Peyia - The Most Beautiful Village in Cyprus?
The once sleepy village of Peyia might not command much attention from guidebook writers, but it's a favourite topic of conversation with estate agents and expatriates. And it's easy to see why. The whitewashed village clings to the rugged hills that act a backdrop to Cyprus' most photogenic stretch of coastline. Below glitter the crystal waters of the Mediterranean, while to the north the silhouetted peak of Ayios Yeoyios marks the beginning of the untouched Akamas Peninsula.
However, it's the village's proximity to the resort of Coral Bay (just five km south west) that first put Peyia on the developer's map. Walking along the pine-scented streets it's easy to come to the conclusion that Peyia is still sleeping off all the hard work of the recent construction boom. While locals like to claim that 'in Peyia nothing happens in a hurry', the truth is that nothing much happens at all. However, it's this soporific quality that imbues Peyia with most of its charm.
Peyia proves a welcome antidote to the bustle of nearby Pafos and is a great place to while away a relaxing lunchtime with a plateful of meze and a cold bottle of Keo beer. If you prefer your afternoons to be a little more active you'll find a number of local companies offering every white-knuckled pursuit from go-karting to paragliding, otherwise it's a short hop to the beach.
Cultural cravings should be satisfied by the two ruined Christian basilicas found on the outskirts of the village (watch where you put your feet as the 'best bit' is the mosaic covering the floor), while further evidence of Peyia's historic importance comes in the shape of Roman tombs carved into the cliffs above the sea.
Having slumbered through the day Peyia wakes up at night. Taverna tables groaning under the weight of fresh fish fill the central square, the evening air cools and the village comes alive with the sounds of animated conversation. Then, all of a sudden, it is very easy to see why Peyia has become one of the most coveted places on the island to own a holiday home.