Fun-filled holidays in Cyprus
Beautiful scenery and traditionally hospitable people have made this island paradise an increasingly popular all year-round tourist destination
Just a short haul flight - three hours and 45 minutes from Dubai, Cyprus is a hassle-free and safe destination for visitors from the Middle East. As you disembark at Larnaca airport, well-planned highways and clean roads welcome you. Limassol, Famagusta, and Paphos are cities that offer modern facilities to travellers.
Though small in size, the nation has plenty of variety. Beautiful scenery and traditionally hospitable people have made this island paradise an increasingly popular all year-round tourist destination. Exploring the history and culture of the island's ancient civilisation is definitely a must for history buffs.
Cafeterias line Ledra Street, the main shopping area of the capital Nicosia. The Ledra Street Observatory is the tallest building in the Nicosia old city area and boasts of big brand names. There is an interesting mix - plenty of variety with small speciality shops to those selling art and craft.
We share a few family friendly destinations that you can visit with your family.
Located in the Larnaka (Larnaca) region, the tiny mountainous village of Kato Drys is idyllic and picturesque, offering the perfect destination for agrotourism. The village is located 36 km southwest of Larnaka, and can be reached by following the A5 and A1, and then the E105 route. Before you reach Lefkara village, you turn left towards Kato Drys.
Kato Drys means 'lower oak' in Greek, and the village has existed since the Byzantine period - referred to as the birthplace of Agios Neofytos the Recluse - while the name 'Catodi' also appears on old maps.
Its agricultural produce includes grapes, citrus fruit, almonds, olive and carobs, amongst other crops, whilst the handicraft of famous Lefkara lace is also practiced in the village, which neighbours the Lefkara area.
The village has two interesting museums; the Rural Museum and the Bee and Embroidery Museum, and two significant churches; Panagia Eleousa (which dates back to the 16th century), and Agios Charalambos (which dates back to the early 19th century).
Santa Marina Retreat
Situated in Limassol, The Santa Marina Resort is an all-encompassing retreat which is particularly an excellent place to take children horse riding with an array of skilled instructors to guide the way. The retreat really has something for everyone with wall climbing, football, mountain biking, shooting, quad biking and archery to keep everyone entertained.
Open throughout weekends from March onwards and additional days throughout the summer, Cyprus is home to exciting parks that promise adventure for the whole family and children above the age of three. Be sure to dress in your sporty clothes including long pants, long sleeves, sneakers, gloves and don't forget your change of clothes! All ropes use a click-it system to enhance safety and allow users to move throughout the rope park at a speedy base whilst enjoying all of the amazing views along the way! Explore Sparti Rope Park in Pano Platres (Limassol) and Marina's Adventure (Rope) Park in Kakopetria (Nicosia).
Looking to cool down from the Cyprus sun? Check out the waterparks; they are packed with non-stop aquatic thrills featuring high-speed water slides, extensive lazy rivers, wave surge pools, lots of swimming areas and spectacular kids water-play areas, and food courts, alongside secure lockers, free Wi-Fi, music, disabled facilities, lifeguards entertainment and an array of activities. Check out The Aphrodite Waterpark in Pafos, Water World Waterpark in Agia Napa and Fassouri Watermania Waterpark in Limassol.
A short drive from Larnaca International Airport, the highly-popular beach is a one kilometre long strip with fine sands of varying shades, calm, clear and shallow seawaters, and stunning greenery. The beach offers a wide array of water sports, children's playgrounds, and outdoor exercise equipment, as well as nearby restaurants and nightclubs. Concerts are held on the seafront stage throughout the year, while arts fairs and stalls are also held along the strip. Visitors can enjoy the fully accessible waters with free access to floating wheelchairs daily until October 31 from 10:30am-6pm.
Akamas Forest Nature Trail
Of special interest on this trail are the Loutra tis Afroditis (Baths of Aphrodite), where, according to legend, the Goddess of Love and Beauty used to take her baths. You will also pass by the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen's Tower), which are believed to belong to a Medieval monastery. Also noteworthy is a 500 year old oak tree, which is located near the ruins of the tower. Along the trail you can enjoy excellent views of Cape Arnaoutis, Polis Chrysochous and Pafos (Paphos) Forest. There are two nonpotable water fountains along the trail; one near the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas, and another between the Loutra tis Afroditis (Baths of Aphrodite) and Kakoskali. The trail connects with the Adonis trail, whilst at its starting point you can visit the Botanical Gardens of Akamas.
Emirates Airline offers daily flights from Dubai to Larnaca. The direct flights take around 3-4 hours.
All information on visas available here: https://www.vfsglobal.com/Cyprus/UAE/
Can be found in the below link:
Local transport options
The best way to get around Cyprus is by car or taxi using the well-routed roads throughout the country. Fun fact: it takes less than two hours to get from one end of the country to the other!
The cheapest way to get around is by bus and with a huge bus schedule taking travellers across the entire country, there's an abundance of options throughout the day.
And don't forget cycling! With the brilliant weather and an array of cycling routes, hiring a bike throughout your time in Cyprus is definitely an option to keep at top of mind.
My Mall Limassol
King's Avenue Mall - Pafos
Anexartisias Str. and Makarios Ave.
Do's and Don'ts to keep in mind
Respect the no-photography signs along the Green Line
Do not enter Cyprus through the occupied areas
Other tourist spots to explore
Tzielefos bridge: Situated in Pafos Forest, the Tzielefos Bridge is the largest medieval stone bridge in Cyprus built over the river of Diarizos. The venetian style bridge is still of excellent condition and serves the needs of the region, connecting the West Bank villages with the Eastern Shore. The bridge is considered one of the most magical hotspots to visit with the views of the stunning forest.
Paralimni: Paralimni is a main holiday area of the Ammochostos (Famagusta) region and incorporates the subdistrict of Protaras, which is a popular tourist resort.
Hundreds of windmills dot the landscape, and the area is famous for its beaches of crystal-clear waters and soft, powdery sands. Located in the Ammochostos (Famagusta) district, the fishing village of Agia Napa is famous for its stunning coasts, as well as for its ranking as a top nightlife destination, known worldwide. The Natural Forest Park of Cape Gkreko - located southeast of Protaras - is especially beautiful with its coves, caves, rare flora and fauna and stunning views.
Other sights of interest include the Paralimni Folkloric Museum/Traditional House, which depicts daily life in olden times, and the fishing shelters of Saint Nicholas and Agia Triada chapels.
The area also has significant religious monuments, including the 13th century two-aisled church dedicated to the Mary, which is decorated with unusual 18th century porcelain plates, and houses a small ecclesiastical museum. There are also a number of other interesting churches in the wider region.
The Oroklini Nature Reserve: A must-see wildlife spot, the Oroklini Nature Reserve is home to a huge range of wildlife, despite the area being fairly small in size. A wide array of birds migrate to the reserve throughout the year - see how many you can spot on your next visit!
The Olive park in Anogyra village: Located in the Lemesos (Limassol) district, the quaint village of Anogyra sits at an altitude of 170 metres and just 45 km away from Lemesos town. The village can be reached by following A6 route and then the F607.
Anogyra was once a main carob-grower and is famous for its traditional sweet Pasteli, which is made from carob syrup, and only produced traditionally in ?the village.
The history of the village dates back to the Neolithic era, and its name may originate from the plant anagyris (which grows in the village), or that the village that exists today constituted the upper ('ano') part of the village once known as 'Gyroi'.
Its interesting sites include the Pastelli museums, the Olive-Park and the church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross). The village is also a perfect destination for agrotourism.
The custom of Pasteli making is celebrated annually in September with a Pasteli Festival that features the sweet being made in the traditional way, along with local food and a programme of folkloric entertainment.
Golden Donkey Farms - Skarinou: Up in the Skarinou village between Larnaca and Limassol, the Golden Donkey Farms aim to preserve the heritage of Cyprus by taking exceptional care of the Cypriot donkeys. Offering visitors the opportunity to ride, feed and cuddle up with the donkeys for photograph.
Cuisine to look forward to
The ritual of sharing good, fresh local cuisine is an important part of the island's culture, and is intrinsically linked with every social event, from family gatherings and special occasions to religious festivals. each marked with its own distinct delicacies and recipes. From hearty meat dishes and speciality cheeses to unique desserts of carob and grape, the Cypriot cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern cultures, sprinkled with remnants of ancient civilisations such as indigenous Roman root vegetables or old Phoenician delicacies. And it is no secret that the 'Mediterranean diet' is considered to be of the healthiest, thanks to its abundance of heart-healthy olive oil, pulses, lean meat, local herbs and freshly grown fruits and vegetables. Add to this the favourable climate - that gives the fresh produce its intense flavour - and a celebration around every corner, complete with special treats, and you will find a big gastronomic adventure awaits on this tiny island!
Synonymous with Cypriot cuisine is the meze - a variety of small dishes that combine to create a feast, and a good starting point to become acquainted with the local dishes, such as moreish dips, braised, stewed and clay-cooked meats; local, freshly caught fish; pulses and legumes in various sauces; speciality cheeses and delicatessen cuts, and more unusual bites, all authentically prepared.
And if you are visiting the island during a festival or holiday period, an amazing array of treats and dishes unique to the event appear to mark the occasion, often made by the women of the family, who gather together on specific days to share in the traditions passed down from generation to generation and that remains today so that both locals and visitors alike can continue to enjoy, savour and share the mouth-watering, appetising, fragrant and abundant everyday experience that Cypriot cuisine!
It is often remarked that the fresh produce of Cyprus is so flavoursome that you can almost taste the sunshine that has grown it! And flavoursome it is indeed, for nature's abundance has blessed the island with so many wonderful local ingredients, from fruit and vegetables, to herbs and pulses - all with historical roots that go far deeper than the soil they are grown in. These in turn are put to use creatively and lovingly to make traditional products and delicious, authentic dishes. Sprawled across hillside villages, the olive groves produce crops of early green olives for preserving, and later black ones for superior olive oil that is world renowned, whilst raw, organic honey made from the nectar of wildflowers have won the island accolades and awards.
And still, nature's gifts unfold, with carob pods and the syrup they produce featured in nutritional desserts, and mixed with locally grown almonds and peanuts to produce a traditional nut brittle. In the 'red soil villages', delicious potatoes are grown in the rich, red earth, along with juicy watermelons and sweet strawberries, whilst crispy salads are cut from the freshest village cucumbers and tomatoes. Key dairy produce - such as yoghurt, Halloumi and Anari cheeses - are made using goat and sheep's milk. The wonderful array of dishes is further enhanced by fragrant herbs and spices, including oregano, thyme and coriander, and every meal, every mouthful and every flavour is delicious and distinctly Cypriot!
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