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How I fell in love with Paxos

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By Mark Hodson

I love islands, and I especially love islands without airports. It’s just that added bit of effort in getting there that seems to protect them from overdevelopment and the inevitable cynicism and blandness that comes with it.  I actually enjoy arriving by sea: you get more of a sense of place than jetting in.

Last week I returned from a week’s holiday on Paxos, a tiny island off the south coast of Corfu, and I’m happy to report that it’s every bit as lovely as I imagined. Pretty, authentic, laid-back, friendly and with superb restaurants and the most impossibly clear turquoise bays.

I’ve been taking holidays in Greece for 30 years but I’m still taken aback every time I visit by the simple pleasures: the colours, the flavours of the food, the warmth of the people, the clarity of the light.

There aren’t many hotels on Paxos. I stayed at Villa Doria, a simple two-bedroom villa with a private pool in the hills above the village of Gaios. It’s available through GIC The Villa Collection, which has a great collection of properties on the island. You can find out more here.

One of the joys of Paxos is that it’s small. There are just three villages connected by a single road. That’s a great relief for a travel writer, who can laze on the beach without guilt. I once spent a frenetic week researching a piece on Crete that involved driving many hundreds of miles, visiting numerous ancient sites and hotels.

I was lucky enough to book my trip just after the Greek referendum when there was a feeling of panic in the air and few people were booking. Prices were low. Now that the economic crisis has settled down bookings are picking up, but there are still some great deals to be had in September and October (both wonderful months to visit the islands). See these late deals from Sunvil, and see other places to visit in August.

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