We just got back from Cyprus and I have loads of stories to tell you guys! First off: the island, located in the Mediterranean Sea, is beautiful. Besides the overpowering natural treasures ranging from pristine beaches, jaw-dropping sea caves to vast mountain regions, Cyprus has an abundance of historical and archaeological sites. Perhaps more of interest to me: they have many pools too and lots of kind and patient people.
Flying from our homeland The Netherlands was a lot shorter than the flights we had on our last trips, which was good for me. I sleep less now on flights and when traveling midair takes more than 5 hours, it's harder for me to remain seated and behave. My parents therefore decided to stay a little closer to home.
So let me break it down for you: what were -hands down- the 10 best things we did in Cyprus? It's good to mention that we didn't enter the Turkish part of Cyprus, but we heard there are many great things to do there too. Ah well; a good reason to come back one day.
1. AYIA NAPA
The first place we visited was Ayia Napa where the Love Bridge is located, a rocky arch bridge of natural origin, with one edge stretching into the crystal clear, turquoise sea from an elevated coastal plateau. It has formed naturally as a result of natural processes, without human intervention and is very popular with honeymooners and couples in love. Mommy and daddy took many beautiful pictures and videos, including their first of many drone shots on the island.
Although sea caves can be found all over Cyprus, the most visited ones can undoubtedly be found in Ayia Napa. The sea caves run along the stunning coastline at the edge of Ayia Napa. Marking the start of the Cape Greco national forest park, the sea caves extend for up to 80 metres underground and are only partially submerged. We entered the water at one point and actually walked into some of the caves, which I just found both interesting and a bit scary.
2. THE BEACHES
Cyprus has countless beaches to visit. We saw quite a few and below I will go into the ones we enjoyed the most. During our last trips, mommy and daddy noticed I did not enjoy the sea as much as I enjoy swimming pools. The water is too unpredictable to me, sometimes too cold and I get uneasy if I cannot see where the water ends. Still; during our Summer trip I found the courage to enter the sea on many occasions and I really enjoyed beaches more than anyone thought I would. Ok, now let me share our 7 favorite beaches in Cyprus.
The beach is on the east side of the island, about 5 kilometers from Ayia Napa and is known for its incredible turquoise water and fine golden-white sand. It is considered as one of the finest beaches in Europe. I loved it here.
Nissi Beach is a well-known beach in the resort of Ayia Napa and stretches for 500 metres. The beach takes its name from the small islet of Nissi (Greek: Νησί) located close to the coast. Although at first I did not want to dip in the water and just cling to mommy and daddy, after a while I had a great time in the water.
FIG TREE BAY
Fig Tree Bay is a sandy beach in the resort of Protaras. In the past, it has been awarded the title 'Best Beach in Europe', but despite its lofty reputation, this is one of the beaches where I refused to go in the water. I felt highly uncomfortable and preferred to walk on the sand and rocks.
Lara Beach is located on the Akamas Peninsula and can best be accessed by four-wheel drive, minibus tour, or by boat from Paphos. We did it with a regular car and it surely was a bumpy ride. The beach is quite deserted, and there is no shade. Lara Beach is often described as a tiny paradise. Note that you may spot many green turtles here, as well as wild goats. I loved the sea here very much! I spend lots of time in the water, even removing my swimming shorts at one point to experience my first official skinny dip. Sorry ladies: no pictures!
The beach at Peyia, on Cyprus's west coast, is known as Coral Bay. Coral Bay is a large horseshoe-shaped cove flanked by steep limestone cliffs. At this beach, like Lara Beach, I had a great time in the water, enjoying the sensation as the waves came crashing down on me.
Konnos Bay is located east of Ayia Napa and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cyprus. While Konnos Beach has become more famous in recent years, it’s still quieter than Nissi Beach and Fig Tree Bay. It’s also a bit smaller and stretches about 200 meters. This was actually the first beach we visited during our trip to Cyprus. I enjoyed being in the water as it was quite shallow. The idea that I could stand made me feel much more in control of the situation.
Yiannakis beach, also known as Ksistarokampos Beach, is in Neo Chorio. It is a sandy beach mixed with pebbles and is located near the Baths of Aphrodite. Although I had a great time, I discovered something new here: putting pebbles and stones in my mouth, sometimes for a very long period. It made mommy and daddy a bit anxious and at one point they took them out from my mouth and threw them away as far as they could. Ah well, there were only like 3 million pebbles there, so why would I care?
3. CAPE GRECO
Cape Greco, also known as Capo Greco, is a headland in the southeastern part of the island. It lies between the towns of Ayia Napa and Protaras, both tourist resorts. It is visited by tourists for its natural environment, and is a protected nature park. I had a lot of fun walking around and it was stunning!
Larnaca is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and the capital of the eponymous district. It is the third-largest city in the country, after Nicosia and Limassol. Larnaca is home to the country's primary airport, Larnaca International Airport. It also has a seaport and a marina. We saw a lot in and around the city. When we went to see the salt lakes, we ended up in a rural area where I got to play freely.
Limassol is a city on the southern coast. Limassol is the second largest urban area in Cyprus after Nicosia. I had a wonderful time in Limassol! The city is beautiful and there were many spots for me -from playgrounds to fountains- to enjoy. The drone shots mommy and daddy were able to make really tell it all.
6. MILLOMERIS WATERFALL AND TROODOS MOUNTAINS
The Millomeris waterfall is located between Platres and Pera Pedi villages, in the southeastern area of Platres, one kilometer from the beginning of the nature trail leading to the waterfall. The water of Millomeri falls from a height of 15 meters and is one of the highest natural waterfalls on the island. It is in a place where the sun never sees it and that is why it is always wet. Although the water was way too cold for me to go in, I really was in awe of the water crashing down. I gazed at it for minutes, all while safely sitting on daddy's lap.
Troodos is the largest mountain range in Cyprus, located in roughly the center of the island. The Troodos mountains stretch across most of the western side of Cyprus. We saw a small part of it while driving towards the Millomeris waterfall.
Paphos, sometimes spelled Pafos, is a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and the capital of Paphos District. Paphos is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of the world's heritage for its spectacular ancient remains.
TOMBS OF THE KINGS
The Tombs of the Kings is a large necropolislying about two kilometres north of Paphos harbour. The underground tombs, many of which date back to the 4th century BC, are carved out of solid rock, and are thought to have been the burial sites of Paphitic aristocrats and high officials up to the third century AD. The tombs are cut into the native rock, and at times imitated the houses of the living. I really had a great time walking and exploring the place on my own.
Paphos Archaeological Park (also Kato Pafos Archaeological Park) contains the major part of the important ancient Greek and Roman City. Its sites and monuments date from prehistoric times through the Middle Ages. During our stay in Cyprus, I learned how to avoid the heat emitted by the sun, by standing in the shade of finding some shelter. In the park, those places are sparse. Therefore, I felt a bit uneasy, although I loved walking up and down the stairs of the ancient theatre!
There are many shipwrecks to be found around Cyprus and near Paphos we got to see two. The most stunning was probably the EDRO III. The Sierra Leone-flagged EDRO III ran aground off Pegeia on 8 December 2011 in heavy seas, during a voyage to Rhodes, from Limassol, Cyprus with a cargo of plasterboard.
We also got to see the MV Demtrios II, though it was much further away from the coast. The Honduran-flagged M/V Demetrios II ran aground off Paphos Lighthouse on 23 March 1998 in heavy seas, during a voyage from Greece to Syria with a cargo of timber. The picture below was taken with our drone as it is only possible to get close to the shipwreck by boat.
8. ADONIS BATHS and BATHS OF APHRODITE
Although both baths are great visit, Adonis Baths may be a bit better, since it is bigger and you can actually swim.
In the village of Koili the waters gather and form a small waterfall. These waters over the centuries eroded the soil and formed a small lake. According to Greek mythology, this is where Adonis and Aphrodite would meet to spend time together. Like Millomeris waterfall, the water proved too cold for me to want to enter. I decided to watch the spectacle from a safe distance, holding on to mommy and daddy.
BATHS OF APHRODITE
The natural grotto of the Baths of Aphrodite, and its botanical garden, can be found past the fishing harbour of Latsi, and towards the tip of the Akamas Peninsula. Legend tells that the Ancient Greek Goddess Aphrodite used to bathe in the waters. For some people this site is quite disappointing, especially after having driven an hour or more. People expect to see something akin to Adonis Baths, but the Baths Of Aphrodite is not comparable. It is a small stream of water that you'd probably miss of the signs weren't pointing you in the right direction. You cannot swim since the water is merely a few inches deep. Oh, and there are eels in it, so dipping your feet in is not the brightest of ideas. Still; I found it serene and peaceful. In order to get to the Baths, we had to drive up North towards the Akamas Peninsula. It was a beautiful drive, worth every mile.
9. AKAMAS: THE BLUE LAGOON
Blue Lagoon is the largest natural bay in Akamas Peninsula and it is located in the centre of the famous Akamas National Park. This was -hands down- the most stunning place we saw in Cyrus! I loved it here and spend a lot of time in the water. We had to drive a 4x4 to get there, which was a blast!
10. PETRA TOU ROMIOU (APHRODITE'S ROCK)
Petra Tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite's Rock, is a sea stack near Paphos. It is located off the shore along the main road from towards Limassol. It is said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite. Besides swimming in the sea nearby, we also saw the most amazing sunset at this place.
So that was it: the 10 best things we did in Cyprus. Well; almost then. The greatest thing I did was swimming in pools! Both in Dhekelia and in Paphos, we stayed in hotels with amazing pools. Warm water, edges I can see, perfection!
I further practiced my swimming skills and they greatly improved over the Summer weeks. Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Cyprus!