Paphos

As I have been fortunate enough to travel to Cyprus twice in as many months, I will roll two trips into one to get a full taste of the diversity and the uniqueness of this Mediterranean island. Cyprus manages to be both Greek and British and also to be uniquely Cypriot.

Only Cyprus has bought halloumi, lountza, Commanderia wine and Keo lager to the world, yet the language, religion, architecture and culture are definitely Greek but they drive on the left with easy road signs in English and Greek, familiar names like Debenhams, Next and KFC exist alongside opticians and Greek restaurants and where normal 3-pin plugs work.

Despite having been to Paphos many times before there are still places I haven’t seen and the first of those was Neophytos monastery with its ancient frescoes and museum. We also got the opportunity to visit the Temple of Aphrodite, not the best preserved site in Europe but nevertheless interesting and worth a visit and the best time to see the Rock of Aphrodite is as the sun is going down. We also visited the village of Phyti where where we enjoyed a local Cypriot meal with wine and watched the locals making lace tablecloths

I have been to Kykkos monastery before but not for many years, and I had forgotten quite how far this was. The coach journey seemed to last for ever as the coach quite scarily wound its way round the Troodos mountains, stopping at the picturesque village of Omodhos and Lambouris winery near Platres. Pambos didn’t just tell us about the winery, he did so in such an expressive, passionate, entertaining and humorous way in perfect English. Apparently he can also do the same in German, so talented and indeed unforgettable. We tasted lovely wines, both local and blended varieties, and available to buy at such reasonable prices. Kykkos amazed me the first time with its stunning gold and silver chandeliers but it still fascinates me. I would love more time to absorb the beautiful frescoes and understand the Greek Orthodox religion but it is time for the coach journey back which takes a good two and a half hours back to Paphos.

The House of Dionysos and the ancient sites of Paphos are now deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ancient capital of Paphos has so much to showcase in quite a small area. The entrance fee is very modest so it is worth seeing the mosaics, so well preserved and the stories of Greek mythology are there in small pebbles and tiles. Strangely I had never seen the Tombs of the Kings before and you can reach them by bus, again the fee is modest.

Theo’s on Paphos must surely be one of the best fish restaurants on earth and it seemed that every possible sea creature was served to us in an endless stream of tempting dishes ranging from the smallest whitebeat to melt in the mouth sea bream.

On both trips I have had the opportunity to sample the Elysium, the deluxe hotel off Tombs of the Kings Road in Paphos and the recently renovated 4* Mediterranean Beach in Limassol and this time round we experienced the four Constantinou Bros hotels on Poseidonos Avenue, these are Athena Beach, the family hotel, Athena Royal Beach and Pioneer Beach adult only properties and Asimina Suites the luxury all suite, adult only property.

There is accommodation to suit everybody from honeymoon couples looking for the ultimate in relaxation and pampering down to the budget conscious traveller looking for basic self catering and of course many options in between to suit families, groups, couples and specialist golfers, divers, dancers and bowlers, those interested in history and culture, to enjoy food and wine or just to sit on the harbour watching the world go by, but one thing that most have in common is friendliness, great service and attention to detail

I have to admit that not all our time was spent visiting ancient monuments, visiting hotels or eating and drinking. We also had time for some relaxation, swimming and enjoying the sunshine and enjoying the beautiful sunsets of south-west facing Paphos.

I hope that I will soon get the chance to revisit one my favourite places on earth and that you will also want to see and experience it for yourself. If so please give me a call on 0845 058 7458 or email cathie.odea@travelcounsellors.com

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