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Just a few minutes by car from its sister village of Pissouri, Pissouri Bay is one of the quieter Cypriot beach resorts. The mile-long beach is framed by white cliffs, and leads into beautiful clear waters, ideal for watersports in the summer. After a morning relaxing on the beach or exploring Pissouri village, you can dine on fresh fish at a waterfront taverna, then head to the nearby Aphrodite Hills Holiday Resort for a round of golf.
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Cypriot cuisine is closely related to Greek and Turkish, offering well-known dishes such as Stifado, Moussaka, Souvlaki and traditional meze with Tzataiki, Tahini, Taramosalata and Koupepia. However the island also has to offer some fantastic dishes to try including Kleftiko and Sheftalia to name a few as well as the national cheese of Cyprus, Halloumi. Popular desserts include Loukoumades and Ekmek Kadayif, with Cypriot coffee and Ouzo being local beverages.
Night life in Pissouri bay is centered around an evening meal at a taverna, some of which overlook the ocean. For an alternative night out, why not head to the inland village of Pissouri where traditional taverna's and bar's cram inside the narrow streets and village square.
Cyprus has been producing wine for almost 5000 years - small wonder then that the island is home to numerous grape varieties (some of which are indigenous) and delicious vintages to sample at one of many “wine villages”. Six different wine routes run throughout the island offering a unique glimpse into many small and enchanting wineries.
The closest to Pissouri Bay is route four (Krasochoria Lemesou), which heads from Limassol back towards the town and forms a loop north, through the beautiful southern slopes of the Troodos mountains in this famed wine region. As well as 20 villages on this route you can enjoy stunning scenery forests, almond groves and farm lands.
If Cypriot wine isn’t your tipple of choice, perhaps you’ll be tempted by the island’s famed Keo Brewery, which you can find in Limassol, about 30 minutes from Pissouri Bay. With a brewery, winery and distillery on site, surely a tour of this fascinating facilities will find something to please the palate!
There are numerous boat cruises on offer from the bustling harbour at Paphos - 35 minutes’ drive from Pissouri Bay - whether you’re looking for short trip or a longer, leisurely full-day voyage. Glass bottom boat tours depart regularly and offer a glimpse of the underwater world, including the Vera K wreck – a cargo ship that sank in the 1970s just 10 metres down. For a day of family fun, it’s all-aboard the Jolly Roger for pirate themed shenanigans and a tasty barbeque lunch.
For experienced and budding anglers, fishing trip boats offer excursions to catch a variety of fish, from Snapper to Tuna and Bream to Barracuda. Catamarans and dive boats also operate out of the harbour, but if you are looking for more of a pleasure cruise, there are several luxury yachts that offer full and half day trips, exploring the Cypriot coastline around Peyia and Coral Bay where you can take a refreshing swim. You can even opt for an evening cruise complete with dinner and fireworks.
Enjoy a leisurely day exploring the wild beauty of the Troodos Mountains, about an hour outside of Pissouri Bay. Your time will be well-rewarded in this wonderful, rugged landscape and many tours and excursions are available to guide you through the region’s treasures, particularly traditional villages with a unique charm, the great Mount Olympus – Cyprus’ highest peak – as well as the beautiful Kykkos Monastery. Keen ramblers will find various hiking trails with varying lengths and degrees of difficulty.
If you’re intrigued by Cyprus’ rich ancient history then a journey into either Paphos or Limassol will yield many museums for you to enjoy. Most notable in Paphos are the Byzantine Museum, the museum Ayios Neophytos Monastery, which is 9km north of Paphos and the Paphos District Archaeological Museum, housing some of the oldest, most fascinating artefacts found on the island from the Byzantine, Hellenistic, Roman and Bronze Age eras. In Limassol, you can also find a Medieval Museum housed within the castle, as well as the Limassol District Archaeological Museum, with antiquities from throughout Cyprus’ long and varied history, including Neolithic, Roman and Bronze Ages treasures.
Religion has had great importance in Cyprus over the years and this is evident in the number of churches and monasteries you can visit. You do not need to be religious yourself to enjoy these sites, which often combine great beauty with mythical intrigue and architectural splendour.
About 40 minutes from Pissouri Bay you will find the Ayios Neophytos Monastery and a series of caves and grottos, said to have been carved out of the mountain in 1159. In this fascinating place you will discover some beautifully preserved frescos dating from the Byzantine era, as well as stunning views from its elevated position over Paphos.
On the banks of the river Xeros about 50 minutes north of Pissouri Bay you’ll also find the Panagia Tou Sinti Monastery. This tranquil and unspoilt location is the perfect place to relax and reflect on this beautifully restored World Cultural Heritage Site.
Meanwhile up in the Troodos Mountains there is the Kykkos Monastery – founded in 1100 and widely regarded as the most impressive on the island, and one of the most significant. This beautiful structure enjoys incredible mountain-top views and houses some beautiful icons, including a silver gilt icon in a shrine of tortoise shell and mother-of-pearl. There is also a museum within, exhibiting a priceless collection of manuscripts and antiquities.
Should you choose to spend a day exploring Paphos, you may also wish to add some other churches to your itinerary. The mysterious Ayia Solomoni Church is carved underground out of limestone, where legend has it the Romans trapped Ayia Solomoni, who had embraced Christianity. 200 years later when the cave was opened the saint miraculously walked out alive. Today explorers will discover Hellenistic graves, 12th century frescos and holy water. Above the church stands an ancient terebinth tree where handkerchiefs have been hung as offerings to the saint in an act reputed to cure ailments. There is also the Panayia Theoskepasti Church, built in 1923 on the site of an ancient church that was reputedly protect by god from invaders with a veil of fog which made it invisible. Inside are splendid carvings and icons, including one of the Virgin Mary covered in silver. Outside the church stands atop a vantage point from which you can take in breathtaking views of Paphos below.
Also near to Paphos, you can explore a place of religious importance at the Panayia Chrysopolitissa Church. This 13th century church was built on the site of one of the largest and earliest Byzantine basilicas and here you will find St Paul’s Pillar, where it is told the saint was flogged. Colourful mosaics have also been preserved and are well worth a look.
About 30 minutes east of Pissouri Bay towards Limassol you’ll find the town of Kolossi – and in it Kolossi Castle – a former crusader stronghold. This 15th century fortification was built on the site of a previous fortress, believed to date from the early 13th century – ruins of which are still in evidence. Once belonging to the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, it was also controlled by the Knights Templar for a time in the 14th century.
For a glimpse at some of Cyprus’ other ancient fortifications, you’ll have to travel from Pissouri Bay to either Paphos or Limassol. The Medieval Fort of Paphos for instance retains its commanding, defensive position at the edge of Paphos harbour. With Byzantine origins, the fort has been reconstructed several times over the centuries after destruction by both man and nature, from invaders and earthquakes. This dominating structure provides a striking viewing platform and backdrop to the waterfront, as well as a venue for various events throughout the year, including the open-air Paphos Cultural Festival, which takes place every September.
In addition, Limassol Castle’s simple yet imposing, square stone façade has evolved over its long history and like the fort at Pahpos, has been both damaged and repaired many times. It is thought to have been part of much larger structure long since destroyed, but you can still view prison cells of Ottoman origin, as well two ancient halls and a Medieval Museum.
Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Birthplace)
Just 15 minutes’ drive from Pissouri Bay you’ll find Petra tou Romiou – or the Rock of the Greek – which is associated with the Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas, who apparently threw a great rock into the sea with his phenomenal strength to destroy the ships of enemy invaders. Today the site is more commonly known as Aphrodite’s Rock. It is here legend would have it that the goddess Aphrodite was born and emerged from the foamy sea on the back of a scallop shell. Myths aside, this area has a staggering natural beauty, particularly at sunset, and no visit to Pissouri Bay would be complete without a glimpse of this iconic place.
Your little people will love the selection of animals on show at the Paphos Zoo, which is located between the Coral Bay and St George areas, about 50 minutes outside of Pissouri Bay. There’s plenty to see, including its petting area, monkeys, giraffes, goats, bison and tortoises, as well as one of the largest private collections of birds in the world. From exotic parrots to birds of prey – and everything in between – there’s a nice balance between variety, entertainment and the ability to see everything and do all the creatures justice. Upon your visit, look out for the daily owl and parrot show.
Kato Pafos Archaeological Park
At just 35 minutes from Pissouri Bay, Paphos is a city rich in history that spans millennia that is well worth exploring. Here the lines between fact and fable frequently blur to create a fascinating aura of mystery amongst its historic treasures, many of which can be found at the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park.
One of the most famous sites to discover is the Tombs of Kings, about 2km north of Paphos harbour. Here a vast network of underground tombs has been carved into solid rock. You can walk freely among these tombs, some of which date back to the 3rd century BC. Although no kings are actually buried here, the name has emerged from the sheer magnificence of the spectacle you will discover here.
Another treasure to explore is the House of Dionysus, situated by the harbour in Paphos. These remains of a 2nd century house would have been the ultimate in luxury in its heyday. The decorated walls and mosaic floor are still preserved in some of the rooms, depicting mythological scenes including Dionysus - the Greek god of wine - riding a panther, earning the house its name. Other mosaics can be found at the nearby Houses of Orpheus and Aeon, as well as the Villa of Theseus, which together form a site known affectionately as the Paphos Mosaics. Still wonderfully preserved, these are generally considered to be the finest mosaics in the Eastern Mediterranean.
A celebrated site of the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park is the Paphos Odeon. This exquisite 2nd century theatre was built out of limestone blocks that have stood the test of time. It has been partially restored since its excavation so visitors can still enjoy live spectacles, including the Choir Festival every June and the Rhythms of Light festival, held each Wednesday throughout the summer, bringing this ancient treasure to life again with music and dance.
Nearby to the Paphos Odeon you can also explore the remains of the Roman Agora – a marketplace, as well as the remnants of the city walls, the Panagia Limeniotissa Basilica and an ancient building known as the Asklepieion for its dedication in its day to Asklipeios, the god of medicine.
Also nearby is the Paphos Lighthouse; a beloved local landmark, those fit enough to climb its staircase will be rewarded with wonderful views out over Paphos.
The remains of the Saranta Kolones (the Castle of Forty Columns) – named for the forty vast granite columns that made up its original construction – is another popular attraction. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1223, the building has origins dating back to the 7th century as a fortress to protect Paphos from invading Arabs.
Akrotiri salt lake
About 35 minutes away from Pissouri Bay outside of Limassol, nature enthusiasts will find the Akrotiri salt lake, home to a wealth of species of wading birds. If you visit in January-February time, you may well be rewarded with views of migrating flamingos. By peak summer the lake has usually dried entirely, and in its place a thick crust of salt remains, forming a dramatic white snow-like landscape under the blazing sun.
Perhaps one of the most famous and historically significant sites in Cyprus is Kourion, about 30 minutes east of Pissouri Bay. With excavations still on going, the wealth of constructions to visit has just scratched the surface of this ancient city, while the generic term “ruins” doesn’t do justice to the historic splendour of the well-preserved mosaics and edifices. Perhaps most popular is a magnificent theatre of Greco-Roman origins, but now fully restored and used periodically for theatrical or musical productions. A number of villas also remain, with wonderful mosaics whose depictions have lent their names, including as the House of the Gladiators and the House of Achilles. Another attraction is the remains of the Sanctuary of Apollo Ylatis with its wonderfully majestic and surprisingly enduring columns, but there is plenty more to see besides, to satisfy even the most insatiable amateur historian.
Ruins of Amathus
A drive past Limassol of approximately 40 minutes from Pissouri Bay will bring you to the ruins of Amathus – an ancient city where you can still wander amid the echoes of Neolithic history. Although not as well-preserved as the ruins at the more famous Kourion, its vast expanse, stone floors, crumbled walls and lonely Acropolis columns overlooking the Mediterranean have a mesmerising charm.
Aphrodite Hills, Elea Golf Club, Secret Valley – located to the south east of Paphos.
Minthis Hills – located to the north-east of Paphos and is the closest course to the Latchi, Polis and Argaka areas.
Aphrodite Waterpark – 10 mins south of Paphos - Open May to October
Spas - Aphrodite Hills – 20 mins from Paphos or Ayii Anargyri – Miliou – 20 mins from Polis
Eleouthkia Traditional & Botanical Park – 10 mins south east of Paphos
“Loutra”- Ottoman Hammam (Baths) – located near the old market place, Paphos Town - The Ottoman baths operated up until the 1950s. They consist of a stone vaulted building with three areas: a reception area, an intermediate area and the main baths. Its current use is as the Paphos Municipality cultural centre. If you have ever wondered what a ‘Turkish Bath’ looks like, this is the place.
Sanctuary of Aphrodite and Palaipafos Museum – Kouklia Village – 14km east of Paphos - Palaipafos was one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers of the classical Greek world and one of the city-kingdoms of Cyprus in antiquity. Here lie the ruins of the famous sanctuary of Aphrodite, whose remains date back to the 13th century BC. The sanctuary remained a place of worship until the 3rd or 4th century AD. The museum is housed in a nearby Lusignan manor. It houses impressive finds from the region, dating from the Chalcolithic age to the Middle Ages.
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