Antipaxos is a part of the Pахi group of islands and it is a small islet located around 3 km south of Paxos with an area of 5 sq. km. Less than 50 people reside on the islet, and tourists usually arrive there to spend a day in new surroundings if they spend the rest of the vacation in Paхοs, Corfu, and Рarga. The island is worth the visit because you can see numerous vineyards there, all of which are the source of local wine production. The wine is delivered to taverns in the neighboring Ionian islands.
As some of the Greek legends say, Paxi and all the tiny islands around it were the results of Neptune’s, the sea god, nipping off a Corfu island. The trident separated a small piece of Corfu away from its mainland so that Neptune would have a snug cozy place for himself and his consort Amfitryti.
About the Islet
Vrika and Vοutoumi are the two beaches from which the boats with tourists depart. At both of the beaches, you’ll find beach taverns with sunbeds and umbrellas. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped straight on the Caribbean ground when you see the bright blue and transparent waters and white sand. Forget about reaching Antipaxos by car because there is no ferry line. You’ll need to go on a boat which does not transport vehicles. If you decide to stay in Antipaxos, you’ll have to stay at a private villa because you won’t find a single hotel on the islet. However, the villas promise the best stay thanks to their private pools and outstanding accommodation.
Antipaxos will offer you a true deja-vu from the past once you run into Magazia. This is a small area you’ll see as you walk down the road between the village. Go to the village for a real traditional Greek experience where you’ll see “kafenio”— places with gardens and an interior that dates back to a few generations ago.
You can reach Antipaxos by boat. If you want to go to Antipaxos in an independent organization you’ll need to hop on a boat that departs from Gaios. You can find regular boat lines from early morning to late afternoon. For those who decide to visit both the beaches Vutumi and Vrika, you’ll be able to walk by a street that looks like a village. You’ll come across the dirt road and you’ll need about 30 minutes to get from one beach to another.
Getting from Paxos to Antipaxos will take only 15 minutes. Hiring your own boat is also an option. Get a private speedboat and test the waters at your own pace. Even better, use the chance to stop in the middle of the sea and dip in the crustal-blue waters.
The islet has a small harbor – Agrapidia – from which you can easily reach the interior of the island. You can follow a variety of tracks from the harbor and as you pass the cottage with orchards of fruit trees, vegetables, and wild herbs, you’ll have a wonderful scenic route to the interior of the island. You’ll find numerous vineyards at the islet where the local residents nurture the grapes and produce high-quality red wines popular and famous all over the island of Paxi.
The beaches to visit
Another characteristic of the Antipaxos island are its gorgeous beaches. You’ll be able to swim and snorkel to your heart’s desire all vacation long. As previously mentioned, Voutoumi and Vrika are the two main beaches of Antipaxos. You can find them at the north end of the islet. You can have a carefree vacation at both of the beaches, so feel free to bring the kids and the elderly. When you’re all done with soaking up the sun, head to the small and beautiful secluded coves located at the south end of the beaches. When you decide to reach Antipaxos from Gaios, you can take a water taxi every hour and you’ll be at the islet in about 15 minutes.
The vibe on Antipaxos
Who doesn’t want a little bit of secluded vacation from time to time, right? When you’re in the mood for separating from the rest of the world, Antipaxos will be your piece of paradise. Only a mile south of Paxos, the tiny Antipaxos with its dusty paths twisting up tree-carpeted hills, luxuriant vineyards and enchantingly white sands sitting right to the azure blue waters will entice you to spend more than just a day there. Devoid of shops and deluxe hotels, offering solely villas to spend the nights in, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived at the most secluded and private part of Greece.
Have you been wondering what the weather in Antipaxos would be like offseason? If you don’t want to travel to Greece when virtually the entire Europe finds their sanctuary next to the Ionian and the Aegean Sea, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll never have to wear winter clothes with you. Namely, the temperatures won’t go below 12 degrees C, and that’s for the coldest month of January.
From February to April there will be very few tourists, just like during January, but the temperatures will rise by a few degrees each month, reaching around 17-18 degrees C in April. This is one of the best months to visit Greece if you’re not only there for the beaches and sunbathing. With temperatures not going higher than 25, your experience in the hills and forests of Antipaxos will leave you in awe.
July through mid-October is the peak season when you’ll find a variety of travelers visit the Ionian islands. This is the season of perfectly warm waters, lively beaches, and cheerful vibes you’ll be feeling every which way. A lot of sunshine during the day and very pleasant evenings will make you want to plan another holiday in Antipaxos as soon as possible.
One of the characteristics of the Greek people is that they love to eat outside. There’s something special in sharing food with friends as you bite on the delectable food in their taverns. Use the chance to try out their delicious gastronomic choices and munch on some of the best seafood from the Ionian sea.
Thanks to the geographic position of Antipaxos, you’ll find a superb amalgamation of tastes and cuisines on the islet. Mixing the tastes from the Greek coasts, and those at the base of the Adriatic Sea enriched Antipaxos with culinary traditions from all over the Mediterranean basin. You can see a Venetian influence island-round. For instance, the names of the foods such as stufato, which stands for a rich Ionian stew, is of Italian origins. Take pasta dishes for example. Pastitsio, is a type of macaroni, ragú, and béchamel dish mixture.
Furthermore, if you’ve ever tried Turkish food, you’ll find Greek delicacies quite similar. All of that is due to the long years of the Ottoman Empire’s domination throughout that part of Europe. The Turks have also brought in their way of eating food which is still somewhat popular in Greece. When you order a meal in the Ionian Islands, you’ll find a variety of meze, and little taster plates, all of which are shared between the people sitting at the table, to be served as appetizers.
Typical for the archipelago, you can find fresh fish and seafood in abundance. The taverns are supplied directly from the fishermen, so you can often see the chefs accepting fish straight from the boats and throwing it into the kitchen to be prepared. Where the locals don’t serve as much fish, you can find alternatives such as lamb, cheese, and a host of locally grown vegetables. The amalgamation of colors and tastes will make your mouth water before you even get to smell the delicacies.
Unlike in other parts of Greece, when you visit the Ionian islands, you’ll find some of the most delicious food off-the-beaten-path. When you mix traditional cooking with outside influences, you get a unique and quite mouthwatering combination of food and an even bigger variety of restaurants. Some of the few restaurants you might encounter are the following:
Taverna – a traditional Greek establishment; most often a family-owned place open in the evenings.
- Souvlatzidika – the best place to get small souvlaki, pita gyros, or gyros plates. You can choose between pork and chicken meat.
- Snack bars – When you want a quick and easy meal that you can eat while taking a walk. Get a sweet or savory crepe, try out toasted sandwiches which are just some of the favorite meals among Greeks.
- Pizzeria – obviously a pizza place. Due to the Italian influence, you’ll be able to also enjoy your favorite pizza if you start craving it mid-holiday. You can find a combination of Greek and Italian dishes at a pizzeria too.
- Estiatorio – restaurants with a richer selection of food and wine than tavernas. They are open for lunches and dinners.
- Psistaria – a grill house, you’ll find exclusively up in the mountain villages. The Greek people are especially fond of this type of restaurant. Try barbecued meats and Kokoretsi there.
- Psare Taverna – a taverna where you’ll have the most delicious fresh fish prepared.
- Ouzeri – traditional bars to have meze snacks with the drinks.
- Zakaroplasteion – a dessert place where you can buy cakes, sweets, and ice creams.
The best wine in Greece
Because of the combination of the archipelago’s winemaking traditions and grape varieties used, the wines produced on the Ionian Islands will taste nothing like those coming from other parts of Greece. This is all thanks to the Venetian influence that’s been present for centuries on end. When you ask about the most common grapes grown on Corfu and Cephalonia, you’ll learn it’s Robola. This is the native grapes of Italy’s Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region. While they’ve been having a few years of not so good production, Ionian Island wines are slowly but surely gaining their full potential.
Not only are the locals using the new methods to produce the good old sorts of wines, but they’re also working on the production of organic and natural wines. Grape varieties such as Vardea (white) and Vertzami (red) are gaining in popularity and being tested for the most superb wine tastes. Some of the grape varieties that also deserve everyone’s attention include Corfu’s white Muscat and Kakotryghis, Zakynthos’ white Moscatella, Cephalonia’s white Tsaoussi and red Mavrodaphne.
Other drink choices in Antipaxos
Are you looking for more beverages to enjoy in on the fine summer evenings? Wine is not the only alcohol you can indulge on your vacation. On the contrary, from ouzo to Metaxa, you can find a rich variety of liquor in Greece. Some of the best choices include
- Soumatha – a white, almond-based drink. Make sure you keep it cool and always in the refrigerator.
- Metaxa 3, 5 & 7 stars – one of the most famous Greek brandies. Quite strong and it will taste great when sipped after a meal.
- Ouzo – one of the most unique liquors in the world made from grape skins, stems, and pips. It has a one-of-a-kind taste of aniseed. Feel free to have it neat or mix with a variety of non-alcoholic drinks.
- Retsina – the wine that has spent some time maturing in pine barrels. This process allows the resin to seep into the wine, enriching it with, especially delectable flavor. Have a glass of retsina after lunch for a great digestif experience.
Spending your holiday in the Ionian islands will be an unforgettable experience. Whether you decide to go to Paxos or Antipaxos, you’ll have the time of your life. Filled with lovely beaches and lush vineyards, the Ionian islands will captivate you with their beauty and make you want to book your next holiday before you even sit on a plane to go back home. Don’t miss out on trying the food and spending time on the lovely beaches. Go scuba diving and take pictures on every captivating location to remember this vacation forever.