• Spike

Paphos - Cyprus

Cyprus was a destination I hadn’t planned to visit just yet, but due to Covid 19, it was one of the few options available to me.

I think what had always put me off Cyprus was the idea that a great many holiday makers visit the country, usually to spend time chilling in a resort by the pool, or beach, and in the evening being rowdy whilst going out to local bars.

I decided to visit Paphos, as there seemed to be quite a lot of history and culture there, and I’d hoped to escape many of the typical tourists I’d expected to see in Cyprus.

Well, unfortunately even Paphos was filled with the types of tourists I try to avoid. Everyone likes different types of vacations, and that’s fine, but I like to learn about the culture of a place, which was hard to do in this type of tourist destination. I love to meet locals, so I can learn more about the country from their eyes, but it was very hard to find locals amongst the large tourist presence, even during the current pandemic.

Now, there were certainly some beautiful sights in and around Paphos, and I still enjoyed myself whilst there. I think I certainly preferred the areas outside of Paphos itself, but most were difficult to reach without hiring a car or being part of a tour group. My attempt to use their local bus service did not go to plan, the bus never turned up and I had to order a taxi. Taxis are extortionate in Cyprus, so I recommend using either the “Bolt” app (although there are very few drivers), or a company known as “Stevie’s Taxis”. Most of the other taxi services will rip you off, and you could end up spending hundreds of euros on a very short taxi journey. I’d also recommend booking a taxi from the airport in advance, as there is a 40 euro standard fee for the airport taxi. I spent 40 euros and I was in the car less than 5 minutes before I reached hotel.

Rock of Aphrodite

One of the most famous sights in Cyprus is the Rock of Aphrodite, or as locals call it “Petra tou Romiou”.

According to ancient mythology, it was here that a giant clam arose from the sea and opened up to produce the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.

This was one of my favourite sights, I think especially as I visited during sunset, which I definitely recommend. I had the viewpoint all to myself as the sun set, and it was really quite beautiful.

There are several rocks here, but I believe the Rock of Aphrodite is the one at sea, closest to the huge rock structure on the beach.

It really is a beautiful location, even when the beach is crowded. You’ll also notice many ribbons which have been tied to the bushes nearby. These are love ribbons, which are left by lovers to signify their love for each other.

Tombs of the Kings

Another of my favourite locations in Paphos was the Tomb of the Kings. It was here that I could let my adventurous side out by exploring the many ancient tombs which date back to 4th century BC. Carved from rocks, it was here that many kings and high officials from the past were buried.

You can really let yourself loose here. Climb inside the many small holes and crevices, and explore the small tunnels. You’ll feel like you’re Indiana Jones or Lara Croft as you explore the many ancient chambers.

Avakas Gorge

Not so easy to reach without a 4x4. I suggest visiting this on a guided tour, or you’ll have to hike the long dirt track before getting to the hike for the gorge itself.

This canyon is a stunning natural sight which is a very enjoyable place to explore. The trek leading up to the narrowest point is adventurous, as you pass several types of terrain, be it rocky, forested or crossing over small streams.

Be alert though as there are poisons snakes in the area, but they rarely make themselves known. Also the chance of rock fall during wet weather or by animal interference can be a hazard.

My tour group only allowed me a short amount of time here. I’d love to have hiked the whole trail, but it would have taken several hours.

If you enjoy hiking or natural wonders, then definitely add this to your list of sights to see.

Blue Lagoon

Several countries are known for having a blue lagoon, and Cyprus is no exception. Located to the north of the island, although still considered to be in the Paphos region, it certainly lives up to its name with its vivid blue colours. The beach itself is not all that impressive, but once you’re in the water itself, you won’t really care about that.

There are often boat trips where you can cruise on the lagoon whilst drinking cocktails and taking in some beautiful views. Or you can just drive up to the lagoon (which is much easier to reach in a 4x4) and go for a swim.

Nea Paphos

An Archaeological site found right in the centre of Paphos. There’s lot’s to explore here, although many areas are fenced off, so you won’t have as free a reign as you would at the “Tomb of the Kings”. There are various remains of ancient buildings here, an Odeon and the impressive Forty Columns Fortress. However what really stood out for myself were the ancient mosaics, which are said to be the best preserved mosaics from the Roman Empire. Many of these mosaics depict notable scenes from myths and legions, such as Theseus battling the Minotaur.

Paphos Castle

Originally a Byzantine fort, the castle was rebuilt and served as a prison, a warehouse and now as a museum. Entrance to the castle is very reasonable at 2.50, and there are some interesting displays inside, although it won’t take you too long to see it all.

It’s located next to the harbour, which is a great spot to watch the sunset with the castle in the distance. You can certainly get some beautiful shots of the castle during this time.

Baths of Aphrodite

This is only worth a very brief stop. It’s simply a small grotto with branches from a fig tree arching over it. The small pool here is said to be where Aphrodite would bathe to retain her beauty, and it’s also where she met her lover Adonis. You can’t actually enter the pool, but it is a nice sight to see if you’re in the area. There are a few restaurants nearby, and it’s not too far from Avakas Gorge and the Blue Lagoon.

Sea Caves

I was not all that impressed by these sea caves located in Peyia, they are as the name implies, simply caves by the sea. If you’re in the area, then you may want to take a quick look. You can more than likely get closer to them by swimming, but I’d only recommend doing so on a calm day, as it looked a little dangerous whilst I was there.

Nearby is the wreck of the EDRO II cargo ship, which I am sure I’d have appreciated a lot more. Unfortunately as I was on a tour I didn’t get to see this. But if you’re exploring by yourself, take the time out to see the wreck too.

Old Paphos

Old Paphos refers to the old town and not the archaeological area. It’s here you’ll escape many of the tourists and enter the area locals hang out.

There are some nice shops here, and I’d suggest visiting here rather than the harbour areas for better quality goods and cheaper prices.

Much of the town has white buildings, but they are not as grand as I expected. They are certainly very beautiful, but a lot smaller than I imagined, especially the town hall.

When I visited the area was deserted apart from the restaurants which seemed to be filled with locals, and are apparently very tastey. It’s definitely worth visiting this area to see a different side from touristy Paphos.

Patchwork Tree

I discovered this simply by accident. Located in Old Paphos is a tree covered in patchwork. From the little information I could find out about it, it’s a piece of art work which symbolises peace on the island of Cyprus.

I think it’s been around for a while as the fabric seems somewhat worn and a little dirty. Still, it’s something different that I’d not seen mentioned in any guides for Paphos.

Adonis Baths and Waterfalls

The mythical waterfalls where Aphrodite and her lover Adonis would meet, and where Adonis was fatally shot by a hunting party.

The waterfalls do look impressive, and you’re welcome to bathe in them, although it has become somewhat of a tourist trap. You have to pay around 10 for entrance unless you join this as part of a guided tour. It’s now owned by a former Cypriot actor, and there is an area dedicated to him. You’ll also find various cheap statues depicting ancient Greek gods, goddesses and other mythical beings, including one with a huge penis which you’re to touch for fertility.

If you visit as part of a tour, it’s ok here, but personally I wouldn’t suggest going out of you way to visit if you’re not on a tour.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All