The Scenic Side of Cyprus

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This month I travelled to the Akamas Region of Western Cyprus for some sun and serenity. Having heard much on the grapevine of its natural beauty, gorgeous coastline, friendly taverns, family-run hotels and luxury villas, I wanted to learn more about this relaxing destination for myself. Just a 45 minute drive from Paphos Airport and home to the famed Aphrodite’s Rock, the locale is far-removed from the neigbouring resort’s bucket and spade haunts and definitely should be on your radar too.

Here is our destination guide. You heard it here first…   Aphrodites-Rock-1-2-460x307

Where to stay

Launched in 2010, Akamas Villas is a luxury villa company based in West Cyprus, offering upwards of 40 luxury holiday-rental properties. All villas are situated in and around the un-spoilt Akamas region, with its blend of quality restaurants, activities and services, set amidst thriving local communities and scenic, historic villages. Akamas Villas’s unique concierge-style team offers guests a villa holiday experience, with as much, or as little interaction as desired. For current villa deals visit their site.

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 Or prefer a hotel? Paradisos Hills Hotel is a 15-bedroom boutique property, located just outside the traditional Cypriot village of Lysos in the Akamas Peninsula of Western Cyprus. All rooms boast private balconies, with stunning sea or mountain views. With rooms starting from just €60.00 a night, the hotel is ideally located for those wanting a rural holiday setting. The hotel’s restaurant serves locally sourced, organic Cypriot cuisine, and hosts Sunday buffet lunches – famous throughout Cyprus.

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Where to eat

The atmospheric Latchi Harbour boasts the area’s widest selection of restaurants, specialising in sea food, grills and traditional Cypriot fare. We love Faros for its no-nonsense fun service, great value drinks, hearty portions and laid-back atmosphere.

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Or try Molos next door for its fantastic steaks – we opted for the beef fillet with peppercorn sauce, which was more than enough for two to share.

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Or for those wanting the full Greek-Cypriot experience, head to Moustakallis in Polis. Its name, meaning Moustache, makes sense when you see the elder proprietor’s facial fashion and a warm welcome is always guaranteed. Oh and did I mention the never-ending plates of mouth-watering meze?

Where to relax

If you only have time for one spa in the area, head to the Thalassa Spa. It is situated in the Anassa – meaning ‘queen’ in ancient Greek – a five-star luxury hotel  in the centre of the Akamas Region.

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Whilst there I opted for the Signature Ila Kyu Nye Treatment – a 60 minute deep tissue massage to balance the five elements and restore my flow of energy. After a ritualistic foot cleanse to begin, I completely zoned out to a soothing backdrop of chanting, sung by the lady Ila herself (who creates all the spa’s treatments).

After the hot poultices were gently used – a more calming massage experience that hot stones, which I find can sometimes overwhelm you with heat – I felt myself slipping into a deeper state of relaxation. Within moments it seemed the hour was up, so I floated to the spa’s gorgeous roman-esque pool and sunk into a day bed for another hour or two. Needless to say, the Thalassa Spa comes highly recommended – a must-do experience whilst in this part of Cyprus.

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What to do

Another unmissable trip is a visit to the Blue Lagoon – a natural cove on the Akamas coastline boasting azure waters. Hire a speedboat from Latchi Watersports.

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What to drink

Cyprus is also famed for its many high quality grape varieties. Most vineyards in this area are family-run and welcome walk-ins. If you are friendly too, you may just get offered a glass of wine on the house, at Zambartas orVouni Panayi.

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How to get there

Return flights to Paphos from London for travel this October 2015 currently start from around just £126 searching on travel site momondo. We flew from Stansted, travelling from London Liverpool Street on the Stansted Express. We also tried out the newly opened Escape Lounge at Stansted Airport – a calm haven in the busy hub. Booking available online.

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