It’s the third largest island in the Mediterranean and divided into two cultures, the Greek Cypriots occupy the South and Turkish Cypriots the North East. We have only visited the Greek side so I will tell you about our time in this relaxed, hot and picturesque country.
Ayia Napa is 49km east of Larnaca which has one of the Country’s main airports. ‘Napa was historically known as a party place, but it’s so much more than that! OK, yes, if you want to go clubbing and hang out at the late-night bars, the nightlife here is stomping, but if this isn’t your scene and you aren’t around “the square” after 10pm (which is nightlife centre), you may not realise it had this reputation.
A great way of getting around is on a quad bike, and across the road from where we were staying at the centrally locatedFaros Hotel was a hire company! At a cost of 50 euros for 24 hours, we couldn’t refuse. The roads are easy and straight with good signage and driving is on the left side of the road because it is an ex-British colony. In fact many ex-pats still live here and English is widely spoken.
Our intended destination was Konnos Beach considered to be the best beach in the area. Parking in the busy public car park, we walked down the hill to the hot, sandy beach, found two sunbeds with a parasol and paid the man 7 euros. It was a busy beach but because it isn’t big, it wasn’t noisy.
It is well worth visiting the little cafe/restaurant situated in a shady area for a snack and refreshing drink – mainly because of the fantastic views of the bay.
We wanted a good place for a sunset and the lady from the quad bike centre recommended a tranquil fishing village named Potamos. Even though it was in the opposite direction to Ayia Napa, the journey only took us about 30 minutes on the quad bike.
The most popular beach in Ayia Napa is Nissi beach which has soft, golden sand and blue crystal clear waters, it is understandable why it gets very crowded. The purpose of this holiday was to celebrate my birthday, and I wanted to spend it at a beach party! At 3pm, we arrived at the Nissi Bay Beach Bar which hold parties every day as well as running themed events such as foam parties.
One of the Mediterranean’s (and arguably the world’s) premier wreck dives is the Zenobia in Larnaca. The 178 meter long cargo ship sunk in the 1980s and is still largely intact, with carpets, lorries and vending machines rotting on her decks.
We booked a two-dive package with Q-Divers based on the excellent Trip Advisor reviews. This super-relaxed but mega-efficient company definitely lived up to the hype! We were lucky to dive not only the stunning Zenobia which really is spectacular to look at, but also the smaller Alexandria which sank in an upright position in 2006. If you are a diver, this is highly “wreck-amended”!!
Do you want archaeological sites and mountains? Read on...
If you want to see more of the island, hiring a car is the best option and we did this for two days from Paphos. We were staying at the Iberostar Ledra Beach Hotel, it was this hotel that opened our eyes to the Iberostar chain and we have since stayed in many of their complexes around the globe!
The sunset from the road, however, was magnificent, absolutely spectacular, words cannot describe so just look at this photo and judge for yourself!
The experienced that changed our lives ……
Sy hasn’t always wanted to dive, quite the opposite in fact, he was scared of the sea and didn’t like it at all! I convinced him to come with me for an Undersea Walkers adventure – advertised as “shallow water helmet diving”. Basically, a helmet is placed on your head pumping a constant supply of fresh air enabling you to breath without the need of a snorkel or regulator. We walked down a ladder to the bottom of a 10ft seabed and took a stroll – it was fantastic watching the fishes swim around our heads and we had an opportunity to feed them.
It was after this, that Sy’s Scuba diving journey began.....
Want more beaches??
Cyprus has its fair share of beautiful beaches and we wanted to explore more of them. Armed with a newly purchased mask & snorkel set following our Undersea Walkers adventure, we drove West from Paphos. We passed a number of beautiful beaches, unfortunately we don’t know their names as we were on a mission to get to the more famous Coral Bay and Lara Bay, but here are a couple that we passed by.
Not had enough history? How about a trip to see the pyramids?
If you haven’t visited Egypt but always wanted to see the pyramids of Giza, it is possible to take a daytrip from Paphos, albeit a very looooong daytrip!
We booked a tour with our hotel rep and were picked up at 5am (!!). A private plane flew us from Paphos airport which only took an hour and whilst in Egypt, everything was packed into the day that we could possibly want to see!
We visited the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, the Cairo Museum to view Tutankamun’s burial mask and artefacts, a papyrus factory and gold shop, dinner was even served on a River Nile boat cruise for sunset!!
This trip is definitely recommended if you want to see these ancient monuments but don’t wish to travel to Egypt!
So, if you have ever wondered whether Cyprus is a place for you, hopefully now that you have read how much there is to do here and the variety of activities (plus the amazing sunshine for the majority of the year), hopefully you will add this to your list of future destinations … and I haven’t even touched on the amazing food and wonderfully friendly people here …