From picture perfect bays, buzzing nightlife and buckets of sunshine, you couldn’t really ask for a more ideal holiday than on the gorgeous island of Cyprus. Of course, there is the infamous all night partying and up-to-no-goodness of Ayia Napa, the heart-racing history of Limassol, or the perfect blissfulness of Protaras. However, thanks to its amazing prices, great locations and selection of wonderful accommodations, Paphos is a top choice for holidays in 2013.
Paphos (and the whole island) is lucky in that it has great weather, almost the whole year round; the winters are mild and good for topping up that tan with a quick break in January, while the summer absolutely sizzles and is made for days running around the beach, dipping your toes in the warm waters, and indulging in some holiday fun. Legend has it that the Goddess of Love herself, Aphrodite was born from the waves of the island’s beaches and there are many sites dedicated to her. Image via @ Son of Groucho
First up, we’ve got to mention the beaches, they are gorgeous. Latchi, Pachyammos, or Pharos Lighthouse Beach are all within reach for a day or two soaking up the sunshine, splashing about and grazing over a long lunch at a waterside taverna. A little drive from the town you can find Aphrodite’s Rock (where the lady herself is to have appeared.) A relaxed spot, there’s a pebble beach that you can cool down in, and legend has it, if you swim around the rock three times, you’ll be granted eternal youth. Image of Aphrodite’s Rock by @ Verity Cridland.
Apart from sun, sea and sand the history of the island is plain to see. There is plenty to discover in and around Paphos. It has an Acropolis, (like the one in Athens) Paphos Fort, the Tomb of the Kings or the simply magical Temple of Aphrodite, which dates back to the time of the Myceneans around the 12th century BC. Scattered throughout the area you might even stumble across the remains of theatres, fortresses, tombs and palaces. Image via @ Glen Bowman.
For adventurers, or just for anyone look for a bit of activity, don’t miss the Troodos Mountains. There are unspoilt villages scattered throughout, tiny churches and excellent walking or hiking trails. And the views up there? Well, we think it’s hard for words to simply describe it; you have to see if for yourself.
Just a short drive from Paphos centre, you’ll find the Lara Beach Turtle Conservation Station. A serene stretch of sand, where, if you’re lucky you can find leatherback or green turtles scurrying across the sand, and a lovely secluded beach with plenty of greenery. Remember, September is the best time for viewing.
Family fun is plentiful in Paphos from the water sports on offer to the beaches. Paphos Zoo, family cycling adventures, an ostrich farm, amusement filled Luna Parks and (our favourite) the Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark are all close by and ensure there’s a lot to keep kids of all ages busy. George’s Fun Bus is a good day out, with “guaranteed fun.” The tour takes in historic ruins, the Adonis Waterfall and Sea Caves. All in a day’s work really!
There are couple of wineries in the area if you’re looking for traditional Cypriot hospitality, a great lunch and, naturally, lashings of wine. The Kolios Winery, Sterna Winery or Tsangarides are all worth visiting. A fountain of knowledge, the owners provide tasting and educational visitors and offer you the chance to imbibe some delicious wine without feeling too guilty.
Partying in Paphos
Although not *quite* as wild as Ayia Napa, Paphos has its own alternative clubbing atmosphere. In the last few years, some great bars, cafes, pubs and clubs have sprung up. The Hollywood Music Bar on Bar Street (!) Aces Cocktail Bar on Ayias Anastasias, the themed Flintstones Bar on Dionisiou 2 Kato and the legendary Harry O’s are all worth checking out. For late night partying, Escape Beach Club, Rainbow Club (this one only opens around 2am) and the dance Robin Hood Club all make for awesome nights out. Image of Paphos at night by @ Son of Groucho.
Where to stay in Paphos
A little luxury never goes astray on holidays, so the 5* Hotel Almyra is a top choice. It is five minutes from the harbour, has free Wi-fi and the choice of four freshwater pools, or a dip in the spa. The 4* Capital Coast Resort and Spa is a top Family choice offering bright family rooms, lots of in-house activities and plenty of fun on the nearby beach. For romance or honeymooners take advantage of the Annabelle Hotel. This 5* overlooks the port and has its own tropical landscaped gardens, swim through caves, and marble features. You name it, they’ve got it. For great value we like the 3* Kissos Hotel on Verenikis Street. It’s in the heart of action in Paphos, slap, bang, between two resorts and amongst beautiful gardens. And it is right next door to a great beach, perfect for completely relaxing.
What to eat in Cyprus
Closely related to Greek and with influences from Turkey, Italy and the Middle East, there’s certainly something to suit everyone from the fresh food, handy snack souvlaki and delicious fresh fish in Paphos. The Letymbou Taverna is a little bit out of town, but we think well worth the trek. The prices are right and the food is hard to beat. If you prefer pub grub the Rugby Arms does great breakfasts, snacks or snacks. For fancy, Ficardo Restaurant on Poseidonos Avenue is top class, with fresh fish, kleftico or moussaka just a sample of what’s on offer.