Paxi (Paxos) Island, Greece
This is the smallest ‘large’ island in the Ionian Sea, just 25 sq. km. in area and with a coastline 46 km. in length. It lies 7 km. south of Corfu and its history is closely linked with that of its neighbour. Indeed, according to one myth the two islands were originally joined together and rent asunder by a blow from the trident of the seagod Poseidon. The whole island is a delightful microcosm that gives the impression of an endless olive grove. With extremely beautiful villages and superb beaches, it is little wonder that Paxi has developed into an important tourist destination in the region. Indeed, it has been declared Cultural Village of Europe in 2004.
Capital and main harbour of the island is Gaios (on the southeast side), built in the creek of a closed bay protected by the richly wooded islets of Aghios Nikolaos and Panaghia. In summertime it is brimful of yachts and other seacraft.
Gaios has a distinctive septinsular couleur locale and ambience, exerting a powerful fascination. Of particular interest are the church of the Holy Apostles (Aghioi Apostoloi), with important religious paintings, and the monastery of the Virgin, on the islet of Panaghia. On the islet of Aghios Nikolaos is a Venetian castle (1423) and beside it a windmill of the same period. Notable too is the Folklore Museum, which is housed in a seventeenth-century building.
In the south of the island is the picturesque village of Otzia, the second largest settlement (after Gaios), where there are the ruins of an Early Christian church of St Marina at the locality Porto, and of the church of St Stephen higher up. Beside the harbour are the looming rocks with the mysterious wind holes. In the northwest part of the island is Lakka, built in a sheltered bay. Close by is the sea cave of Hypapanti (Hypapante) which legend associates with the Byzantine church of that name, dedicated to the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. On the northeast coast, in an area densely wooded with olive and pine trees, is Longos, a characteristic Ionian Island village. An important tourist resort withlovely beaches and good tavernas, it has facilities for waterskiing and parachuting. Of interest is the old olive oil press (Anemoyanni) at the edge of the village. In the centre of the island (on the road linking Gaios and Longos) is Magazia, a sparsely populated settlement with traditional houses and a spectacular view of the sunset (from the locality Eremitis).
The entire island is of dentellated outline and is well worth sailing round in a boat. Close to Gaios are the beaches of Yanna, Soulalenia, Kloni, Kamini and Kaki Langada, while accessible by caique are the islets of Aghios Nikolaos, Panaghia, Kaltsonisi andMongonisi in the south (joined to Paxoi by a small bridge), with the captivating caves.
In the vicinity of Lakka are the beaches of Monodendri and Charamis, while access to Arkoudaki, Orko and Lakko is by boat. At Longos are the beaches of Levechio and Marmaria, and Glyphada and Kipos which are usually reached by sailing yacht.
EVENTS – OTHER INFORMATION
On 15 August the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin is celebrated on the islet of Panaghia, where broth is offered to pilgrims, and in the evening there is a dance in the main square of Gaios. All over the island there are many shops, restaurants, bars and clubs, serving the needs of the many visitors. In Gaios, Lakka and Longos there are facilities for watersports. There are possibilities for refuelling and replenishing water supplies on private seacraft in the harbours of Gaios and Lakka. Characteristic local product is olive oil.
Antipaxi, an island covered in vineyards, lies 3 n.m. from Paxi. It has wonderful beaches with transparent aquamarine waters and a somewhat exotic charm. Vrika and Voudomi are the most popular beaches, whereas the pebble beaches of Rodovani and Sarakiniko are usually deserted.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Municipality: 26620 32.100
Police: 26620 32.222
Harbour Authority: 26620 32.533
Health Centre: 26620 31.466