8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Can Do In Cyprus
The Med’s sunniest island is best known for its beaches and vibrant nightlife. But, away from the bustle of resorts such as Paphos and Agia Napa and the big city buzz of Larnaca and Limassol, there’s much more to experience in Cyprus’s hilly hinterland and around its shores.
1. You can take a traditional donkey ride
A 30-minute drive from the bars and beaches of Paphos, traditional life goes on in the Xeros valley, where sheep and goats graze.
The Cypriot donkeys that were once used all over the island are now a rare breed, but you can meet them and ride gently though these rugged landscapes at Argonaftis Donkey Farm near Kelokedara, a traditional country village. A vintage Bedford bus takes you to the farm to meet the donkeys.
After riding past ruined watermills and a historic abbey you will enjoy a spread of typical dishes like souvla (barbecued chicken or pork with oregano), afelia (pork cooked in red wine and coriander), tzatziki and freshly-baked bread, with plenty of village wine and fiery zivania (grape spirit) – followed, of course, by dancing.
2. You can dive over shipwrecks
Some of the best wreck dives in the Mediterranean are scattered around the coasts of Cyprus. The top dive is the wreck of the ‘MS Zenobia’, a freight ferry that sank off Larnaca in 1980. Big fish such as barracuda, grouper and tuna, plus conger eels, swim around the wreck and the hulks of more than 100 trucks that went down with it, and qualified divers can explore its spooky interior.
Novice divers can discover wrecks such as the ‘Achilleas’, which lies only 11 meters (36 feet) below the surface and is surrounded by huge silver shoals of smaller fish, or the ‘Vera K’ off Geroskipou, which is only eight meters down. Other great dives for beginners include Wall Street, an underwater trench covered with colorful sponges and sea anemones, and the coral-filled Amphora Caves.
3. You can go skiing and snowboarding
It might be pleasantly sunny on the coast, but most years there’s skiable snow on Mount Olympus from late December until March. The highest summit in Cyprus, Olympus – also known as Chionistra (“snowy one”) – is 1,951 meters (6,400ft) above sea level, and you can see it from miles away.
You can drive to the slopes from Paphos or Limassol in under an hour, but the claim that in Cyprus you can ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon only stands up if your hotel has a heated pool – the sea is a bit chilly in winter.
In the 1970s, Cyprus was infamous for sticky-sweet dessert wines and Brits drank almost 14 million bottles of the island’s cheap and cheerful mock-sherries every year.
Joining the EU forced Cypriot winemakers to raise their game, as they are no longer allowed to call their fortified wines ‘sherry’. They rose to the challenge by planting imported vines like cabernet and shiraz and blending them with heritage varieties such as xynisteri and maratheftiko to create new red, white and rosé wines that are unique to Cyprus.
6. You can go sea kayaking
Have a picnic on beaches that the crowds never reach, paddle through rock arches and sea caves, go snorkeling and swimming or watch the sunset, all on an easy-going sea kayak trip.
A sandwich lunch, lifejackets, and transfers from your local hotel are included, so all you need is your swimsuit, shades, sunscreen and a bottle of water.
6. You can hike the entire island
Whether you are into full-on trekking or gentle woodland strolls, Cyprus is a hiker’s paradise. The weather is perfect for walking all year round, and a network of well signposted trails criss – crosses the island.
If you have a month or so to spare, the 640-kilometre (400-mile) E4 European Long Distance Path crosses the island from Paphos in the west to Cape Greco, the island’s easternmost point, passing through spectacular mountain scenery and pretty hillside villages on the way.
For a gentle walk in the woods, the Kalidonia Trail takes a couple of hours, starting at a scenic waterfall and following a small river where you can you can cool tired feet on a hot summer day. The five-hour Atalanti Trail around Mount Olympus offers views that are literally breath-taking.
7. You can deep sea fish
The deep blue sea around Cyprus is home to big, hard-fighting game fish including barracuda, tuna, and dorado (mahi-mahi). You can book also a deep-sea adventures or family fishing trips from Paphos.
Not so keen on boats? For a more laid-back kind of angling, you can fish on artificial reservoirs such as Asprokremmos, Mavrokolympos and Evretou: all near Paphos and stocked with carp, trout, bass, zander, roach and tilapia. Fishing trips can be booked at most Paphos hotels.
Resorts such Paphos, Limassol and especially Agia Napa are famous for bars, clubs, extended happy hours and potent cocktails. When you are through punishing your liver, you can check in at one the island’s spa hotels for a wellness break.
You should pay a must visit to Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing Spa Resort in Miliou, famous for the Sulphur water, massage and different spa treatments. This adults-only reosrt has 56 rooms and offers wellness & spa packages including Rasul mud therapy, Slimming package, Rheumatoid package, Healing package and the classic Thai massage, facial and eye treatments.
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Via: Travel Supermarket