For anyone who loves hot summers and fine sand, Cyprus is the perfect choice. I am a great lover of the islands, so when I thought about the summer destination this year, after several days of surfing at the Internet and researches about the climate, sea, sand, food and other essential information, Cyprus proved to be ideal. Cyprus is the easternmost island located in the Mediterranean sea near the Turkish coast. It stretches a little more than 9000 km² and with 350 sunny days a year is not surprising that my choice had been fallen at this island.
My vacation was at the midst of season- from 1st to 10th of August. The first impression after the landing at the airport in Larnaca (in 4 am) was: “Oh my God, is here really as hot as in the hell… at dawn!?”. I went with my best friend from Sweden, whom this was, as you can assume, the temperature shock. But very soon our bodies get adapted on the climate.
For the 10 days of our staying in Cyprus, with accommodation in Larnaka we managed to organize a very good time, so beside our resting, lying on the beach, drinking frappes and cocktails, we were able to travel around and visit Ayia Napa, Limassol and inevitable Nicosia.
My sincere recommendation is wholly to Larnaca, which is a great destination for vacation, but very well connected with the 3 mentioned sites (one hour of driving along the road with very often departures and returns) which makes it an ideal starting station.
Larnaca is the 3rd largest city in Cyprus, the city where the airport is located too. Due to the fact this was the first time that we were in Cyprus, in our own organization it was easier for us to settle in here in Larnaca. The rich history, peaceful life and friendly people are the main things which everyone who spends several days here can testify for sure. The most recognizable symbols of Larnaca are Church of St. George, Fort in the city center, right at the crossing from the peaceful to the urban part of the city. Also the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque, the oldest mosque in the island.
The mosque is located right at the Larnaca salt lake, the second largest saltwater lake, which throughout the history has plenty of transforimations. In a tour of the lake and the mosque I was lucky enough to meet a local guy with an interesting hobby – collecting shells around the lake (he gifted me 3 of them). In a conversation with him I found out that the lake is over 1000 years old! Many years ago, the salt from the lake was used for human consumption, but today the lake is a habitat for over 10,000 different species of birds, including flamingoes, which dominate. In August, the lake dries up completely, but anyone who visits Larnaca from November to March have the opportunity to see this interesting species.
When we talk about the food and drinks which are typical for Larnaca, and for Cyprus in general, I would single out the Halloumi cheese, that everyone who visits Cyprus must try, not just because of the cheese, but for the way they are prepering it here. It’s grilled cheese combined with fresh vegetables topped with olive oil and some of the typical dips, as desired. Awesome! From the alcoholic beverages most of the tourists (but the locals, too) usually drinks beer, Metaxa, ouzo and Zivaniu. Zivania the traditional Cyprus drink with over a 40 % of alcohol, so for those who like short drinks this is the right choice.
Beaches in Cyprus are highly maintained and the price of the set which include two of sunbeds with a parasol is fixed on the entire island and amounts 7 euros. The most famous and the most visited beaches in the Larnaca are Flamingo and McKenzie beaches, although we personally liked the most Kastela beach with the most pleasant beach bar, the kindest staff and parasols that give it a special note. Also, what surprised us was the charge of showers at the beaches. Price of the showering (water flows around for 1 minute) is 0.5 euros.
The city has several clubs, but the Larnaca is generally more for daily vacation at the beach and leisurely evening walks.
Ayia Napa – Party in the paradise
Those who prefer the crowds, boisterous, fast and diverse night (and daily) life, should not miss to visit Ayia Napa. Ayia Napa is located about 60 km west of Larnaca and what makes it distinctive is Nissi Beach, which is ranked in the top 10 of the most beautiful beaches in Europe! It really is! White sand and turquoise blue color of the sea around the Nissi Bay really make it unique.
If you want to assume a sunbed at the beach, you have to get up early (which is not as easy after the heavy nightout in Ayia Napa) because at 10 am almost all of the sunbeds are filled in! During the day at the beach you have an opportunity to visit a daily foam party at Nissi bar with a great number of young girls and boys enjoying the coconut milk, pineapple or some of the Cyprus cocktails (all about 7 euros). Entertainment during the day is excellent and party lasts up to 6-7 hours.
I noticed that the most expensive destination at the island is exactly Ayia Napa, with the prices of drinks and food more expensive than in other cities. This is confirmed by the information that the internet is paid here, so if you want to share photos or videos with yout friends on social networks you will have to pay 2 euros for 1 hour.
Limasol- City that had appeared the first on the visit list after the Larnaca, warmly recommended from the friendly football players we have met on our flight to the Cyprus.
Limassol is wonderful. The old part of town with the narrow streets leading to the medieval castle, wedding place of Richard the Lionheart, King of England and the Berengaria of Navarre today is a medieval museum that marks this city.
Besides the traditional part of the city, the picture that leaves breathless everyone who visits Limassol is precisely a promenade that stretches from the old port to the city beach in Limassol with a beautifully landscaped park.
In Limassol is located a large number of beaches, and after the sightseeing tour at high temperatures we have hardly waited to get to some of them. What have we got left in our memory as a lovely detail are the water basin which comes with the renting of sun loungers, used for cooling off during the tanning.
From Limassol, we went full of beautiful impressions about the cleanliness and orderliness of the city, but the locals who really helped us in visiting the city and in finding the bus station to return to Larnaca.
Nicosia – two countries in one city
The last but surely not the least and maybe the most important one. Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus, located in the central part of the island.
Having in mind that the north of the Cyprus is under the Turkish occupation for 42 years, Nicosia is the only city in the world which is divided into 2 parts – Greek and Turkish one, so when you set off to Nicosia DO NOT FORGET to bring your passport to gain access to the entire city. It is interesting how this system works. In the middle of the main street in Nicosia (called Ledra) are installed two checkpoints – one that serves to ‘exit’ from the Greek part and the other for ‘entering’ in Turkish part. These points are mainly intended to tourists considering that Greeks and Turks are rarely mingle.
The two parts of the city are very different – by appearance, regulation, constructions, people, food, religion … You really get the impression that you are in another country.
In the Turkish part of the city within the walls are a large number of tourist attractions including the mosques, churches, museums, fountains, galleries, authentic streets and many other things.
Both parts of the city are great for those who love shopping but also for a break with a good cup of coffee in one of the nicely decorated cafe.
My trip to Cyprus I would describe as a very exciting, unpredictable, full of beautiful experiences, impressions and knowledges. This is an island that has to offer something to anyone – It is great for young people but also for the elderly; urban sufficiently, but great for a break from the city bustle. For 10 days we spent here I met a lot of Cypriot culture and their way of life, but it still has remained so much to see. This is a destination that I would always recommend to everyone, but also is one of those which I’ll be glad to come back!