Paxos playfully rests in the beautiful Ionian Islands, just to the south of Corfu Island. Year after year, this small but stunning island plays host to thousands of tourists, but still manages to keep its traditional charm. Of course, the aqua blue waters that trim the coastline are major tourist magnets for the island. However, there are many things to do off the beaten track in Paxos, away from the popular beaches.
One of the most alluring aspects of Paxos is its ‘capital’, Gaios. Its British and Venetian influences are still evident throughout the streets of this tiny town. Yes, it is extremely relaxing, especially in the main square. However, Gaios is usually the first place tourists visit. Try one of the other smaller villages located around Paxos for a real cultural treat.
Magazia is one of the smaller settlements on Paxos, and is well worth a visit. Nothing more than a few hamlets grown together, the settlement is situated between Lakka and Gaios, so it is easy to reach after arriving in the capital. Tourists are usually not seen here, but a traditional Paxos lifestyle certainly is. The area is renowned for its beautiful sunsets and a 6th century archaeological ruin.
Another little village that is often overlooked is Fontana. It is only a short distance from Loggos and provides one of the more traditional spots on the island. The church in Fontana will make the trip great value all on its own, but don’t forget to explore the rest of the village. Tourists will feel as though they have stepped back in time when they arrive here. An olive press is available for viewing in the spring and early summer. Remember, the village is also known as Platinos by locals.
Paxos is also home to a stunning olive press museum, which gets overlooked by visitors far too often. The Olive Press Museum is a great place to spend an hour. It was originally built in 1865 as an olive press, and was still operating up until 1960. It is open from 11:00 until 14:00 seven days a week, and tourists can purchase local produce while visiting.
Tourists looking to get off the beaten track in Paxos should head to the cliffs of the western coast. Okay, so these cliffs aren’t exactly off the beaten track. However, there are so many places to visit that tourists can literally escape everyone and enjoy the white limestone cliffs privately. There are plenty of coves, caves and beaches that can only be accessed by boat.
The Kastanitha Caves, Grammatiko, Ortholithos and Erimitis Bay are among the most impressive sites along the west coast. However, there are dozens of wondrous sites along this coastline that are virtually deserted. Most of the spots can only be reached via excursion boats, which usually leave from Gaios or Lakka.
Hikers and those who like to get around on foot will feel right at home on Paxos. Getting off the beaten track in Paxos may mean getting onto the walking tracks! Walking the island is the best way to see the stunning scenery that dominates the landscape. Olive groves, small villages, limestone cliffs, pristine coves and lonely beaches dot the 10 by four kilometre island.
John is a travel writer from eHolidayCollection who provide a range of villas in Corfu and Paxos to rent for your Greek holiday.