Paxos, the smallest of the Ionian Islands, is a cluster of small islands and rocky islets, the largest of which are Paxos and Antipaxos. They are located 7 miles south of Corfu, at a distance of 8 miles from the coast of Epirus in north-western Greece and 12 miles from the town of Parga. Both Paxos and Antipaxos have a lizard-like, long and narrow shape. The islands cover an area of 29 square kilometers and 3 square kilometers respectively. Paxos is an island of endless olive groves and Antipaxos one large vineyard. The eastern coastlines of the islands are smooth, while the west coasts are bold and abrupt, with remarkable natural rock formations.
Homer was the first to refer to Paxos, whose inhabitants were Greek-speaking settlers from Epirus. The first colonists were probably the Phoenicians, who had a colony on neighboring Cephalonia. The island has been tightly attached to Corfu through history with the Venetian conquerors branding its culture and eco system for 400 years and then the Republican French, the Imperial French and the British also leaving their mark until in 1864 Paxos and the rest of the Ionian Islands were united to mainland Greece. Fascist Italians and Nazi Germans were the last occupiers of the island.
The capital of Paxos is Gaios, a picturesque village built around a port which is protected by two small islands, Agios Nikolaos and Panagia. On the northern side of the island sits Lakka and on the east coast the charming village of Loggos. Today, Paxos has a permanent population of approximately 2.450 inhabitants. During summer months the island hosts more than 12.000 visitors. The inhabitants of Paxos are warm and extremely hospitable people who love tradition but also embrace all developments of contemporary Europe.
Paxos is a member of the Cultural Villages of Europe Organization since 1999 (www.culturalvillagesofeurope.com).
The local Cultural Association manages a traditional dance group, a theater group, a mixed adults’ choir and a children’s choir (pspaxon.blogspot.com).
There is also a Municipal philharmonic orchestra (www.paxi.gr).
“Friends of Paxos” Association acts as an umbrella covering all Paxos festival activities (music, art, workshops) since 2015. (www.friendsofpaxos.org)
A very old footpaths’ network is currently being signposted. A walking map by ANAVASIS is available in the local book store in Gaios. (www.facebook.com/groups/VolunteersOfPaxos)