There are two reasons people go to Cyprus: the culture and the ocean. If you don’t mind long days, you can move seamlessly from city to ocean and see much of Western Cyprus in only a little over a day. Here is how we did it:
Adventure #1: See Paphos by Bike
- Start in Paphos. We loved the Kiniras Traditional Hotel because it is a little further from the tourist area and in the heart of a traditional plaza, above a tavern with really good food.
- Walk toward Paphos and rent a bike. We found someone off the road renting bikes for just a few dollars each. A few highlights that you can see in just a couple hours:
- Start at Paphos Harbor and quickly stop by the Medieval Castle of Paphos
- Take the Coastal Boardwalk to Faros Beach
- Turn off the beach toward Tombs of the Kings. This was the most interesting, and the largest, so save time to walk around.
- End back in downtown Paphos and grab food at a tavern. Those further from the beach are less expensive.
Adventure #2: Leave the City
Rent a motorcycle, scooter, or ATV. Remember that in Cyprus, stores will be closed on Sunday (we learned that the hard way) but two brothers run a rental shop out of their parents’ home that is clean, reliable, affordable, and always open. It is called IPPOS by the Ippos Brothers. Their phone number is +35797665635. They will even pick you up, so we waited at a betting shop because it was the only place open and made friends with the owners, who were confused why we weren’t betting but nonetheless loved talking to us about America.
“You know Cyprus from USA? I don’t believe you! Nobody knows Cyprus.”
Well apparently we get around the world quite a bit. And everywhere we go the general consensus of our country seems to be similar, as wrapped up by this man:
“President in US? Is good? Every day is seem like Mickey Mouse!”
We chose to rent an ATV because (a) Teddy needs to drive the fastest thing offered in any given scenario and (b) we wanted to explore the national park the next day and 4WD is required for sandy parts.
The Ippos Brothers can give you great directions, but here are a few places we explored:
- Drive east out of the city and past the big dam, until you reach the foothills of the mountains. We stumbled upon the ruins of a deserted village and walked around exploring. If you leave earlier than we did (don’t wait until sunset, or sacrifice much of the bike trip mentioned earlier) then you can explore the Troodos Moutains. My only regret was not seeing more villages. I don’t remember those that we did see, but I was recommended on the next trip to stop by Omodos.
- Watch the sunset, then head back into town to pack bags onto the ATV and head west toward Coral Bay. We found a good kebab shop in town called Simple Food, which also serves local KEO beer.
- On day 2 I chose to wake up early and go for a run to Coral Bay, which I would recommend. Breakfast is then always filled with feta cheese and olives and meat and fruit and cucumbers and juice.
- Commence ATV adventure toward Akamas Peninsula National Park:
- Sea Caves – a quick stop with a pretty view, and just up the road is a quaint little church that has survived generations.
- Lara Beach / Turtle Beach – you have to time it right seasonally. While it was a beautiful view and long beach if you need a rest on some nice sand, we knew we wouldn’t see turtles.
- Stop for photos and breathtaking turquoise water in various spots as you feel like it. Everything is beautiful
- Right before you see Blue Lagoon is Fontana de Amoranza. At both of these spots, the water is so turquoise you can’t imagine how beautiful it really is in person. This is where we had our picnic lunch. If you have more time, boat trips leave from town nearby.
- Aphrodite’s Bath is a short walk into the mountain with a small lagoon and natural shower where the Love Goddess used to bathe.
- Lunch in Polis at family-owned Psaropoulous Fish Tavern, which will always go down as one of the best meals of our lives (up there with pizza in Rome, lobster in Maine, and tortillas on a Spanish vineyard). When you arrive, sit outside with a view of the water, and ask the waitress for her best fish. She’ll let you pick one out of the freezer box and explain what they all are. Also order a carafe of the village white wine, and do not miss the house (greek style) salad.
- Ride back up the mountains, and know that even if you don’t think you are lost there inevitably will be a friendly local man who slows down his truck to shout local dialect at you in an attempt to help.
- Jump off the tree at Adonis Bath. After visiting Aphrodite’s bath, it is only right to pay a visit to her lover, Adonis. The myth is that this pool makes women virgin again but makes men stronger and more masculine. Jumping off the tree is necessary because the water is so cold that you will not want to go in any other way.
- You’ll likely be so tired that you’ll have an early dinner and then fall asleep close to 6PM… ok so maybe that was just us.