These two spots of land lie 8 nautical miles south of Corfu and occupy just 12 square miles between them. The larger island is one vast olive grove, with trees reaching to the water’s edge. Both islands contain 34 communities with 2,400 inhabitants and 64 churches. A visit to Paxi is rewarding either for a day trip from Corfu or for longer. Their natural beauty is awe-inspiring and there are good beaches. The Paxi islands are also good for divers because of the richness of the seabed. There are actually two diving schools on the islands.
Lakka lies at the northern tip of the main island, one of four small villages in the area, with about 400 inhabitants. It nestles in a deep cove, sandy and sheltered from the prevailing southerly winds. West of Lakka are three continuous beaches for good bathing. Longos is a green and pretty village with many fish tavernas and bars. Gaios, the chief town of Paxi, is the main port and commercial centre. Off the shore, acting as a natural sea-break, is the islet of Saint Nicholas, with a Byzantine-era fort and two small churches on it. In the bay of Gaios is the Island of the Virgin Mary with a basilica on it.
Antipaxi is the smaller of the two Paxi islands, to the south of the larger, with no more than about 50 permanent inhabitants, two or three tavernas and a single road. It’s reachable by daily boat from Gaios on the main island. You can rent a boat as well, for more freedom. The eastern beaches, golden sands and turquoise waters of Antipaxi are famous throughout the Ionian Islands.
Paxi are located 7 nautical miles, in the south of Corfu (Kerkyra) and 8 nautical miles far from the Epirus coasts. It is a very picturesque island, with many caves, many churches, carved basins and sulphureous, thermal baths. The picturesque village of Gaios, protected by the two islets, Panaghia and Aghios Nikolaos, is the island’s capital. Paxos island is full of olive groves and Antipaxos island full of vineyards, but in both islands the exotic beaches have the first role. Small islands, where you will find a lot of beautiful places to visit and admire.
Paxi Archaeological Sights and Castles
Although Paxos is a small island, it has a long history. In general, the island had a common historic route to the neighbour Corfu (Kerkyra) (until their liberation, they were conquered successively by the Romans, the Venetians, the Frenchmen and the Englishmen).
The island, according to mythology, is a creation of Poseidon (Neptunes), the god of sea, who cut, with his trident, the southern tip of Corfu and created Paxos, his love refuge with Amphitriti. That is why the trident is the island’s emblem.
Homer is the first who referred at Paxos, saying that its residents had come from Epirus. Phoenics, who had their colony at Kefalonia, were probably the first to settle in the island.
As for the word’s etymology, according to Stravonas, it comes from the Phoenician word “PAKS”, which means geometrical trapezium, island with a trapezium shape, whilst, others consider that it is named after the latin pax, which means peace, crowned with an olive branchlet.
Paxi Churches and Monasteries
At Paxos island there were 39 churches in 1686, 45 in 1739 and 51 in 1781. Today, on the island there are 64 churches of which two are early Christian churches of the 6th century (Aghia Marina-Aghios Stephanos at Porto Ozias). All of them have architectural and artistic details, like marble templons, doors, windows, bell towers, icons of great artistic and archaeological value and remarkable frescoes. They are all remarkable monuments of the island.
Paxi Museums and Historical Monuments
Small Paxi islands, with their long history, have only one museum, the Historic Folklore museum at Gaios, with exhibits that reveal the history of the island, as they include findings dating at the prehistoric and classical ages, up to the period of the Balkan Wars and World War II. One of the most important exhibits is the Decree of the Ionian Parliament for the unification of the Ionian Islands to the Greek State in 1864.
Paxi Settlements and Destinations
In Corfu (Kerkyra), Paxi and Diapontia islands, there are more than a hundred villages and settlements. Some villages have remains and traces of the archaic or roman era, some are influenced by the Byzantine period, the Venetian period or the traditional architecture of the 18th, 19th and 20th century, but all of them are built in a beautiful green environment. Although, the landmark of Paxi islands is its caves, an ideal place for diving and swimming.
Paxi and Antipaxi have a lacy perimeter. So it worths touring around the island by boat. The east side of the island has small bays ideal to anchor and enjoy the green and blue sea, while at the west side, which is steep, you will see vertical cliffs and sea caves. You should be very careful because there are no beaches or natural moorings.
The beaches (spiatzes in the local dialect) are small, most have pebbles and unique crystal, turquoise water, combined with a vegetated scenery.
Beach with thin pebbles at the north of the island, near Loggos village.
A small bay ideal for swimming and safe for children, in the village with the same name, the second bigger resort in the island. Nearby there are some extraordinary caves worth seeing. For water sports lovers there is a sailing club in Laka.
A beach ideal for snorkelling near Loggos.
A small island connected by rocks with Gaios and ending at the best sandy beach in Paxi.
A big, organized beach near Loggos.
This was the place where the Greek sub “Papanikolis” hide during the Second World War. It worths visiting and you may get there by boat. It is said that this big cave, under Vasilatika village, is connected with church of Ipapanti.
It also worths touring around the island by boat and enjoying many of its wonderful beaches: Balos, St. Marina, Kloni-Gouli, Kamini, Kaki Laggada, Alati, Kipiadis, Marmaria, Glifada, Orkos, Kanoni, Xarami (sandy beach), Giana, Soulanena, Balou, Arkoudaki, Achai, Avlaki, Galazio, Exolitharo.
In Antipaxi you will find unique exotic beaches with turquoise water and the characteristic white, thick sand, most of which are accessed only by boat that you may find in Gaios. The voyage lasts almost 25 minutes.
Vrika, Voutoumi and Mesovrika
Wonderful beaches of exotic beauty, with clear and warm water that gives you the opportunity for snorkelling. They are at the easily accessible east shores where you may go with a speedboat from the port but also with boats.
Rodovani, Kaloroi and Sarakiniko
Isolated pebble beaches, accessible only by boats.
What to Do
• For diving and underwater activities lovers, Paxi has one of the prettier seabeds in Greece. Discover its magical seabed and get to know its unique beauties.
• Have a daily sea excursion to Antipaxi to swim in the unique exotic water of Vrika and Voutoumi beaches.
• Enjoy the unique sunset from Erimitis.
• Every day boats set from Gaios and tour the island. Enjoy the inaccessible beaches, the unique geologic phenomena, like Ortholithi and dozens of caves and rocky arches.
• Taste the wonderful traditional dishes and the very good quality wine of the island.
• Tour the special historic and religious monuments. Paxi has a big religious interest since in such a small island there are to date 64 churches, from which two are built in the old Christian style of the 6th century (St. Marina, St Stefanos in Porto of Ozias).
• From Laka’s lighthouse begins a trail which reaches up to Plani, one of the prettier beaches.
Region of Ionian Islands 0030 26613 61501-6, 61555
Prefecture of Corfu 0030 2661362311
Municipal of Paxi 0030 26620 32207, 32100
Medical center of Paxi 0030 26620 31466
Police station of Paxi (Gaios) 0030 26620 32222
Museum of Gaios 0030 26620 32566
Official website: www.paxi.gr