Paphos, a coastal city in Cyprus, is a place where history and culture combine to create the perfect alternative to an alcohol filled fortnight away.
Historical landmarks are abundant, the highlight being the awe inspiring Tomb of the Kings. The underground tombs are named not for Kings that were buried there but to convey just how magnificent they are.
The countless caves of Paphos are still being excavated and explored; many tourists have spent a day exploring the caves only to happen across an ancient Greek relic. Even if you aren’t so lucky, a day whiled away exploring the shady caves with a picnic lunch is a day well spent.
As well as history, Paphos offers romance. It is often argued that the city, said to be the birthplace of mythical Greek goddess Aphrodite, is one of the most romantic in the world. If you can drag yourself away from the flawless Aphrodite beach for a second, swim around Aphrodite rock which is just off of the coast. Local myth states that anyone who swims around the rock fully will be granted eternal beauty.
Paphos is also famed for its food and the friendly Cypriot population like to feed their guests. The best advice would be to try a different restaurant every evening and ask what is recommended rather than ordering your usual. That way you get an authentic taste of local cuisine. The food is extremely cheap and often your dinner has been caught fresh only hours previous.
September is the best time of year to visit; the flights are cheaper, it’s not unbearably hot, and the annual Opera festival takes place. It takes around seven hours to fly to Larnaca airport and an hour to drive to Paphos so a longer holiday is ideal.
For those who love the buzz and atmosphere of a city, don’t fret. Paphos also has its fair share of pubs and bars, made all the more authentic and enjoyable by the mix of tourists and locals.
The people of Paphos are extremely welcoming, and don’t be surprised if you end back at a house party in someone’s villa! If you still feel you need a bit more excitement, there are designated party coach trips to Ayia Napa. Although, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever want to leave.
By Claudia Gocoul
Image: Will Joseph Foster via Flickr.com