We spoke to Maria Demosthenous from Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyrpus and picked her brain about everything there is to know about this sun-soaked island paradise. 

1. What makes you an expert in this region?

Although I was born and raised in the UK, I have now lived in Cyprus for a good 30 years, living in the Paphos region on the west coast of the island. Working at Aphrodite Hills from almost the very beginning in 2003, I am considered the person to contact whenever you need information or guidance about the resort and how it has developed over the many years.

Traditional Cypriot houses

2. Why should people travel to your region?

Cyprus is known as the island of love and the mythical birthplace of the Goddess of Love – Aphrodite. The island is steeped in history, where many civilisations such as the Romans, Phoenicians, the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, have left their everlasting prints on its shores.

Aphrodite Hills Spa

3. And what makes people come back time and time again?

The amazing weather that Cyprus enjoys for over 300 days of the year is a great factor that makes travellers visit time and time again. There is also such a contrast of landscape, weather and scenery when travelling the island. You are never more than a short drive from the sea when visiting the mountains, so no matter what you feel like doing – you can find it in Cyprus.

4. Summarize the region for us in three words:

Mythical, sun-drenched and authentic.

5. Time for some travel inspiration – can you give us your recommendations on:

  •  The first thing to do

Head for the hills and the region surrounding the resort. The lower Troodos mountain range villages offer unique experiences for you to take in the local culture, drive through the lush vineyards and pop into any of the local wineries for a guided tour and learn about the production of some of the island’s exquisite wines.

  • Your favourite restaurant and/or bar

Visit Gabriel’s Tavern in the heart of Kouklia and choose the traditional “Kleftiko” from the menu, which is a traditional Greek Cypriot lamb dish slow-cooked in a sealed clay oven.

  • A must-do activity

Visit the nearby town of Paphos, either by driving a short distance of 25 km by car or taking the local bus from the resort centre. Once in Paphos you can visit the local markets in the old town and take in the pretty shopping streets and traditional market atmosphere. You could also visit the Kato Paphos tourist area of the town where you can take a walk along the seafront towards the direction of the picturesque fishing harbour, the medieval Fortress and the archaeological sites spotted in the area featuring numerous museums, exhibitions, antiquities and mosaics.

  • Something free to do 

Hiking along any of the trails nearby would be a great way to take in the scenery along the coastline below the resort, but also up into the hills to become one with nature. 

  • The best activities and things to do for families?

A unique experience would be to take a horse riding trail afternoon in the forest at Aphrodite Hill Riding Club. The experienced stable team will take you on a guided trail ride through the breath-taking scenery to the highest point of the region looking out on the whole of the western coastline.  Spend a relaxing family day at the resort’s exclusive beach club, taking in the sun and have a light lunch at the Aphrodite Hills Zias Beach club restaurant. You could also consider the Fasouri Waterpark, about 25 minutes from the resort, for a fun-packed day of water slides and activities.

  • Your best-kept secret of the region?

Although not exactly a secret – every visitor must see the UNESCO World Heritage site of the “Aphrodite’s Rock” or as the locals say “Petra tou Romiou”, where the mythical Goddess Aphrodite rose from the sea foam and arrived on the shores of Cyprus. Legends say that if you swim three times anti-clockwise around the rock you will have eternal youth and fertility.

6. What would your perfect day in the area comprise of?

I love to explore the west of the island on a mountain bike. There are great opportunities for a family or couples to cycle in areas along the coastal road but also up into hills, making a few stops along the way for a drink at any of the village coffee shops where you can mingle with the locals.

7. What’s the one experience that really captures the essence of the region for you?

Blue Lagoon, Akamas peninsula, Cyprus

Blue Lagoon, Akamas peninsula, Cyprus

A boat trip that will take you to the Akamas Blue Lagoon is an experience to be treasured. The drive to this area to take the boat trip is rather long (around 50-60 mins) but I can guarantee it will be well worth it.

Are you planning a trip to sunny Cyprus? Give our concierge team a call for help finding your perfect villa, or browse through our extensive selection of gorgeous villas in Cyprus to get some ideas. 

 

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The locals guide to authentic cyprus

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