Seeking info on Cyprus

Oct 15th, 1997, 07:58 PM
  #1  
Avril G.
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Seeking info on Cyprus


I am interested in hearing from anyone who has been to Cyprus and who might have any tips,advice or bad experiences from vacationing there.
 
Oct 17th, 1997, 10:36 AM
  #2  
Sabrina Nugara
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Avril,
I spent two weeks touring Cyprus in late June. DON'T go to the occupied north-it's too much hassle.
Do visit the N. areas eg. Polis/Pomos for beautiful deserted beaches (bar a few goats). Take time to stop in tavernas - most owners speak English/lived in UK and enjoy a 'chat' and will probably pass on more information about best places to visit/eat in than any guide book. Cypriots are friendly people!
Avoid classic tourist trap restaurants - try to eat outside of main towns (in the country) where poss. as the food is 100 times better/fresher/genuine.
Key places to visit: Paphos, Aphrodite's Rock, Apollo Hylates, Troodos/Mt. Olympus (take sweaters),
Limassol's castle, Kano Lefkara are main ones.
Hire a decent car - eg 4-wheel drive - in advance;
useful for visiting the turtles at Lara Bay.
Car parking in main towns is mainly in open square lots. It cost us about 70 cents to 1 Cypriot Pound per hour, and its worth it against the hassle of finding a space on the side of the road.
Beware of native drivers - they're maniacs. When driving on narrow mountainous roads, honk the horn as you approach a bend to warn oncoming traffic.
In Lefkara, engage in serious haggling if you intend to buy lace and only buy from places where you can see it being made (if possible) to ensure you're buying the real hand-made thing.
Spend your Sunday at a place called Kermia Beach Hotel (Bungelows) in Ayia Napa. For 5 Cypriot , you can hire a sunbed for the day, and take part in Club Intersport activities throughout the afternoon (beach volleyball, etc), have a meal and swim in the sea/pool on a day when the attractions are closed.
Some of the best food is native: grilled halloumi with fresh vine tomatoes, grilled meats but lamb in particular, salads, kleftiko, etc.
I could go on - but I think these are the main things we learned which made our trip more enjoyable. Please post a note if you'd like more.
All the best with your trip. Sabrina
 
Oct 17th, 1997, 12:32 PM
  #3  
Avril G
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Thank you,Sabrina for your very helpful info.You were the first person to write back.This is the first time i have used thus forum and it i great fun!I would be grateful for any info on airlines you used,best time of year to go,weather and how much money to bring.My boyfriend was scared off the idea when he saw where Cyprus was on the map .i.e. too close to "the middle east for my comfort" but I still want to go.Any more info you can give me would be appreciated.
 
Oct 20th, 1997, 01:18 AM
  #4  
sabrina
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Avril, thanks for yr note. (1) The best time to go would be in between last week in May to end June. This will mean (a) you miss the worst of the main tourist season and (b) the weather is usually at a bearable level. It gets both hot AND humid in Cyprus, particularly in the main town areas - it's for this reason that Cypriots spend their summers in the mountains. We had a 'freak' heatwave when we went (June 18-July 2nd) on average around 100 Deg F
plus the humidity - it was unbelievable! Generally, it should be closer to 70-80 range which is OK. If you're not used to heat but want summer weather, I'd say go in last week of May to mid June. Whenever you go, do stay out of the sun between 12 and 3pm (we used to eat light lunches at that time in tavernas wherever we happened to be, and whiled away the time talking to the owners.)

(2) Flights/Hotels: I normally book every aspect of my holidays separately (ie flight, accommodation, car). But Cyprus is one of the few places where it's cheaper to book an entire package with an experienced travel co., which is what I did. I'm lucky in that the area of London that I live in is home to a big Cypriot population, hence I used a Cypriot travel agent and, as I am NOT a typical British tourist and actually like eating foreign foods and learning a bit of the language, and I was travelling - like you - with my partner (no kids) I could be flexible on location and flights. Therefore, my package included a flight with Cyprus Airways - a fairly decent airline but nothing special - and hotel accommodation at the Kanika Pantheon Hotel in Limassol. This was an excellent place - a four star - away from the adulterated tourist area, close to the faux beach front. It offered peace and quiet and the location (Limassol) is a must if you plan, as we did, to tour around the island as it is fairly central. I would recommend you seek out an experienced travel agent in US and book a package it is definitely far cheaper; I'd also opt for the half-board package if it's offered, as it offers value for money- we stayed at the Kanika Pantheon for 14 nights, and ate out on 4 of those. We worked out that if we had eaten out every night, it would have cost double what we actually paid.
If you like your comforts, BA and Olympus Airlines also fly there, the former being the nicer/more costly. PS: I would recommend the Kanika Pantheon.

(3) Money: depends on you! Of all the classic tourist things to buy, one thing you should buy (and every woman has at least a couple) is leather bags.
Leather is fairly inexpensive (well, compared to UK) so I came away with three bags (1 evening, 1 roomy rucksack style and 1 casual) for the equivalent of 50 - just one alone would have cost me that in UK. When we went, the conversion rate was 80 Cyp Cents to 1 - so we spend more UK for our Cyp . We each took UK 400 (at 1.6, this equals US $ 640); we converted this as follows:100 Cyp in cash, another 150 Cyp in travellers cheques (which the hotel cashed for us) and allowed for an extra expenditure of Cyp 100-150 on cards in case. If you're like me, you'll probably spend it ALL! But then, I reckon I worked hard for it, so I should now enjoy it without thinking too hard about it. All costs were relative - eating out lunch in tavernas was really cheap (CYP 15) with a beer and a glass of local wine, entrance fees to castles/museums ranged around CYP 2-5, eating out at night in restaurants cost around CYP 30-40 (starter, main course, bottle of wine, a beer, a bottle of mineral water and coffee). In Lefkara, I was determined to buy a large rectangular linen tablecloth with lacework- they have a style called Leonardo da Vinci, it involves the most intricate of lacework and consequently is the most expensive. We finally found one and haggled the cost down from CYP400 to CYP150. Be strong and prepared (as I was) to walk away if you're not happy with the price - they are very persuasive there but remember that every other shop probably has the same thing at a diff. price.

(4) Mid East: In truth we never felt threatened or in any trouble at any time by any armed forces EXCEPT (oh, the irony) from the British forces who are still based on the island. If you are driving anywhere close to a British base, don't do anything strange, just drive straight past because they actually watch you to make sure you do. Avoid Akrotiri Peninsula - that's the worst one.

(5) Misc: do equip yourself with a decent guide book. We used an excellent book - The AA Guide to..., it listed a number of driving tours, cycling tours, gave grades for the different sites so you don't waste your time visiting them all and plenty of concise information (I actually find Fodor's lacking in this regard as it has too much info rather than enough of the right kind). Find yourself a book that has col illustrations, useful maps that show some towns in more detail. You can get a map of the island from the tourist info office on arrival. Spend your first day getting to know the town you are staying in and going around on foot and relaxing.

Hope this all helps, and excuse the lengthy note. I'll post another message when I think of other things (and I'll consult my guide book!) - Sabrina
 
Oct 21st, 1997, 01:17 AM
  #5  
sabrina
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Avril - another thought: Cyprus is the most obvious location from which to take a 3-day cruise to Egypt or to Israel. Don't book this tour until you actually get to Cyprus - you'll probably find it cheaper and more tailored to suit your travel plans that way. If you are going to consider these tours, the Egypt one (visit the Pyramids, Tutankhamen museum and a market bazaar) is the best value.
 
Oct 27th, 1997, 05:00 PM
  #6  
Kirst
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I went to Cyprus last March with another guide, we lead 86 senior citizens from Canada. The weather was mostly in the mid 70's during the day, a jacket needed at night. Unless you go up to the Greenline in Nicosia you will not even know that there is polictical unrest on the island. The UN troops (from Argentina) are stationed only along the Turkish border which is considered to "occupied" illeagally. If you like history you will enjoy the Greek and Roman ruins, in fact you will be "ruined" by the time you see half of them. you may even like to refresh yourself with basic mythology before you go so you will know what you are looking at. Some of my favorites were the Tombs of the Kings, a area next to the ocean with caves and great pillars undergroud. the house of Dionysos with mosiac tiled floors dating back hundreds of years. Both are near Paphos a quaint seaside resort town. Another great resort town is Larnaca with has a museum and an old church to visit as well as a great seawall promenade. Nearby is the Tekke of the Hala Sultan which is worth a visit, it is the 3rd most important site to moslims. Byzantine Churches and many monastaries are found all over the island. Before you get "churched out" be sure to visit the Angeloktisti Church in Nicosia (something really important happened there but i forget what it was) and the Kykko Monastary in the Troodos Mountains. Both are beautiful and interesting but you will get sick of all the icons after a while. You can take a trip to Polis where you will be able to see the bath of Aphrodite, legend said she would bathe here after seeing her lovers and emerge from the water a virgin once again. I stayed at the Kanika Pantheon as well when i went. It is just on the edge of Limmissol with a great transit system taking you in all directions from there. you could do day trips quite easily. Strangely the Cypriots don't eat much seafood but beef, lamb, and chicken are plenty. If you get sick of local food don't worry you can always stop by Pizza Hut. We were there during the lent celebrations and were able to celebrate along with the locals who are very friendly and outgoing. We saw parades, outdoor concerts and fireworks all in Limossol. Try the KEO Brewery tour in Limossol for a fun outing. The castle is interesting to. The Limossol Tourism board gives away excellent maps of the island and cities, as well they have booklets about the history and crafts. They have a website but I don't have the address, search a little it is very good. Take the trips to Israel and/or Egypt if you can afford it. In March we paid about $200US for a 2 night cruise including sightseeing upon arrival. Don't even think about buying the cruise until you get there, all travel agents have great deals and discounts, shop around. The cruises leave 2 or 3 times a week so you could easily work it in to your schedule. Things are not cheap but at par with North America in the way of food and drink. Tell your boyfriend to relax if 86 Senior Citizens can go with NO PROBLEMS than surely he has nothing to worry about. I loved Cyprus and I hope you do as well.
 
Oct 28th, 1997, 12:47 PM
  #7  
Harry
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I use the forums quite a lot and have particularly benefited having just had three weeks in California, however, I must say that you have been particularly lucky with the responses that you have had so far.
I spent three years in Cyprus many years ago and loved every minute of it. I have been back on holiday fairly recently and apart from Pahos and Aya Napa, the island really has not changed much in thirty five years!
Two points that I would mention, 1) It is not difficult to wander into the 5 star hotels and spend time round the pools, try maybe The Amathus Beach or Annabelle or even Limassol Sheraton. 2) My particular love is the mountains. Please try and spend some time in the pine forests on the south side of Troodos - Platres is a bit like a Swiss Mountain resort, the Forest Park hotel is Olde English, sort of. Do drive through the mountain villages. Best thing about Cyprus - out of the towns, the local people are the friendliest that I have ever met.
Tell your partner not to be a wimp. We holiday in Israel and Egypt regularly and, in my opinion, I feel a heck of a lot safer in those places than I do in SF or LA! Cyprus is great. Let us know how you get on.
 
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