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Throwback Thursday: Paphos, Cyprus

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Welcome to this month’s Throwback Thursday feature!

I’ve not done one of these for a while but I’m super excited to be blogging about one of my favourite places in the world! Paphos is truly a beautiful holiday destination which is perfect for families, friends and couples alike looking for a relaxing break away in the sun. I traveled here in June 2013 for a weeks holiday and had a fantastic time, so here’s my best bits!….

The Journey

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You can fly to Cyprus from pretty much any airport in the UK but I chose to go with Thomas Cook on a package holiday from East Midlands airport which offered great flight times at very reasonable prices. The average flight time is 4 and a half hours on the way there and just over five hours on the way back. These were actually the longest flights I’ve ever been on as I’m yet to venture out of Europe (sigh!) but both journeys went really quickly and we were well looked after by our cabin crew.

The Hotel

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We had booked into the four star Avanti Village in the heart of Paphos on a self catering basis for the duration of our stay. The complex was beautiful with a large fresh water pool, lazy river, pretty gardens and plenty of activities on offer. Our first floor one bedroom studio apartment was spacious and clean with good quality facilities and was situated at the front of the complex so we had a lovely view of the pool. We ate at the snack bar a couple of times and the food was great. I particularly enjoyed the swim up bar in the pool which was brilliant, a real novelty for me.

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There were a few restaurants (BBQ grill & an Italian) to the rear of the complex if you wanted to eat closer to home as the hotel was around a 30min walk from the centre of Paphos. If you dont fancy walking it the buses in Paphos are amazing, 1Euro each way per person, or 3Euro per person for a full day ticket so you could hop and hop off wherever you wanted! We did this a couple of times and uses our day tickets to go to Coral Bay, the Old Town/Market and into Paphos Harbour when we were feeling more tired! This actually worked well for us as we liked to be away from the hustle and bustle. The scenic walk along the coast was beautiful each night and we got to see the sun go down day after day which was a real treat. You can read my Trip Advisor review of the Avanti Village here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g190384-d622520-r164249468-Avanti_Village-Paphos_Paphos_District.html#REVIEWS

The Resort

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The resort is situated around Paphos Castle and Harbour, so everything is all in one place. There are tonnes of souvenir shops, bars, cafe’s and restaurants so we were never stuck for something to do. It’s well worth visiting Paphos Castle and having a wander round as the views over the harbour from the top are truly stunning.

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As we were on a self catering holiday, we chose to eat dinner out every night and I was so glad we did this as it gave us the opportunity to try out loads of beautiful restaurants. As is expected, the closer you are to the sea the more expensive the meals are, but you get what you pay for and the experience of enjoying an evening  of food and drink whilst watching the waves roll in was something we didn’t want to pass up on! As the centre of Paphos is situated around its harbour, the beach was a bit further away and wasn’t the focal point of the resort which actually made a nice change for me as I often get bored on beaches! The beach wasn’t typically long and sandy, but it was pleasant enough and was a great place to watch the sun set over the nearby harbour.

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Price wise, the restaurants in Paphos are a little on the expensive side but again it does depend where you go and what you eat. An average meal and drinks for a couple was around 40-50 euros which is higher than what I’ve previously paid in places like Spain, Greece and The Canaries. On our last night we spent €80 on a posh dinner and cocktails by the sea which was a lot of money but it’s nice to be able to push the boat out once in a while! I can see how it would be costly to feed a family each night at this resort so hotels offering all inclusive or full board deals might be worth considering for larger parties.

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Nightlife in Paphos is great, there’s always something going on! There were a number of clubs, our favourites were Flairs and Linekars, which did great drinks deals and planned party nights. Hen do’s and stag weekend’s were arriving for the start of the season and we were told it gets extremely busy during the main summer months. For a more chilled night out there are plenty of bars on offer if you’re not looking to go clubbing.

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Day Trips

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There’s tonnes of excursions on offer in Paphos, from boat trips and jeep safaris to horse riding and wine tasting, there really is something for everyone. We did three day trips in total, one day exploring the old town and the markets, another on a half day boat trip and one on an all day jeep safari.

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The old town was beautiful with lots of historical buildings and places of interest together with panoramic views across the resort. We spent time rambling down little side streets exploring the hidden gems and grabbed a few bargains at the local markets before catching the bus back to the harbour. As mentioned above, the buses in Paphos are brilliant and are excellent value for money, a great way of exploring further afield. As the old town was away from the sea it got incredibly hot and humid so just be wary of that if, like me, you struggle with the heat! June was a great time to visit Cyprus as the temp reached around 26-28 degrees so it wasn’t too hot. We were told that it gets as hot as 35 degrees during July and August as its peak season so I’d recommend avoiding these months if you want the weather to be a little more bearable.

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The half day boat trip with Paphos Sea Cruises was a brilliant day out and probably the highlight of the holiday. We boarded the luxurious Ocean Flyer from the harbour at midday and cruised along the West Coast of Paphos sailing the Mediterranean sea towards the nearby beautiful Coral Bay beach. There were a couple of swimming stops along the way and a buffet was served on board along with as much drink as you could handle- this was included in the ticket price of €40pp which we thought was great value for money. The cruise lasted for four hours and you could jump straight on to an evening one if you wanted to continue with your day at sea- with dinner, musical entertainment and fireworks on offer we were hugely tempted!

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The last day trip we did was the Akamas jeep safari, something I had never done before and it was truly amazing! We were in a group of around 8 people plus our driver/guide who took us high into the mountains and showed us a completely different side of Cyprus. We started with the magical sea caves which were breathtakingly beautiful and then made our way up to Avakas Gorge where we trekked through a pretty waterfall.

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After a short stop for lunch (included in €35 ticket price) we were taken to a couple of small fishing villages, Polis and Latchi, one of which was close to Turtle Beach but unfortunately we didn’t spot any of the turtles as it was out of hatching season! We were told July- September was the best time to catch them. Finally we headed to the Baths of Aphrodite where the famous Goddess of Love once bathed with her soul mate Adonis. On our journey back down to Paphos we passed through Greek and Turkish villages which were like ghost towns due to the after effects of one of the wars, our guide explained the history of the town’s and it was very moving. We were dropped back at our hotel by about 5pm and were shattered after a long days exploring! I’d definitely recommend this excursion to make the most of your time in Cyprus.

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So that’s this month’s Throwback Thursday finished – have you ever been to Cyprus or ever wanted to go? Feel free to ask any questions you might have, I’d be delighted to help!

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My next post will be a short write up on a recent day out to nearby Cheltenham, so watch out for this coming soon!

Love Jess x

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