Why are you going to Cyprus a second time? – were surprised by those closest to us who know us and know that we prefer to move where we haven’t been before. Because we want to see if everything is in place,” we laughed, and the truth was completely unlike us…. We needed a rest!
Yes! Those of you who follow us on a regular basis know that we were in Cyprus to relax, recharge our batteries and escape the depressing autumn aura in Poland. Some travel bloggers may not be able to fit this in their heads, well, because how can you go and not spend every single day on the road! We fit in, ba, we are not ashamed of it, in fact, we encourage you to relax! :)
A word of introduction… At the beginning of October, we spent a week in Cyprus near Paphos. It was a typical leisure trip, all-inclusive with drinks under the palm trees (you can read about where we stayed here), because Cyprus is also an ideal place for such relaxation.
We flew with WizzAir airlines from Warsaw to Larnaca. The flight was direct, ran comfortably, and a rental car from Rental Cars was already waiting for us at the airport in Cyprus. The flight connection is convenient because the plane takes off from Poland around 4:30 pm and is on the ground at 9 pm. We have a return flight at 9:30 p.m. to be in Poland before midnight. This works out much better than the LOT connection, where the plane lands and takes off in Larnaca in the middle of the night (around 2-3 am).
In this post, we will not describe the most interesting places in the whole of Cyprus (time will come for that), because we realize that not everyone takes a car for the whole stay and makes a round around the island. Here we will describe the places that are in the western part of the island and will not take more than 1 hour by car to reach from Paphos. So we don’t have to spend all day from dusk to dawn on the road. You could even say that you’ll be able to process back and forth between breakfast and lunch ;)
Why did we decide not to move on? We are already rushing to answer. First of all, this was not our first stay in Cyprus, and thus we had no pressure to travel the entire island in length and breadth. We’ve seen quite a lot and remembered many places, so this time we set our sights on blissful relaxation in the sunshine.
However, we would not be ourselves if we spent the whole week in the hotel ;) What’s not. Having already skipped our daily long walks along the promenade and trips to Paphos, we decided to see some interesting places in the area. Some of them we had already seen before (such as the city of Paphos, the Baths of Aphrodite and the Rocks of Aphrodite), but some were completely new to us. However, in order not to make it easy we made a condition to close in an hour by car to each place. Well, okay, it was not an unfounded condition – it was backed by our youngest traveler, who was most simply bored in the car and much prefers to spend time outside it. So, we looked for interesting places in the immediate area and always set out so as to hit snooze in the car. So we didn’t set off at dawn, more around 10 a.m. and sometimes even later, to avoid the biggest sun.
Below are some of the places you can see in the area, at the same time we must point out right away that it is not worth wandering everywhere by car to see one place, but we write about it below honestly :)
Table of contents
Aphrodite’s Rocks (Petra tou Romiou)
Protruding from the sea, Aphrodite ‘s eponymous rocks are where Aphrodite, born of sea foam, was supposed to come out. However, a moment! The name Petra tou Romiou is nowhere near Aphrodite. So what is the point?
The Rock of Ramios (as it is referred to), or the Roman, is named after the hero of folk tales (or more accurately, his nickname because his name was Digenis Akritas), who threw stones at pirate ships that wanted to reach the shore. The water hitting the rocks foams heavily so that’s how the myth of Aphrodite’s birth may have originated here.
The route from Paphos to Aphrodite’s rocks is about 25 kilometers of straight, fast road. Driving from Paphos on the A6 highway (or the alternative but slightly slower B6 road), after about 20 minutes, you will see signs for Aphrodite’s Rock – beware! the sign will advise you to turn left, even though you will see the rocks on the right, which is correct, because there is a dedicated free parking area on the left.Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
In addition to a place to stop the car, there is a driver service station, a small restaurant, a changing room and a gift store. To reach the sea you have to descend an inconspicuous staircase just behind the restaurant, then walk down a narrow passage under the road to finally emerge onto a rocky beach. We here made a rather strategic mistake – we took a baby carriage with us. Initially, the stairs did not discourage us. We weren’t discouraged by the narrow passage either, because the stroller fit, but the rocks on the beach made us curse our idea. The end of the day, the cart came in handy for storing heavier items, but it still wasn’t worth it.
Fortunately, the rocky beach was not an obstacle to get into the water – unfortunately, we did not have our bathing suits with us, but even without them we got our feet wet, and Olivia even had to pull out of the water by force :)
At the passage to the beaches there are several trees with ribbons and cloths tied on them – women tie them, asking Aphrodite for love and children.
Aphrodite’s Rocks is an example of a place worth seeing “on the way”, unless you bring your costumes and lounging mats, then you can spend more time here. We recommend combining this place with the village of Omodos, about which we write a few paragraphs below.
Baths of Aphrodite (Loutra tis Afroditis)
It is one of the most famous places in Cyprus and one of the most disappointing. Let the fact that Paweł has completely forgotten that we were here a few years ago testify to this.
Aphrodite’s Baths is a small lake into which water flows from a spring in a rocky cave, surrounded by fig trees and…. nothing else. Instead, it may be more interesting to walk along the coast until you reach the hill behind which there is a beautiful view of the almost deserted Akamas peninsula with small lagoons where yachts are moored.
The city is full of hotels, restaurants and all other services for tourists, which can be overwhelming and discouraging. Fortunately, there are also many medieval and ancient remains here, which are mainly located along the coastline. The area in Paphos where the port and archaeological park are located is known as Kato Paphos, and it is this area that is worth focusing on. The most important two sites were the Archaeological Park and the Royal Tombs, which we had been to on our first trip, so we let them go this time.
The Nea Paphos Archaeological Park, from the outside, from the side of the castle, doesn’t invite you to enter the excavation site, but this large area hides interesting finds, such as the remains of the villas here in the form of Roman mosaics. Some of it is outdoors, and some can be viewed in a specially prepared pavilion by walking on bridges that have been built. The mosaics depict mythological scenes and are considered some of the best preserved ancient mosaics. The Archaeological Park also includes a lighthouse, a Roman odeon that could accommodate more than 1,200 people, along with an adjacent agora, a Byzantine castle (Saranta Kolones), and Asklepiejon, a temple dedicated to the god of doctors and health.
Royal Tombs – contrary to the name, the royal family was not buried here at all, but senior officials and the upper class in general. There are about 100 graves here and the name royal refers more to the appearance itself, as it is not an ordinary hole in the rock or earth. Courtyards, columns and pillars were modeled on the buildings of the time, because the home of the dead should be as beautiful as the living.
In Paphos, many people take their first steps to the port, where there is a small brick fort dating back to the 14th century. It is not very impressive, but this did not stand in the way of building places to admire it in an amphitheater arrangement ;-)
Above is a path along the shoreline – during our stay here there was a special exhibition of crosses…. by the way, see for yourself:
Promenade along the coast in Paphos
We could probably count the promenade as a point above, as it leads from Paphos to the village of Jeroskipu, but we want to draw your attention to it, as it is the perfect place for evening strolls at sunset.
The beauty of the west coast is also appreciated by numerous young couples who say the sacramental “I do” to each other here. There is no denying that more or less modest weddings are quite an attraction.
There is adequate infrastructure here, special platforms, tables, buffets – all decorated with fresh flowers, on the tables until shine polished cutlery and glasses, and everywhere is dominated by beautiful, pure white. When the couples march down the promenade with their guests they cause a sensation and all the strangers clap and congratulate them :)
It’s easy for us to write and recommend the promenade, because our hotel was right next to it and we spent some time here every day. But is it worth coming here specifically? Not specifically, but after a day in Paphos, it’s worth coming for the sunset.
Cape and Lara Beach
Well, it turns out that in Cyprus you can feel like on a real safari (only the animals are missing)!
This was our association as we drove the car toward Lara beach, where sea turtles hatch, and the unpaved road led along sandy, dry areas, between trees and bushes.
The beach is famous for the protected turtle egg-laying sites located here, but it takes some effort to get here, and it’s best to rent a 4×4 vehicle in advance (or take advantage of commercial offers for jeep rides). We didn’t know until the end how far we would make it, but we also weren’t desperate enough to drive ahead at all costs. We had several points along the way when we stopped and wondered if it was safe to continue in a regular passenger car. And always then some other passenger vehicle passed us, which gave us encouragement and we moved on :)
The road is not that straight, along the way it is not directly marked where what is (the signs on the turtles are confusing) and several times we had to fire up the GPS. We drove to the village of Peyia, about past it, by the beach the road turned into gravel. Fortunately, there is no entry ban here and passenger cars can also drive here. It’s best to stick to the main road all the time and drive to the beach on the north side of the cape.
We went astray on the way, because we were confused by signs for a cafe called Lara ;) In general, the road is passable but you have to be careful, because there are sometimes sharp dips and climbs. Unfortunately, a greater threat are jeeps, which consider themselves kings of the routes and allow themselves to develop ever-increasing speeds to the delight of their passengers. Nevertheless, Paweł hadzłof fun with such a ride :)
We finally made it to the passage to the beach, where there is a parking lot and even an information desk. And what kind :)
And the descent we are writing about is located right here:
Well, so we were able to read about turtles, go down to the beach, see places fenced in for turtle eggs to protect them from predators, and that was it. It was not the nesting season (that falls between June and September), and even if it were, to peep at baby turtles ambling through the water, you would have to come at night. Even the bar, which is located here, was closed with four triggers but…. it was probably the nicest beach in Cyprus! Sandy, clean, only single people somewhere in the distance. An ideal place to relax.
And then there’s the panorama:Please define valid width and height attributes for remote images. This will also optimize the loading time of the remote panorama.
But how much we learned about sea turtles in the process! Did you know that the female lays about 100 eggs, and on average only 1 in 10 babies reach the water? From the very beginning, they have to fight a battle against time and avoid the birds that hunt them, and then the fish.
Although we didn’t see turtles, it was an interesting ride and unforgettable scenery. If a dirty child means a happy child, then let a dirty car mean a happy driver :)
Monastery of St. Neophyte
Ayios Neophyto Monastery is located about 10 kilometers from Paphos so, it’s a shame not to take advantage ;) Especially since it is considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in Cyprus.
Its origins date back to the 12th century, when Neophyte, a Cypriot writer and ascetic, took up residence in one of the rocky caves. Other men followed his example and also set up cells in the cavities. Legend has it that Neophytos himself forged three caves, which included a church, a chapel and a hermitage. Inside, you can admire the frescoes and paintings on the walls, but it’s worth figuring out in advance what time you can go inside the monastery.
Today there are other buildings on the site, including, among others, a church and buildings with a courtyard, and there is also a museum of sacred art.
The place is quiet, peaceful – besides us there were only two other families and quite a few cats ;)
Driving to Omodos, we expected a small, quiet town, famous for its wine production, lace, where time passes more slowly and only in places do locals stroll along the cobbled, narrow streets.
What was our surprise when we saw 3 full coaches in the first parking lot. The town (or rather village), is inhabited by slightly more than 300 people, and we were under the impression that another 300 were tourists currently in town.
Fortunately, visitors quickly disperse by disappearing somewhere in the small streets, sitting down in one of the many restaurants along the main promenade, or going straight to the most important site, the Monastery of the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros). We went straight to the monastery, where you can take shelter from the strong midday sun.
There is a legend associated with the monastery, according to which the residents of the area where the monastery now stands repeatedly saw a fire from afar, but when they arrived at the site there was not a trace of the flames. One time they came across a fragment of a cross in a cave and erected a shrine, which was later replaced by a monastery. It is now regarded as one of the oldest monasteries on the island.
After seeing the monastery, we poked around some more in the narrow, shaded streets. Every few steps we passed hand-embroidered tablecloths and napkins and lace, sold by elderly women. During the walk we ended up with the kind of face of Omodos we expected – empty, narrow, well-kept streets, full of flowers, white walls and in places contrasting bright colors.
It’s also worth peeking inside some of the houses (the accessible ones, of course!), as you’ll come across rooms with old equipment that was used to make local wine.
Omodos initially discouraged us, but once we got away from the main points we could get to know it from a completely different side. In our opinion, it is worth coming here.
Had it not been for this challenge, we would never have discovered some of the lesser-known places in Cyprus, so once again it turns out that traveling with a child has many benefits :)
We especially liked the Lara Peninsula because it was something we hadn’t planned at all and a fun adventurezłof it. Omodos is also an interesting town that we can safely recommend to you.
We also recommend a photo gallery of Paphos and the western part of Cyprus:
What would you add to this list?