I don’t know about you but I was getting so fed up of the cold and dark at the start of this year that I desperately wanted some Winter sun to escape to. I trawled tons of travel agents pages on Facebook and of course the big name travel companies online, desperately searching for somewhere to visit that would provide even a little heat and sunshine. I thought about Tenerife but it just seemed so expensive, then I came across a super cheap deal for Cyprus. The family and I had never been to Cyprus before and it looked like the hottest it would reach would be around 20c but that was good enough for me so I booked it up. I used a local travel agents, Moorelands Travel in Cowdenbeath, and they were fab. They didn’t mind me harassing them with tons of questions and were really helpful during the booking process.
The hotel I picked was in the Paphos area of Cyprus and was slap bang in the centre with a 2 minute walk to the sea front and right next to the little bus depot which was super handy. It was rated as a 3 star so it felt like a bit of a gamble but actually we were lucky and our room was fine. It wasn’t the cleanest it could have been and you did get a lot of tiny ants but staff seemed friendly enough and the two times that we did eat in the restaurant the food was tasty but there wasn’t a big choice. If I ever chose to go back I’d pick a different hotel though.
Before heading to Cyprus I did a quick internet search of recommended places to visit and discovered that the island was steeped in history. There are tons of beautiful historic sites and places to visit as well as some lovely things to do with the kids so I’m going to share a few here for you.
Paphos Harbour Castle
Coming from Scotland we have a fond love of Castles so felt we had to give this one a visit. It’s 2.50 euros for adults and kids are free which is reasonable (as are most historic sites in Paphos). The castle is very very small with no furnishings at all but the kids loved running round it and exploring. You will be round the castle in minutes however take your time to read all the info and enjoy the views from the roof top. They really are beautiful and make for some excellent photos.
Church of Agia Kyriaki and post St. Paul
This little beauty was right at the back of our hotel and we had lovely views from our balcony. It has a raised walk way so you can wonder around and look at all the beautiful pillars as well as having a peak inside the church. It’s also free so you can visit as many times as you like. If you’re into history this is one of the oldest churches in the world and according to tradition, Saint Paul was punished and sentenced to thirty nine lashes for evangelizing Christianity in Paphos. He was tied on a column and whipped with a special whip. My son loved reading about this and viewing the supposed whipping pillar! Well worth a wonder round.
A small but interesting zoo for the kids. Pafos Zoo was originally a bird park but has developed to include other animals such as lions, tigers and elephants. I highly recommend the bird show as it’s well done and you get to meet and feed a baby tiger afterwards for 20 euros. All money goes straight back into their conservation work which is lovely. You can also feed other animals around the park if there’s a keeper next to their enclosure but you have to pay extra for this. I really enjoyed the reptile room and so did the kids as it was full of venomous snakes that made for interesting reading.
There isn’t any decent beaches in Paphos but the nearest one is Coral Bay in Peyia which is a short bus ride away. It’s 1.50 euro for an adult to ride the bus and 0.75 euro for kids. Really cheap and the buses are very similar to ours here in Scotland. The bus maps are also really easy to read and if all else fails the drivers are lovely. We took the bus from the depot straight to Coral Bay which was the last stop anyway. It’s a small beach but perfect for the kids to make sand castles and paddle in the water.
Tomb of the Kings
Basically this place is what it says on the tin. A large UNESCO world heritage site full of amazing tombs where bodies once lay. It’s a large site so make sure you have decent shoes as you can walk down into quite a few tombs. It’s a beautiful place and I’d highly recommend a visit. There’s lots to see so you could spend hours here exploring. Again you can get the local bus here. There’s a McDonald’s 5 minutes walk away so we got lunch and let the kids play (there’s a play frame upstairs) then walked to the tombs. It was a lovely afternoon out and kept the kids busy.
Sometimes Winter in Cyprus can be a bit rainy and it did rain a couple of days whilst we were there but it didn’t spoil our fun. We just found other things to do like Cosmic World, a.k.a Cosmic Bowling, it’s a large indoor bowling alley with a huge soft play and tons of arcade/ride on machines for the kids. Definitely worth a visit as the kids will love it. You buy a wrist band for like 7 euro and the kids can play as long as they want. It’s also very clean which I loved!
Kings Avenue Mall
If you fancy a bit of shopping or if the weather’s poor then pop along to the Kings Avenue Mall. It’s a short walk away from Paphos Harbour but you can of course get the local bus if you want to. We walked up and had a nosey around. It’s basically like a big shopping mall in the UK with lots of familiar stores, restaurants plus a cinema if you fancy seeing a movie. There’s a huge store at the back called Jumbo which is a must visit. It’s on 3 different floors with one way in and one way out but it has everything you could ever think of. Best of all it’s super cheap!!
Paphos Archaeological Park
This massive historic site has it’s entrance right next to the harbour Castle and is again only 2.50 euros to enter. Also known as the Kato Pafos Archaeological Park it contains the major part of the important ancient Greek and Roman City. The site is still under excavation so who knows what else will be uncovered. Again wear good shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking but it really is worth seeing. The site is so big we never managed to get round it all with the kids so we’ll have to go back and visit another time.
So as you can see there’s tons of things to see and do in Cyprus that’ll keep the whole family happy. The sun was shining most of the time and if it did rain there was always somewhere to go. I’d say Cyprus is a little bit more expensive for eating out thanks to the euro but there’s a few gems out there worth visiting.
If you have any tips for exploring Cyprus then please do share in the comments. Thank you.