The Avakas Gorge on the western side of the Akamas is a 40 minute drive from Polis, through Kathikas and Pegeia and then along the dirt road from the Agios Georgios fishing shelter. It provides a magnificent hike between towering cliffs and along a stream that usually flows up until May. Off the main road from Polis to Pafos, don’t miss the Agios Neofytos monastery with a cave covered by some of the most important wall paintings in Cyprus dating to the 12th century, while Chrysorrogiatissa monastery is also worth visiting for its fine icons and a taste of the locally produced vintage wine.
Pafos, 35 minutes away, with its pleasant harbour and medieval fort, was the capital of Cyprus for 600 years in ancient times. Its archaeological legacy is such that UNESCO put the whole town on its World Cultural Heritage List, it is also the 2017 Cultural Capital of Europe. The intricate floor mosaics in villas dating back to the Roman period depicting scenes from Greek mythology are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. Equally impressive are the underground Tombs of the Kings carved out of solid rock and decorated with Doric pillars. The museum at Maa-Paleokastro near Coral Bay designed by famous Italian architect Andrea Bruno, has an interesting collection of artefacts from the period of the first arrivals of Mycaenean Greeks in Cyprus.
Take a trip into the Troodos mountains via the village of Lysos to Kykko Monastery (1.45 mins away) for a refreshing break from the heat of the coast. The largest and most famous monastery on the island whose history goes back to the Byzantine empire, has an excellent museum with relics and a golden icon of the Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by St. Luke.
Be sure to visit Stavros tis Psokas and the Cyprus mouflon enclosure, an endemic wild sheep which is one of the symbols of Cyprus. The Cedar Valley is home to an unusually large number of Cypriot cedars, Here the only sounds you will hear when you switch off the engine of your car are those of nature.
Rising to almost 2000 metres above sea level, the Troodos peaks provide panoramic views. In the winter months you can even go skiing. Charming villages, some with cobbled streets and preserved folk architecture, nestle on terraced slopes amid vineyards and orchards.
Stop off at one of the cafés or restaurants next to a burbling mountain stream and try one of the preserved fruit desserts served as a typical island welcome, or dine on the locally produced rainbow trout, a speciality in the region.