Sizzling Cypriot: From Elena with LOVE
Cypriot beauty Elena Aristotelous masquerades as The Savvy Traveller this week to show the magical island in all its glory. Steeped in history, Cyprus lends itself to fascinating myths and a rich culture that just gets better and better. Hot well into November, the Island is the perfect winter sun hotspot and with these stylish recommendations, be prepared for serious seduction….
Claimed to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, Cyprus is an enchanting Island with a rich historic background. Exploring the island is a must to fully appreciate its character and beauty.
Whether you’re wanting to relax in the sun, indulge in mythical history or take advantage of the bustling nightlife, it’s the Island to suit all tastes. Be prepared though, Cyprus is not the behind the times place it once was. With the cost of living ranked as one of the highest in Europe, prices are not outrageous, but definitely not cheap. The only way to get around this is all inclusive package deals, or the drink deals from the reps swarming the streets of Agia Napa trying to get you in their bars with the lure of free shots and BOGOF cocktails.
As Agia Napa is not somewhere I find myself often…nor would I recommend it, unless however you’re 16 wanting to get trollied or on a hen or stag weekend where the only memory you’ll recall is that of a pair of bare butt cheeks glaring you in the face. However, nightlife aside, Agia Napa has some of the most beautiful beaches of all the Island, with the sea caves near Cape Greco being one of the most beautiful spots in Cyprus.
Of all the seaside resorts on the Island, Limassol is the largest, with a 16km stretch of beach. It is in my opinion the best town for hotels. The Londa Hotel and Spa is ideal if 5 star luxury is what you’re looking for during your stay. The food and service is impeccable, with modern interior on an ideal beach location, and I highly recommend visiting the Spa for the ultimate tranquil experience.
I have to tell you about The Four Seasons Hotel. The decor and service are faultless, and the food, sublime! Even if you’re just passing by, make sure you stop for a drink. When my mum comes to visit, thats our place. Each tea or coffee comes with tiny cakes made fresh daily by the hotels award winning pastry chef. Each meal/desert is so creatively presented you daren’t touch it as to not ruin what been so carefully put together, but when you taste it, you’ll be glad you did!
Near to Limassol is the Kourion Amphitheatre, perched in a hillside overlooking the sea, its a spectacular site whether you are interested in archaeology or not, and near by is the Apollo Temple and the Kolossi Castle, all near enough to visit in one day.
The second best town to visit for me is Paphos. On the way there, stop by the Petra Tou Romiou. It is said that the Greek Goddess Aphrodite emerged from the waves here. Local legend has it that if you swim around the rock at midnight during a full moon, you will be blessed with beauty and youth. I can’t say I’ve done it, nor if it’s true, but it’s a lovely place. Another place worth visiting in Paphos is the Adonis Baths. It’s a steep drive, but worth it. The baths are located below a waterfall with trees leaning over the water. Swimming here is rumoured to make women more beautiful and men stronger. It is said lovers Aphrodite and Adonis spent alot of time here, and just outside the baths there is a statue of them, where it is also said that if infertile women were to touch it would later become pregnant!! You have been warned……
Although Cyprus is mainly known as a beach destination, winter is becoming more popular to visit. Summers lasts till around early november and temperatures stay around 19 degrees through December, although it can be quite chilly at night. Snow is not something you would associate the Island with, but up at the Troodos mountains it is covered with snow during winter and is ideal for skiing and snowboarding at Mount Olympus located there. It is also a great place to go in summer for cooler temperatures, abundant wildlife and natural attractions such as the waterfalls.
Troodos also has the famous Kykkos Monastery. The richest and most lavish of all monasteries, situated on a mountain peak. Another monastery worth visiting is Agios Minas, located near Kato Drys. It’s a scary drive spiralling up the mountain the get there, but its quant location and peaceful surroundings make it worthwhile. Here you can see the nuns paint Byzantine Icons, explore the harmonic grounds, enter the church for a blessing and visit the monasteries own shop that sells jams, honeys, capers and more, all grown on site and made by the nuns themselves.
This little Island has much to offer with so many things to see. Cyprus is becoming more modern, with new building constructions and expanding marinas (with the plan of building mini islands in the sea as in Dubai, seemingly from the rising Arabic and Russian investors on the Island). However the tradition, culture, and history shouldn’t be disregarded with more favouring the new for the old. Go see the ancient ruins, eat at the local taverns and be served with masses of traditional Meze, rent a car and explore the hidden little villages. As for me, I might try that midnight swim under the full moon tonight. I’ll let you know if Aphrodite sends some beauty my way.
Londa Hotel: http://www.londahotel.com/
The Four Seasons Hotel: http://www.fourseasons.com.cy/
Anassa Hotel: http://www.anassa.com.cy/en/
Flights: Flights to Cyprus take approx. 4 hours from the UK. Flying into Paphos or Larnaca is easy enough from London, Manchester, Leeds and Bradford and Birmingham to name a few. Prices from £130 return.