Exploring & Escapades

bits & pieces of my travels

Category: Cyprus

Akamas

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The Akamas Peninsula is the last untouched corner of Cyprus. No cars allowed, literally. You need a four-wheeler to travel within its borders, unless you are on foot.

We *did* originally plan to spend a day off-roading across the area… that plan quickly dissolved at the airport when we learned that the rental car company had given our four-wheel drive reservation away to someone else. But it was (really) a blessing in disguise. We took the peninsula on foot instead, and it was one of the most memorable parts of our entire trip.

For Akamas, you can enter from either the south or the east. We did the latter, first passing through the seaside towns of Polis and Latsi along the way. Not far from Latsi, there’s a parking lot at the edge of the park – and the cutest little restaurant (pictured above). After a quick stop for pre-hiking coffee & a snack of Halloumi and tzatziki, we set off on the Aphrodite Trail, a 7km loop up into the hills and back down along the cliffs. 

It was so quiet and so fresh, magical, as if we were wandering through our own mythological adventure. We passed the legendary Baths of Aphrodite, unnamed ruins in the mountainside. There were goats. And then, at the highest point of the trail, we veered off the path to climb further still to the very peak.

That view. An entire piece of an island, no longer shielded by the treeline. No people, no cars, no buildings. Just the waves, crashing against the rocks on the coast for no one to see. 

It was hypnotic and hard to leave. 

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Kato Paphos Harbor

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Paphos Harbor is mostly a tourist hub; the street along the water is overflowing with restaurants and souvenir shops. But amongst it all, there are slices of serenity. We loved walking this small corner near the castle, even in the pre-sunset chill. Men came out to fish along the road, staying long after the daylight left. Later, while we were eating dinner nearby, we even had a man come running into the restaurant with a live octopus that he had just pulled out of the water. 

I don’t have photos of it, but both mornings that we were here, we started our day running along the boardwalk from our hotel to this castle and back. The view was incredible. There is something oddly reassuring about seeing the waves crest next to you as you run in January. The harbor gave us that. 

 

Tomb of the Kings

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There are no kings buried in the Tomb of the Kings, but they’re still pretty majestic. In the fourth century B.C., Cyprus’ elite were laid to rest here. Archaeologists began to excavate the tombs in the 1970s, and today, they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

I read online that one needs hours to spend here, but we spent less than one. If we had more time on the island, we might have stayed longer, but we wanted to fit in as many activities as we could before the sun set at 5pm. That being said, we didn’t feel rushed at all. We simply wandered and took it all in, a giant open space, history against a backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.

Kouklia

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The villages of Cyprus. We wanted to get outside of the city of Paphos and experience the smaller towns. In the offseason, they were almost deserted. We couldn’t even find a place that was open to sit and have a cup of Cyprus coffee. But the hyper-narrow roads were empty for us, which was wonderful. We were alone walking down the streets, as if it were all there just for us. 

Petra tou Romiou

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From snowy Boston to sunny Cyprus in a few short days (via home in Cambridge first). It’s been a whirlwind of travelling days, but I’m embracing graduated life and exploring as much as I can. Flights to Paphos from London this time of year are super low, since it’s the island offseason. It was noticeably quiet and many things were closed, but it was perfect for us to take in the natural beauty of the island without the crowds. 

This beach: Legend has it that, at this exact spot, the goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea. Mother Earth first asked her son, Cronus, to mutilate his father, Uranus. He did that, and threw the parts into the ocean – these rocks. Then, the waves swelled up, and a goddess was born. 

The landscape was breathtaking, though I get the vibe that it was *much* more peaceful to take in during the January offseason than it might be in the summer rush. We assumed it would be too cold to swim and didn’t bring bathing suits, but we definitely could have in the intensity of afternoon sun. The water was warm, and the beach was empty. I loved it. 

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