PAPHOS & AKAMAS AREAS

April 18, 2011 in CYPRUS | Comments (0)

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Paphos castle

On the west coast facing the sunset lies Paphos. Paphos is gathered behind a fishing harbor, castle and world heritage archaelogical site dating back to ancient Greece and the Roman empire. A narrow beach and rocky areas fringe a promenade walk lined with shops, cafes and hotels sporting their own pools and spas.

There are more serene and exclusive spots in Cyprus  – like  Anassa (see my earlier posts). And there are certainly less exclusive and more touristy spots than Paphos (around and beyond Larnaca), with so many northern Europeans that you wonder if you stumbled on a suburb of Stockholm, if it were not for the dry sun.

In Paphos you are definitely in Cyprus with a decent sized town full of Cypriots going about their lives behind the tourist front line along the seaside. In Paphos the shops cannot resist billboard size signs. That is very Cypriotic. Shoe shops abound of course – Cypriots love shoes. Café upon café of course, and a street known as bar street. Its not quiet and elegant – its busy in a relaxed Mediterranean way –  and commercial for sure in its own unpretentious way.

For me the real charm of Paphos is that you are sitting on top of an outpost of ancient Greece and Rome. That means real ruins to look at and mythology attaching itself everywhere. Aphrodite goddess of love and beauty is said to have come out of the waters off Paphos – various spots on the coast claim her birth just there. But more concrete and worth at least a whole day or two is the Unesco site House of Mosaics, with the villas of various noblemen surviving in the form of the odd wall with very beautiful mosaics, albeit damanged by time. In addition there are three museums in Paphos telling ancient stories.

The other thing I like about Paphos is our hotel staring out over the sea.  

Just one teeny little modest sign marks this hotel – “almyra” at the entrance to Poseidenos Avenue.  And already you know it is different, modest, tasteful.

A design hotel, it is an unpretentious place, yet stylish, with those little features that show a designer was here, making all this simplicity. It is a family hotel with endless connecting rooms, kid’s menus, kid’s clubs and so on. Next door lies sister hotel Annabelle. Both lie in gardens that stretch down to the beach walkway with their own beach restaurants and views over the blue Mediterranean.

Almyra was the first of the Thanos family hotels built in what was then avant garde style. Next Thanos hotel was Annabelle, which moved out of minimalism. It is still not elaborate, but it has round balconies, rusty marble and more colour, harking back to a more classical hotel style.

Almyra’s pools are square – Anabelle’s lagoon shape. Quite a few rooms also have plunge pools, and the luxury of outdoor showers. Annabelle was an immediate  success. In fact to date 80% of its guests are repeaters. So Thanos then went a step further in the classical direction. They built Anassa – on its own beach a 40 minutes to one-hour drive over the mountains, beside the Akamas peninsula nature reserve. Not just classical but UBERclassical and luxurious. See my earlier blog.

Anassa is not just a place to lie on the beach or by the pools. It’s great for sporty people – with sailing, windsurfing, squash, tennis, mountain biking and hiking on the wild and rocky peninsula.

Here you are again in the world of Aphrodite. If you had not heard of Greek mythology you would think she is a woman of flesh and blood, judging by the signs. Aphrodite swam in some baths nearby – see the image.

My choice would be to spend the first 2 or 3 nights of a Cyprus week at Almyra in a Kyma suite. And spend a whole day in the ruins again. The surviving mosaics are so fluid in their lines, it’s as if an artist did strokes of colour in minutes, rather than years or decades…exquisite. Then I would head off over the mountains to Anassa for more luxury, physical exercise and exquisite nature, chilling out totally…

This suggestion needs a sound budget.