Forty two kilometres from Paphos on the northern coast of the island is Polis, a more relaxed agricultural town in a green and rural setting with many small coffee shops and restaurants which serve genuine local dishes, not always just tourist fare.
The coast here, stretching from the friendly village of Pyrgos in the east to the Baths of Aphrodite and Akamas Peninsula Nature Reserve in the west, is more remote and quite different from that on the southern side of Cyprus, with a series of sandy bays, rocky outcrops and mountains plunging into the sea. Fields of pecan, banana, peach, citrus, olive and tobacco surround many villages, and generally speaking tourism has not had a marked effect on this lovely area so far, with development only in one or two areas.
High on a hilltop is Droushia with magnificently dizzy views to Polis and the sea. Although the villagers put themselves on the map by building their own hotel, the old rural life goes on exactly as before, with donkeys and dark-eyed oxen much in evidence. This is a peaceful and lovely haven, all the better for some very good tavernas. You can drive to Latchi with its fish restaurants and souvenir shops in about fifteen minutes, southwards through the vineyards to Peyia in twenty-five and about the same to Paphos on the old Polis road.
Akourdhalia is a traditional village in the hills not far from Droushia, where village life carries on as it always has, unchanged for centuries. Well off the usual tourist circuit is Pyrgos, a sleepy uncommercialised fishing village and an ideal base from which to explore lovely unspoiled countryside, to visit Cedar Valley and (if you are lucky) glimpse the fleet and elusive wild mouflon. There are a couple of tavernas and coffee shops, banks, a post office and market. The village claims to boast the best climate in Cyprus and the sunsets here are dramatically spectacular. Very much an ethnic area with no bars or souvenir shops. Above Polis, on the way to the heavily wooded Paphos Forest are the traditional villages of Lysos and Peristerona.
Watersports with instruction are available at Latchi throughout the summer. Here are excellent beaches of coarse sand or shingle, the sea is sparkling and clear and boat trips along the Akamas coast can be taken. The resort has swelled in recent years and now includes tourist shops, bars and banking facilities as well as the long established waterside fish tavernas.
A little further west is Aphrodite’s Beach (Asprokremos), a particularly good beach with a welcoming taverna. In the hills above nestles the large and pretty village of Neohorio (Latchi area), the gateway to the Akamas National Park and the starting point for some excellent walks. From here the views are spectacular. This is definitely a region for those seeking a more peaceful Cyprus, an area where a car is a necessity.