Anti-Paxos, Ionian Islands, Greece

Anti-Paxos, Ionian Islands, Greece

Anti-Paxos is a tiny island, about 2 miles to the south of Paxos, in the Ionian Sea. It is reached by a speedboat service from Gaios on Paxos – but don’t miss the last one back at 5.30pm as you’ll be stranded. The two or three beach tavernas close when the last boat has left and there is very little way in the way of accommodation. Although we did find an abandoned car, high up in the hills, and Vrika beach is very sandy, so there are two options should you miss the last boat!

Taverna Vrika Beach is amazing. There are two tavernas – as you get off the speedboat and face the beach, our favourite is the one to your left, furthest away from the boat drop off point. It’s family run – the same people who served us seven years ago are still there – and the food they serve is to absolutely die for. If you eat or drink at the taverna, you can use the sunbeds free of charge – unlike a lot of other beaches we’ve encountered (certainly in Italy, where it’s all very regimented), this is all done on a trust basis. I’d imagine even if you didn’t eat, but still used one of their sun loungers, they wouldn’t mind. They’d probably even bring you a drink.* Factor in the location and you have perfection…

The little boat to Anti-Paxos…

Anti-Paxos…

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Boats leave from Gaois Harbour to Anti Paxos every couple of hours during the summer – they are small boats (no more than 20 passengers). Best to get there early for the first boat and spend all day on Anti-Paxos. It’s about 6 euro return -and you can’t miss the boat to get back as the beach is so small you see it coming in.

*True story – on our last visit in 2006, we ate at Taverna Vrika & had a gorgeous meal. Upon asking for the bill, I was horrified to realise I had left our money in another bag back in our apartment on Paxos and we had the sum total of about 4 euros in small change. After much panicked & hushed conversation – and imagining that we’d be well washing up – we explained our situation. To our amazement, the waitress said “no problem, pay next time you come” & brought us a huge plate of melon, absolutely free of charge. We were so taken aback and touched by the trust & generosity that we got the first boat back the next morning to pay the bill. We’ve never forgotten that and it just perfectly sums up Anti-Paxos, Paxos & Greece…

Siorra Vittoria, Corfu Town

Siorra Vittoria, Corfu Town

UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2014

Once again, we found ourselves pulled towards the magic of Paxos, after travelling around Sardinia, and so when we had a night’s stop-over in Corfu town, we couldn’t resist Hotel Siorra Vittoria again. Sometimes, when you don’t have long to spend somewhere, the familiar is a great option – and we found this to be true, this time around. A 10 minute taxi from Kerkyra Airport and we were checking in – last year we stayed in the annexe, this time we were on the second floor, and the room was just as beautiful…

Still can’t over-emphasise the luxury of a bath when travelling – a huge plus point with Siorra Vittoria. As well as the amazing breakfasts which you can take in the garden. This hotel really is something quite special & one that I think we may be visiting a few more times as we continue to explore Western Greece…

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Having a night in Corfu town (Sept 2013) before catching an early flight to Rome, I wanted to find somewhere that had a touch of luxury but didn’t break the bank. Somewhere that was very central to the old town. And somewhere that had a bath, not just a shower. Possibly a bit of a tall order, but if these are your requirements too, you might like where I found…

First of all though, Corfu Town. My last visit to Corfu was seven years ago, enroute again to Paxos. I’d done a quick internet search & found the Hotel Atlantis, conveniently located to the port. But short on any kind of luxury. We didn’t investigate Corfu town much further than the port and hired a car and drove north to Kassiopi. A great decision at the time as it’s a beautiful harbour town & we wouldn’t have known about this had we liked Hotel Atlantis…

This time, though we didn’t have the time to get anywhere else & so it was decided Corfu Town had to be investigated. And how glad am I that we did – it’s stunningly beautiful…

But what made the trip memorable, was the Hotel Siorra Vittoria, located just behind the beautiful City Hall Square, on St Padova Street. The website describes it as an “aristocratic mansion” – and that’s just what it is! Beautifully decorated in heritage colours, full of antique furniture (although certainly not stuffy), it’s like taking a step back in time. Our room (large bedroom & large bathroom – with bath!), was one of two, in a garden annexe right next to the main hotel. (The room was called Nicola, if you’re interested). Being a little bit away from the hotel, and in a little walled garden, there was a feeling of complete privacy, and it didn’t actually feel like staying in a hotel. Perfect. The room was absolutely beautiful with attention to detail clearly being very high on the agenda. And the bathroom – yes, a bath! Utterly gorgeous – and if you fancy a touch of luxury for a short stay, then I can’t recommend Hotel Siorra Vittoria highly enough. We took a taxi from the port to Hotel Siorra Vittoria as we weren’t sure how far away it was – if you have a lot of luggage, get a taxi (about 10 euros). However, if you’re not laden down, the walk away from the port towards Corfu Old Town is well worth it – about 30 minutes.