I’ll be honest and admit that before I actually visited Cyprus, I didn’t really give it much of a thought as a “sun & sea” holiday destination. If you were to have asked me three months ago for three countries that come to mind when I think of clear seas, cocktails on the beach, and excellent cuisine in Europe I would have most definitely answered ya with Spain, Greece, and probably Italy.
Why didn’t Cyprus come to mind? I honestly have no idea, as it really is the ideal location for kicking back somewhere a bit less touristy, with a plethora of activities to cater to everyone’s taste (honestly, you don’t need to have a “day off” if you don’t want to). I asked the classic “rate it out of ten” question to my boyfriend on the day we flew out of Larnaca and back to rainy Blighty, and he simply replied with “we’re coming back here”. I was definitely of the same opinion, Cyprus really did blow our socks of. So what made it stand out compared to other sunshine destinations?
THE CLEAR BLUE SEA
I haven’t been to Greece or Italy, but my boyfriend visited both of the coastlines of these countries during multiple stops on his Eurorail trip last year. He made a comment about the beaches being the “cleanest” and “most beautiful” he’d ever seen in Europe, and I was the first to call him out on it like *ummmm but you’ve been to Santorini huns?*
Honestly, he said the beaches in the Aiya Napa area of Cyprus were even better than those he saw on the Greek Islands. Are you shocked, because I was most definitely shook by this statement. I always assumed places like Santorini were the #goals of all beaches due to the photos I’ve seen on IG and other social media, but apparently Cyprus ranks higher in my boyf’s opinion.
I can’t comment on the comparison, however the previous two years I did book holidays in Lanzarote and Tenerife, and whilst the beaches were gloriously glowing in sunshine with cool blue waters, they really do have nothing on the crystal clear seas on the coast of Southern Cyprus. Guys, the sea is completely clear here and we even spotted brightly coloured crabs underneath the water on one of the smaller cove-like beaches. So if you’re a massive fan of snorkelling, this is definitely a destination worth looking at.
THE NATURAL COASTAL ARCHITECTURE
As Cyprus is an island, you can spot many features that really create the coastal identity of the island. Just like the power of the ocean has created wonders like Durdle Door in the UK (Dorset), the action of the waves against the cliff faces have helped expose the weaving caves that cut into the rock.
Caves are perfect for exploring and some are even only accessible from the sea (so you have an excuse to jump in and have a good ol’ swim). Some of the caves are in big “cut ins” on the coast and this creates quite strong waves, so you’d have to be a strong and confident swimmer as they can really suck you further into the sea here.
These caves are located in the national park in the area of Aiya Napa called Cape Greco. The national park is free to enter, and whilst we jumped on the bus to get there, I would 100% recommend renting a buggy or getting a car hire even if it is just for that one day. It’s a bloomin’ huge park, and you couldn’t possibly travel it all by foot. We walked from the Blue Lagoon to the Agioi Anargyroi Chapel, which is about a 30 minute walk in the hot sun. Naturally, driving would have been more convenient!
I would definitely plan a whole day of exploring in the national park because it really is worth the adventure. The coastal scenery is second to none, and taking in those breathtaking views will do your mind and soul a world of good.
IT’S A MUST IF YOU’RE A BIG FOODIE
If, like me, you choose travel destinations with the cuisine in mind – Cyprus is a must for you. The ingredients are really fresh and well combined, they really know what they’re doing guys. Also, you can spend a little and get a lot in terms of taste and portion size. They aren’t stingey in Cyprus, and they also wont try and rob you blind. You can pay as little as $5 for a huge plate of Moussaka, or a big portion of Gyros! Be careful about any unexpected extras though, I didn’t experience it myself but some restaurants put bread, olives, other appetisers on the table like they’re complimentary, and then charge you for them at the end of you meal! If in doubt, ask.
Have you been to Cyprus before?
Would you book it as your next sunshine holiday?
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*This post is sponsored by James Villas, however all thoughts and opinions are my own*