beaches and graves (caves)

The perimeter of Paxoi and Antipaxoi has a lace-like texture. It is imperative for every visitor to make a tour of the islands by boat.

The beaches (spiantzes) are mostly small ones, pebbled, with crystal clear waters. The most significant ones are Giannas, Soulanenas, Balou, Agias Marinas, Moggonissi, Kloni Gouli, Kamini, Kaki Lagkada, Alati, Kipiadi, Marmaria, Levrehio, Glyfada, Monodentri, Arkoudaki, Orkos, Kanoni, Harami (sandy beach), Ahai, Avlaki, Galazio. In Antipaxoi the transparent, bluish-green, exotic sandy beaches Vrika and Voutoumi that are noisy yet heavenly as well as the pebbled ones -and less noisy- Rodovani and Sarakiniko.

Truly magical are the caverns in Moggonissi (lair of the Nereids, according to Athenagoras of Paramythia), Trypitos with the natural bridge, the cliff of Mousmouliou, the Ortholithos (a standing rock in the sea), Ahai, the awesome cliff of Erimitis (a magnificent view in the sunset from Agioi Apostoloi in Boikatika, Magazia, overlooking the cliff) as well as the grava of Ypapanti. All these are masterpieces chiselled by nature in time for us to behold and enjoy.


The Ai Nikolas castle

Opposite the port of Gais is the little island of Ai Nikolas, of about 150 acres. More than 90% belongs to the State and the Community of Gais and only a small part belongs to individuals and to the church of Panayia, which is located on the other little island. On the top of the island (45m) lies the castle, built in 1423 by Adam II San Ippolyto to protect the people from the pirates. Its entrance was to the Southeast, at the later site of the Kouvalias mill. After the revolt of 1810, the French moved it to the Northwest, where it is today. It was then that they changed the interior and built ramps all the way to the walls for the cannons. Its condition today is very good. One can still see the powder magazine, the Venetian water tank in perfect shape and the English one with minor damage, the guardiola (watchtower), the barracks with no roof and the canons on the battlements.

Students planted trees on the little island at the initiative of Nikos Boikos (Bitsitsis) in the early 30s. Today it's a beautiful landscape, protected by the state, and the people of Paxoi seek after its total protection through endless years of efforts. A programme to fully utilise the islet and the castle is already implemented (until now one could only visit it after obtaining a permit from the Community of Gais, due to the danger of fire in the pine-forest). It includes the clearing up of trees, bushes etc., the installation of a fire-protection system, maintenance and repairs on the castle so as to render it accessible to everyone who wishes to enjoy it natural beauty, its wonderful view and to get to know the place where the history of Paxoi was actually written.

The Dalietos Castle

In Lakka, in the Babakas position, just before the sandy beach of Haramis, used to be the Dalietos castle. Unfortunately, on account of its being near the settlement, the people used the stone to build houses many years ago and so there are no longer visible traces thereof ("Echo of Paxoi" newspaper iss.97/6-81).

mineral springs

In a place where beauty flows everywhere and things are overwhelmingly covered in green, it would be rather unfair no to have some other elements that would contribute to rejoicing and health. The springs, known in Paxoi for a long time, rise from the ground and flow into the sea. Most of them are sulphurous and have been studied in 1907 by the Italian physicist A. Martelli. They had been located by the natives, shaped in the shape of pools and used until today for their healing properties especially on rheumatism. The most significant are the ones in Ozias, in Giannas and in Glyfada..

olive trees

According to specialists, it has been over a thousand years since the first time olive-trees were planted on Paxoi. Some gigantic trees that have survived prove this theory. However, the most intensive planting was under the Venetian rule (1386-1797). Their aim was profit. On the one hand they would have duty-free olive oil and on the other their subjects, the people of Paxoi, would have an income. For this effort to be successful, incentives were given, like a 10-year exemption from the tithe and 40 sequins for the planting of 100 trees. It was then that the abundant wild olive-trees were grafted.

In 1766 there are 28,672 olive trees on the island. In 1781 they amount to 74,151. Salvator reports that in 1895 there are 440,000 cultivated and 100,000 uncultivated ones. These last numbers are greatly exaggerated. The correct number of olive-trees on Paxoi at the time should not have exceeded 200,000.

The olive-oil quality is exceptional. In 1800, A. Papamarkos received a gold medal for his oil at the Paris fair. In 1862, A. Bogdanos and Aloizios Vellianitis receive a prize for excellent quality at the International Fair of London. A. Vellianitis receives another prize for excellent quality at the International Fair of Paris, in 1867. In 1870, at the Olympic Fair, Ioannis Katsimis is awarded the bronze medal and the Mayor of Paxoi the silver.

Following the fall of the Venetian rule, exports turned toward Russia, Turkey and France. Large ships entered the port of Gais and the merchants were sending goat-skins were tied to one another and thrown to the sea. They were pulled on board with ropes. The storage rooms used were the kapasses (large crocks), the pyles (rectangular stone containers brought from Malta) and the cisterns, chiselled in rock and located in the basements. Today, tin containers of increased capacity are used, but also iron barrels.

In 1776, production had reached 500 tons of olive oil and increased ever since to be quadrupled in 1990.

In 1905, the olive oil of Paxoi was standardised by Georgios Iniohos in Michigan, USA.

In 1924, the Agricultural Cooperation of Gaios was established by a group of producers. They then built their own factory. It played -and still plays- an important role in keeping transportation fares low and increasing olive oil prices. Today, it continues its successful development by using the latest technology. The efforts of Spyros Antiohos (The American), President of the Magazia to abolish airsprays with harmful pesticides, were welcomed by the Cooperation.

In 1990, after endless years of struggle, airsprays were banned in Paxoi. A large part of producers is using the biological method of cultivation, using massive traps for the olive fly and different kinds of natural fertilisers. Over 2,000 acres (and growing) are cultivated biologically and therefore receive a state subsidy, while Paxoi is recognised as the first biological place in Greece.

The variety of olive in Paxoi is lianolia and it is gathered with olivenets after the fruit has ripened. Table olives are hondrolies (thick olives), kopanistes (crushed olives), throubolies, stachtolies (ash olives), nerolies (water olives), salamouras (in brine) frymenes (toasted) etc. Olives is what kept the people alive for centuries and was the greatest percentage of their per capita income. Despite the growth of tourism over the past few decades, income from olives is still an important asset for every household.