It’s right next door, it’s the Mediterranean, and it’ crystal clear. Flying from Beirut, Cyprus is always a good idea for a quick beach getaway and gorgeous sea views.
The best way to avoid the crowded beaches is to travel off-season, but also to pick the less touristy destinations. Paphos is one of them. Located on the western coast of the Greek side of Cyprus, the town offers much more than beautiful beaches. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss in this charming coastal city.
It’s quite a popular attraction, but the walk on the marina is pleasant. The wide pedestrian streets are lined with restaurants and bars from one side, and boats from the other. I wouldn’t recommend eating there as the restaurants naturally cater for mass tourism and wouldn’t offer the best food experience. However, sipping a drink in one of the bars while watching the sunset and local fishermen would be a nice way to spend the afternoon. The harbor ends with the Medievial Castle of Paphos, originally a byzantine fort that has been reconstructed many times before becoming today one of the most famous landmarks of the city.
Tombs of the Kings
It’s weird to recommend a cemetery as a thing to do, but this one is no ordinary. The Tombs of the Kings were excavated during the Hellenestic period to bury rich citizens and high officials of the state. The architecture of the underground tombs imitates the houses of the same period, stretching over hectares by the sea of Paphos. What’s most impressive is how huge it is! If you’re looking for an unusual walk in the morning soaked in history, this one is for you.
Paphos Archeological Park
Apart from the Tombs of the Kings, the Archeological Park of Paphos includes many important monuments covering several eras, from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, with most of them dating back to the Roman period. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, the park is an impressive voyage in time for the lovers of history!
When you don’t have enough time to explore the secluded beaches of Paphos, you go straight to Coral Bay. The 600m crescent of white sand is the most popular and a must-see spot here. You can rent your long chair and umbrella for 7.5 euros and enjoy a comfortable and relaxing day in the sun and the calm seawaters with many bars and restaurants just a street away.
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… Or you can drive to Petra tou Romiou beach, also called Aphrodite’s Rock. Located between Paphos and Limassol, the pebbly beach is known to be the place where the Greek goddess Aphrodite was born out of the Mediterranean waters. Less comfortable than other sandy beaches, this spot would attract the wilder ones, fans of mythology and dramatically gorgeous photos.
If you don’t have a car, a bus service provides rides to this spot that you can check on www.pafosbuses.com.
Sea You Beach Bar
You don’t need to go looking around for the best beach bar in Paphos, because this is it. A complete coup-de-coeur for me. “Pieds dans l’eau”, as they say in French, the place is located right on the beach, welcoming visitors with the fresh, summery, boho feel that every beach bar in the world should have. The colors, the design, the ridiculously cute little details, not to mention the great food and savory cocktails, will make this spot one of your sweetest discoveries in Paphos.
PS: Aim for sunset time. You won’t regret it!
Tavern St. Georges
We were lucky to be recommended this restaurant before traveling, but I prefer to think of it as destiny. The best Cypriot fusion mezze experience we had, and guess what? Totally organic! What we learnt is that 90% of the ingredients used are sourced from the owner’s farm, so it’s basically a real “farm to fork” experience. The restaurant has its own serving system: guests don’t order, they just eat what is served until they drop, with a formula of 7 euros per person, excluding the wine. The menu varies according to the ingredients available in the current season, which makes it even more unpredictable and exciting.
The wines served are also natural and made in-house, they were easy to drink and pleasant. I would recommend ordering a pitcher of each, the white and the red, to accompany both the vegan and meat mezze meals. I know it’s most likely you’re stuffed before the dessert but you would REALLY want to save some room for it. If you’re lucky enough, you will be treated to their date pudding, an absolute mouthwatering sweet experience!
Because the restaurant is most of the times fully booked, make sure you call and reserve in advance. Your call will probably be answered by the owner himself with the touching warmth and hospitality of Mediterranean people.
I loved everything about this restaurant: the family story behind it, the passion of serving the Cypriot food culture with a personal twist, and the warmth of a father and a son who make sure every visitor’s experience is memorable.
For more info, you can reach the restaurant on their facebook page, or contact them on +357 99 655824.