The most important thing I will tell you in this article about a small island in Greece is this: while in Paxos, look up. At night this quaint island may disappoint with the nightlife consisting, as far as I could tell, of one club called Castello, however there is another outlet of pleasure available to all. A very simple act can instill in any traveller all at once feelings of your minuscule existence in the world, and a feeling of peace and unity with the universe all at once. A recipe for this experience consists simply of a quiet, dark space in which you can recline and simple gaze up at the stars (pensive cigarette or glass of your favourite poison in hand and the soft sound of the waves crashing on one of the rocky shore beaches or the dark and mysterious silhouettes of the many towering cypress trees full of marvellous little crickets optional, insect repellent heavily advised).
The Myth vs Reality
This small island functions in a way distinct from the buzzing city life you may be accustomed to, or even a quiet town life you lead in your reality. Though the mythology of the island teaches us that it was Poseidon’s leisure island away from the prying eyes of his wife for one or many of his affairs, this doesn’t account for the knowledgeable locals who, as I am informed by shop and bar owners, know your every move. One man told me that if he was making the ‘commute’ from the town of Lakka to Gaios, his daughters would know by the small amount of time the drive over wobbly and rocky roads (if they can warrant that label) would take and just how many coffees he had stopped for, or how many people he would have spoken to. In his words, it would be impossible to get away with anything.
Spending just a month here I can say that this description is apt. On the drive/walk from wherever you are staying you will cross paths with the same people who will begin to give you a little nod of the head, a wave, or a greeting in the strangely foreign sounding Greek language – which is a beautiful tongue but in my experience almost impossible to decipher! Never fear this language barrier though, as the tourism of this island leads anyone and everyone you would come into contact with to be adept in at least English or Italian.
How To Spend Your Money
Many of the venues here are even owned by Expats from England, my favourite of which is called Il Pareo – a stunning shop in both Lakka and Gaios which is full to the brim of wonderful things from Bali. I patronized this establishment almost every time I happened to be in either town, and if you are anything like me, the contents will suit your taste for the exotic and far off whilst fitting your budget of staying closer to home! La Gatta is also a very popular shop in Gaios, its name aptly adopted from the fact that it feeds the local strays! Cute right? Along with lots of other sweet shops in which to spend your paycheck there is also often an amazing handmade jewelry stand which goes to Loggos and Gaios, the girls make everything themselves and its all really fairly priced!
As far as making recommendations goes for eating out only a few of you may take my advice. This is because I can only comment on the food from a strictly vegan point of view! And I found in Paxos that really anywhere can take the cheese out of a Greek salad or make chips or grill some vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, any Greek salad is a good Greek salad! One place I will recommend for everyone and anyone is George’s Corner in Gaios. It’s a pita place with a very relaxed feel and friendly staff, not to mention it is extremely cheap! They have a little bit of everything there so you won’t be left wanting.
How To Relax
Other recommendations I guess would refer to the beaches on the island. There are a lot of small pebble beaches around the island and as far as I could see they are all cheap and peaceful and clean, and most have unpronounceable names. Alati beach is very beautiful and not many people go there from what I saw – it’s not far from Loggos. If you are searching for a sand beach then you want Acqua Azzuro on the island of Anti-Paxos, which also happens to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you don’t have access to a super yacht of your own to anchor in this bay then you can easily find excursions to this and other bays around the area if you go into any of the tourist offices, or even walk along the port and read the signs! At Acqua Azzuro there is also the Bella Vista restaurant which had some great food (again, only vouching for the vegan options on the menu) and the fine company of hundreds of cats – some of whom were more friendly than the others.
How To See Paxos
The best way to see the islands ins and outs of the land is to rent either a car or a scooter – very Greek/Italian. There is a local bus that I witnessed scaling the hills occasionally so you could always be brave and try your luck with that – but Greek methods of timing assure me that it won’t be promptly on time! If you’re really brave you can always give walking a go! Once you have your means of independent transport, I recommend taking all of the roads that interest you, you will find some beautiful and serene spots. I would however warn you, to reduce future disappointment or frustration, that the road signs – specifically those directing you to historic sites or churches – are liars. You will follow the direction of these brown sign posts in hope of finding a cistern or church dating from the early years of the island, but instead end up in a new villa or apartment complex, or more hopefully at a dead end surrounded by chickens or sheep who will watch you warily with more interest than even the noisiest Greek woman sat on a plastic chair outside her front door in a flowery frock. All is not lost though, these sites do exist and you will most likely find them the next day whilst searching for something else in a different area. I had this particular experience with the early Christian basilica of Ayia Marina which had spontaneously placed markings and then two signs very far away which both claimed to be in front of this monument marking it for tourists such as myself: it was a difficult pilgrimage to the ruins.All in all, this island has countless charms and so many great things about it. It is perfect if you are looking to relax, shop for beautiful little treasures, talk to locals and learn about their walks of life, and basically do nothing else. Its an island of leisure where you really don’t HAVE to do anything. But really, try looking at the stars.
Gaios From Above
An altar-like construction, curiously filled with plastic and bits of rubbish…
Beautiful abandoned shop building on the side of the road
Goats on Roads
Abandoned Vintage Car
One of the many monuments you may or may not find!