As I mentioned before, we were a bit apprehensive about our return to Paphos after five or six years, had the place been ruined by over-development and would the places we knew, that made the place so special before still be there?
Things certainly had changed a bit, but not too much and it was good to catch up with old friends, like George Panayiotides (the Panayiotides clan patriarch), of the Nereus Hotel and Chris, who runs our favourite restaurant in Paphos, the Georgia Meze House.
We first visited the Nereus over 20 years ago, fell into the place’s relaxed happy go lucky groove, and found ourselves going back several times while our daughter was growing up. Over the years we tried a couple of other hotels in the resort, but none of them had the same atmosphere. So you can imagine how delighted we were to be able to rent one of their two bedroom apartments for just €600 last week. Not bad for four people, especially when it included a proper cooked English/Cypriot breakfast too! Imagine bacon, tasty farm eggs, beans and sun ripened tomatoes plus fresh fruit, yogurt and honey – breakfast heaven even if there was no square Scottish sausage!
With the flights costing in at about £250 each from easyJet and taxi transfers at €30 each way, courtesy of another old pal, Stevie and one of his six door stretch Mercedes limos (It was so cool, just like a work’s outing for Bond villains), we saved at least a grand on the equivalent package deal for four from Thompson or Thomas Cook. Plus none of that hanging about at the airport waiting for people to find the correct coach malarky either.
So what is the place like?. The resort area is more properly known as Kato Paphos and consists largely of the area surrounding the harbour. There is a tiny beach, mind you if you want some good sand catch a local buss (€1) for a day out at Coral Bay. What does make this town so special, is the wealth of history, which is hardly surprising given the island’s turbulent past. Greeks, Romans, Franks, Crusaders, Venetians, Ottoman Turks and the British have all been here and left their marks.
So much so that the whole town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but more on the history and archeology later. There are some beautiful churches like Panagia Theoskepasti here. the name means veiled by God and according to the local legend God sent fog to protect the church from Arab raids. The present church dates from 1923 .
There are some fabulous places to eat and others like Ta Mpania here on the waterfront,
are just the place to watch the sun go down over the harbour with a cold (if expensive €3.50) beer.
It also does a fabulous strawberry and white chocolate waffle for €5.75 and, so I’m reliably informed the best Coke float (€3.50) on the island.
At the end of the harbour on the pier the town is overlooked by an Ottoman fort that was later used by the British to store salt, it looks quite spectacular all lit up at night.
That’s enough to be going on with, more on the restaurants and history later, but if you fancy paying a visit to Paphos, I do recommend the Nereus (link to the right). For airport transfers Stevie’s cabs operate a fleet of six door Mercedes cabs and can be booked from the Nereus reception.