes.

For information on flights call the airport on 2663 030180. An alternative options is a flight to Athens and an overland bus to Igoumenitsa where there is a daily ferry connection. This bus service only operates three days a week so the route will rake some organising.

Hopes are high that seaplane services will start from Corfu in the summer of 2015 after the port was granted a licence to to launch seaplane services.

Paxos ferries: go by sea

A number of ferry operators run routes from Corfu to Paxos and there is a ferry service on most days.

In summer a hydrofoil service runs from Corfu to Paxos every day, twice a day on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and three times on Monday. the last service leaves Corfu at 2.30 pm most days but 5.30pm on Mondays and 6.45pm on Sundays.

The service is run by Corfu Tourist Enterprises and tickets can be booked in advance on 0030 26610 49800/80444 or from ilidaii@ymail.com or paxosilida@yahoo.com. Reserved tickets are picked up on the boat.

Kamelia Lines run the Despinia passenger ferry between Corfu Town and Paxos daily throughout the summer and also a service from Paxos to Lefkimi, in south Corfu, on Mondays with a reduced winter service. There is no Sunday service out of season and weekday services are reduced.

S&L Ferries also operate daily crossings from Igoumenitsa and tickets can be obtained on 0030 2665021000. They have a website but it was more style than substance the last time I looked.

Private high speed sea taxis operate between Paxos and Corfu but they are not cheap. Expect to pay from €250 - 300 for the journey. The Paxos Express is operated by Paxos Sea Taxis with a journey time of 60 minutes from Corfu Town and 30 minutes from Lefkimi. They also runs services to Igoumenitsa. Contact the Paxos Express on 0030 6932 232072 or email info@paxosseataxi.com. Faoulias Lines also operate the Lakka Express sea taxi service. They can be contacted on 0030 6977623033.

A wide selection of motor boats are for hire from Gaios, Lakka and Loggos. No licence is needed for boats up to 30HP but an ICC is required for more poerful boats.

Excursion boats also leave daily to tour the white cliffs and sea caves of the west coast including huge caves at Ipapanti, and Ortholithos. The other big west coast attraction sis the huge Tripidos arched rock formation.

Paxos map: getting around

Paxos, together with Antipaxos, make up the smallest island group in the Ionian chain off the west coast of Greece.

Paxos lies about 16 kilometres south of Corfu and 20 kilometres from the mainland. It is only about 8 kilometres long, with an area of 18 sq km and a 22 kilometre-long coastline.

The west coast is dominated by white chalk cliffs, eroded at sea level to create the island's famous 'blue caves'. The east is gently sloping and is where most of the beaches are found, such as they are.

Two asphalt roads run the length of Paxos, from Gaios in the south to to Lakka in the north. Much of the interior of Paxos is olive groves. Paxos is a favourite island of wealthy Italians so expect to find many palatial villas and the highest-priced real estate in Greece.

The islet of Antipaxos, to the south, is a favourite target of day trip boats ferrying holiday visitors to its two sandy beaches.

Weather on Paxos

Paxos has plenty of winter rain which helps compensate for the lack of natural springs and many houses have large water tanks to store winter rainfall.

March, April and May are good for walking as temperatures are comfortable and the island is full of wild flowers.

Paxos has long hot summer days from June to September, turning changeable in October and with longer spells of rain from November to March.

Paxos transport: go on land

Car rental

Roads have improved on Paxos over the last few years. The two main asphalted roads run the length of the island from Gaios to Lakka, one follows the east coast, the other the west, with narrow paved roads, dirt tracks and mule trails branching off off to the various beaches and clifftop sightseeing spots.

An air conditioned minibus runs a regular round-trip service four times daily between Gaios, Loggos and Lakka. There is a large taxi rank at Gaios and taxi ranks can be found at Lakka and Loggos. Fares are regulated. Bike and car hire outlets are plentiful in Gaios.

There are several car hire firms on the island but, in high season, demand can exceeds supply so it's best to book in advance. Roads are very narrow in places and many are steep and have large potholes or broken edges.

There were only five taxis on Paxos at the last count and they get heavily booked for hydrofoils and ferry arrivals and departures.

Paxos is a good island for walking with scores of tracks criss-crossing the island and visitors are never far away from a small village or hamlet. The island is an endless olive grove, terraced with stone walls with many of the trees planted during Venetian times.

There are around 150 old stone olive-presses, 60+ chapels and several windmills on Paxos. The Bleasdale Walking Map of Paxos, available from many shops, details 53 footpaths and Sunflower Books also publishes a walking guide to Paxos.

The best walks can be found around Lakka with great views to be had while the road from Gaios to Loggos offers good walking with the hamlet at Fondana for a rest half-way.

Paxos rooms: go to sleep

Rooms

Paxos is a favourite island retreat for wealthy Greeks and Italians so visitors will find no end of luxurious villas are dotted all over the island.

Most of the accommodation centred around Gaios and there are cheap rooms to be found, although this becomes increasingly difficult during the high summer season.

Much of the available accommodation on Paxos is block-booked by tour operators - most at the upper end of the holiday hotel market.

Although there is a wide variety of holiday rental accommodation available on, Paxos ranging from 'domatia' rooms to luxury villas with pools and five star hotels the independent traveller will find much more on offer out of season.

There are rooms to be found in the three main resorts of Gaios, Lakka and Loggos and there are several property agents in Gaios that will try to find rooms or apartments if you ask but don't hold your breath.