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Holidaying in Paxos alone

Yorkshire
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Holidaying in Paxos alone

I'm likely to be going on holiday on my own this year for various reasons, and I'm thinking about Paxos (probably Bastas in Lakka as I can do that as a package which feels like less hassle) because I like walking and know that it's a good place for that. I was just wondering what it would be like to be there alone - I'm quite comfortable with my own company but like to eat out in the evenings sometimes. Has anyone else been there as a single traveller, and how did you find it? Any recommendations of walks, places to eat, things to do on my own?

Salford, United...
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1. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Yiassou Skopelo,

I spent two fortnights there on my own last year; May and August. I was neither bored, nor consumed by a gnawing, solitary chill. Far from it. There's no reason not to do exactly what you would do if there were two or more of you (save perhaps hiring a boat), so long as you're alright with walking into a bar, taverna, restaurant on your own.

Filoxenia is alive and very well in Paxos. If you're travelling alone, perhaps especially if you're travelling alone, you'll find people wanting to talk to you. You can control the degree to which this happens according to your desire for interaction. Instigating conversation will bring its own rewards however, in terms of adding colour, flavour and substance to your time there. Why am I stating the bloody obvious? For one reason only, and it is this. All of the questions you pose would reward you if asked of any Greek on Paxos. Not only will you get a terrific recommendation, but you'll also strike up a conversation that could lead practically anywhere. Allow me to give you an example that happened to me.

Two years ago, I was there with my then girlfriend. That doesn't matter though; the same thing would have happened if I were alone. We were having a coffee one morning as a prelude to a day's walking.

'What will you do today?' asked our patron. 'We're going to walk to Magazia first, and then see what happens' we said. 'What will you do at Magazia?' he asked, and so the conversation went on. Before it had finished, we knew that if in Magazia it would be foolish not to push through to Erimitis, and it doesn't matter if it's closed then, if you haven't been before you should go and have a look at the view, and while you're at it, there are some really interesting ancient things to discover close by, and if you're in Magazia, my father has the place across the road from the church, you should pop in for a drink. He also looks after the church and he can open it for you and show you around and you should because it is very beautiful.

You get the picture, I'm sure. But since you ask for walks, I'm happy to give you a couple. I'm sure that others with far greater experience than I can and will chip in with some beauties, but to kick it off, there's a good walk to be had between Lakka and Loggos. I did it from Loggos to Lakka, which I would recommend, though it will surely work the other way too. If doing it as a route march, allow 3-4 hours, however you will want to stop off, meander away, have a swim here and there, so figure the best part of a day. Buy a Bleasdale. That's the first thing. Google it to buy here, though the map is widely available there. It will give you a trustworthy outline of the myriad paths that crisscross the island, and is indispensable to any walker.

Set off up the donkey steps behind the soap factory. You're going to cut inland and up steep hill when you come off the donkey path and through what feels like nothing but vertiginous olive grove. You'll head in roughly that sort of direction (subject to any 'Ooh, what's that church?' moments that cause a detour) taking in some stunning inland valleys, all bright leaf shaded and dappled with in soft greens, pierced by golden ribbons of sun picking out motes in the air. You'll come to Monodendri beach (we did this walk in late April and there was not a soul to be seen anywhere; we literally had the entire place to ourselves for an hour before another couple wondered through) from where you will leave the sae again for a fairly steep climb, with the possibility of a bit of a scramble, before joining a path that will bring you round the headland forming the southern jaw of Lakka, which will unfurl its petals to you as you complete your walk.

Time it so that you're not doing the bit between Lakka and Monodendri at the hottest part of the day. Take water. Erring on the side of caution, when I go walking alone in May, I'm going to be sure to tell somebody local where I'm going, roughly which route I'm taking and when I expect to be back. I think that has to be fairly sage advice, no matter how fit and healthy you may be, you cannot discount the possibility of sudden debilitating injury.

That unpleasant spectre past, just mooching is a very good pastime. There's a great mooch (as opposed to proper walk - I do this in heelless sandals, though it is heading toward the outer limit of heelless sandal feasibility) from Bouloukos taverna on Levrechio beach immediately to the south of Loggos. From there you get Kipos beach and, beyond that, my favourite, Kipiadi beach. Easy walk, terrific reward. Great swimming and snorkelling, especially under the promontory at the northern end. Again, take water. You're on your own after Bouloukos so far as the ability to buy anything is concerned, but really, its quick and easy. Ask someone how when you get there.

I can't give you any tips on eating out other than to go wherever you fancy. I've eaten in Gaios, Loggos and Lakka, but only Loggos alone in the evening. I tended towards Tolis' place more than anywhere, but that's probably because I've had more conversations with them than any other restaurateur in Loggos and so it was easier, partly because in terms of bang for your buck you can't beat it, and partly because it is the least formal of all Loggos' eateries (I discount Evropi and Four Seasons for these purposes), and so its easier to feel less 'on show', not that anybody cares.

A great spot at lunchtime, if alone, is to sit with your back to the front wall of Aste Doue, with the unbeaten view of the turquoise waters, the rest of Loggos, the jetty, and the big blue sea beyond it, right in front of you. Best of all, you're hemmed in on both sides by dint of the building being set back slightly from its neighbours. You're not on show, yet you've got the best seat in the house. Brilliant. Great place for a languid lunch. Even better if new acquaintances drop in for a quick glass of wine or a cheeky plate of octopus.

Above all though, given the lack of any particularly inspiring 'visitor attractions', make sure you have a couple of good books with you, but most importantly, an open mind. If you're inclined towards writing, take a good notebook too.

Have great fun. There's no reason why you shouldn't.

Pip pip,

Sam.

Stockport
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2. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Some excellent advice there from Sam, especially with regard to getting hold of The Bleasdale. Here's the link to the website - http://www.iankbleasdale.co.uk/index.htm

I'd also like to reiterate the advice to let someone know of your plans when walking alone. The wisdom of this has been brought home to me recently by the tragic tale of a 67-year old Cumbrian man who went missing whilst walking on Anti Paxos last September. He was an experienced fell-walker and a regular visitor to Paxos, but despite this and the efforts of both a professional search and rescue team along with dozens of ordinary local people, very sadly he has never been found. I don't believe in spreading scare stories or causing unnecessary panic and hundreds of visitors have wonderful incident-free walks around the island every summer, but it's always best to err on the side of caution.

Salford, United...
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3. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Oh, that is absolutely terrible. I had no idea about this poor soul when I posted my reply.

As tragic as that terrible story undoubtedly is, I really wouldn't let it, or my post put you off the idea of walking alone. After all, as great if not greater risks are taken by evey year by tourists taking hire boats out, which generally happens without a second thought being given to the gravity of the consequences in case of mishap. So long as you take sensible precautions, you'll be absolutely fine.

Stockport
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4. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Absolutely Sam! I certainly wasn't trying to put anyone off exploring the natural beauty of Paxos, just reiterating your sensible advice to let someone know what your plans are if you are travelling alone. Even in paradise accidents can happen, but thankfully incidents like this one are very rare.

Yorkshire
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5. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Thank you so much for the information and advice, it sounds just what I'm looking for, and I've gone ahead and booked for September. I'm looking forward to exploring and enjoying such a beautiful place - but rest assured I shall take care if I do go out walking alone!

Birmingham, United...
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6. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Skopelos, you won't be disappointed! I'm intending to book the Bastas for September (3rd time) but I'm being a tight fisted and waiting for the price to come down first :)

This is a great forum and everyone is super helpful, any questions you have at all, don't hesitate to ask.

Salford, United...
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7. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Good for you! I'll be there, alone, for the first couple of weeks of September too. If you see a lanky Englishman in his late 30s lounging about the place in a Panama hat with an olive branch in its band, generally looking for all the world as though he's lost his butterfly net and kilner jars, that may well be me. I'd certainly wouldn't object to the idea of sharing a coffee, if you found yourself company starved.

Have a great, great time.

Sam.

Yorkshire
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8. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Thanks, will look out for you if I visit Loggos - I'm the chubby middle aged woman with wild curly hair (just so you can hide if you see me coming ...)

Birmingham, United...
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9. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Did you book the Bastas Skopelos?

I did, we arrive on 22nd Sept for a week

Yorkshire
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10. Re: Holidaying in Paxos alone

Hi, yes, booked the Bastas, overall looks good, I go for two weeks from 1 September so will be back by the time you go, so will let you know how I get on!