In 1974, with genuine fears for the Turkish Cypriot minority after a failed coup by the Greek government to unite Cyprus with Greece, Turkey’s military invaded Cyprus and captured 37% of the island. While initially these actions had the tacit approval of the international community, it ended up requiring the United Nations to step in and cease hostilities. Refusing to give up the occupied land, in 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared - an act that has been recognised by no other country other than Turkey. The economic and human cost of over a third of the island’s inhabitants, from both sides, being displaced goes well beyond what any numbers can represent and is a genuine tragedy, of both the Greek and non-Greek variety.
Situated between the resort towns of Ayia Napa and Protaras in the far southeast of Cyprus, is a little slice of natural beauty called Cape/Cavo/Kavo/Capo Greco. Covering some 3.85 square kilometres, this peninsula provides a wide range of active opportunities including hiking, cycling, diving, fishing and swimming. Equally delicious when seen from land or water, this is another of one of those must-dos, when visiting Cyprus.
You just have to love a place that refers to itself as “new”, when it was actually founded over 1,400 years ago. The modern day Paphos where we are staying, was first named Nea Paphos or New Paphos in 400 AD having come into prominence after “old” Paphos (or Palaipafos) went into decline due to the Romans banning the worshiping of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is heaps to keep you occupied no matter how long your stay is.
Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, sexual pleasure, and fertility plays a feature role in Cyprus’s history. Paphos in the south west of the country is credited as on of the chief centres of her cult worship (alongside Corinth) for a period possibly beginning in the late to the early third millennium BC and lasting up until 400 AD. Nowadays, you’ll see her name associated with UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia), Rocks (Aphrodite’s Rock), cave pools (Baths of Aphrodite), golf course resorts (Aphrodite Hills), numerous wines and countless restaurants and hotels on the island.
The Troodos Mountains has an astounding array of stunningly beautiful villages waiting to be explored. We’ve lost count of the number of villages that we’ve driven through and that we could easily have spent half a day in. There are a number that we have managed to spend some time in, albeit never enough, which we’ve laid out below. Let the wars commence for Cyprus’s most prettiest village.
We’re in Lofou up in the Troodos Mountains, alongside a grand total of 50 permanent inhabitants and approximately six other tourists that we’ve seen so far. The town has a whole two sentences dedicated to it on Wikipedia, the first of which states how close it is to another town. Yet, even this early in our trip, I’ve got a feeling it is definitely going to be one of our most memorable places that we’ll stay.
We’re always trying to think of cool things to do for the kids. My solutions such as going for a run or visiting a pile of rocks masquerading as ruins or looking at another castle/church/museum for some reason don’t always get that enthusiastic a response. Veronica, however, tends to come up with experiences that get a whole lot more traction.
Our stay in Larnaca began with a short walk down the Piale Pasha Promenade admiring the sea on our right and numerous eateries to our left. It was here that we found the Militzis Traditional Restaurant, which served amazing kleftiko. So good, we went for two massive portions of both beef (to die for) and lamb with accompanying potatoes. I’m guessing this is traditional peasant fare as it doesn’t come with anything fancy like sauces, but when you’re a decent slab of meat that has been slow cooked for hours and hours to perfection, you definitely don’t need them. The best thing was that we were also able to take the left over spuds (I was a guts and devoured all of the mountains of meat) to fry up in the morning with tomatoes for breakfast.