Staff Review

Sightseeing in Cyprus


18 Nov 2016

by The Kirker Team

Kirker Holidays

We arrived late on the Wednesday evening into Paphos and were greeted with warm Cypriot hospitality at the Almyra Hotel; an excellent 4 star contemporary hotel right on the sea front of the town and only a ten minute stroll along the promenade to Paphos' Archaeological park.'This is a wonderful site to visit. Lots of walking but the mosaics are truly stunning and in wonderful condition. Spend an hour or 4 hours at this site and as it is such excellent value you can go twice!'The following morning we were collected from the hotel for an ‘jeep safari’ excursion, heading up to the picturesque countryside of Cyprus, a part of the country too often overlooked by visitors to the coast – this was great fun and the guides are incredibly knowledgeable about the area and its history and myths.'Located to the north of Paphos is the Akamas Peninsula, where the mountains meet the sea and one can roam around the unsurfaced tracks that are several miles long or visit Lara Beach, an unspoilt stretch of protected sand, and a sanctuary for the green and loggerhead turtles that return each year to lay their eggs.'From Paphos you can also visit the Troodos Mountains, the largest mountain range of Cyprus, located in the centre of the island. Troodos' highest peak is Mount Olympus at 1,952 metres. The journey into the Troodos Mountains is spectacular. You will pass small villages and get a glimpse of traditional Cypriot life. The area has been known since ancient times for its mines, and in the Byzantine period it became a great centre of Byzantine art, as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains, away from the more dangerously exposed coastline. Nowadays, there are many famous mountain resorts, Byzantine monasteries and churches perched on mountain peaks and nestling in valleys as well as picturesque mountain villages clinging to terraced hill slopes. As you travel high into the pine-clad Troodos Mountains you will find the Kykkos Monastery, ornately decorated with wonderful mosaics in bright colours. It is also renowned for its wealth, with many gold icons and beautifully preserved frescoes.'The excursion into the Troodos is a fascinating but long day, and for the perfect holiday I would divide my time between relaxing by the beach (my personal favourite beach hotel is the Columbia Beach Resort), and then heading to the mountain retreat of Casale Panayiotis - nestled in the spa village of Kalopanayiotis in the Troodos mountains, overlooking St John Lampadistis monastery. The Kykkos Monastery is a short drive away from here too. Casale Panayiotis is the ideal base to explore and experience the Troodos area and the real Cyprus, away from the tourist crowds. This boutique hotel has 28 rooms and were once village homes, each one has been lovingly restored to give the feel of stepping back in time and living in the old village, but with all the modern comforts which make it a relaxing retreat.'As for the gastronomy part of the trip, I still dream about my dining experience at the Seven St. Georges Tavern in Paphos. This restaurant has not only the most delicious food in Paphos, but it is also the most charming place to dine. Everyone from locals to tourists in the know come to experience owner George's inventive Cypriot cooking, which includes an abundance of fresh, seasonal, and often organic ingredients, and lots of options for vegetarians. St. Georges has no written menu, just a prix-fixe offering of meze — a seemingly endless parade of small plates from cheeses to vegetables from the restaurant's own garden to meats smoked in-house, all served with tasty homemade wine. The friendly waiters will keep bringing the food until you tell them to stop!'I would recommend coming to Cyprus any time of year, especially off peak (November – April) for a top up of vitamin D and sunshine. The average temperature in November was around 22C; the chances of rain are slim and the sea temperature is higher than that of the swimming pools (around 20C). A great short break and only 4 hours flying time from the UK, Cyprus is a gem in the Mediterranean.

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