Bicycling Paxos Island

Bicycling Paxos Island-The Ionian Islands of Greece

Bicycling Paxos Island

They said it couldn’t be done.
“Bicycling Paxos is impossible! The roads are too steep for bicycles”, they warned us.
Yes, indeed, they are steep. We had grades up to 28%. Ridiculous really. Impractical even for the tiny motorcycles that carry two people.
Well, we bicycled it anyway. However, one piece of advice for any future cycling enthusiasts…go without luggage.
Why were we so persistent?
Three charming towns on the island of Paxos were anxiously awaiting our arrival. We have researched them on the internet and knew we had to go.
Three traditional towns now serve as laid back vacation spots for the traveler. Paxos, is indeed, off the beaten track.

 

Bicycling-Paxos-Island-Map-

There are no ferries from Parga to Paxos Island. Access to Paxos is normally from Corfu Island. But, we were able to book one way passage on a tour boat that went from Parga to Antipaxos Island and then to Gaios on Paxos Island where we got off. It was a scenically wonderful excursion. They had no problem taking the bicycles and trailer. We stopped to snorkel at Antipaxos Island and to visit the famous Blue Caves.

Bicycling Paxos Island-Gaios

We landed in Gaios, the capital. Seafront restaurants greet the cruise boats, but behind the scenes is a thriving, charming Greek town.

Bicycling Paxos-Gaios

Bicycling Paxos Island

Day One  Gaios to Lakka

Distance: 8.7 km  (5.4 mi)/Ascent: 219 m  (720 ft)/Descent: 219 m  (720 ft)/Highest Elevation: 174 m (571 ft)

Paxos Island is only 7 miles long yet, it has some of the most challenging cycling of our trip. At minimum, 10% gradient was a given. We encountered sections up to 28%.

We rode to Lakka first at the north end of the island. An inland route made a long climb up through villages followed by a long descent into Lakka Beach. There were a lot of 14% bits; the maximum was 28% this day. The roads are narrow with no shoulder. Traffic was not heavy, but drivers tended to take up more than half the road! We rode 2.66 miles uphill before starting the descent.

Bicycling Paxos-Gaios-to-Lakka-profile
Bicycling Paxos-Gaios to Lakka
Bicycling Paxos-Gaios to Lakka

The towns on Paxos are less commercialized. Travelers come and stay in long term rentals. Lakka oozes with Greek charm. A narrow street curves around the tranquil bay. Sailboats find safe moorage; they line up next to the narrow street where restaurants flank the other side.

Bicycling Paxos-Lakka
Bicycling Paxos-Lakka
Bicycling Paxos-Lakka
Bicycling Paxos-Lakka

We walked a short distance to Harami Beach where we overlooked the beautiful bay. A charming restaurant above the beach served up the delicious Greek meals that we have been enjoying throughout the trip. Feeling a nap coming on, we took advantage of the free sunbeds for the rest of the day. A no brainer!

Luckily, when we landed in Gaios, we made arrangements for a place to stay in Lakka. The campground has closed permanently. Much of the lodging is long term. We booked a room in Lefcothea Guesthouse. It was very small, with a balcony not big enough to sit on, but it was comfortable and had a view. It cost 30 Euro off season price.

Bicycling Paxos-Lakka-Lefcothea Guestrooms
Bicycling Paxos-Lakka-Lefcothea Guestrooms

Bicycling Paxos Island

Day Two  Lakka to Loggos

Distance: 4 km  (2.5 mi/Ascent: 99 m  (325 ft)/Descent: 100 m  (328 ft)/Highest Elevation: 99 m (326 ft)

 

It’s off to Loggos, a scant 2.5 miles away. it may be the shortest distance we have ever cycled in a day in our entire lives. That is part of the reason we liked Paxos so much. We did not want to miss Loggos, another out of the way town on an out of the way island. It was why we came to Greece, and why we chose to cycle the islands.

 

Bicycling Paxos-Lakka-to-Loggos-profile

Today we ran into several British tourists hiking the road.

Blogs on Paxos talk about walking from village to village. The tourist map for Paxos shows hiking trails and walking paths all over the island. They describe the trails as easy for all abilities. You can get a map for Paxos on the island, or in Parga or Corfu for 5 Euro!

The truth is, however, we talked to numerous hikers who said they got lost several times because the trails are not marked and many trails intersect. They are local trails and only the locals really know which one to take.

The result was that we met at least six couples walking on the roads to get from village to village because the they couldn’t figure out which trails went where!

 

Loggos  sits on the very edge of the sea.

Bicycling Paxos- Loggos
Bicycling Paxos-Loggos
Bicycling Paxos- Loggos
Bicycling Paxos- Loggos

This is the main 2-way highway through Loggos!

Bicycling Paxos- Loggos

Paxos Thalassa Travel helped us to find a room. Most everything in Loggos is rented by the week.

Bicycling Paxos-Loggos-Thalassa Travel
Bicycling Paxos-Loggos

There are a lot of cats on the Greek islands. They seem to hold a special place in the hearts of the Greeks. The cats are not “owned”. There proliferation is not controlled. Yet, they are fed and cared for by members of the villages.

Bicycling Paxos
Bicycling Paxos-Lakka
Bicycling Paxos

Bicycling Paxos Island

Day Three  Loggos to Gaios

Distance: 6.7 km  (4.2 mi)/Ascent: 184 m (605 ft)/Descent: 181 m  (596 ft)/Highest Elevation: 129 m (424 ft)

This is the road the locals were referring to when they said it was impossible to bicycle Paxos. “The roads are too steep for bicycles.”  They were right about this one. With luggage, Mike could not keep up enough speed to stay balanced. He pushed a lot. The steepest gradient registered at 38%. Thank goodness that was on the downhill. Which is why we cycled the route clockwise. We did not want to push up that side.

 

Bicycling Paxos-Loggos to Gaios
Bicycling Paxos-Loggos-to-Gaios-profile
Bicycling Paxos-Loggos to Gaios
Bicycling Paxos-Loggos to Gaios-Brit lady likes Anne's trike

Fontana is the top of the hill. There is an old church. A British lady was walking from Gaios to Loggos. It’s a popular activity on the island. She took a fancy to Anne’s trike.

Bicycling Paxos-Loggos to Gaios

From the village of Fontana to Gaios was straight down an insane hill.

 

 

Bicycling Paxos-Loggos-to-Gaios-profile

After you come to the seashore, you have one more steep hill to climb, but at least it is short.

When you get to the bottom of that second hill, you are at the new port for the ferries.

This is where to get the Igoumenitsa ferry. Bicycles are not permitted on the high speed passenger ferry that goes directly to Corfu, so we had to go to Igoumenitsa on the mainland and change to the Corfu ferry from there.

Bicycling Paxos-Ferry to Igoumenitsa

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