Poseidon is said to have struck Corfu with his trident to create Paxos as a romantic retreat with his Sea Nymph Amphitrite. And the old sea dog clearly had a way with tridents (and nymphs) because this island might as well be 1000 miles from anywhere else.
In reality, it’s a hop, skip and a jump – or just under an hour by boat (if walking on water isn’t your thing) from Corfu. Just far enough away that Tommy Cook and his friends won’t make the journey, which means the waters are all yours darling.
The locals are so friendly you may start to wonder whether they are hiding something. But it could also just be the diet of fish, wine and sun.
Where to stay
We will get straight to the point. An Ionian holiday is best spent with friends and in your own villa. For one thing, you can recover from experimenting with the local wine the following morning together. If you’re in the know, the best no-nonsense houses are managed through Ionian Villas run by the effervescent David Watrous. Pick your palace and his son Alex is the local rep. For fans of a plunge Villa Isidora will tick your box, along with its own private beach. And in walking distance to Gaios for an early morning stroll.
This is the new kid on the block. In fact, it’s the only hotel on the island worth heading to. If you are heading out solo or as a couple, then this is a good alternative. You can while away the hours walking amongst the olive trees or take advantage of their spa. Get some wheels because you will want to discover the rest of the island.
Where to Eat
If you’re looking for streets of plate smashing restaurants then this isn’t your kind of trip. But Paxos packs quite a punch when it comes to food and while prices are higher than elsewhere, it is a price you pay for a little more exclusivity. There are lots of little Taverna’s in the towns and villages and these change seasonally, so keep your eyes peeled.
There are three critical things you need to enjoy if you plan a visit to Gaios during the day. Backgammon, the company of old men and iced coffee. The only mob you will come across here is the team of cats waiting for the spoils from the fishmonger when he opens his doors early in the morning. However, when it comes to eating, harbour views and fresh fish make this a fabulous lunch or evening spot. At Taverna Pan and Theo, Lobster is mandatory (or should be) and their seafood spaghetti shouldn’t be missed either.
Loggos is the smallest of the harbours on Paxos and probably it’s prettiest. This tiny little Taverna can easily be missed but if you find it you sample a wild mixture of mezze and plenty of fresh fish that will send you into a contented food coma. And if a light lunch is more your think their melon salad comes highly recommended. Tel: 00 30 26620 31888.
The views are to die for and so are the cocktails. A visit to Paxos is not the same without coming here. Whether it’s just drinks or dinner, you won’t be disappointed. Rumour has it the new manager comes from Babbington House.
What to do
Breakfast without fresh bread in Paxos is like Bellinis without peach juice. Simply not done. The second thing you should do on arrival at your Villa (shortly after throwing yourself in the pool – along with your work phone) is to identify the local baker and your morning walk. Take a stroll as the island wakes up around you, followed by an espresso at the local cafe. It will have you considering life’s meaning far more deeply than you expected and with a bit more clarity than after the Ouzo you had last night.
Antipaxos | Day Trippin
Hire a boat (and an attractive sun-kissed skipper) and head to Antipaxos. Go early to beat the crowd and get the pick of its beautiful coves. Anchor up for a swim, wander down its beaches and clamber along the cliffs. And take a picnic to ensure you can find a secluded spot to feast on Ambrosia and get away from it all. There is a restaurant up the endless (and we mean, endless) flight of steps – its worth the view, its not worth the bill.
Monodendri Beach | Beach Bar
For another day trip, head towards Loggos where you will discover this wonderful beach bar. Don’t go expecting the Blue Marlin in Ibiza (it couldn’t be further from it) but this has crystal clear waters, a deserted beach and two beach restaurants that you will never want to leave. Specialities include their oven-baked pizzas, dried octopus – and a seriously impressive cocktail list. And if the need takes you, there are kayaks and pedalos to head off into the sunset with.
If the man in your life is getting in the way of your tanning regime, pop a copy of Ian Bleasdale’s map in his hand and push him out of the door. Old school and utterly brilliant, these maps will let him wander across Paxos with the knowledge of an old Greek goat herder.
Jelly shoes – crystal clear waters = no sand.
Cash – it’s Greece.
A lot of Rennie’s – the food is going to kill you it’s so good.
If you’re taking a Villa, do also get a shopping order in before you go, there is nothing worse than an empty fridge on arrival. Ionian Villas offer this.
Easyjet and BA are both flying into Corfu now. If you’re not afraid of an early rise, you can catch a dawn flight and be sitting in Paxos with a large glass of Ionian wine before lunch. Book yourself a Rib from the island to pick you up in Corfu rather than wait for the afternoon Hydrofoil.
Image credits: mostly our own | Booking.com | ilfornaioblog.com | Flickr.com