Cyprus (Greek side)

Cyprus (Greek side)

ACTIVE TRAVEL GUIDES 

Body: Work out + Nourish
Beauty: Gorgeous Sights to See 
Break: How to Relax
Caffeine: Where to get the Best 

 

You're immediately hit by the beauty of Cyprus wherever you go; you'll see everything from deep reds and stunning purples covering traditional white houses to dry dessert-looking hills and rocky mountains dotted with forests of black pines. 

Tourism seems to be down to a fine art here; from your car rental to your hotel, you'll regularly be given cute maps of where to go, explained to you in slightly accented but perfect English. Initially, everything seems to have that polished, resort feel to it - but the more you explore, the richer the culture and history. It's an interesting fusion of ancient ruins, Mediterranean beach vibe, and a local culture with influences from Greece and the Middle East. Amidst all this, Cyprus somehow still has its own identity. It's one of those places that you have to dig deeper for the pulse, but once you find it, it's truly unique. with tons of water sports, hiking and activities for the active traveller. 

 

Top 5 Experiences in Cyprus

 

  1. Visiting Akemas National Park
  2. Exploring villages along the Troodos Mountains  
  3. Hiking Mount Olympus
  4. Beachside lunch in the fishing village of Latchi
  5. Learning to make Cypriot coffee 

 

CYPRUS

Before you start your trip, it's best to decide what activities you want to do because this will determine which airport you fly into (there are three) and where you stay. Although Cyprus is a small island, you could still be driving up to four hours between destinations on the Greek side alone.

All of our plans were in the North and Southwest of the country so we flew into Paphos airport and set up base in Pissouri (all of the infrastructure of Paphos but much less crowded.) Three full days (plus two travel ones) was a good amount of time to see what we wanted although I would have definitely stayed longer to explore more of the eastern side. 

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Hiking Mount Olympus & exploring the Troodos Mountains 

This trip is 

 

Adventure in Akemas National Park

Yes this is a major tourist destination and yes you will get crowds BUT it just so happens that nature has complicated the journey to this gorgeous site so that you can find spots to savour moments of awe alone or with a partner; while there is a constructed path along the cliffs, you can venture off to the hills adjacent to it - many of these will not be easily accessible to young children, large groups or older travellers. This is the number one on my list for a reason - if you do nothing else in the Algarve, at least do this!

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Exploring the Triodes Mountains 
Between the Marina de Lagos and the historic city center, there's a relaxing 10 - 15 minute stroll to be had along the boardwalk. If you go in the late evening, the tourist booths will be closed and the crowds much lighter, giving you a more authentic glimpse into daily life in Lagos. If you have a few extra moments, take a seat and watch the fishermen go to work.

 

Visit Aphrodite's Rock at Sunset

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Latchi Fishing Village

Between the Marina de Lagos and the historic city center, there's a relaxing 10 - 15 minute stroll to be had along the boardwalk. If you go in the late evening, the tourist booths will be closed and the crowds much lighter, giving you a more authentic glimpse into daily life in Lagos. If you have a few extra moments, take a seat and watch the fishermen go to work.

 

BODY BEAUTY BREAK CAFFEINE

 

Morning Café at the Marina 
Cypriot coffee is like an energy bullet coursing through your veins! The taste is equally as strong, especially if you keep it sketo (plain.) I tried the sketo once but all my years as coffee lover still weren't enough training to enjoy it; I felt like a child sipping from her parent's mug. Instead, try metrio (they'll often say 'medium' in English - it's one teaspoon of sugar.) You can also do glyki (two teaspoons of sugar.) 
Watching how the coffee is made is even better than drinking it. There are lots of modern versions but when you get the traditional, oh how lovely! The coffee kit looks like something straight out of Oz with mini copper pots (the mbriki) and a burner filled with sand. Coffee grounds, sugar and hot water are added to your choice size of mbriki, which is then placed on the giant burner. Slowly draw circles with your mbriki in the sand waiting for frothy bubbles to form at the top. Once this happens, you remove it, tap it on the counter and stir with your magic whisks before serving. 

 

GENERAL CYPRUS TIPS

 

Dress 

Be prepared to pack summer clothes for the warm days and more layers for cooler nights. The temperature drop is significant and you don't want to be discouraged from dining in the lovely outdoors just because of the cool winds. (This is coming from someone who constantly packs a little too positively with the lightest of light summer clothes. I usually make do but this time I had to resort to shopping for sweaters!) 

What to pack 
Be prepared to pack summer clothes for the warm days and more layers for cooler nights. The temperature drop is significant and you don't want to be discouraged from dining in the lovely outdoors just because of the cool winds. (This is coming from someone who constantly packs a little too positively with the lightest of light summer clothes. I usually make do but this time I had to resort to shopping for sweaters!) 

 

When to go
Many travel experts say that you can visit the Algarve any time of the year and still find sunny skies and pleasant weather. However, big tourist crowds descend in July and August as well as during school holidays. At these times, the beaches won't seem so inviting nor will the hotel prices. Personally, I found April to be the perfect month as the visitors were few and accommodation rates very reasonable. More importantly, even in April it was chilly in the evenings so I can't imagine coming much earlier in the year or going into winter. Local guides confirm that March-May and September-October are ideal for that holiday trifecta of ambiance, affordability and heat. 

 

Accommodation 
There are plenty of hotels, villas and airbnb options to choose from in The Algarve. Be sure to book well in advance if you're traveling in June - August. For shorter trips (3 days or less) Lagos is a good bet as a base. For longer trips, look at staying in at least one of the other villages or towns such as Sagres. 

 

Eating well 

Seafood, seafood and more seafood. If you like it or even if you don't usually, this is the place to try it. Often restaurants will prepare dishes made from the catch of the day. It doesn't get any fresher than that! For healthier prep, order your courses grilled with a squeeze of lemon.

Also, although not technically a nutrient...the white wine is outstanding and easily a treat in itself. Be sure to try Paxa Escolha (a white wine) it's local to the Algarve and phenomenal! Don't miss a chance to sip on Vinho Verde either if you haven't had it.

 

Additional
Bring cash everywhere with you. Many establishments will not accept cards.

 

You may also want to explore: 
Sagres, Portugal
Bengail, Portugal

 

 

Follow my travels on Instagram: @corpaofitness