Chasing sunshine in Cyprus
You know the feeling…summer has come to an end, but you’re not ready to push the sandals to the back of the closet and pull out those woolly sweaters yet. Thankfully, there is sunshine to be found in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Cyprus is one of those perfect places for year-round sun. As autumn leaves are falling and a brisk breeze greets the mornings in London, a 4-hour flight could have you basking in warm temperatures and enjoying a salty sea swim. As if the sunshine alone wasn’t enough, you can also expect warm Cypriot hospitality, wonderful food, striking landscapes, and rich cultural and mythical history.
Late arrival has its rewards
We arrived in Paphos after dark and drove north to our villa, which was located between Polis and Pomos. Arriving in a new place and driving through the dark might not sound like the ideal way to start a holiday. However, there is something very special about waking up to the sound of crashing waves and looking out at the stunning view as the sun greets the day. With a full day ahead and loads of options for things to do, it’s time to start exploring.
Rent a car…and maybe a boat
As far as islands go, Cyprus is big – the third largest island in the Mediterranean in fact. Exploring the island by car is the best way to get around.
Boat trips are extremely popular too, taking people to see several coastal spots, including the Baths of Aphrodite and the Blue Lagoon, where you can swim in crystal clear water. It’s possible to hire your own boat from the watersports company in Latchi harbour, but we opted for the stress-free option of a small group excursion to the Blue Lagoon.
If you enjoy snorkelling, don’t forget to bring your kit along. If you opt to travel light, you can purchase inexpensive snorkels, masks and beach shoes at most supermarkets or kiosks in the seaside towns.
If you like Turkish food, you’re in luck. If you like Greek food, you’re in luck too. If you like seafood…yep, you guessed it. Surrounded by aromas of oregano, cumin, coriander, and mint, the blend of cultural flavours makes for a mouth-watering combination. Be sure to order some fresh fish and a meze platter – or combine the two and get a fish meze, offered at most fish restaurants. If you’re not hungry but looking for an excuse to sit at a seaside restaurant at sunset, enjoy a glass of locally produced wine, or join the local Cypriots and order a café frappe.
Where to stay
With its sun-drenched harbour, medieval castles and Roman mosaics, many tourists choose to stay in or around Paphos, but with a car to get around, it’s easy to escape the crowds by staying further afield. There are plenty of sleepy Cypriot villages where you can find charming restaurants, deserted beaches and tranquil hiking spots. We stayed at Sunvil Holidays’ Villa Stella Maris, with a private pool, small private beach and delightful villages, with good restaurants, in all directions. I can’t think of a better spot to enjoy a poolside coffee in the morning, with only the sound of crashing waves and a chorus of seabirds – and maybe a couple of happy kids splashing in the pool. We tried to race back to the villa each evening, because we felt we had the best view for sunset. After dark, the stargazing was magnificent too.
For some reason, heading into darker, colder days is made a little easier with sun-kissed shoulders and an album full of family holiday memories.
By: Mandy Haakenson
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