Paxos is one of the seven Ionian Islands, located in the north west part of Greece, 7 miles south of Corfu at a distance of 8 miles from the mainland coast of Epiros and 12 miles from the seaside town of Parga. Paxos is the largest in a complex of small islands with Antipaxos as the second largest. The others are: St Nicholas, Virgin Mary, Kaltsonisi, Mongonisi, Daskalia. Paxos has a surface of 20 square kilometers, when Antipaxos is 3 sq. kilometers large. The biggest part of the island complex is consisted of limestone. Its highest peak is about 241 meters above sea level.
Climate is typical Mediterranean, marked by seasonal contrasts. Winters are mild and moist, whereas summers are warm, with very little rainfall. Summer drought may last over three months. Annual rainfall ranges from 960 to 1200mm.
Population is approximately 2.500 people with an added Albanian and European permanent residents’ community. The Paxos archipelago belongs administratively in the Prefecture of Corfu. There is a traditional cultural and administrative linkage between all the seven islands existing until our days. There is ferry connection with mainland Greece via Igoumenitsa port and daily connection with Corfu, which is the Prefecture’s capital.
Locals adore their island. Young Paxiots tend to return to their home- island, since jobs are no more impossible to find. Until thirty years ago olive oil production was the main income source for the locals. Cultivation of the olive tree was initiated and intensified during the Venetian occupation of Paxos. Nowadays, although olive groves cover 90% of the island’s surface, olive trees cultivation comes second after tourism activities.
Tourism started in the early seventies. Paxos was first discovered by Italian tourists, who made it famous for its beautiful landscape, mainly its beaches and its olive groves.
The seaside villages are full of multi storied houses and narrow little streets, “kadounia” as Paxiots call them. In the island’s mainland the settlements are surrounded by olive groves and are consisted of traditional stone houses usually east bound, covering – in a very resourceful way – the needs of the local family and its agricultural needs.
Early Spring is a particularly beautiful time period on Paxos. The island’s flora blooms in a most spectacular way while winter stillness gives way to a juicy Spring, turning footpaths into an unforgettable experience for walkers. More than 350 flora species exist on Paxos, 2 of which are endemic. From early April visitors can enjoy the full blossom of local wild flora and sea temperature is gradually rising.
Summer time is full of tension on Paxos because of the tourist wave that hits our island peaking in August.
Fall calms things down both for the locals and the tourists, who wish to enjoy the change of the landscape in cooler rhythms and moderate temperatures. The island is welcoming and full of energy still until the end of November.
Winter with its wild winds on one hand and the shiny sunny days on the other captivate not only locals but also strangers to this island, who once on Paxos, remain always trapped in its seductive beauty.
The notion that most of the small European villages share common problems and anxieties placed Paxos in the European network of Cultural Villages of Europe in 1999. Paxos was the Cultural Village of Europe in 2004. Europeans from the villages participating in this network love to share experiences and knowledge between them, to exchange ideas and solutions to common problems, to prepare innovative cultural events for one another, to cooperate in various projects, to get to know each other’s life style deeper and better.
Paxiots live their everyday life in style, being open to new experiences and acquaintances; receptive, hospitable and loving to every new admirer of Paxos; always ready to share their island’s beauty with anyone willing to live Paxos life and everything it represents.
Try living the Paxos experience off season also. It is really worth the effort!