After almost a year in lockdown, we’re all dreaming of balmy summer evenings abroad this summer - and following the news that Cyprus is preparing to welcome vaccinated Brits, quarantine-free, from May 1, it’s all starting to feel that little bit closer.
Though foreign travel is still off the cards until at least May 17, we can’t help but fantasise about long meze lunches and warm mouthfuls of halloumi in the sunshine.
Already planning your summer escape? Here’s what to eat, see and where to flop in Cyprus.
Do & See: Stroll through the lively port town of Limassol which boasts a large marina and bustling side streets lined with quirky boutiques, bars and authentic tavernas. Wander into the old town and hit up the Limassol Medieval Castle, the Cathedral of Ayia Napa or restored Municipal Market - a foodie must. Head to Dasoudi Beach for sandy picnics and water sports or, for a more secluded setting, catch the waves at the limestone cove of Governor’s Beach. For something even more special, make the trip to the north-west of Limassol to the ‘Krasochoria’ wine villages to sup on local wines in a serene vineyard setting.
Eat: Head to Meze Taverna, a family-run restaurant near the Old Port, for plentiful helpings of fried halloumi and homemade houmous in an authentic taverna setting.
Stay: Fancy a treat? Book yourself in for a luxurious stay at the Four Seasons Hotel, which boasts sensational seafront views. Indulge in a spa treatment at the Sheiseido spa and chill out in one of the three freshwater pools. Meanwhile, the Amara Hotel offers guests private plunge pools, Michelin-starred food and the beach on your doorstep.
Do & See: Known for its palm tree-lined promenade, picturesque rural villages and breathtaking mountain views, Larnaca is a port town on the southern coast of Cyprus. Head to the Larnaca Salt Lake, a wetlands network of four lakes, visit the stunning Church of Saint Lazarus with its impressive bell tower, and admire Roman architecture at the Kamares Aqueduct just outside the city. Top up your tan with a trip to Mckenzie Beach, for soft sandy shores and calm, clear water or take a day trip to Finikoudes Beach, an idyllic blue flag stretch of beach lined with cafes for long, indulgent lunches.
Eat: Dive into meze boards at Mboukia & Goulia tucked down a narrow side street in the old part of Larnaca and enjoy live music while you’re at it.
Stay: Bed down in one of the elegant rooms at The Golden Bay Beach Hotel, a charismatic guesthouse perched on the seafront and set in beautiful gardens. Palm Beach Hotel, meanwhile, located on Larnaca Bay, offers a tropical setting with its terrace of orange and lemon trees.
Do & see: The ancient coastal city of Paphos in south-western Cyprus has always been a popular destination among Brits. Start with a trip to Paphos Harbour Castle, then visit the fascinating Edro III Shipwreck and explore the Tombs of Kings, an ancient necropolis and UNESCO world heritage site since 1980. Explore Aphrodite’s Rock, the Goddess of Love who was supposedly born here, and swim in the surrounding exquisite blue sea for all the holiday feels.
Eat: Just outside of Paphos, in the village of Geroskipou, the St Georges Tavern serves up top notch traditional Cypriot dishes, such as Kleftico (slow cooked lamb or beef), homegrown olives and an unlimited selection of delicious dips and pickles.
Stay: Anassa Hotel is a slick and minimalist escape that caters to both families and couples. A soothing post-pandemic treatment at the tranquil spa is an absolute must.