We visited Cyprus in December 2014 for a week’s break after Christmas and it was the bargain holiday of a lifetime! The weather could be hit and miss but we had at least 3 sunny days and only 1 days was a complete wash out due to rain (but our hotel had enough amenities to keep us entertained). In my view, it is the perfect short haul winter getaway – boasting better weather than mainland Europe and lots to see and do!
Getting there and Accommodation
On arrival at the airport, we picked up our hire car (which was almost new). However, make sure you are clear on where to pick up your car – there are some rental agencies with booths at the airport but some companies simply wait for you at arrivals with a handwritten sign showing the name of the agency. Driving in Cyprus is easy – the road system is not particularly complex, they drive on the left-hand site of the road and the sign posting is fairly good. In any event, our car came with a sat nav, which made everything very simple! There is also a petrol station near to the airport for filling up before you return the car.
We stayed at Capital Coast in Paphos and got a great deal at £557 each (with Travel Republic, flight, B&B accommodation and car rental), which was about £ for a week’s stay. On arrival we were upgraded to a suite as it was my partner’s birthday. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful and the hotel had plenty of amenities – indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, games room, tennis court and bike rental (though the bikes had definitely seen better days, it was still fun to have a run down the coastline to the harbour). We had half board and the breakfast was of a good standard – there was the usual cooked breakfast, cereals, fruit and pastries but you could also have eggs to order. We did have one issue with a maid accidentally throwing away some medication, so I would make sure that you pack away any essentials that could be mistakenly binned.
Our suite had a good kitchen, fridge and dishwasher, so we made quite a few meals. There is a brilliant Lidl across the road from the hotel, with a great fresh fish and bread/pastries selection. We made some lovely meals for just a few Euros and stocked up on supplies for packed lunches.
If you enjoy history and natural scenery, then Cyprus is for you! The Paphos area is jam-packed with sights and we ventured up the coast and into the mountains too.
Tomb of the Kings
This site, on Tomb of the Kings Avenue (follow the coastal road up from the harbour, signposted on the left), is awesome. There are numerous caves and rock tombs to explore, some dating back to the 3rd century BC (Roman period). When we went, the site was almost deserted and we spent about 2 hours exploring – all for less than €3 each! In winter, the site is open from 8.30am-5pm. To find out more, visit the tombs’ official website.
This is a world heritage site dating back 2000 years! There are plenty of Roman villas showing how wealthy Romans lived, an odeon, a lighthouse and a castle. In the house of Dionysos, you can see some wonderful mosaics. Visit the official site here
We drove up the coastal road, known as the Akamas Peninsular. There are some lovely beaches that you can stop at along the way, including some where turtles breed in October (Lara Bay). I would particularly recommend a trip to Akamas Gorge, which has some great walks and scenery. For some trek ideas visit the official site here.
For a contrast from sunshine, we took a drive into the Troodos mountains. At the peak (Mt Olympus), it was snowing and we felt as if we were in a ski resort. We even stopped at an outdoor market for some hot snacks and a hot chocolate! The views are spectacular and it is only an hour’s drive from Paphos to enter the region. See map below:
I would highly recommend Cyprus for a relaxing yet fun-packed winter break. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!