One of the smallest islands of Greece and with some of the friendliest islanders, Paxoi, and its
southern neighbor Antipaxoi (or Antipaxi), produce the best olive oil in Europe.
Situated just south of Corfu it has a land mass of 25 sq. km and 46 km of
coast. There are about 2300 residents. The beaches are beautiful and much less crowded than most in the Ionian Sea.
This tiny and charming island is one of the canonical Seven Islands. The famous olive groves are protected from damage by environmentally sound means, adding to the allure of Paxi's olive oil. Someone once counted over 300,000 olive trees on this small island, some centuries old.
Less than five miles long, the island can be walked in
a few hours. There are seven sea grottos
and good swimming and fishing. Paxi is an upmarket small-is-beautiful alternative to Corfu and its throngs!
It does fill to the straining point in July and August, but other months of the year are wonderful for uncrowded enjoyment. The entire island has a cozy feel, and the people are so friendly that it quickly becomes a favorite spot for many visitors.
Garos (or Gaios) is the main town and harbor. It actually has two ports. It's named for a disciple of St Paul who brought Christianity to Paxi. He's is buried here.
Most of Paxi's accomodations are in Garos. The town has a small sandy beach. There is a small aquarium with a changing cast of exhibits that are released and replaced each year. The streets are too narrow for cars. The traffic jams here are all human!
If you walk past the Governor's House out to the New Port and the new road you get a fine view of Garos harbor. You can buy olive oil straight from the barrel if you have a container to put it in.
Facing the harbor, the rocky islet Ag. Nikolaos has a well-kept Kastro. The kastro was built in 1423 by the Venetians. The islet beyond it, Panagia, is crowded with pilgrims on August 15 during the Panagia festival. After the festival, the party continues all night in Garos. Another islet, Mongonissi, is a frequent dinner destination.
You can rent a boat to explore the brilliant blue sea grottoes. The caves are on the windy west coast among sheer limestone cliffs, so windy days are not good for sightseeing in the caves.
Lakka is a port in a cicular harbor on the north coast. Here boats from Corfu frequently dock. The Byzantine church in Lakka has very musical bells from Russia. A walk inland takes you to the Church of Ipapanti. The Venetial Grammatikou mansion has a fortified tower. Lakka is lively with day-trippers during summer days, but the nights are quiet.
Longos is an attractive small port with a rocky beach. The few tavernas have tables right at the water's edge. The boat that brings fresh fruit and vegetables to the island docks here, always a welcome event.
There's an old icon of the Virgin in the small village of Boikatika. Nearby Magazia has two churches with a good view of the Eremitis cliffs from Ag. Apostoli. A 17th Century mansion is at Apergatika.
Antipaxi's covered with grape vines. With few year round residents, Antipaxi, just south of Paxi, gets most of its traffic from June to September. There is a port at Ormos Agrapidias. Antipaxi produces good wines and has a fine sandy beach. There are a couple of tavernas and a small campsite.
Drinking and Dining
Though choices are limited, you can find good fare in both Garos and Lakka. Prices are a bit higher than normal because everything is imported and the wind can halt incoming traffic without warning.
Paxi has had an unusually peaceful history. Mythology tells us that both Paxi and Antipaxi were created by a single blow from Poseidon's trident. Homer wrote about its seven sea caves. As he also did on the island of Meganisi, Papanikolaos used a cave on Paxi to ambush Italian ships during WWII.