Earlier this year, I spent a couple of days in Cyprus on a girls’ villa holiday. Although we stuck to the area surrounding our base in Paphos, it felt like there was plenty more in Cyprus that we could have explored, if we’d been spending a little longer there.
Cyprus is a relatively compact destination, and you can basically drive from one side of the island to the other in around four hours. Which means that even if you’re shacked up in a resort town, there’s still loads of scope for exploring. If you’re planning your summer holiday in Cyprus, here are six things to consider adding to your itinerary…
Swim Alongside Aphrodite’s Rock
If you fancy a splash about in some cool, clear sea water, with the bonus added extra of a super Instagrammable location, you’ll definitely want to stop by Aphrodite’s Rock. Legend says that this was the birthplace of, unsurprisingly, the goddess Aphrodite. The local myth is that if you swim in these waters you’ll be blessed with eternal beauty. I can neither confirm or deny this – it was FAR too cold to swim in February – but at the very least, you’ll get a nice profile snap. Which is basically the same thing these days, right?
See St Hilarion Castle
In the north of Cyprus, you’ll find Saint Hilarion Castle. Which I definitely didn’t choose because I kept calling it ‘Saint HILARIOUS Castle’. Nope indeed. Tucked seamlessly into the surrounding rocky landscape, the castle definitely has the picture-book look down, with towers, turrets and windows still visible from its 10th-century construction.
Potter Around Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
This was one of the spots we visited on my recent girls holiday to Paphos, and it’s pretty cool if you’re keen on getting a bit of history into your Cyprus holiday. Most of the ruins in this huge site are from around the Roman period, but there are also features that date back as far as prehistoric times. The intricate and impressively well-preserved mosaic floors of Roman houses are a highlight of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Taste the Local Wines
Cypriot wine may not have a reputation as a major winemaking country, but amongst some duds, you might just find a pretty decent bottle in their vino output. Rather than risk ruining a meal with a sub-par bottle in a restaurant, why not go wine tasting instead? Most of the major cities offer opportunities, or if you want to take it a step further, you can even visit one of Cyprus’ wineries to get a taste from the source itself. Because, wine.
Explore the Troodos Mountains
If getting lairy in Ayia Napa isn’t your thing (or you’ve had enough of glow in the dark face paint), take a trip into the Troodos mountains for a truly different view of Cyprus. You’ll find picture-perfect villages and pretty painted churches – many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Go Sailing on a Pirate Ship
Alright, so this one is RIDICULOUSLY touristy and probably not for anyone who’s appalled by mass-dining and novelty entertainment. But if you wanna unleash your inner Jack Sparrow (maybe without quite as much rum), you can go for an adventure on Cyprus’ very own Black Pearl. I mean…guys. It’s a PIRATE SHIP. Book it here.
What are your top recommendations for things to do on a Cyprus holiday?
*post written in collaboration with Dealchecker