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Home to charming little villages, ancient towns, the lovely Akamas National Park, World Heritage Katos Paphos and many iconic beaches, the Paphos region is Cyprus’ most historic area and an ideal holiday base. The main resort town of Polis Chysochous is bright and modern, lively enough to keep kids entertained and fit-to-burst with family hotels and self-catering apartments from truly luxurious resorts to casual seaside cottages. Susie Thorne investigates.
Paphos has such a rich culture and history that you’ll want to get up early each day to make the most of everything on offer, and to get a real taste of this unique and historic hub (and avoid the sweltering heat of the midday Cypriot sun in summer). The main sights of central Paphos are all within an easy 30 minute walk from each other so history and culture buffs can have a day full of exploration without having to worry too much about little legs getting tired. It’s one of those sought-after destinations that’s more of an open-air museum than a city, with history etched on every surface and culture around each corner; where little travellers will be able to learn (perhaps without even realising it!) about history, mythology and architecture as the explore. Make sure you stop by St Paul’s Pillar, Tomb of Kings, Medieval Castle and Paphos Archaeological Park – where you’ll find the House of Dionysis – for some truly awe-inspiring ancient history, and if you can convince the children to spend an hour or so at an actual museum, the Byzantine Museum is a must.
Paphos Harbour is a great place to start a day’s exploring. As well as the Medieval Castle standing tall on its own little peninsular with spectacular views across the water and harbour, there’s also a long stretch of waterfront restaurants, ice-cream shops, cafes and bars, plus rows upon rows of stunning white yachts bobbing away in the blue water. Spend a whole day exploring (and try to keep curious hands from prodding to see if that impossibly still pelican outside of the souvenir shops is real – it is), enjoying the sights and sounds of this bustling hub that’s popular with tourists and locals alike.
There are a total of 27 beaches dotted around the coast of Paphos – 12 of which are Blue Flag – all with lovely golden sand and facilities for families, so you could spend hours hopping from beach to beach, or simply find your favourite and settle in. For a quieter choice once you’re done with the hubbub of the harbour, head a little further west and you’ll find a long stretch of sand called Lighthouse Beach. In the late afternoon, once the sun has dipped a little, stretch your legs on this beautiful coastal walk along the purpose-made pathway for a spot of scenic strolling with the sea wind in your hair; the perfect place for a picnic stop-off.
If you like your shopping (and air-conditioning), pop to Kings Avenue Mall where you’ll find everything from boutiques to souvenir shops and supermarkets. Alternatively, you can hop on a bus to Paphos Market in Paphos Old Town for more traditional laneways brimming with locally-made wares that spill out into paths, waiting to be picked up and admired.
When it comes to resorts, villas and hotels, Paphos has got family-friendly locked down. However, too much choice can be overwhelming and it can be hard to strike a balance between luxurious and affordable, plus close to everything but not noisy and overwhelming. The Elysium hotel has everything you need for a family adventure in Cyprus in perfect harmony. The hotel is luxurious without being pretentious, is just a short walk or complimentary bus ride away from the harbour and its myriad surrounding attractions, and has rooms and suites to suit everybody from solo-parents with babies and toddlers to multi-generational family groups who need adjoining rooms or villas.