My favourite place in Cyprus so far is Paphos. This small colourful town, full of myths and history, smells differently, breathes differently and lives its own independent life, untouched by time. Built on the Greek side of the island, Paphos has charmed me by its calmness, endless sunny days and artistic atmosphere.
The legend tells, just a few steps away from Paphos, goddess of love and beauty Aphrodite rose from the sea foam. She landed right at the coast of Paphos, where now Stone of Aphrodite could be seen. I found out Cyprus is actually well known as the birth place of the goddess of love and remains up to now a very romantic and fascinating island.
If you are willing to go to Paphos, I recommend to get a direct flight to the International airport next to the city. I did the mistake to pick a flight to the airport of Larnaca, 120 km away from Paphos. In addition, there is no direct bus line Larnaca-Paphos. so I had to switch the bus in Limassol.
Nothing wrong, kind of adventure in case it’s not a weekend. There is no guarantee when you will finally arrive if it happens to travel during the weekend. But once in Paphos the party begins. All restaurants, bars, beaches, historical spots are situated near each other. I enjoyed firstly walking in between and later rented a bicycle. It was actually a clever decision, as I don’t feel much confident in my left hand driving skills, being more than 20 years a right hand driver.
Be aware, Cyprus is not Greece !!! If you have been to Greece, you think everything is the same and probably wrongly feel well prepared for Cyprus. Right, this part of the island speaks Greek language and has common mythology with Greece, but more less that’s all. I have been too arrogant, making the mistake above and then faced the slapping reality.
Let me make you familiar with some differences:
- Traffic is on the left, like in the UK ( Greece drives right). Very slow and quiet motorway
- Three pin electrical plug sockets like in the UK, so you may need an adaptor (Greece has two pin plug sockets like the rest of Europe).
- The chance to meet English speaking locals is thousands times higher than in Greece. In fact everyone in Cyprus speaks English (and Russian in Limassol).
- I have been probably 20 times in Greece and could assure you, the Cypriots are 10 times more smiling, polite and willing to help.
- Incredible hospitality, no chance to end starved or not accommodated, even if you are a bit short of money .
- Currency – EURO, but everything is more expensive than Greece
- British tradition of afternoon tea is still alive in here
Expectedly, there is a strong British society in Paphos, most of the members are retirees. I was firstly pretty suspicious about the quality and entertainment level of their activities. When I was invited by a Swiss member to join the community, reasonably I was not excited at all. But have to admit I was really impressed later, how physically fit, enthusiastic and creative they could be.
This informal club is open to anyone, who would like to join it, just should be first introduced via a club member. There are painting classes, hills climbing, cycling tours, even surfing and fishing. There is also a small group of crafts and dance. I felt embarrassed for underestimating those pensioners, who actually moved to Cyprus to fully enjoy the whole year sunny weather, calmer, cheaper and safer life.
I should thank Kathy again for providing me with a guide from the same community. Thanks to them, I got familiar with the beauty of the famous historical Kato Paphos Archeological park. Stunning mosaics from 3rd/5th century AD, colonnades, amphitheatre with 1200 seats, artefacts dated 2nd/3rd century AD….I spent more than two hours hanging around and enjoying this unbelievable ancient collection (look at the gallery below).
Every step soaks history and moves you closer to the past. At least my impression was so. Wherever I turned, I faced Byzantine -Roman ruins, fine mosaic, knights’ tombs, medieval churches …all those make you a bit dizzy, like you just have been transferred to another distant epoch. Other chapter was just opened and you are floating with no control somewhere in the ages.
Suddenly all myths and legends come alive, the motion is slow and laidback, with unbeatable charm of a chaotic environment. No one is in a hurry, day by day time flows and the feeling is like you are a witness of a space gap phenomenon. I am getting sentimental. But the truth is Paphos bewitched me and pulls me going back to Cyprus island again…no doubt I will. 🙂