Despite its small area Paphos is loaded with historical remnants of its long and colourful history. Perched on Cyprus’ south-western Mediterranean coast it is the largest port on the island. The Paphos region embraces a lovely boat-populated harbour, a medieval fort, numerous ancient archaeological sites, a gorgeous countryside, beautiful beaches bounded by mountains on one side and the dazzling blue sea on the other.
Paphos has a lovely, laid-back holiday resort and romantic atmosphere. The whole package seems to have been designed specifically for those almost ‘too-good-to-be-true’ picture postcards. While Paphos has a whole range of activities to keep every holiday-maker happy it should come as no surprise that it is the historic and scenic aspects that attract the most attention.
Here are a pick of things you can do on the island where Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, was born and once roamed.
This tour is like a delightful box of chocolates of all sorts. A number of great activities are in store for all visitors. For instance you visit the breath-taking and superbly preserved 2,000 year old Kourion Amphitheatre. It stands on a cliff-top with amazing views of the coast.
Before you know it you are enjoying a tipple at the Wine Museum. Next you are wandering through the streets of Byzantine era Monagri village while enjoying an olive pie. Your trip will take you to Omodhos, the most beautiful village in Greek Cyprus. Here you can take in the Monastery of the Holy Cross and a delicious traditional lunch at Vouni village.
This is a day excursion that involves crossing the border into Famagusta on the Turkish side of Cyprus. Famagusta was an important stop on the ancient and famous Silk Road leading into Western Europe. It was once a popular holiday resort. Today its miles of sandy beaches and turquoise waters lie empty and its hotels abandoned. Today it is an empty and silent shell.
Among the other sights is the really ancient city of Salamis. It was believed to have been founded by the Trojan Teucer. The Romans made Cyprus’ capital in 1100 BC. Much of the Roman period has survived to this day. Salamis was buried in sand before being discovered, which helped to preserve it. The outstanding structures are the large and impressive Baths and the theatre.
The other impressive historical feature on this tour is that of Othello’s Tower. It was once the lookout for the city of Famagusta and the main entrance to the city. Shakespeare mentions it in one of his most famous plays, Othello.
The Norther (Turkish) sector of Cyprus is relatively unspoiled by the modern lifestyle and is a treasure trove of ancient historical sites. You cross over from the Greek side through the marvellous Venetian Walls and into Nicosia. Straight away you will notice the older more traditional side to the island of Cyprus.
The scenery is simply fabulous. One of the highlights is a visit to the wonderful Gothic Abbey of Bellapis. Sitting in the heart of a lovely mountain village it has beautiful carvings and murals – reminders of its 13th century origins and 800 year history.
The other wonder is the beautiful port of Kyrenia and the medieval castle. Built in the 7th century it contains the remains of the ancient ship of Kyrenia and its original cargo. This spectacular castle with its huge rounded towers also houses Roman structures.
As you sip a glass of local wine and enjoy a typical lunch at a local restaurant you can also gaze out at the spectacular scenery and soak in the atmosphere that makes Cyprus a truly wonderful destination.