If you’re looking for a blissful escape, there’s no better place to do so than the far west of the island. Wonderfully peaceful and bucolic, it really is the stuff that dreams are made of. And with some quintessentially Cypriot villages and experiences in the mix, it’s the perfect place to set up base and truly unwind.
Make Polis Chrysohous your first port of call to seep up the small-town charm- a place that many locals visit during their August holidays, that remains pretty quiet the rest of the year. Once you arrive, indulge in a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, down a swig of coffee, and take a little stroll around the central streets to get hold of some souvenirs.
Make a beeline for Aphrodite Baths beach – this picture-perfect spot is perfect for a relaxing swim or snorkel, especially if you head far beyond the sunbeds, into the tiny sandy coves cocooned by the rugged cliffs where fish love to congregate. With shallow waters near the rockiest parts of the beach, just plunge into the blue and enjoy the calm! If you head further into the Akamas Peninsula (you’ll need to hire a 4 x 4 to do so), you can enjoy solitude at the breathtakingly beautiful Lara Bay and the crystal-clear waters of Manolis Bay.
Keen to catch a glimpse of where an ancient goddess used to take a cool dip? Then don’t miss out on the well signposted Baths of Aphrodite as you head out of Latchi and drive towards the tip of the Akamas Peninsula. A grotto surrounded by a density of greenery, legend has it that this is where the Goddess Aphrodite met her lover, the handsome Adonis, when he stopped off for a drink while hunting. And as the story goes, he fell madly in love with her the moment he drank the water.
Move higher inland to discover a whole host of charming communities dotted across the Laona Plateau including Kritou Terra, Droushia, Kathikas and Arodes. Villagers will greet you as you walk past, and you’ll get better acquainted with traditional Cyprus homes and the slow-paced rural life that is so rare to find in the modern world.
If you’re looking for real wilderness at its best, then hit the road towards Pomos with a rugged coastline and hidden beaches that you can sometimes enjoy all to yourselves. The nature here is practically untouched and delightfully tranquil, while the road stretching out from Polis to Pomos becomes more and more peaceful as you go along. If you’re looking for lush greenery with little development in sight, drive out beyond Pomos and you’ll enter territory that can be firmly crowned an absolute nature lover’s haven.
Just a stone’s throw away from Polis along the coast is the fishing village of Latchi. Head here hungry and be sure to dig into a sumptuous fish meze at one of the restaurants dishing up fresh catch of the day, all huddled around the picturesque harbour. Latchi also boasts a decent stretch of beach lined with umbrellas and all amenities at hand.
What’s interesting, is that Latchi used to be the only commercially licensed sponge fishing area in Cyprus. Here, according to the local people, divers would descend to depths of fifty metres in search of sponges, which were either sold locally or exported. But somewhere around the early-eighties the supply of sponges became so exhausted that the industry was halted.