Exploring the Real Cyprus
Although I am based in the Paphos region I highly recommend if you are staying for a couple of weeks that you hire a car and explore some of this fabulous island. Jim and I have travelled extensively across the island over the years for both pleasure and to photograph weddings.
You will find it very easy driving here as we drive on the left; our motorways are really very quiet with fabulous flowers along the central reservation, especially in May and you will see the sea from many sections and if not you will have lovely countryside and mountain views along the way.
But, it is different to driving in the UK. Without upsetting or offending anyone, we do drive a little faster, ignoring many rules such as using indicators, waiting at traffic lights or give way/stop signs, opening our car door into the road without checking if a car is coming along, we don't often park perfectly in between the white lines on a car park and we do forget what the double yellow lines are for sometimes :) but on the whole you just have to go with the flow.
Regions of Cyprus
One of my favourite regions of the island is the eastern side Ayia Napa & Protaras. We visit as often as possible and we still love it there even though we have lived here since 2006. Before you ask yes there are night clubs, but pretty hidden and it is great for families on this side as it has fabulous sandy beaches and gorgeous scenery especially Cape Greko (the big rock you will have seen wedding photo shoots done there). Its about 2 - 2.5 hours from Paphos depending how fast you drive...
Other favourites are the sea front at Larnaca as it reminds us of old seaside towns in the UK from our childhood.
Nicosia (capital of Cyprus) has a cosmopolitan feel with its tall modern buildings mixed with the history and traditional Cyprus. (about 2 hours from Paphos).
Limassol is about an hour from Paphos also having a cosmopolitan feel and a very long sea front with a fabulous marina which is well worth a visit.
Troodos Mountains are stunning (about an hour from Paphos) Platres and Omodos are our favourite villages. You can ski in late December/January and then just a short drive be back on the beach in the sun. In July & August when its very hot and humid us locals like to go up the mountains for a break from the heat. There are some fantastic wineries along route up the mountains and well worth a visit.
We have over 300 days a year of sunshine in Cyprus and it does very get hot and humid in summer. It can reach 40+ deg C on the beach and the humidity increases during the summer months. The rest of the year is mild, but colder in January & February particularly in the evenings.
About Paphos (Pafos)
Paphos is on the western coast of Cyprus and has the island's second airport. The resort town has as its focal point a charming fishing harbour by Paphos Fort, with stunning yachts, open-air cafes, tavernas and gorgeous ice cream too.
Paphos is also widely known as the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Modern-day Paphos is split in two, with the upper section up the hill (Pano Paphos, known locally as Ktima) the town centre and lower Kato Paphos near the sea front, harbour, hotels and restaurants. Paphos has a large choice of International dining and modern coffee bar restaurants.
Coral Bay (Peyia region) is along the coast off the Tombs of the Kings road and is a beautiful place to stay or explore. There are many shops, restaurants and two lovely beaches. The Corallia Beach is sandy and great for children and it is next to the Corallia Beach Hotel. This is a good base if you wish to travel inland to visit some of the many villages.
If you want to explore Paphos, then hiring a car is the best way to get about to the traditional Cypriot villages and experience a delicious home cooked meal, chat to the locals and experience the `real’ Cyprus. So escape to the hills for the day - you will not believe how different it is!
Around 30 – 45 minutes from the centre of Paphos is the lovely town of Polis and Latchi harbour which are both well worth a visit by car. On the way call at the traditional Cypriot village of Kathikas where there are many local tavernas and Sterna Winery is well worth a stop to sample some local wines. Allow some time for this as they love to chat and you are sure to receive a warm welcome.
A must see is Aphrodite’s Rock which is a short drive along the coast road (around 20/25 mins from central Paphos. The Petra Tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek), or the Rock Of Aphrodite is a popular tourist spot for its breathtaking view of the sea and more famously the birth place of Aphrodite. Legend has it that this is the Rock from which Aphrodite mythically arose from the sea. This is a stunning location and you mustn’t forget to take your camera along. Further along the coast from Aphrodite’s Rock (9km) is the beautiful village of Pissouri (region is Limassol)
I wish you a fabulous time here in Cyprus!