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Paradise in Paphos

Church in Paphos

Popular amongst vacationers for its rich combination of cosmopolitan appeal, glorious countryside and captivating historical sites, the beautiful coastal city of Paphos reclines on Cyprus's southwest coast. Enjoying a subtropical Mediterranean climate, the summer season begins in April, lasting throughout the summer months all the way into November, where the comfortable heat lures vacationers from chilly homelands into the sun. Famed for its association with the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, Paphos makes for an especially romantic getaway for couples young and old. The relaxing pace of life and friendly nature of the resort also lends itself well to family vacations, where you and your loved ones can find yourself in sync with the take-it-easy approach to life, or fill your days with sites and experiences - Paphos certainly caters for however you're feeling on the day.

Accommodation

From luxury beach front hotels with salt-water pools, exotic gardens, decadent spas, and every other indulgent amenity imaginable; to good value hotels and apartments to suit even the most budget conscious of vacationers - Paphos has plenty of options when it comes to accommodation.

Shops & Amenities

Relaxation comes first in Paphos and although not a specific go-to shopping destination, there are certainly plenty of fantastic places to visit should you feel like having a spend. The best shopping is found at the heart of the resort, conveniently located near the bars and restaurants should you need to refuel. A scenic walk towards Kato Paphos Harbour will take you to all the usual touristy shops you'd expect, selling souvenirs, trinkets and curiosities, whilst well known brand stores and designer boutiques can be also be found nearby, as well as slightly further afield. If unique and handmade is more your thing, then fabulous pieces of handmade jewellery, leather goods, pottery, lace and various other artisan crafted ornaments & oddments can all be found in abundance within Paphos.

For those self catering, supermarkets (including British favourite, Marks & Spencers) are easily found, as are smaller independent grocery stores, selling high quality and locally sourced produce.

Dining

Dining is wonderfully varied in Paphos, in both cuisine (from traditional Greek to international everything) and environment; from cheap and cheerful to classy and decadent. Of all the hotspots for wining and dining, one of the most popular is along the port - where al fresco seaside dining is preferable, especially as the sun sets. The Greek-Cypriots in this writers experience are very welcoming and hospitable people, such is there culture, and perhaps the more modest family run restaurants reflect this best of all. The Sunbow restaurant in particular, a traditional Greek taverna, is one many vacationers revisit when they return to Paphos. Combining beautiful Greek dishes with fine wines, and laughter (often provided by the extremely charismatic and eccentric owner) it offers vacationers the warmth, flavour and fun of a real Greek dining experience. The Lamb Kleftiko is also a must try.

Some beautiful cafés and bars also dot the resort and are easy to come by, along with a club or two - though Paphos is certainly no Ayia Napa. What's more, if you'll be missing anything from your routine back at home, it won't be your morning stroll with a polystyrene cup of coffee - next to La Place Royale (a pleasant restaurant raised above street level, with a beautiful ambiance, good food and fantastic value) you'll find a Starbucks.

There's something for everyone, and if that still isn't enough then there's always a McDonalds. Or KFC.

Attractions

Aphrodite's Rock

As noted above, Paphos is famed for being the birthplace of Aphrodite and a trip to see the mythical landmark 'Aphrodite's Rock' is on the to-do list of many visitors, so much so both a tourist pavilion and restaurant exist alongside the attraction. Such is its importance within Greek mythology, a local legend states that any person who swims around the rock will be blessed with eternal beauty. However, the sea can get rough in that particular area, so taking a plunge next to a large rock is not entirely recommended (lest you fail to make it all the way around and have your existing looks made worse in the process).

Kato Paphos Port

The port itself is the oldest on the island, dating back to Alexander the Great himself. At the far end you'll find the medieval fort, which has its own rich history stretching back to the 13th century. Beside the fort is a square, which often plays host to various cultural events and celebrations; of particular highlight are the open air operas that are sometimes performed here during the Aphrodite festival; and with the illuminated fort serving as a backdrop it certainly makes for a magical evening. As well as the aforementioned shopping and restaurants along the port, several businesses offer evening cruises - where you can dine on deck or simply sip champagne, as you take in the sea air and one of Paphos's consistently beautiful sunsets.

Paphos has an absolutely enormous wealth of historical sites and museums that'll fascinate enthusiasts and casual vacationers alike. The first you'll likely encounter are the famous Paphos mosaics, located by the port. The stunningly beautiful and intact mosaics date all the way back to the second century A.D. and are regarded as some of the most beautiful in the world. Another worthwhile visit is the Tombs of the Kings - an ancient burial site with a view of the Mediterranean Sea. For fans or religious architecture, the Panayia Chrysopolitissa Church and the Ayios Neophytos Monastery are also worth visiting; as is pretty much everything else! Even a generous two week stay in Paphos certainly won't give you time to see absolutely everything (at least not at a leisurely pace) which is perhaps why people return year after year.

It's worth noting that some historical sites, such as The Tomb of the Kings, are a little further afield to visit (at least by foot, if you're staying in the very heart of the resort) so car hire is recommended, or booking the excursion through your hotel or travel agent. If you prefer to go it alone however and you're not a driver, taxis and public transport are easily available, and moderately priced.

All in all Paphos is a truly beautiful place, full of warm people who welcome you at every turn. It offers everything a refreshing vacation should; peace, relaxation, and indulgence - with plenty to see and do for those willing to look for it.



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