Denise is going to Cyprus on Wednesday. I’m thrilled for her, and a little jealous.
But mostly excited. I always get excited when a friend visits my country for the first time.
She asked me for recommendations.
Top five things to see/do around Paphos, she said.
I started compiling a list and soon changed from top five to top eight and I stopped there otherwise I’d end up with a 500 page Cyprus travel guide. Oh my I’d love to do that. If anyone fancies to commission me to explore the island and write about it, I can start ASAP.
[All photos I used are from Instagram and other webpages (except the feature image) and I do not own any of it, thank you to all the incredible photographers].
So, in no particular order…
1. Petra tou Romiou/ Πέτρα του Ρωμιού (Rock of the Roman) also known as Aphrodite’s Rock.
According to Greek Mythology, Goddess Aphrodite was born on the Rock, through the spume of the waves (Afro is Greek for foam- αφρός). It’s a gorgeous location, one of the most beautiful in Cyprus, although swimming is not recommended as sea in that region is rough.
2. Blue Lagoon Akamas/ Γαλάζια Λίμνη, Ακάμας.
One of the few regions in Cyprus I haven’t been but I desperately want to next time I’m there. Mountains with a sea view. Crystal clear water, sandy beach. I won’t say more, just look at this.
3. Aphrodite’s Baths/ Λουτρά της Αφροδίτης.
Situated in Akamas area, a beautiful nature path leads to one of the most gorgeous and one of my favourite spots on the island, where Goddess Aphrodite used to bathe.
4. Adonis’ baths/ Λουτρά του Άδωνη
Another idyllic location. Not easy to get to, but absolutely worth it.
5. Tombs of the kings/ Τάφοι των Βασιλέων
A 2km underground necropolis where important people, aristocrats and politicians in 300AD were buried (no actual kings were ever buried there). One of the most significant and imposing archaeological sites in Cyprus. I haven’t been since I was a child, I can vaguely remember it, I only remember it was a hot day and it was cool and eerie.
6. Paphos Harbour/ Λιμανάκι της Πάφου
Near the Tombs of the Kings, you can’t not walk down Paphos Harbour and wander into the Castle, at the edge of it. Restaurants, cafes, picturesque location. What else does one need.
7. Kykkos Monastery/ Μοναστήρι του Κύκκου
One of the largest Greek Orthodox Monasteries in Cyprus dedicated to Mother Mary/Panagia located deep in the Troodos mountains. OK, technically is not in Paphos, is about an hour and a half scenic drive through the mountains, but when you get there, you’ll understand. The architecture, the murals, the grand church, the scenery. Breathtaking. I was always fascinated by the half covered face of Mother Mary. According to the legend, whoever sees into her eyes, will be blinded. I was always tempted to unveil it, but I was too scared as a child to even try.
Ok this is not in Paphos, it’s a 45 minute drive, but is one of my favourite places. Kourion was one of the greatest ancient cities in Cyprus and the theatre on the top of the hill with the most amazing seaviews is still in impeccable condition.
The post should have ended here but I can’t not recommend some of the local dishes and delicacies one should taste when in Cyprus. Cyprus cuisine, although similar to Greek, is much more than that. A mixture of Greek, Turkish, Middle East flavours, all within the Mediterranean cooking culture of fresh ingredients. Heaven on earth.
You cannot not try Cypriot meze. Dish after dish, the next more delicious than the last. Salad, hummus, taramosalata and tzatziki dips, fresh pita or traditional bread, Souvlaki, sieftalia, grilled halloumi, stuffed vine leaves, keftedes (our version of meatballs), olives, mushrooms, pastitsio, mousakka, and many more it will take a while to mention. A little bit of everything. A great way to get a taste of the local cuisine. Each restaurant have their own selection and it never disappoints. Avoid the tourist areas, go for a local, traditional taverna, and you won’t regret it. Wear loose clothes, you’ll need it after the 4th or 5th dish.
(Source: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyprustourismch/9182493269/)
Freshly grilled seabream or prawns with a touch of olive oil and oregano dressing or fried calamari and a Greek Salad after a swim is one of my favourite things ever to do when in Cyprus.
Often when I’m home we are on the go as soon as we wake up. And what better breakfast than pastries from a local bakery. There is one in every corner. You can try most of them if you choose the mini versions. Sweet and savoury options available. Feta and spinach, halloumi, olives, apple, cinammon fillings and the list goes on.
I actually had one on my last visit because I missed them so much. The Eastern influences brought koupa to Cyprus and my life. Made of bulgar wheat, filled with minced meat, parsley and spices (or mushrooms- veggie option), deep fried and sprinkled with fresh lemon, to die for.
Another eastern influence, lahmajoun is made of a thin, round dough topped with minced meat, vegetables, herbs and spices. Sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and you got yourself a scrummy snack.
– Spoon sweets.
Sweet preserves made of fruit or walnuts (my favourite!) and sugar. Perfect with a cup of Greek coffee or frappe.
I can go on for ever, one post can’t cover all the scrumptious food you can find on this little island but I have to mention tahinopita, since I’ve dreamt about it a couple of days ago. Yes, I actually dreamed of a Cypriot pastry. The most pleasant dream I had in a while.
A sweet tahini and cinnamon filled piece of heaven.
This is just a tiny sample of my home country’s beauty and local cuisine. There’s so much more, I feel I cheated on the rest of the cities (like Larnaka and the old Nicosia town) historic sites, traditional villages (e.g. one of my all time favourite Lefkara), gorgeous locations, beach sides and delectable dishes and delicacies.
Whatever you decide to do when you are there, one thing’s for sure. You’ll love it!
OK, now is time to have a cry and sell my kidney so I can book a flight home ASAP.