Pólis and Latchí Holidays – For nature-lovers and beachcombers
The little market town of Pólis with its lushly vegetated suburb of Prodrómi, and the former fishing port of Latchí (aka Latsi, Lakki), just 4km apart on stunning Khrysokhoú Bay, together comprise one of the most relaxed resorts in Cyprus. Pólis is hardly the bright lights, with its old centre on an escarpment a bit inland offering shops, tavernas and a few cafés around a pedestrianised central plaza. The region has everything to offer except cutting-edge nightlife, so holidays in Pólis or Latchí are not really ideal for twenty-somethings.
However, given the adjacent wild Akámas Peninsula and its fine walking or wildlife-spotting, a top-drawer water-sports outfitter at Latchí port, a variety of dining opportunities from humble to swish, and a number of family-friendly accommodation options at both apartments and hotels, everyone else should be content. You’ll probably want a car to explore the nearby hill villages as public transport links are scant, though for just staying put at sea level a pedal-bike could be enough, with a recently opened cycle path linking Pólis with Latchí.
When to go to Pólis or Latchí
From a weather point of view (see below), the Pólis-Latchí coast is at its best during late spring or early autumn. The sea can be brisk in early spring, but usually has warmed up enough for most tastes by early May. As the water, and rain-free birding, botanising or hiking are the big attractions locally, most local accommodation closes down from December through February – you’ll have to work hard to find the few exceptions.
The weather in Pólis and Latchí
The Pólis-Latchí coast, like Paphos to the south, is typically a bit cooler in summer than the rest of the island, thanks to sea breezes from various directions. Count on daytime temperatures in the low to mid-30s°C, night time ones just above 20°C. As most everywhere in Cyprus, late spring and mid-autumn have the most pleasant conditions. Winter days average about 17°C, with moderate rain and night time temperatures sometimes dipping into single figures. www.cyprus-weather.org/polis-chrysochous-weather-forecast/ has the most accurate and complete summary of conditions.
Getting the best deal to Pólis or Latchí
Peak season for the Pólis–Latchí area has traditionally been May through October, but each tour operator (and accommodation establishment) seems to have its own rationale for assessing this. 2012 – and probably 2013 – are not typical tourist years for economically fraught southern Cyprus, whose banks are badly exposed to the Greek crisis. With arrival numbers down sharply from past 2-million-plus annual figures, it’s likely to be a buyer’s market in the near future.
Booking a package is usually the most cost-effective strategy, though with operators pricing pre-emptively against possible air-fare hikes, you need to be quick to get a bargain for 2012. Flight prices, quoted separately, vary considerably; anything under £250 return, at shoulder seasons, is doing well, while summer prices soar above £300 (as against £150 in winter). Departures from regional airports can be advantageous compared to the biggest UK hubs.
Airport and transport need to know
The closest airport to Pólis and Latchí – though not all that close, allow up to an hour transfer time – is Paphos (Páfos; PFO) airport, upgraded in 2009 and now adequate to demand except for a limited number of luggage reclaims. Paphos is especially popular with no-frills airlines like easyJet, jet2 and Monarch.
From Paphos airport, inexpensive (€1) urban bus number 612 heads through the resort area as far as the main waterside terminal in Káto Páfos almost hourly from 7am to midnight (much less Nov–April), but then you’d have to arrange long-distance transport to Pólis. It will be less hassle to have a prebooked transfer or hire car awaiting you at the airport. Driving is on the left in Cyprus, as in Britain.
There are few eating or drinking options at PFO (all pricey), so fortify yourself beforehand. Car-hire parking areas lie a reasonable (300m) distance from the terminal entrance.
The best beaches near Pólis and Latchí
The entire middle stretch of Khrysokhoú (Chrysochou) Bay, on which Latchí and Pólis sit, is in fact beach of predominately coarse, clean sand thanks to several streams and canyons which meet the sea here. Some patches are isolated, and undeveloped, enough to still attract a few nesting sea turtles.
The best all-round local beach has to be 1500 metre long Asprókremos, west of Latchí. The water is pristine, and the shore (a mix of sand and fine gravel) equally so as a rule. The west end of the beach is more secluded, but with tavernas to hand; the eastern end is dominated by the luxury Anassa Hotel, but with an annexe of Latchi Watersports open to all down on the sand (the main branch is on Latchí port; www.latchiwatersportscentre.com). That said, access to the beach proper is not all that prominently signposted, with the strong implication that you need to patronise the tavernas to use their parking lots.
The most obvious public beach, with a prominent car park and showers, lies just east of Latchí near the Psarópoulos taverna. There are just a smattering of sunbeds, however, and some noise from the road just inland. For true seclusion, head 18km northeast to Pómos, at the west edge of which a steep footpath leads down to ‘Paradise’ Beach, which has also given its name (or perhaps vice versa) to the excellent snack-bar and music-events venue up on the road.