Cyprus is known as the island of love and the mythical birthplace of the Goddess of Love – Aphrodite. It is no wonder that when people visit Cyprus the first time they fall in love with this beautiful Mediterranean island, just like I did!
There is so much to see and do in Cyprus as it is steeped in history, with influences from many civilisations such as the Romans, Phoenicians, the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. You can see touches of this across the island.
What makes Cyprus ideal as an all year round destination is its glorious weather! We visited in low season, in November, and we had such amazing weather, making it the perfect destination for winter sun. There is also such a contrast of landscape and you are never far from the sea. If you are a cat lover you are in for a real treat as Cyprus has an abundance of gorgeous friendly cats.
Here are my suggestions of places to see and things to do whilst in Cyprus.
Kourion Archaeological Site
The Kourion Archaeological Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of amazing excavated remains and ruins. The area was first discovered in the 1820s, however the main excavations happened between the 1930s and 1950s.
Pictured is the magnificent Greco-Roman theatre, the site’s magnificent centrepiece, which was built in the 2nd century BC and extended in the 2nd century AD. The theatre has now been restored and is used for open-air musical and theatrical performances during the summer months.
Platres Chocolate Workshop
For any chocolate lover, the Platres Chocolate Workshop, a luxury chocolate workshop and boutique, is a must visit!Every chocolate is crafted by hand on site using premium ingredients sourced globally. The Chocolate workshop is situated in the heart of the Platres village and is a 40-minute drive from Limassol city.
John Adams, an English man, and his Cypriot wife Praxi established the chocolate workshop in 2008. They are both Master chocolatiers trained in France and Venezuela, and have dedicated their chocolate range to the flavours of Cyprus. Each chocolate captures the unique taste of this island with fillings such as provincial liquors, locally preserved fruits, and traditional sweets.
The workshop is really interesting where you will learn the rich history of chocolate, taste testing different varieties, and you will be taught how to create your very own chocolate bar.
I highly recommend visiting the village of Choirokoitia, which is already well-known for its invaluable Neolithic settlement, and going to the workshop of a local artist called Petros Nicolaou, which is also his family home and is a beautiful 1903 building made from traditional Tochni stone and wood. Inside the home there is a small museum where you can see furniture and artefacts preserved to depict the olden day village life.
Whilst at Petros’s lovely home, he will also be able to demonstrate how he makes Halloumi cheese the traditional way and you will be able to try some of this delicious cheese, which is so versatile!
The Larnaka village of Lefkara, which is surrounded by the Troodos mountains and overlooks the sea, is best-known for its traditional embroidery techniques called ‘Lefkaritika.’ As you wander the cobbled streets you will come across women working on this embroidery technique and who are deeply passionate about it, having learned it form the previous generation.
In the Larnaka village of Lefkara you will also find the delicate craft of filigree or ‘trifouri’ whereby fine silver wire is twisted into beautiful hand-made jewellery such as earrings, pendants and brooches, as well as decorative cutlery and tableware, with a resulting ‘spider web’ effect.
Loukoumi – Cyprus Delights
Cyprus is famous for its delicious sweets known as ‘delights’, which have been produced on the island for centuries. These soft, chewy sweets are made without the use of preservatives and simply with sugar, cornstarch and flavouring or nuts, and then dusted with icing sugar to prevent them from sticking together.
I recommend visiting a delightful little sweet factory and shop called Arsinoe Delights, where you can see the production of these sweets, and also get to try lots of different flavours. A fabulous experience!
Where to eat in Cyprus
A traditional style taverna with both inside and outside seating. I highly recommend the Moussaka here.
Excellent food in a gorgeous setting, highly recommend!
The Italian food here is out of this world and presented beautifully and the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. Highlight was the Chocolate Ravioli for dinner.
Muse café Kitchen Bar
Muse café kitchen bar is found in an area of the old town and boasts spectacular panoramic views across both Paphos and the coastline. Cocktails and food are really good and ambience is awesome.
Where to stay in Cyprus
Elysium Resort and Spa
The Elysium Resort Hotel, Paphos is a superb five star resort. It is spacious, elegantly designed with magnificent gardens and a massive pool complex that transcends across the property, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.
The hotel has a vast range of dining choices from Italian (which is amazing), a buffet restaurant and a Japanese restaurant. My favourite spots were the terrace where you could have drinks and breakfast is not to be missed! The waffles are a must.
The location is amazing, sandwiched between between Paphos’ beach and the Tomb of the Kings, a 4th century BC-site that like much in this historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and within easy reach of the Elysium are the historic harbour and the resort’s lively centre.
Highlights included the pillow menu in the room, with the aroma pillow being absolutely divine!
Find out more about the hotel here: https://www.jet2holidays.com/cyprus/paphos- area/paphos-resort/elysium