The ancient harbour of Paphos beckons travellers with its long sandy beaches, its archaeological treasures and stunning scenery. This beautiful region of Cyprus has been settled since Neolithic times, experiencing eons of history, invasions by many cultures and host, at present, to a thriving tourism scene. No wonder, Paphos offers the glories of its natural beauty, sunny days, olive groves and vineyards, an excellent harbour guarded by a medieval fortress and the finest mosaics from Roman times in the world.
While most visitors to Cyprus stick to the beaches, lazing in the sun or snorkelling and diving in the turquoise water, others choose to explore a more traditional way of life, experiencing the Cyprus of a hundred years ago. Agrotourism is newly come to Cyprus, but already many traditional old homes in Cyprus’ many hill villages are being refurbished and readied for guests. More and more people are choosing to spend their holidays in Cyprus with a combination coast and beach time and days spent roaming inland Cyprus, staying in old, traditional village homes while scouting vineyards, monasteries and Byzantine churches. If this is making you wish you were on holiday, take a look at the options for all inclusive holidays to Cyprus with First Choice.
Panayia lies 33 km northeast of Paphos, a village built of stone houses 850 m above sea level in the Paphos forest. Here one can stay in a holiday villa for a few days or a week, walking the nature trails through the evergreen woods, keeping an eye out for the wild Mouflon sheep endemic to Cyprus, visiting vineyards and dining in the village taverna on mezes and local vintages. This area is home to many historical churches and monasteries, including Chrysoroyiatissa and Ayios Nicolaos. Relax into country-style time where nothing is rushed or hurried. Inhale the rich mountain air as you stroll the tiny narrow lanes in the village, enjoying the hospitality of the villagers.
A 30 minute drive brings travellers to the Akamas peninsula and its great natural beauty, sandy beaches and unspoiled flora and fauna. Hikers, cyclists, birdwatchers and nature lovers flock to Akamas for its rich beauty, wildlife found only on Cyprus, biodiversity and scenic views. To the southwest of Akamas lies Avakas Gorge, one of Cyprus’ accessible gorges. In dryer weather, walk up the riverbed and wonder at the huge chalk and limestone walls that rise 100m above. Carved out by the river over millions of years, Avakas Gorge is a spectacular 5km hike.
Return to Paphos via the lovely hill villages of Pegeia and Lempa, visitors can treat themselves to Archaeological Park with its magnificent mosaics. For seven centuries Paphos was the capital of Cyprus, rising to its stellar reign during Roman times, reflected in the delicate, colourful mosaics in the Park. One entrance fee covers all the archaeological treasures including the Tomb of the Kings, the 2nd century theatre still used today and the Asklpeion, a temple dedicated to the god of medicine. Paphos Castle requires a visit as well, passing through many hands as it did. Built by the Byzantines, the castle came under the rule of Lusignans, Venetians, Ottoman and British, who all used the castle for protection of the harbour or as a prison or a storehouse for salt. The Castle’s courtyard today hosts many theatrical and musical performances. A spectacular view from the top of the castle awaits all who make the trek.