Weekend getaway in Cyprus – day 1

With its crystal clear, turquoise waters, picturesque villages and mouth-watering cuisine, this little island in the Mediterranean charms you and leaves you longing to come back.

There’s so much to be said about Cyprus, it had a very complicated history, with Ottoman and British rulings, then another Turkish invasion, but I won’t get too much into details, as there’s always Wikipedia for that. I’ll just say that at the moment the island is divided into Cypriot, Turkish and British territories.

For that reason probably, there’s a lot of Brits on the island, both as tourists and as property/business owners, as well as Russians, who are mainly tourists and Romanians, who, as usual, are doing the grunt work. That’s on the Cypriot side, we didn’t have time to make it to the Turkish side, so I don’t know how things are there.

We only had three days, which is definitely not enough to be able to fully enjoy all that the island has to offer, 7-10 days would have been more appropriate. In terms of weather, we only had one warm sunny day out of three, so I’d say late April to late May and late September to late October are probably the best times to visit.

Where to stay in Cyprus

We stayed in Paphos, on the Western side of the island, because that’s where we flew in to, but I can’t say it was the smartest choice, as all the good stuff is on the other side of the island. Paphos is nice and there are some interesting sites in the area, so it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re staying for a longer period, but if you only have a few days it’s best to skip it and set base around Limassol, Larnaca or Ayia Napa. Although it’s a relatively small island, it still takes about three hours to get from one side to the other.

What and where to eat in Cyprus

Basically, anything, anywhere. The food was absolutely delicious, both in local tavernas as well as in the fancier restaurants and it’s fairly cheap, you can get a decent meal for 10 – 15 euros/person.

On the first day the girls went out for lunch without me, as I needed some time to get accustomed with driving on the wrong side of the road (which I successfully did for 3 days without hurting anyone or anything). But anyway, they went to a place that was recommended by our host, Viva Cyprus, and were very satisfied. Three course menu for 10 euros, large servings and yummy food.

We had pizza for dinner at Red Cafe Pizza Romana, on the promenade in Limassol, as we were too tired and cold to look for something else. They serve Roman style pizza (i.e. thin base), which was actually pretty good. They also make fresh ginger tea, a good ally if you’re trying to kill off a cold.

On the next day we had lunch at Sail at Castle, right in the Paphos harbour. Really good seafood, cooked properly, crispy chips and the mussels came with a delicious sauce. And as an added bonus, the nice backdrop and the smell of salty air.

Kipriakon, a restaurant serving traditional Cypriot dishes in Limassol Marina, was probably our favourite. We ordered two vegetarian meze platters, with 16 different types of meze, if I remember correctly, and every single thing was finger lickin’ good. What you see in the picture is just the beginning, as they kept on coming.

On our final day, we had a very classy and light brunch, as pictured below, at Alexander Taverna in Larnaca. Huge servings, good food and the guy serving was a real character, made our day.

We splurged a bit on our last dinner in Cyprus with some gourmet seafood at The Fish Market in Limassol, but it was totally worth it (when I say ‘splurged’ I mean around 18 euros/person, so still pretty decent price). The fish and seafood grilled to a T, the mussels sauce – divine and the side dishes perfectly chosen. Highly recommended!

Beautiful Cypriot villages

On the day we arrived the weather was not cooperating, it basically rained the whole day, so we decided to just drive through the mountains, enjoy the scenery (from the dry comfort of our car) and maybe stop in some of the villages we had marked as points of interest. Looking back, I wish we would’ve stopped for a few pictures along the way as the scenery was truly stunning. We passed along lemon and orange orchards, fields of tiny, yellow and orange flowers and lookout spots with breathtaking views over the green valleys of Cyprus.

Anogyra

The small, quiet village of Anogyra, situated halfway between Paphos and Limassol was our first stop. We didn’t spend a lot of time here as there isn’t much to do, honestly. There are a couple of pretty houses, a carob factory and somewhere around there should be some ruins of an ancient church. It started to rain again so we just took a few photos and headed back to the car.

Laneia

We continued our drive up the Trodoos Mountains for another hour or so until we reached Laneia, Cyprus’s most picturesque village. With traditional Cypriot architecture, narrow streets paved with stone, yards smothered in flowers and lush greenery, this little hidden gem is definitely worth a visit. Every door and window blind is painted in a different shade of blue, green, turquoise and purple. The smell of fresh flowers and oranges is simply intoxicating. Laneia is beautiful even in the rain!

Getting back to more earthly things, yes, we stole that orange from a tree in someone’s yard (ok, maybe not just that one :D), but we got our punishment as it was so sour we almost died when we tried to eat it.

After taking about a million pictures in Laneia, we said goodbye to the pretty village and headed down to Limassol for dinner. We had planned to walk a bit around the promenade and marina, but by the time we got there it started pouring down so we just ate and went back to Paphos.

Read the next part here.

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