Mythical riches in Paphos

By Amy Rosoman

Photography by imageimage / Alamy Stock Photo

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May 2017

Step back in time and explore a world of Greek mythology and ancient ruins. Swim around Aphrodite’s rock in Limassol and stay forever young. Lose yourself to archaic city charm, along the rugged and glistening coastline.

Beachside days

Visit the spectacular beaches of the south coast, especially in Limassol and nearby Pissouri. Yellow shingle-flecked sands and aquamarine sea stretches around headlands, dotted with traditional tavernas. Limassol’s turquoise shallow waters are great for snorkelling, before drying off on the golden sands. Or getaway to the rugged coastlines and shady coves of the Akamas Peninsula; where you’ll also find epic diving opportunities. See Petra Tou Romiou, the birthplace of Aphrodite, before heading south to Coral Bay, one of the best beaches in western Cyprus with spectacular sea caves. Don't forget to sample fresh delicious seafood along these breath taking shores.

Where to stay: Anassa – for the wonderful choice of diving, sailing, boat hire and perfect location on Asprokremmos Beach.

Book a Blue Lagoon Cruise Sea Star from Paphos

Try paddle boarding along the azure shores and look out to the horizon

Get exploring

Adventure is well catered for in Cyprus, especially on the rocky west coastline. Go diving in Polis, and search for the massive RS Zenobia, one of the best wreck diving sites in the world. Head out for a family day of fun at the Paphos Aphrodite water park, with slides, wave machines and a lazy river. Go kayaking on the smoother waters of the southern beaches or try paddle boarding along the azure shores and look out to the horizon. On land, head to the Akamas Peninsula for hiking or venture deep into the Troodos Mountains for rock climbing. Go for a trek along the Avakas Gorge, a dramatic canyon, for wildlife and wonderful water views.

Where to stay: Casale Panagiotis – for a brilliant location off the beaten track, discover wine trails, forest routes and all sorts of activities from this hotel.

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  • Tombs of the Kings columns. Photo credit: Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Ancient wonders

    Gaze at ruins and soak up history in the warmth of Cyprus weather.

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Ancient highlights

Discover the ancient wonders and treasures of the Paphos Archaeological Park, full of Roman mosaics, ruins and fortresses. Wander around the spectacular subterranean necropolis, Tombs of the Kings, carved out of rock. Marvel at the beautiful mosaics in ancient Roman villas and enjoy a summer concert at the 2nd century Odeon. Or head into the Troodos Mountains to see working monasteries, especially the Kykkos Monastery which was originally built in the 11th century. Explore the House of Dionysos, a preserved Roman villas ruin, renowned for its colourful mosaics. It is well worth paying for a guided tour when visiting these curious places, to hear all the stories of the Greek Gods and historical tales.

Where to stay: Alexander the Great – for overlooking the old castle, spectacular sunsets and ruins within the hotel grounds.

Book an excursion through the Troodos mountains from Paphos

  • Make a splash. Photo credit: Paphos Aphrodite waterpark photography.

    Waterpark fun

    Take a day out from resort relaxation and make the most of the Aphrodite waterpark.

  • Ruins of ancient Kourion. Photo credit: lucky-photographer / Getty.

    Sunset sights

    Take in the scenery of a time long ago and learn the tales of Greek mythology.

  • Cypriot Mezze meal. Photo credit: Robert John / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Scrumptious eats

    Enjoy plate upon plate of marvellous mezze on your trip to Cyprus.

Moreish mezze

A trip to Cyprus would be incomplete without sampling a delicious mezze. For a truly Cypriot experience, visit O Vrakas Taverna in Pissouri. Famous for their superb hospitality and delectable food, be sure to try their baklava on the sweets menu. Dine on the rooftop terrace of Laona restaurant for fresh homemade food and wonderful service. Visit the harbour in Paphos and choose from a great selection of restaurants, which receive a plentiful supply of fresh fish. Or make your way to Limassol’s new marina, where you’ll find traditional and international favourites. Pixida offers harbour views whilst you tuck into fish mezze in the restaurant, or take a seat in their oyster bar and enjoy this aphrodisiac as you sip on Champagne.

Where to stay: Almyra – for its minimalist chic, stunning spa, incredible choice of fine dining and open-air beachfront restaurant Ouzeri.

  •  Kykkos monastery, Troodos. Photo credit: Plamen Peev / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Magical monasteries

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Award-winning wineries

Wine culture dates back thousands of years in Cyprus, and the vineyards are abundant. Visit Vouni Panayia Winery for stunning views from the terrace and wine tasting to leave you feeling inspired. Leave some space in your case to take a few special bottles home. Try out Tsangarides Winery to hear about wine making in the local area – try some tempting flavours with a side of olives. There are lots of vineyards all over the central and eastern side of the island, especially in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. Head north from Limassol toward Mount Olympus to try Cypriot commandaria – a toffee-flavoured wine akin to port, often served with grilled halloumi cheese.

Where to stay: Columbia Beach Resort – for ultimate luxury, premium pampering and concierge who can arrange a wine tasting tour for you.