We decided to go away for the early May bank holiday (in 2017… yes, we are quite far behind) with my brother who had been living in London for just under a year at that point. As per usual, we were very slack about organising our May bank holidays so the options about where we could go were pretty limited. Since we were craving hot weather, we picked the cheapest warm place we could – this turned out to be Paphos, Cyprus.
Although we caught a 5.50pm flight out, we didn’t make it to Cyprus until after midnight. I didn’t quite realise just how far from London Cyprus was when I booked the trip, but subsequently discovered it is just off the coast of the Middle East.
We were staying at a pretty random hotel outside of the city on the coast. We got up early on our first morning, and after a quick breakfast, we asked the receptionist what there was to do in Paphos. The first thing she circles on the map – the mall. I think this speaks volumes about the general demographic of people staying at the hotel.
Since we were not keen to shop up a storm, we decided to walk into town. On the way we passed the Tomb of the Kings which was something that had showed up in my research as a ‘top attraction’ so we stopped to check it out. Title is a bit misleading as it is not actually a tomb for Kings, it was a burial ground for rich people. It was pretty boring as there was not much left except a few holes in the ground. I don’t think I would recommend this for anyone staying in the area.
We continued our walk into town and stopped at one place on the beach as we saw freddo espresso on the menu. Since we were on the Greek side of Cyprus, we assumed they would be similar to the fantastic ones we had while on our sailing trip in Greece the previous September. This was not the case whatsoever. I think part of the problem was that the beach hut was run by an old British man (‘ello love) – should have seen that one coming.
We continued walking around the coast and into town. There was not much in the city centre, just a number of shops. We found a sweet spot on the waterfront for a beer before heading back to the hotel via the super. I made a simple lunch of Greek salad, salami and bread with a cold beer. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the pool, snoozing, and playing table tennis.
We had booked a place for dinner called ‘St Georges Tavern’. We had a few issues when trying to book as the first guy we spoke to on the phone who just said he had no idea if they had any tables and to call back later. We did call back and managed to speak to someone else who knew what was going on. I had been told by our Cypriot real estate agent that we needed to have dinner at a traditional outdoor taverna – he really sold the idea to us and this restaurant seemed to tick the outdoors box at least. We ended up keeping the reservation as we were too lazy to research anything else and it ended up being the best decision we made all trip. This place was fantastic – I would go as far as to say it was probably the top culinary experience I have had in Europe.
(the photos absolutely do this meal no justice – take it from the fact the plates are almost empty the food was something pretty special)
The restaurant is run by a local farmer, George, who grew all of the food himself, and his son cooked. They have no menu and just bring you dish after dish until you are full basically. It started out with ten small tapas / meze style starters including the most delicious hummus I have had in my life. I think all in all we had around 10 courses. George was exceptionally nice and very understanding about my nut allergy – he had actually done a lot of research into allergies and intolerances, so I felt a lot better about not having a menu to pick from. They also made their own wine which was a chilled red wine. They also made all of their own olive oil which George was particularly proud of and made me go inside so I could see all their bottles of olive oil. The best part about this feast was it was exceptionally good value for money – for three including (a lot) of wine was €80. Insane.
We got talking to the son later in the evening and asked him if he had any recommendations for our next day. He said we should hire quad bikes and explore the coast more, heading all the way up the coast to the Akamas Peninsula and to a particularly good restaurant – The Last Castle. Since he obviously knew what he was talking about when it came to food, that became our plans for the next day.
In the morning, we found a quad bike hire place not too far from the hotel. The first place we went to insisted that we leave our passports as security – uh how about no! The second place was much more reasonable so they got our business.
The paved highway doesn’t last long outside of Paphos – I think were on the road for about half an hour before we came to the end of it. We stopped off at a beach bar for some coffees. My eyes were watering tonnes because of the wind and sunblock melting into them so it looked like I was crying. The tiniest girl at the bar said to me ‘It better not be those boys making you cry – if it is I can beat them for you’ – it was honestly hilarious.
The coast of Cyprus is really interesting once you get off the highway. There was a giant shipwreck just off the coast, sea caves, stunning blue water and rugged cliffs.
It was quite an adventure getting to the Last Castle – the road was particularly challenging, hilly, rough, sandy, but once you made it, it was great. It is situated atop a hill with panoramic views over the ocean. The restaurant has a set menu with two types of barbequed meat (chicken and pork) as well as potato wedges and salad. The food was delightfully simple but delicious. The view was to die for as well. Sitting there with the beautiful view and the smell of the barbeque you knew it was a winner before even trying the food.
After lunch we found a beach that was great for quad biking and the boys had a great time hooning up and down being a little silly. I was grateful that I had a beer over lunch (the boys did not as they were driving) but I think this made it a bit easier to handle their boyishness.
We headed back to town via Adonis Falls which you get to by the longest, dustiest, windiest, bumpiest trail but as it was recommended heavily by the rental company, we decided to give it a go. When we got there, we realised it was a fake waterfall with these huge, gimocky statues and an incredibly noisy pump / diesel generator combo for some ambient sound. We refused to pay the €9 entry fee and turned straight around. Don’t know why anyone would ever want to go to a thing like that.
We chilled out at the hotel by the pool, making the most of happy hour and the €2.50 cocktails. We even got free cocktails at the end, it was great.
We had a fairly early (afternoon) flight the next day so only had time for a stroll along the waterfront before getting a shuttle to the airport. The hotel shuttle had to (for whatever reason) drop us off 3.5 hours early or nothing, so we had no choice but to head out super early. Thankfully, the Paphos airport had an outdoor beer garden with minimal smokers so we at least had somewhere alright to hang out while we waited and waited.
Until next time,