Once upon a time, it was said that Aphrodite rose from the shores just off the western coast of Paphos. And so grew a cult for the goddess of love and beauty as people from near and far flocked to the ancient town to visit her sanctuary. If the past was ever to come to life, Paphos is where all the action would take place as ancient stories and mythological splendours are hidden around every corner imaginable.
With the whole area proudly designated a UNESCO world heritage site, this is the place where history buffs are totally spoilt for choice. From the colourful Paphos mosaics telling tales about the ancient Greek world and its myths, to the imposing Tombs of the Kings bringing an arid landscape to life, you can spend languid days seeping up all that history has to offer.
To find out more about the highly eroticised worship of Aphrodite, a day out in Kouklia should also be top of the list, with the museum situated beside the sanctuary giving great insight into her profound mythological significance.
If you’re exploring the vicinity in the summer heat, the beach is never far away, with the rocky Paphos coastline hiding a good few stretches of golden sand. As dusk sets in, head to the town centre (Ktima) where the picturesque port forms a hub of activity as families and couples rub shoulders at one of the many restaurants and cafes that characterise the area.
For time away from the crowds, rent a car and hit the road towards Polis tis Chrysohous. The drive itself takes you through a winding strip that cuts through glorious mountains and unspoilt countryside punctuated with stone built villages and luxury holiday homes. Polis itself boasts the island’s most popular campsite which sees locals and tourists alike pitch their tents under the shade of leafy eucalyptus trees.
A little further afield is the fishing village of Latchi, where the fresh catch of the day makes for a mouth-watering experience, while quiet beaches provide moments of perfect relaxation. But the absolute highlight of the area simply has to be the Akamas Peninsula nature reserve; an unspoilt area of natural beauty that’s bound to take your breath away with sweeping stretches of untouched beaches flanked by vivid greenery.