We flew to Cyprus for a week-long vacation in summer and had a great time sunbathing and lazying on its glorious beaches.
We were able to grab a good deal out of WizzAir connection from Warsaw-Larnaca by booking months prior (like always). While budget airlines do have their cons (many), like inconvenient flight times, small, far-away airports and strict baggage rules, I don’t mind traveling within Europe by these airlines as they’re really cheap and allow me to travel much more frequently. After waiting for uncomfortable five hours at night while trying to get some nap at the airport, the check-in was finally open. I was quite excited to travel to Cyprus. The weather had been cold-ish in Warsaw, and I couldn’t wait to land in sunny Cyprus and get rid off the jacket and long jeans I was wearing.
Cyprus is in the European Union, but geographically it’s in Asia. It is still not in the Schengen zone, which means all of us had to go through passport control upon landing. Since I do not hold a European passport, I was asked more questions than my boyfriend, which I gladly answered. Off we went, outside the airport gate! The weather was hot like I had expected, and the sun and the palm trees really put me into vacation mood.
After a bit of researching and consulting the maps, we had booked our hotel in Ayia Napa, on the southeast part of Cyprus. We first took the bus from airport to the city center in Larnaca, and had to change to an express inter-city heading to Ayia Napa. The ride was about 1.5 hours long and the sight of blue sea kept me from dozing off during the travel.
I was glad to have arrived at the cute villa style hotel in Ayia Napa, and was especially glad that the beach was in walking distance. I wanted to immediately take off to the beach with the snorkels. After quick showering and changing, we went for the nearest beach from our hotel. It was quite windy that late afternoon, and we realized upon reaching the beach that it was a rocky shore and not particularly good for swimming. We wandered around to discover other beaches, and sure enough, we found a nice, little sandy beach nearby with just a few people. I immediately took a liking to it and we settled for a late-afternoon swim and sunbathing.
It was June, so the water was not very warm. It felt cold at the first dip, but you quickly got used to the temperature. The water was very clean for being so close to two other major beaches with lot more people. We decided to snorkel the other day, and I enjoyed my time swimming and reading a book at the beach.
We had booked room with kitchen facility, so we went to the nearby store for some breakfast, snacks and drinks supplies. At the evening, it was nice to relax at the balcony with wine and fresh Cypriot watermelons and melons in the evening. The hotel had left a complementary wine but I didn’t really like it so we bought a different one.
When I am on vacations, I plan to wake up as early as I can and use my sleeping time exploring. But it rarely ever happens. After breakfast, we headed to the nice, little beach we had discovered the previous evening. I don’t remember the name of the beach, but it was very, very close to the big and famous Makronisos beach. We tried some snorkeling but couldn’t see much because the water was quite shallow. A bit far out, we spotted some fish, but nothing spectacular. We were in no rush as we were really enjoying time at a ‘real’ beach (real as in blue, warm and clear water, unlike the Polish beaches) after almost a year.
Later that day, we walked and explored other bigger beaches. Makronisos beach, Nissi beach, Limanaki beach, Melissi beach etc. The entire coast was lined with beaches and a walk along the coast was both scenic and eventful. We stopped for swim and quick sunbathing along the beaches which we thought were nice. All of them were nice but some of them were really crowded, even in June. Nissi beach, which is famous for a thin vertical strip of sand in between (making it look like two seas on the sides) was to our disappointment very crowded. The vertical strip was nowhere to be seen due to relatively rough sea. I suppose it’s visible only during calmer days. We never got to see it during out week-long stay, perhaps June wasn’t the best month.
Third day of the vacation started with light breakfast and lounging on our favorite little beach with cold Greek beers. After seeing the other beaches which were more crowded, I really preferred to stay at the little beach we had discovered the first evening. I was reading a book called “The Beach” by Alex Garland which I had started in Copenhagen. The book is about a quest of a young backpacker in search of an ideal, perfect beach and is set in Thailand. The description of white sand, blue sea and the author’s sense of thrill really resonated with my then relaxed days in Cyprus and I devoured the book at every chance I got.
I am a big water lover – I love swimming (not very good at it but still love it) and I love the sea and the idea of relaxing at the beach. My boyfriend is usually busy exploring the surroundings for animals, birds or any living creatures that he can find. So, almost the whole day, all we did was swim, read, sunbathe, snorkel and explore. It was evident that we had to go somewhere else for good snorkeling. We scheduled that for the other day.
It was time to finally do some traveling in search of better beaches. We decided to take a bus and go to Cape Greco, a protected national park. The bus ride lasted for about 30-40 minutes from our location. It was quite difficult to walk in such scorching heat at mid-day, but the spectacular views did make up for it. The entire park on the coast was vast, not crowded at all and offered excellent views of the Mediterranean.
Our main point of interest was the blue lagoon. Finally, something we were looking for. Clear, deep waters with rocky shore, and great for snorkeling. There were less than 10 people at a time at that place. We spent almost the entire day snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing on the rocks. The visibility of the water was excellent , and we managed to see good coral. I think I even saw a snake, but I am not sure if it was just a long worm. I was spooked out as snakes are my greatest fear and quickly got outside of water. It was whitish, long, and the almost at the bottom of the sea. Maybe it wasn’t a snake, but it did look like one!
We talked to a local guy at the only hotdog and ice-cream stand on the location and managed to get directions to nearby sea caves (ideal for cliff jumping into the sea). We decided to leave it for the next day and proceeded to take bus to Ayia Napa, while taking many pictures in between.
Fifth day was allocated for the sea caves. It was quite near to Cape Greco that we had been the previous afternoon. After about 15-20 minutes of walk from the bus stop, we arrived to the scenic location with naturally formed sea caves. On the way, we saw watermelon fields and an abandoned bus.
The sea caves were undoubtedly stunning. Let the picture do the talking.
I couldn’t wait to swim in the blue calm sea inlet which looked ideal for swimming and snorkeling. My boyfriend was aiming a high cliff to jump from, into the water, but he wasn’t quite sure as it was really high. We saw some local guys jumping into the water with great enthusiasm, and this only fueled his desire to do so.
He wasn’t deciding anytime soon, so we descended from the rough cliffs into the inlet. It wasn’t a walking route, but we decided to go anyway. It wasn’t very easy while dressed and with bags, but we could see the caves from a different angle and were later able to find a rock, where we spent hours swimming, sunbathing, snacking and drinking. Those sea caves were major attractions in the area, but I noticed that most tourists preferred to see it from the tour ships. The ships would come, stop, and leave leaving the inlet unstable with waves for a while. There were maybe one or two swimmers at a time.
After a lot of contemplation and a bit of my pushing, it was time for my boyfriend to jump from the highest cliff that he had ever jumped. At the top, he needed even more contemplating, motivation and willpower. And finally he did, while I recorded him doing so. He told me later that it was such a long free fall, exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Thanks to his careful position of the arms and legs, he wasn’t hurt when he hit the water. Mission accomplished.
On the sixth day, we planned to do the cruise tour. We went to the center and walked around. The city center was filled with shops, restaurants, bars and all sorts of things. It was actually the first time that we were even at the city center. We had been really enjoying the beach and sea time more as neither of us are into nightclubs and partying.
When we had checked on the internet, the cheapest normal cruise tour started from 35 euros. But at the harbor, we were actually summoned by a cruise ship worker and offered a deal of 20 euros (!!) for 4-hour long cruise with two swimming stops AND lunch! What an impassable deal. The cruise was called “Captain Marko” by the way, if anyone is interested.
We chose the sun deck. There were all kinds of cruises, sunset cruises, party cruises, glass-bottom boat tours etc that about to depart from the harbor. But the one we chose was a general one: cruising all the way until Famagusta, an abandoned border town (also known as ghost town) between Cyprus and the occupied Northern Cyprus (by the Turks) and back. We had already seen most of the sights the previous day. Cape Greko, blue lagoon, love bridge, sea caves, some touristic towns and the last highlight of Famagusta.
We took advantage of the swimming stops and we also jumped into the sea from the top deck. It was exciting. The lunch was good, baked chicken with baked potatoes and fresh Cypriot yoghurt, along with two slices of bread. Captain Marko, a passionate Cypriot man and the owner of the cruise, personally interacted with each of his customers and gave informative commentary about the sights.
It was a great day, but I already wanted to get back to my little favorite beach. But we only had one day remaining on the sunny island.
On the last day, we decided to spend time at the beach and do little exploring. I swam for many hours. We also tried the adventure sofa, a water sport. It was a fast rotating sofa pulled by a speedboat on the sea. It was so much fun. We grabbed lunch at the city center and enjoyed the wonderful afternoon. We walked along the coast again and spent time at the beaches. We discovered an inlet hidden by the rocks somewhere not so far and spent time swimming and collecting seashells. We had the whole inlet to ourselves but at that particular place, the water had a lot of seaweed floating. At our last evening, we enjoyed a swim at the hotel pool (so useless because they opened at around 10 in the morning and closed at 18).
It was time to pack, and say goodbye to beautiful Cyprus. We fell in love with Cyprus. I have a thing for islands and I can’t wait to discover other island countries.