It’s quite fitting that my first post on travel is on one of the Greek islands. It also happens to be the region I took my first summer holiday when I first moved to London, and still is one of my very favourite destinations in the whole world for the perfect summer holiday. Filled with sun, sea, sand and fantastic seafood it really does tick all the boxes. It also takes some beating in the value-for-money department too, which is an added bonus.
I was fortunate enough to visit the secluded island of Paxos, part of the Ionian islands to the west of mainland Greece, in July. If you’re after a place to party until dawn, this is not the island for you. If however, rest and relaxation and place to hide from the usual hordes that are drawn to the Med this time of year is what you’re looking for, Paxos is it. And boy does it deliver. With only 3 main towns and the island itself stretching just 13km in length with beaches requiring a car or lengthy walk to be reached, you won’t find a high rise resort or Irish pub in sight.
Days are spent in the typical fashion – lounging by the pool or on the beach, only dragging oneself off to trek the 5m to the beach side restaurant for lunch. Each evening is an adventure of discovery, finding another taverna serving up yet more delicious calamari, souvlaki or freshly caught snapper. And should you need a night off of eating out, homemade tapas on the balcony overlooking sea is always an option.
Antipaxos, a small island about 3km south of Paxos, is even more secluded than it’s neighbour and is home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the Ionian islands. It is possible to hire your own boat for a day trip down to this tiny bit paradise. Skimming the east coast of the island from Loggos down to Vrika beach was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, and something I highly recommend should you ever visit.
Given the size of the island I wasn’t expecting much in the way of shopping (one of my favourite things to do while travelling), however was very pleasantly surprised to discover Il Pareo in the small town of Lakka. A gorgeously curated boutique of woman’s beach wear, accessories and some homewares. Not surprisingly, it’s a major hit with the British expats and Italian holidaymakers who apparently descend on the island in droves over August.
Another favourite with the continentals is Ben’s Bar at Monodendri beach. This is a beach bar done properly. Fab cocktails and groovy tunes make it the perfect place for sundowners to finish off a long, hard day in the sun.
Always a good sign when we’d reached the end of the trip and it was clear that a week was not enough. Greece had delivered once again, and thank you to Paxos for reigniting my love affair with the spoils this country’s islands have to offer.
- Villa rental through Ionian Villas ionian-villas.co.uk
- Shopping at Il Pareo ilpareopaxos.com
- Sunset views at Emiritis Bar & Restaurant www.erimitis.com
- Boat hire with Panos in Loggos