The tour starts off in St George, a small fishing village, known for its popular fish restaurants. In St George you can enjoy the remains of three early Christian Basilicas from the 6th century. In one of them, beautiful mosaic floors with geometric designs and representations of animals, birds and fish have been preserved, as well as marble columns. You can also visit the church of St George overlooking the beach and offering amazing views of the sea.
Hereafter the tour will take you to the area of Sea Caves, only a short distance from St George. Here the coastline is full of natural rock caves making it an ideal location for snorkelling. The Paphos Bird and Animal Park with its daily parrot shows and the Horse Riding Stables which cater for all ages and abilities are both within the Sea Caves area.
The next stop on the tour is the village of Peyia. This large and welcoming village is situated in the rugged hills that act as a backdrop to this photogenic stretch of Paphos coastline. In the town centre you can find a town hall, church, police station and several small shops, restaurants and banks. Due to its hillside location many parts of the town offer views over Coral Bay and Paphos. Have a stroll around the village and enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the many cafes.
A place to visit is the Peyia Vrisi. In the past, villagers had to collect their water from the local spring or ‘vrisi’. It was here that everyone met, especially the young men of the village who would congregate to watch the young girls collecting water in their red clay pitchers. It is said that to drink the Peyia spring water made the girls beautiful and several songs were written about the vrisi, one of which ,’Spring of Peyia Woman’ is still sung today. The vrisi is still visible though little visited except by newlyweds, as this is where a great number of wedding ceremonies are now conducted. The vrisi is in a paved area to one side of the municipal car park in the centre of the village.
After the visit to Peyia Village this tour will take you further up into the hills to the village of Kathikas and the Kathikas Winery, known as the Vasilikon winery. The Vasilikon winery, owned by the Kyriakides brothers, is one of the first local wineries of Cyprus. It operated in a serious and absolutely responsible way and its example was followed by two or three other wineries. Vasilikon is the only winery in Cyprus that, since its establishment, has been concentrating its efforts on only two wines which continue to be reference points in their category. Both the white “Vasilikon” and the red “Ayios Onoufrios” have been among the top wine labels over the last eight years, as wines for everyday consumption and are, at the same time, good value for money.
Moving on to another part of the District of Paphos, the tour now takes you to the town of Polis Chrysochous. The Polis area has a remarkable history dating back 3000 years. A visit to the Archaeological Museum gives you a chance to see the archaeological finds from Ancient Marion – Arsinoe. Those interested in the Byzantine history of the country can visit the Church of Agios Andronikos, near the traditional square of Polis, with its 16th Century wall – paintings.
As you walk around the town you cannot fail to be impressed by the old traditional buildings, both in the style of the Classical Revival and with beautiful wooden balconies. The centre of Polis with its restored stone buildings is now a pedestrian area. The paved square with its cafes, bars and restaurants is a gathering place full of life from morning until night throughout the year.
Polis beach is located a short distance from the village square. There is a woodland shaded area which is used as a campsite particularly during Cypriot public holidays. It is a sandy beach mixed with pebbles and is easily reached. Water sports, sunbed and umbrella hire are available on site.
Latchi is the beautiful harbour of Polis, known throughout Cyprus for its fresh fish. Here you can enjoy a wonderful meal in one of the many fish taverns.
The last stop on the tour is in the Akamas Peninsula at the attraction known as Baths of Aphrodite.Legend has it that after swimming in the crystal clear waters of the bay, the mythological goddess Aphrodite would walk up the hill and bathe in a pool fed by a freshwater mountain spring dripping down the sides of a shady grotto overhung by a leafy fig tree, which has come to be known as the Baths of Aphrodite. It is here that Adonis saw and fell in love with her while hunting in the Akamas forest. The Italian poet Ariosto wrote a poem about the area and its waters which became known as the Fontana Amorosa.
The myth of Aphrodite lived on through the Middle Ages turning into the love story between the mythical Byzantine hero Dhigenis Akritas and the Queen of Cyprus known as Rigaina. The ruins of an old monastery in a clearing in the heart of the Akamas with a giant oak tree and a bubbling spring, is known as the “Pyrgos tis Rigainas”, or the Queen’s castle, and is linked to this love story.
The Akamas Peninsula is a place you cannot go without; enjoy the beauty of nature and the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Here you can also enjoy a meal at The Last Castle (Viklari Castle), which is a very popular, open air restaurant, on a hilltop overlooking the Akamas Peninsula. The view from the restaurant is reputed to be one of the best in Cyprus and you can’t fail to see why; surrounded by fruit plantations and with a breathtaking view of the unspoilt beaches and the deep blue sea.
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