Before I get into my Quirky Guide proper, a few practicalities and general travel advice on Cyprus (officially the Republic of Cyprus – bet you didn’t know that! Or maybe you did and it’s just me that didn’t …)
The third largest island in the Mediterranean, flights to Cyprus land at Larnaca International Airport, from where there’s a bus network to cities and towns all over – or you can take a shared taxi. Car hire is probably your best bet for getting around the island, though.
Autumn and spring are best if you’re on a walking holiday and of course there’s plenty of sun and heat to spare June to September if a high temperature’s your thing.
Cyprus is a treasure trove of archaeological sites, castles and churches; and the Troodos area provides some great hill-walking. Food-wise there are some very good restaurants in the resorts and smaller interesting tavernas when you venture outside into the villages.
Quirky Travel as ever will now point you in direction of some slightly off the beaten path things to do on this sunny island in the quirky travel guide to Cyprus:
Things to Do
With the help of a big yellow shallow water diving helmet, you can go for a sea-life watching stroll on the sea bed in ten feet of clear water. No need for a snorkel or a diving qualification and you can even wear your glasses. They also hire out BOBs – James Bond-type underwater scooter things. Undersea Adventures, the company in question, is located in Protaras and Paphos.
Cyprus Taste Tours
At the start of your holiday why not go on a taste tour of the local restaurants to get a sample of the local cuisine? It’ll give you an idea which restaurants are worth visiting during your stay plus you’ll have a good night stuffing yourself and swigging ouza, zivania (a local clear alcohol) and wine. What could be better? Cyprus Taste Tours have tours running in Larnaca, Limassol & Nicosia.
Ride a Horse
Ride in Cyprus near Lysos have extremely well cared-for horses, lots of advice for newbies and a very straightforward pricing and booking procedure. Going for a horse ride will make a very pleasant change to pottering by the pool or roasting yourself at the seaside. From casual rides of an hour to week long treks, this company provides them all. Especially marvellous is the sunset trek.
The owner of this workshop in Platres will happily talk about how he makes the chocolates and the history of his business – ask him about the 60,000 euro Easter egg he made a few years back. 2/3 hour workshops can be booked Platres to teach you how to make your own chocolates at home and of course his extremely high quality chocolates can be purchased. Go on, treat yourself.
This unique two-room museum in Larnaca houses the biggest collection of owl figures in Europe. It’s all thanks to the Holy Bishop Kitiou who collected these little marvels and now it consists of 5704 ornaments and pictures. Owls are presented in ceramic, precious metal, glass and rope! (More Owl Museums)
Places to Stay
Spitiko Tou Archonta
The Spitiko Tou Archonta mountain lodge is in a good position for some hill walking with nearby nature trails. And its home, the Troodos mountains, contains no fewer than 10 UNESCO designated Byzantine churches. Androula the owner’s cooking is wondrous and you’ll experience a bit of the real Cyprus in this lodge very near Troodos village, the highest village in Cyprus.
Roman Boutique Hotel
If you ever fancied staying in a Roman villa, here’s your chance! Situated on an archaeological site in Paphos, this is a fantastically over-the-top fake one with ancient Rome-style murals absolutely everywhere.
Vasilias Nikoklis Inn
This lovely old inn can be found in the countryside near Paphos in a peaceful area where bird watching, cycling, monastery and winery-visiting are all possible. A beautiful garden and traditionally Cypriot rooms make this a lovely place for a holiday – and it caters for weddings if you fancy a foreign do.