If there is a paradise for olive trees then it must be Paxos
, but one that is also shared with those seeking quiet relaxed holidays in beautiful surroundings free from mass tourism.
Small it may be but Paxos has all the variety of much larger islands, such as the rugged grandeur of its Adriatic coast
, the dappled shade and cool glades of its interior and the beaches and picturesque inlets along its east coast
. It is a microcosm of all that is best in a Greek island, but on a scale that means it can be easily explored by car or on foot. Its reputation as a romantic destination stretches as far back as Roman times
: Anthony and Cleopatra apparently chose Paxos for a candlelit dinner a deux before the fateful Battle of Actium in 31BC, setting a precedent that discerning British visitors to the island have been happy to follow in more recent times.
There are only two main villages
on the island, Gaios the capital, with its network of narrow streets and harbour sheltered by the picturesque islet of Agios Nikolaos, and quiet Loggos to the north, a fishing village where island life moves at a slower more relaxed pace.
Apart from the olives, the beaches of Paxos have rightly earned the accolades of those who have been fortunate enough to visit them. The choice is wide, from popular stretches of sand
where the active can enjoy various water sports and beach side kantinas to hidden small beaches tucked away
at the back of tree-lined coves.
But Paxos is far more than just an idyllic holiday destination
. Most of its inhabitants have lived and worked on the island for many generations, and tending their olives or vines, fishing along its shores still play a central role in the daily life of the island and the visitor is very much a part of that life. Perhaps therein lies the reason why so many return to this 'paradise' year after year.