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Regular Visitors to Cyprus never run out of reasons for choosing the island above all other Mediterranean destinations. Fragrant pine-clad mountains, rolling farmland, citrus orchards, deserted sandy beaches and that's just the landscape. Steeped in ancient myths and legends, the island's ancient fortresses and monasteries are a timeless testimony to centuries of rich history. The friendly Greek and Turkish Cypriots consider it an honour to welcome visitors, which makes the island a real home from home, a magical place where unforgettable holidays are made.
On the one hand visitors to Cyprus can relax in the cosmopolitan feel of vibrant resorts such as Ayia Napa, party capital of Europe and on the same day, discover sleepy mountain villages where life has remained unchanged for centuries. The resort of Paphos lies somewhere in between. Located on the island's breathtaking south-west coast just nine miles north of the airport, this was the capital of Cyprus in Roman times, when it rose to prominence as a site of great cultural and architectural value. Although its influence and prosperity went into decline during the Middle Ages, modern tourism has seen it transformed into one of the most attractive resorts on the island, hugely popular with families and couples alike. Many of the town's ancient landmarks give a fascinating insight into the island's history and include the Tombs of the Kings, an ancient Necropolis carved out of solid rock. The town's Roman amphitheatre, built during the Hellenistic period, is excellently preserved and is now the venue for concerts and other musical celebrations, whilst the House of Dionysus is a popular excursion for its intricate mosaic flooring.
But the town of Paphos offers much more than ancient history. This is an authentic Greek-Cypriot town with a vibrant feel, offering a wide variety of shops ranging from modern boutiques to traditional craft shops. These sit alongside a wonderful array of bars, tavernas and restaurants serving fresh seafood and traditional mezze dishes and as evening sets, the town's many bars and nightclubs buzz on until the early hours. Kato Paphos is one of four main resorts in the area and sits alongside the settlements at Coral Bay, Polis Crysochous and Aphrodite Hills. Kato Paphos denotes the coastal area of the main town of Paphos and is one of the island's most picturesque settings. Built around a busy harbour, the resort is lined with welcoming pavement cafes and bars, the perfect place for people-watching during the day and relaxing in the evening. The harbour is dominated by the old Fort, set at the end of the main jetty, built as a Byzantine fortress and frequently restored through the ages to become something of an icon of modern Kato Paphos.
Greece and its islands are associated with bygone centuries of ancient mythology and Cyprus is no exception. Paphos itself is revered as the birthplace of the Goddess of beauty herself, Aphrodite, who rose from the shores at Petra Tou Romiou and bathed in crystal pools at the Eden-like Baths of Aphrodite, close to the bay of Polis. This is just one of many excursions that can be taken from Paphos, which is well-placed to take advantage of all the attractions Cyprus has to offer. Other highlights include Snake George's Reptile Park and the giant slides and pools at the town's popular Aphrodite Waterpark offer everything for a fun-packed family day out. There are endless opportunities for active days out around Paphos, with diving and watersports available at the resort's four main beaches. Golfers have a choice of three excellent courses with breathtaking views, at Aphrodite Hills, Minthis Hills and the Secret Valley golf clubs.
If you are travelling independently, hiring a car in Cyprus is an excellent way to get out and about and discover interesting sights that lie off the beaten track. Paphos is located within easy reach of both the Akamas Peninsula and the Troodos Mountains, two of the island's most distinctive areas of natural beauty. In the north-west the Akamas Peninsula is a national park of extraordinary biodiversity, which welcomes walkers to enjoy nature trails and marvel at its rare flowers, butterflies and bird life. A drive into the Troodos Mountains reveals landscapes of ancient pine forests, deep valleys and rivers, intersected by winding roads that take visitors through enchanting inland villages where a warm welcome from the locals is guaranteed. Around 45 miles to the east of Paphos, the city of Limassol is a haven for shopping and nightlife and centre of the island's wine production. Each September, the town hosts its sumptuous wine festival, when wine from all the local producers flows freely for all to savour every evening in an atmosphere of indulgence and celebration.
Cyprus has enjoyed several years of popularity as a holiday destination and today all of the well known budget airlines fly to Paphos from most major airports in the UK. With a flight time of under four hours, you could find yourself leaving work at the end of the week to hop on a flight in time to see the sunrise over the beaches at Paphos on Saturday morning.