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72 Hours in Cyprus

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Sometimes wrongly labelled as a stag do destination, the mythological birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite is a sun-soaked jewel.

No matter what time of year, the sun always shines in Cyprus; be in through the faces of openhearted locals, the buzzing nightlife scene or in the shimmering blue waters surrounding ancient ruins and medieval fortresses. Aphrodite’s Rock stands proud on the glistening coastline, acting as both a romantic attraction for passing visitors and a cornerstone of Cypriot popular history.

But what happens if you’ve only got a couple of days to explore this alluring country? Fear not, for we’ve been there and explicitly done that, and have all the best tips ready for you.

Image Credit: Caitlin Clark

How to get there

There are two major airports in Cyprus, Larnaca on the Eastern side of the island and Paphos sitting on the coast of the West. 

We’d recommend taking a simple and cost-effective flight via EasyJet from most major UK airport to Paphos – a city brimming with culture, restaurants, stunning beach-side hotels and a whole host of glamorous options for night owls. At only 3-4 hours of flying time and less than £50 for a single journey, Cyprus is easily accessible for business and pleasure alike.

Where to stay

Sitting less than half an hour away from Paphos airport smack bang on the seafront is the stunning Constantinou Bros Athena Royal Beach Hotel.

Grand and sparkling with the glitz and glamour of a luxury Vegas club while maintaining a vintage French chic, the Athena Royal certainly doesn’t disappoint on the outside. On the inside, there’s the fully equipped Elixr Spa, five restaurants serving everything from mouth-watering Cypriot mezes to classic Italian ristorante specials, and 200-something beautifully decorated suites.

If you fancy an experience even more upmarket, check out Aphrodite Hills Resort a little further south than Paphos. Aphrodite Hills steals the show for couples with their luxury residences that boast huge, comfortable beds, a separate living area and a private outdoor pool!

Image Credit: Caitlin Clark

Where to eat

The Cypriots are very proud of their home-grown cuisine and nowhere more so is it on offer than at Polis Herb Garden, nearby the legendary baths of Aphrodite. This is a restaurant well worth travelling to, if alone for its blooming herb and flower garden which houses succulent citrus trees, towering bamboo shoots and a plethora of fresh herbs.

Languish in the sunshine on their outdoor terrace with a large glass of vino and platefuls of their traditional meze, and thank us later.

Explore…

Paphos is a good base for taking a couple of day trips in your short time on the island and two places that cannot be missed are Platres and Omodos.

The former could be mistaken for a village nestled high in the Swiss Alps. After wrestling with a hugely fluctuating tourist population, in the off-season, Platres is an abandoned paradise. Wander up to the famous peak at Mount Olympus, take a dip in the Millomeris waterfalls and warm up later with a cup of traditional Cypriot lavender tea in Platres cultural center.

Omodos, on the other hand, could not look more traditional. Jaggedy cobbled streets lead its visitors to the grand doors of Cypriot monasteries, coffee houses and wineries, meanwhile its crooked centre acts as the perfect sun-trap for an afternoon of lazily purchasing armfuls of Cypriot delights, hand-whittled spoons and sticky baklava. 

Where to spend your evenings

If there’s one thing the Cypriots know what to do it’s to have a good time. The New Kings of Aphrodite Tavern in the centre of Paphos is a real hotspot for locals – which tells you outright that the food is seriously good.

Towering plates of scrambled egg and aubergine, lamb kofta and griddled halloumi are almost outdone by the number of wine glasses stacked up on the heads of the young, traditional dancers. Just don’t eat too much – after a couple of glasses of fresh Cypriot wine, you’ll be up on that dancefloor too!

Image Credit: Caitlin Clark

If you do one thing... 

Okay, I’m cheating, there are two things you really cannot miss on a trip to Cyprus – even on a tight schedule.

The first (and arguably most fattening) is a trip to Mrs Sofia’s house in Leytmbou village. Mrs Sofia and her husband live in a tiny village in a stunning traditional house which has been opened up to the public as a tourist attraction. Kitted out with a full kitchen and wood-burning fire, head to Mrs Sofia’s for a taste of traditional, handmade halloumi and Cypriot bread. A hot tip: add a touch of carob syrup to the cheese rinds for a little extra kick.

To work off all that cheese, head up to George’s Ranch towards the North-Western tip of the island for a relaxing sunset horse ride by the waterfront. Even if riding isn’t your thing, the views of the coastline are so worth it.




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