Our second holiday (and shot glass number 2) was Cyprus with Scott’s sister and her family. We went in October and at the time, she had three young children ages 5, 3 and 1 so we couldn’t travel too far, and Cyprus was the only place that gave us 12 days of sunshine.
The country of Cyprus is split into two halves- the Greek Cypriot territory and the Turkish Cypriot territory. The capital, Nicosia, lies right on the boarder between the two and is apparently the world’s only divided capital city.
Because there were so many of us and we were staying in a villa quite far out from the closest town, we decided to hire a couple of cars. This cost us roughly £150 per car for the 12 days that we were there, and was the best way of getting around as we were able to pick the cars up from the airport in Paphos and drop them back off again as we left, so we didn’t need to get any public transport. Luckily, they drive on the left in Cyprus as you do in England, which made it even easier for us all. It took us about 45 minutes to drive from Paphos to our villa just outside of Polis.
What to do
Visit Latchi – About 10 minutes’ drive away from Polis is Latchi, a lovely little harbour town with restaurants, cafes, beaches and shops. It’s a really nice place to come for a day out and perfect for entertaining the kids; the multiple ice-cream shops are a bonus.
Visit Paphos – Paphos is a bustling city on the waterfront with restaurants and bars, shops and lots to do. There is also a castle here which the kids had a look around and enjoyed exploring. If you’re lucky enough, you might even see the pink pelican.
Watersports – We were recommended a company called Latchi Watersports Centre (which funnily enough, is in Latchi) for any water activities that we wanted to do; jet skiing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, paddle boarding and banana boats to name a few. We did parasailing and we also hired a boat for a few hours, both of which were great fun. Parasailing cost us around 90 Euro and we did it in tandem, and the boat hire cost was 120 Euro although there were loads of different options and price variations. When we went, the water was looking a bit choppy and so we had somebody to drive the boat for us, which is usually an extra amount of money but as it’s their ‘bad weather protocol’ we got it included in the price. Towards the end, the water looked like it was clearing up so Scott had the chance to drive it back to the bay.
Beach – One of the beaches closest to where we were staying was in Latchi, which was a lovely mixed sand/pebble beach that wasn’t too busy and had some nice places to eat around it. This was perfect for us all to do as a family and the area is very child friendly, with a couple of little play areas along the waterfront.
The Baths of Aphrodite – The Baths of Aphrodite are in Latchi, just up in the hills, where it’s said that The Goddess of Love used to take her bath. The area is free to go to and there is a nature walk around with a beautiful view over the sea, however the ‘bath’ itself isn’t anything special and it’s not worth going out of your way to see. It’s worth bearing in mind that there is quite a long walk to see the baths and a lot of steps, so it’s not very accessible for some people, however we did manage with a pushchair and three young children.
Quad biking – One of the main things that I took away from our holiday is that I can’t drive a quad bike. About 5 minutes into our 3 hour tour, the guide made me get off because I nearly crashed on a straight road whilst travelling at the pace of a snail (more than once, might I add) and so I spent the duration of the trip on the back of Scott’s. This was better all around; for the safety of innocent Cypriots, for the sake of the group following me at half a mile an hour, and for me who could now just sit back and enjoy the view rather than worrying about tackling the sand dunes. It cost us about £80 each (it was just me, Scott and his brother in law) and we took an off road trip following the coastline, visiting Lara bay where loggerhead turtles lay their eggs. If you want to share a quad with someone then the price is a lot cheaper, or you have the option of a sand buggy instead.
Visit Nicosia – We didn’t actually do this, but I wish we had. I don’t think it’s the safest place, as there is a heavy divide between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who live there, however there is an abandoned ‘buffer zone’ here which is patrolled by the UN that I think would be really interesting to see.
‘Flavours of Cyprus’ – We found this tour on Get Your Guide and it cost us about £60 each. The bus picked us up in Paphos and took us on a 9 hour trip to a fruit plantation, rose factory, vineyard and mountain villages where we tried a variety of local dishes and wines. This was a really good price considering everything that was included, and is a nice way to spend the day away from the tourist hot-spots, and getting a flavour of rural Cyprus. pun intended.
Visit a vineyard – The place we went was called Tsiakas Winery, and it’s where Scott was able to tick another thing off his bucket list. We visited as part of an excursion, so we were only there for an hour or so, but the views of the vineyard were beautiful and we were able to do some wine tasting.
Visit the rose and sweet factory – As part of our ‘Flavours of Cyprus’ tour, we got the chance to visit the rose and sweet factory in Agros. We only stopped there for about an hour, and you don’t need any more than a couple looking around, but we got the chance to try few dessert wines, see how candles are made, and wonder around all of the machinery used to squeeze every last drop of oil out of the roses. There is a shop here too where you can get a huge variety of rose products.
Where to eat
Because we stayed in a villa with quite a few of us (including three young children), we only ate out a couple of times. One of the places that we ate was Porto Latchi – again, in Latchi. This served mostly a variety of fish, which was really nice and not too expensive. Another place that we ate in Latchi was a restaurant called La Plage, which was right on the waterfront and had a nice little play park next to it – perfect for the kids. Scott, his brother in law and his 5 year old nephew all shared a seafood platter which they really enjoyed. On a day trip to Paphos, we ate at a Theo’s Restaurant which was on a jetty over the sea. There was a mix of seafood and salads here, and Scott’s nephew even tried Oysters for the first time, which was an experience…
Cyprus was an amazing place to come with kids for a week or two of sun, especially in the October half term. It’s not too expensive to hire large villas with pools, and there are things to do to keep the whole family entertained. I don’t think I’d personally recommend the country to people looking to ‘see the world’ and explore different cultures, however it’s a great place to come if you’re looking for a relaxing time.