Back in the UK, during our student days, we had a close Cypriot friend, who studied law. Even back then, he kept badgering us to come and visit him in his gorgeous country, and because we were just students, we didn’t have enough money then, to take him up on his offer.
Extrapolate that by 10 years or so, and we finally got the chance and enough money to plan that long due trip to Cyprus, thanks so some great deals we found on the website. Needless to say, our buddy from Uni days was well chuffed to see us. He was our host for nearly a week, and here are some of the must sees in Cyprus (we didn’t have much time, or we would have seen more)!
The Tombs of the Kings, a Unesco World Heritage site, is Pafos’ main attraction. It has some well-preserved underground tombs and chambers used by residents of Nea Pafos from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD, during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The tombs are unique in Cyprus due to their peristyle court structure, which was influenced by Egyptian architecture. The ancient Egyptians believed that tombs for the dead should resemble houses for the living, and this tradition is reflected in the Pafos tombs.
When in Cyprus, one must always go for the Turkish bath at Omeriye Hammam, we were told. The place is opulent, with a reception area that has an enormous chandelier hanging over the circular bar area, while candles, mirrors and a refreshing minty scent accompany the baths themselves. The 16th-century Omeriye Hammam is clean, no-nonsense, with separate days for men and women, and same-sex masseurs. You can choose to indulge in the basic steam bath, or you could indulge in body scrub, or have a Chinese or aromatherapy massage. You exit feeling like a million bucks!
Discover the Ancient Vouni
Back in the day, this was built to keep watch over the activities of nearby pro-Greek Soloi – it has private rooms and steps leading down to a courtyard under which is a cistern. A curious guitar-shaped stone seen there probably supported a machine for raising weights. The palace was burned down in 380 BC and never re-established. Today this site that is situated on a hilltop, offers some of the best views of the region.
No trip is complete without visiting the beach (so say the beach bunnies!) At the Karpas, white sand and pristine sea waters await. This place is very much unspoiled and undeveloped, which is nice. The best part is that it is unlikely that Golden Beach is going to see any development in the future, since it is considered to be a nature reserve. This was really the best spot for chilling out and I thoroughly enjoyed walking along beach – the sea really sparkled. It was a shame to see our holiday come to an end!