Paxos is a relatively well kept secret. A tiny Greek island with the most stunning turquoise waters.
It doesn't scream family holiday, it's certainly not overrun with tourists and children, but this utterly charming island is a great destination for your tribe if you take a few things into consideration.
Paxos is picture postcard perfect. It attracts an older tourist: retired couples and lots of sailing flotillas. We stood out a bit as a 'younger' couple. Having a baby we stood out a LOT. Everyone was hugely welcoming to Mr Baby, it was nice not to be overwhelmed with other children but on the other hand if I heard a baby cry chances are it was mine! I'm quite a self conscious mum so having, what felt like, the only child on the island brought quite a lot of attention.
Secondly, most of the towns are set around quaint harbours and many restaurants are on the water's edge - basically I'm saying there's a lot of sheer drops into water. I was glad I wasn't travelling with a toddler as the level of surveillance required would exhaust me. Mr Baby was nine months old and crawling so this was a grand age to take him as you don't let babies crawl in the street or around tavernas anyway. Take one look at the sea and the views and you can see why it's an appealing island and a privilege to visit at any age.
DAY TRIP TO LAKKA -
Visiting the town of Lakka is obligatory as the views are breathtaking. We hopped on the bus to get there from Gaios. There's not much to do except hang out on the beach, eat at the tavernas and take in the scenery but what a pleasure it is to just play and hang out in such a setting. There were pebbly beaches all over Paxos so I did play the endlessly fun game of 'no, take the pebble out of your mouth. No sweety, out of your mouth. Take it out of your mouth'. Mr Baby tried to ignore me.
DAY TRIP TO ANTI PAXOS - Visiting Anti Paxos is also compulsory. You can pick up little boats in Gaios which whiz you over to the chilled sandy beaches. Again we just played in the waves, ate at a beachside taverna and then whizzed home. Mr Baby loved the boat and everyone, including the skipper, loved him and were so considerate.
Busy Commute to Anti Paxos
Mr Baby admiring the yachts from Anti Paxos
SWIM AT PAXOS BEACH HOTEL - Our villa didn't have a pool but we were made welcome as non-residents at the stylish Paxos Beach Hotel, just a 1.5km walk from Gaios. It has a pebbly beach, sun loungers and restaurant, as well as the pool, so it offers everything.
Enjoying the beach at Paxos Beach Resort - more pebbles, yum
In many ways there's not much to do in Paxos but that's its appeal. You just have to be. And you just have to be with each other. Time slows down. We did experience that sought after notion of 'quality time' together.
We booked with Travel a la Carte and they were fabulous and so personable. I'd strongly recommend them - the married couple who met us were above and beyond helpful. Click here to see where we stayed.
We opted for a self catering apartment and the "Eleni' villa was homely, safe for Mr Baby to crawl around (both indoors and pretty good outdoors as well) and the bathroom tiles were pure funky if a bit bonkers. The gallery (click here)
shows what was on offer - and those tiles.
There are steps leading up from the harbour to lots of the properties (including ours) but with our lightweight Maclaren buggy, and my husband doing most of the pushing, we didn't really have big issues. I probably wouldn't want to deal with it if travelling alone.
For somewhere so unspoilt and delicious getting to Paxos is relatively easy- simply fly to Corfu, then hop on the ferry. The ferry terminal, New Port, is about a 15 minute drive from the airport so it's pretty joined up. The taxis charge a fair rate, under €15, but if this is making your brain hurt then most Paxos letting agents will organise your transfer for a fee. Obviously it's cheaper to sort it out yourself.
The boat to Paxos from Corfu (Despina Passenger Boat) is tiny and full of character. It takes around 95 minutes and you can sit outside taking in the rays and the views, or in the cabin. Kids will love it. Times and info are here.
We pre-booked the tickets from the UK to ensure a seat onboard and it was no bother collecting them from a small office close to New Port harbour. [There's also a hydrofoil which we didn't choose as the times didn't work for us.]
WHERE TO STAY
We opted for the main town of Gaios for a mix of reasons. The island is so dinky that the 'main town' is hardly an urban sprawl: it's picturesque, friendly, and full of lovely little bars, cafes, shops and restaurants. Once the ferry docked in Gaios we had no more transfer/travelling to do. We didn't want to pay for another hire car for the week so we knew Gaios would be on the main bus routes to visit the rest of the island BUT hiring a car for a day would be easy in Gaios. We knew we wanted to spend one day visiting the neighbouring island of Anti Paxos which meant setting sail from Gaios. We wanted reasonable sized supermarkets as we were self catering. JOB DONE.
For more questions about this slice of paradise please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Tots2Travel, the blog of Janice Hopper. Janice worked for the BBC for over a decade travelling extensively to create documentaries for the BBC's history and arts output. Since becoming a mother of two boys travel is still a passion but is a little more daunting than before. This blog aims to help other parents find destinations that work for them. There's a whole world to explore…
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