Holidays in Cyprus

Cyprus: what you need to know before your trip.

In climate Cyprus is similar to Tunisia and Turkey, but the level of service is higher and there is no such active animation.

Families with children go to the island for a relaxing vacation, and young people – for crazy parties in the town of Ayia Napa.

My girlfriend and I flew to Cyprus in November 2017 to swim and rip ripe mandarins from the branches. We were lucky with the weather – we swam on the best beaches on the island without the crowds of tourists.

In this article, I’ll talk about the main resorts in Cyprus, local food and vacation savings.

What you will learn.

Introductions.

How long is the flight : from Moscow about 3.5 hours.

What sea : Mediterranean.

Time difference with Moscow : none.

When is the season : May to October.

Average seasonal temperature : +27 ° C.

Language : Greek and Turkish.

️ How is Cyprus organized

There was an armed conflict in Cyprus in 1974, after which the island was divided into two parts: the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC. The Turks occupied about 35% of the island, but the territory is officially recognized only by Turkey.

The border between the two parts of the island passes in the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicosia. As a rule, tourists vacation at Cypriot resorts and go to the Turkish part only for excursions.

️ Weather in Cyprus

The season on the island is from May to September, bathing is comfortable from June. From October the weather is good, but treacherous: at any moment the sun can be replaced by rains. I was lucky: it was +27 °C outside, I swam and sunbathed for the whole vacation.

In winter, late fall and early spring in Cyprus it averages +15-18 °C.

Visa to Cyprus

You can enter Cyprus with an open Schengen visa or a Cypriot visa, a simplified form of document that entitles you to a single entry. To obtain it, you need to fill out an application online at the embassy. Within a day visa is sent by e-mail, the service is free.

At the time of application, the passport must be valid for 6 months or more. If you buy your trip in an agency, the travel agent usually makes the visa.

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✈️ Как добраться до Кипра/h2>

Most flights from Russia arrive at Larnaca airport. The main resorts of the island are located near it – you do not have a long drive to the hotel.

From Moscow to Cyprus fly airlines “Russia”, “Aeroflot”, “Ural Airlines”, S7 and “Pobeda”, from St. Petersburg – only “Aeroflot”. This is reflected in ticket prices. During the season a direct flight from Moscow to Larnaca and back will cost on average 20,000 P, from St. Petersburg it is 5000-7000 P more expensive. Usually the lowest prices for the flight are when you buy in advance – 4-6 months.

Resorts in Cyprus

Larnaca is a major port city with many historical sites. Retired people like to rest at the resort and walk in the evening along the picturesque palm-lined promenade. In Larnaca I advise to visit for a day: to wander the streets of the city, take a boat ride and visit a 9th-century church. I would not spend my whole vacation there: I found Larnaca boring.

Ayia Napa is considered a youth resort. There are bars and clubs for all tastes, but they work only in the season – from May to September.

Protaras is next to Ayia Napa, but prices there are lower. It is a quiet town with many bays, which is suitable for a quiet family vacation.

Limassol. The beaches of Limassol are gray because they are covered with volcanic sand. There are many Russians among the local population and tourists. All beaches of the resort are sandy and with a comfortable entrance to the water. There is a Sochi atmosphere: it seems that the seller of corn or baklava is about to pass.

Pafos is the most beautiful city on the island, in my opinion. The resort is surrounded by nature reserves and mountains and is reflected in the crystal blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. According to Greek legend, Aphrodite emerged from the foam on the shores of Paphos. This myth permeates the whole resort: the name or image of the goddess flashes on every signboard, souvenir or advertising booklet. If Pafos were in Russia, most likely it would be called Afroditinsk or Afroditovo.

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The beaches in Paphos are sandy and pebbly, and the bottom is stony. If you do not want to lie on the rocks, go to an excellent beach Coral Bay with sand fill, 5 km from the center. There you can rest comfortably, even with small children.

Pafos is included in the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage of UNESCO. Source: Oleksandr Savchuk / shutterstock.com

What to see in Cyprus

Petra tou Romiou Cove. Not far from Paphos, where, according to legend, Aphrodite had surfaced, a huge boulder of Petra tou Romiou remains. Whoever swims to the rock and touches it, the same legend promises beauty, youth and a lasting marriage. Nearby, on the beach of Aphrodite, lovers look for heart-shaped pebbles as a symbol of eternal love. I didn’t swim to the magic boulder because there were strong waves on the sea. I will have to go back to Cyprus again.

The Baths of Aphrodite on the Akamas Peninsula. The baths are a small grotto in the rocks, surrounded by green trees. According to legend, the goddess stayed young and beautiful because she bathed there. Experience the rejuvenating effect on themselves will not work: bathing in the grotto is prohibited. But you can have a good rest elsewhere on the peninsula. There is a beach in the protected forests of the peninsula where turtles lay their eggs.

I recommend spending a full day on Acamas. There you can ride an ATV on the trails of the reserve, swim in the lagoon and have a romantic picnic in the botanical garden.

The sea caves, or stone castles of Capo Greco, are located along the sea and resemble a bizarre maze. They consist of many grottos, corridors and columns. It’s strange that the legend of Aphrodite hasn’t been told about them, too.

The walk from the center of Ayia Napa to the caves will take half an hour, by car – a few minutes. At the end of November we met only a few tourists, but in the summer it is always lively.

Turquoise sea water combined with the light sandstone attracts to the caves active users of Instagram

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Tour guides say that pirates used to hide treasures in the caves. Whether this is true or just another tall tale for tourists is a big question.

Nicosia, or Lefkosha – the capital of Cyprus, where the two warring parties meet: Turkish and Greek. It is here that the island is divided by the so-called green line, that is, barbed wire, into the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. To get from one part to the other, you have to go through passport control on the pedestrian street Ledra. It takes a few minutes.

It is worth spending at least a day on the city to see the differences and the fusion of the two cultures at the same time. There the Venetian fortress walls neighbor the oriental bazaars and Gothic cathedrals with mosques.

The city of Famagusta is located in the north of the island, in the TRNC. There are medieval buildings, ancient ruins and stunning beaches with fine sand.

The area of Varoshi is called the ghost district. Forty-five years ago it was the main tourist center of the island. The area was developed with fashionable hotels, and among the guests of the resort there were many world stars. In 1974, the Turkish army invaded Famagusta and occupied most of the city. The Greeks left the city in two days and never returned. Since then, hundreds of Varosha hotels and houses have stood in disrepair.

The area is controlled by the Turkish military and the UN. When we were in Famagusta, entry to Varosha was forbidden, but the view of the area from behind the wire was depressing as well.

Othello’s Castle, a fortress in Famagusta in which, according to another dubious legend, the events of Shakespeare’s tragedy took place. I do not know whether the Venetian commandant strangled his wife Desdemona here, but the 12th century building itself is impressive. Powerful walls surround the old town, and the tower of the fortress overlooks the old town and the Cathedral of St. Nicholas – now the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque. The mixture of a cathedral and a mosque is a strange sight.

At first glance, it seems that Varosha is under active development of the coast. But when you realize that the resort has been abandoned for more than 40 years and hundreds of hotels are falling apart, it becomes uncomfortable. Source: Adam-Jones / flickr.com

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Money in Cyprus.

The national currency of Cyprus is the euro. In North Cyprus, you can also pay in Turkish Liras.

If you travel around the island, it is better to carry small coins and bills. A private artisan will sell handmade ceramics for cash only.

Accommodation in Cyprus.

During the season, a modest room for two costs from 2,000 rubles per night.

As in Turkey, in Cyprus it is often more profitable to vacation on a tour than to book your own accommodation and tickets. A season tour to Cyprus usually costs between 60,000 and 100,000 rubles for two people. You can save if you plan your vacation in advance.

You can’t count on cheap tours during the high season: everything is sold out. At the beginning of the season and in October-November, prices go down. I prefer to travel to warm countries during this period.

I flew to Cyprus on a last minute tour. It cost the same as airline tickets – 19 000 R. But I had to leave two days after the purchase.

The hotel had spacious rooms with panoramic windows, beds were made with snow-white linens, and for dinner we served dry martinis with ice and fresh fish on the grill. So even if you like to travel on your own, sometimes it’s worth looking into the usual all-inclusive.

Transportation in Cyprus.

Buses are the cheapest and most convenient way to get around Cyprus. They are comfortable and air-conditioned. Buses run according to a schedule, it is published on a special website.

Cars. There are many car rental companies in Cyprus. There are local firms compete with well-known European ones, such as Papantomio and Sons and Motors. These companies do not even have a website, so rent a car will be available only at the offices. It is easy to agree with them to rent a car without a deposit.

There is left-hand traffic in Cyprus. The rented cars have red license plates: so Cypriots understand that a tourist drives it.

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Almost all rental companies prohibit entering Turkish territory by car. Many tourists do not comply with this rule. In this case, remember: when entering the TRNC insurance does not apply. Either take out a separate policy at the border, or travel north by bus.

Food in Cyprus

A meze, or mezedes, is a set of fish or meat dishes. Some people think of meze à la plateau as a plate of seafood or meat platter. In fact, it’s a whole gastronomic ritual of a dozen dishes.

In Cyprus, they love spices and sauces. For example, tahini is a healthy and nutritious paste made of sesame seeds grinded with lemon juice. Cypriots add tahini to sauces for meat, fish, vegetables, cakes and cookies. I don’t like sesame seeds, but I liked the pasta as an addition to the dish. The locals also like to add cinnamon to dishes. If you are not a fan of the spice, let the waiter know.

In Cyprus, they make jam from eggplant, tomatoes and pumpkin. They don’t taste any different because 90% of the jam consists of sugar. You can try it, but I didn’t like it.

Plucking ripe tangerines from the tree is one of the highlights of the Cyprus experience. Source: Amanda Slater / flickr.com

What to bring back from Cyprus

Internet and communication in Cyprus

You’ll need a passport and cash to buy a SIM card.

⚠️ Safety rules in Cyprus

Because of the influx of refugees in Cyprus, thefts are on the rise. You are advised to be vigilant and not to leave valuables unattended on the beach, in the car and on tables in cafes.

It is forbidden to take pictures of the Turkish military. Don’t risk taking pictures – they will still be asked to remove them and write a fine.

If something happens.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Cyprus is located in Nicosia at the corner of Agios Prokopios and Archbishop Makarios III, 2406 Engomi.

The telephone numbers of the Embassy are +357 22 77-46-22 , +357 22 77-21-41 , +357 22 77-21-42.

We are looking for people who travel independently. If you have organized a vacation in Russia, near abroad, popular resorts or more exotic places – share your experience with us.

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