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Paxos Island
Located seven nautical miles south of Corfu's southernmost tip and 10 miles to the west of Parga on the mainland, the small island of Paxos is a real hidden gem of the Ionian Sea that seems to be untouched by time. Gaios, the main port and capital town of Paxos is a token of Ionian charm and cosmopolitanism in miniature. The port is nestled in a fjord-like strait, created by the lush Agios Nikolas islet just across. Agios Nikolaos bears the ruins of a Venetian fortress built between 1423 and 1510. An exciting fact is that the almighty Leonardo Da Vinci drafted the plans upon which the construction was based. They are still preserved in the town's archives. The settlement of Gaios has kept its Venetian architecture and layout. Stroll around the narrow alleys and admire the beautifully preserved stone houses and mansions. The old shops and cafés have a genuine quaintness and give the impression that they have remained unchanged since they opened up for business a century ago. The other main villages of the island are Logos, Lakka, and Ozias, surrounded by pine and olive trees. If you decide to let the beach life aside for a while and take a hike inland, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking natural landscape blanketed with vast olive groves and grapevines. When passing through the settlements, look out for the elaborate cisterns carved on the rocks to collect rainwater. The east coast of Paxos is a haven of tranquil coves and bays, with dense vegetation spilling down to the water's edge. The west coast is more spectacular, as it has cliffs, sea caves, and secluded beaches that are only accessible by boat. The Best Beaches of Paxos Island Beaches in Paxos are Caribbean-like. The island boasts stunning shores of sand or pebbles, lapped by glittering, electric blue water. Monodendri Mododendri is the most famous and cosmopolitan beach of Paxos. It is situated on the east coast, about 8km north of Gaios. It is pebbly with deep, crystal clear waters. Monodendri is organized with all necessary amenities and watersport facilities. Marmari Marmari is located on the east coast, 5km north of Gaios. It is a peaceful and secluded pebbly beach with blue-green waters. It is not organized. The sea reflects the green of the trees that reach the shore. Erimitis For many people, Erimitis is the best beach on the island. It is located on the west coast, and access is made by a steep 10-minute descending path or by boat. Erimitis equals pristine nature at its finest. It is not organized. The shiny white pebbles spill down to the azure waters, creating a scenery that will be engraved in your memory forever. Seeing the sunset from here is a must. Mongonissi Mongonissi lies on the south side of the island, and it is the only sandy beach. The shallow waters of this shore, reflecting the green of the surrounding vegetation, are particularly attractive to families with small children. The beach is organized with sunbeds and watersport facilities. There is a taverna where you can enjoy a delicious meal after your swim. Things to do and see in Paxos Island The Folklore Museum of Paxos Based on the island's Cultural Association initiative, the Historical and Folklore Museum of Paxos was inaugurated in 1996. The museum displays exhibits from ancient times until the mid-20th century. There are fossils, pottery fragments, and more items from Prehistoric, Classical, and Roman times. As far as more recent centuries are concerned, you will see weapons dating from the times of the Venetian rule and the Decree declaring the annexation of the Ionian Islands to the Greek State in 1864. Last, there is a particular room containing utensils, costumes, and traditional furniture donated to the museum by the locals. A daily boat trip to Antipaxos If you have an extra day during your holiday on Paxos, don't hesitate for a second to book a trip to the tiny neighboring island of Antipaxos. Antipaxos is hands-down the definition of Eden for anyone lucky enough to set foot on its shores. The island's two beaches, Vrika and Voutoumi, are a piece of the Caribbean moved to the Ionian Sea. Fine sand is lapped by azure waters you've never seen before, creating a paradise for snorkeling and lazy relaxation on the beach all day long. Antipaxos is also known for its grapevines. Though of a small scale, the wine produced here is a sweet and dark pleasure you must try. Accommodation in Paxos Island Though small, Paxos boasts a large selection of accommodation options for all tastes and budgets. You can stay in hotels, luxury apartments, villas, and traditional houses.
Othoni is the westernmost point of the Greek territory. It is the largest of the Diapontia Islands, a complex of islands and islets located to the northwest of Corfu. In a way, the Diapontia are a boundary between the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic. Othoni is 11sq.km. wide and lies 7.5 nautical miles from the northwest coast of Corfu. According to mythology, it was the Homeric Ogygia, home of nymph Calypso. Calypso kept Ulysses captive for seven years until he escaped to Corfu on a raft. Othoni is divided into two regions, Ano Panta and Kato Panta. There are two main settlements: the seaside Ammos, the island’s port, and the mountainous inland Chorio. Passengers coming to Othoni via the ferry line from Corfu disembark at Ammos. Ammos is where all the action takes place. All amenities, shops, and most accommodation options are based there. Next to the port of Ammos, there is a fishing shelter called Avlaki. Lately, Avlaki has undergone adjustments to provide safe mooring for yachts and small private boats approaching Othoni. The nature of Othoni is simply stunning. There is lush vegetation, combined with steep and rocky shores, that reveal secluded beaches of incredible beauty every now and then. Due to its morphology, Othoni is a paradise for hikers. A walk through verdant landscapes, filled with age-old olive trees, cypress trees, plane trees, and low vegetation, such as myrtles, capers, sage, and thyme, will take you on an adventure from the coastal areas to the locations of a higher altitude. The most beautiful tour follows a stone path from Ammos to Chorio. The beaches of Othoni The steep and rocky landscape of Othoni makes most of the island’s beaches hardly accessible by road. There are paths to some of them, but approach by boat is by far the easiest way to enjoy your swim. If you do not own a boat, the sloops departing from Ammos are convenient for a tour around the beautiful coves. The main beach is the one in Ammos, next to the port. The family-friendly shore is located just below the settlement. It has fine, powder-like sand and shallow waters that make it perfectly safe for children to play on. On the southwest coast of Othoni lies one of the most beautiful beaches of Greece. It is the famous Aspri Ammos. The scenic beach is only accessible by boat, as it is towered by a ragged cliff. It has white sand and amazing turquoise waters. Swimming in Aspri Ammos is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those admiring pristine, unspoiled nature. A bit to the north, on the west coast, the beach of Xylosermi is of the same pattern as Aspri Ammos. It is a fantastic coast of crystal clear waters and fine sand, only accessible by boat. On the north coast, the bay of Fyki is a spot of stunning beauty. The pebble beach is surrounded by lush greenery reaching the water’s edge. The nearby shipwreck of a vessel called Sara attracts many scuba diving lovers. Things to do and see in Othoni Calypso Cave Near Aspri Ammos, there is a cave 100m-long and 20m-high, which is only accessible by boat. It is the famous “Calypso Cave”. Othoni was called Ogygia in antiquity. Homer tells us that Othoni was the place where nymph Calypso lived. Ulysses, on his trip back to Ithaca, found himself in Othoni. He met the charming Calypso, who seduced him and kept him a prisoner in this cave for seven years. At some point, Ulysses managed to escape captivity and fled to neighboring Corfu on a raft. The Lighthouse on Cape Kastri Cape Kastri, at the eastern tip of the island, features the ruins of a Venetian castle and the famous Lighthouse, one of Othoni’s prominent landmarks. The Lighthouse was built in 1872 at an altitude of 100m above sea level. It played a crucial role in navigation, as it guided ships coming from the Adriatic for a safe passage into the Ionian Sea. During their departure at the end of World War II, the Germans destroyed the Lighthouse. Later, it was repaired to take its previous form. The area is an incredible viewpoint, offering endless vistas to the sea and the surrounding area. Accommodation in Othoni Most accommodation options in Othoni are located in Ammos. You will find a hotel, rooms to let, and apartments.
Corfu Town
Corfu Town is one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. It is a place of rich culture, centuries-old history, everyday life intertwined with fine arts, and exciting traditions that attract thousands of visitors each year. Due to its strategic location at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea, Corfu had always been an essential asset for anyone who wanted to control the trading and military routes between the east and the west. All the major forces were well aware of that, so the Venetians, the French, and the British successively conquered the island. All of them left their influences in Corfu Town, which is much in evidence today in the city’s unique architecture and multifaceted historical and cultural heritage. This led to Old Town being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. A stroll around the Old Town, nestled between the two Venetian fortresses, is a charming trip back in time. Starting from the Old Fortress, admire the impressive Spianada Square and Liston, and get lost in the streets of Campiello. Campiello is the town’s oldest district, featuring tall Venetian-style buildings, British mansions, narrow paved alleyways (the so-called “Kantounia”), and small hidden squares with fountains. Besides history, Corfu Town is also a place with a vibrant present. The city has a remarkable culinary scene with many award-winning restaurants, and various luxury international retail chains have a presence here with boutiques. Also, the students of the Ionian University, which is headquartered here, add to the cosmopolitan character of this city, making it a real international hotspot. The top things to do and see in Corfu Town The Old Fortress Though initially built by the Byzantines in the 6th century AD, the fortress came to prominence during Venetian rule. It is built on a rocky peninsula at the eastern end of Old Town and Spianada. Two towers were constructed on the two hilltops dominating the peninsula: the Tower of the Land and the Tower of the Sea. Access to the Old Fortress is made via an iron bridge. Underneath, there is an artificial moat (the “Contrafossa”), which was created for extra security. Today, fishing boats and other small vessels moor at the canal, creating quaint scenery. Past the arched entrance, a gallery leads to the center of the fortress. On the south side, there is the Doric church of Agios Georgios, which was built by the British in 1840. You will see Mandraki, a small quaint port with a fine restaurant serving delicious cuisine on the north side. The Venetial prison, the British barracks, and the military chapel still stand. In Versiada, the outdoor area of the fortress, cultural events and concerts are organized. Spianada and Liston Spianada is one of the most famous sights of Corfu. Strategically located between the Old Fortress and Old Town, it is the biggest square in Greece and the Balkans. It covers an area of 42,000sq.m. and is a favorite meeting point for both locals and visitors. The small General Viktoros Dousmani Avenue divides Spianada into the Upper (Ano) Square and the Lower (Kato) Square. If you take a walk in Spianada, you will admire some of the town’s most important monuments, such as the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, the Statue of Schulenburg, the Maitland Rotunda, and, of course, Liston. In Spianada, there is also a cricket court. Cricket was imported into Corfu by the British, and the locals adopted it. Liston is an elegant, arcaded promenade on the western end of Spianada, resembling the Parisian Rue de Rivoli. It was developed during the French occupation. The arches of Liston host some of the best cafés and restaurants in town. On Easter, the lanterns of Liston are lit and accompany the processions of Holy Friday, creating an impressive spectacle. The Church of Agios Spyridonas It is an impressive church and one of the most important Byzantine landmarks of Corfu. It is set in the alleyways of Old Town and houses the relics of Agios Spyridonas, the island’s patron saint. Agios Spyridonas is a single-aisle basilica with a stunning marble entrance. Construction was completed in 1589 by the Voulgaris family. The church’s bell tower stands out in the sky of the alleyways. Garitsa Bay Garitsa is a quaint area located on the south side of Corfu Town, between the city center and the peninsula of Kanoni. It is one of the oldest quarters of the town, with findings that date back to ancient times. The bay of Garitsa is enchanting for anyone lucky enough to visit it. The moon-shaped bay starts at the Old Fortress and ends at the multi-photographed picturesque point of the Windmill. It is a place of great beauty, with a seaside promenade that the locals use all year long for their walks. During the summer months, the bay becomes a meeting point for boats and yachts from all over the world. The waters offer good anchorage, as they are safe and protected from the winds. They are also deep enough to support even mega yachts. Views onboard any ship anchored in the bay are breathtaking, with the Old Fortress and town in the distance. Garitsa used to be an industrial area until the 1950s. Many factories were based in the neighborhood, and people who worked there chose to settle close to their workplaces. Today, it is a vibrant place of recreation, sports, outdoor activities, and entertainment. The area boasts many restaurants, bars, and cafés for joyful relaxation moments overlooking the bay, while Garitsa Grove is great for peaceful walks under the shade of eucalyptus trees.