The moment you land down on Cyprus’ sun-kissed shores, you may be tempted to just sink your toes into the sand and never leave the water’s edge. But those with a streak for adventure and thirst for new discoveries, will soon find that the small island’s history really packs a punch, with treasures that will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a time machine! Here are some top sites to add to your bucket list, all in close proximity to our Limassol and Paphos hotels.
- Curium Ancient Amphitheatre
If you’re staying at the Elias Beach Hotel in Limassol, be sure to rent a car and drive through scenic coastal roads to visit one of the most impressive ancient sites on the island. Rising above the Limassol seascape and countryside, enter the Curium Amphitheatre – dating back to the 2nd century BC – and feast your eyes on truly impressive panoramic views, in stunning surrounds that form part of what was once one of most important city kingdoms in antiquity.
- Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates
Another awe-inspiring Limassol site near the ancient Curium further bringing to life the grandeur of the island’s past. The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates was built around 100 AD, honouring Apollo Hylates (Apollo of the woods or ‘God of the Woodland’) who was the protector of the area. It is thought Apollo Hylates was worshiped at the site from the 8thcentury BC to the 4th century AD.
- Paphos Archaeological Park
Whether you’re enjoying a luxurious holiday with your other half at the Amavi, taking in the waterside magic at Alexander the Great Beach Hotel, or spending time with the whole family at the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos, the Paphos Archaeological Park is one of the most famous on the island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason. Home to some of the most spectacular examples of Roman mosaic works, they are without a doubt the finest in all the Eastern Mediterranean, if not the world. While perusing the park, be sure to catch a glimpse of the Tombs of the Kings, the Forty Columns ‘Castle’, and the ancient Odeon.
- Paphos Medieval Castle
Originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the picturesque town of Paphos, this must-see site commands a brilliant location by the pretty harbour, and makes for an ideal afternoon or evening out. The original fort was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, dismantled by the Venetians in 1570, and then rebuilt by the Ottomans after they captured the island in the 16th century.
- Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Kouklia
Most Cyprus visitors will make the effort to head as far as Aphrodite’s Rock to see the revered birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility, but not as many travellers visit the village of Kouklia to see the sanctuary of this mighty goddess, dating back to the 12th century BC, and once known as the famous pilgrimage centers of the ancient Greek world. Add it to your Cyprus bucket list immediately!
Cover photo: Tombs of the Kings, Paphos Archeological Park