Polis and the Akamas Peninsula
Polis is a small coastal town on the North West end of Cyprus. Centered on the Bay of Chrysochous and bordering the edge of the Akamas peninsula, the town of Polis has some of the best views on the island. It is a quiet tourist resort with picturesque small tavernas dotting the coastline. Latchi fishing village, which is on the outskirts of the town, is famous for its fresh fish taverns. Polis was originally named Marion and was inhabited from the Neolithic age. It became one of the most important cities in Cyprus during this period and had important commercial relations with Attica and Corinth in Greece.
Through history, Polis has flourished due to the proximity of the Limni copper mines which are situated just outside the city. The first reference to Marion was in 449BC when the city was under Persian rule. Kimon the great Athenian general took over the city which then flourished due to trade of gold and copper with Athens. Samples of Attic pottery can be seen in the Polis Archaeological Museum in the centre of the town. The museum consists of three exhibition spaces which are chronologically arranged to portray the historical development of the town.
The Baths of Aphrodite which is said to be the area where the goddess roamed, is just outside the town. This is a popular tourist destination with hiking trails and camping facilities that are widely used during the summer months. Recently ruins of the medieval Georgian Orthodox monastery of Gialia was discovered in this area. There are around 23 small villages in the area, and Polis is the administrative centre for these communities. These picturesque villages dotted around the countryside offer peace and tranquility with some interesting Agro tourism places to visit and spend a few days. The areas on the north western tip of Cyprus are considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the island. This area has been chosen as one of the top most green and harmonious nature destinations of excellence in “Accessible Tourism” as part of the EDEN project.
The Akamas National Park lies on the west coast just outside Polis. This area which spans over 230 square kilometers is mostly unspoilt and boasts some of the best scenery on the island. It has valleys, gorges and beautiful crystal clear sandy bays. To visit this area it is advisable to drive a 4x4 vehicle or take advantage of the daily cruises that can take you from Polis to the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters for a swim. The wildlife is also exclusive to the Mediterranean with 168 varieties of birds, 20 different reptiles and 16 species of butterflies. This area is also rich in indigenous fauna and flora with at least 12 different mammals calling this home. The area of Akamas has also been recognized by the European Council and is included in the Mediterranean Protection Program. There is serious lobbying going on from friends of the Earth and Green Peace to declare this area a National Park. The beautiful coastline has some of the most amazing beaches which includes Lara Beach which is famous for its Turtle nests. Nature trails for hiking and cycling have been developed for those who want to discover this amazing area of Polis. This is probably the best way to enjoy the view of the magnificent landscape and the unspoiled Akamas peninsula. There are also organized excursions that you can enjoy that take you through the park. These usually take place in the summer months.
Polis might be a small town, but it does have all amenities like banks, supermarkets and stores. It is a 25 minute drive to Paphos town and Paphos International Airport. There are some beautiful villas to purchase in this area. Most have magnificent sea views and are suitable for those who want peace and tranquility. There is also a 5 star hotel in the area which offers discerning travelers luxurious accommodation and access to the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean. Polis has kept its charm through the ages with its old town character which can still be enjoyed today. With the archaeological museum telling the history of the town and the many excursions that can be enjoyed in and around the town, this is definitely the place to visit if you prefer being away from the big city.