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Cyprus Family Holidays

Coral Bay, PaphosCoral Bay, Paphos© Cyprus Tourism Organisation
Sailing  Sailing © Andreas L. Papadopoulos
Architectural siteArchitectural site© F. Cappellari
Ruins, LimassolRuins, Limassol© F. Cappellari
HarbourHarbour© St. Geradi
Capital City Nicosia
Flying Time 4.5hrs
Carbon Footprint 2.8 CO2
Timezone GMT +2
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

It was good enough for Aphrodite, so chances are you and your family will fall in love with this island of myths and legends, where artefacts and ruins (Cyprus was the Spaghetti Junction of Crusader times and all those passing through left a lot of history behind) rub shoulders with some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean and other stunning scenery and to-die-for food.

A bit of an enigma – westernised but with heavy African influences, and, of course, a line down the middle of it, with the Turks on one side and the Greeks on the other – Cyprus can also be reassuringly familiar, with lots of family-friendly accommodation for all budgets and driving on the left-hand side!

Things to do with kids in Cyprus

Get active, choosing from amongst snorkelling, diving, swimming, paddling, paragliding, whizzing around in a banana boat and boat-trips with the opportunity to snorkel. They're mainly available in the more heavily built up resorts.

Head off the beaten track, but sure you know what the tides and currents are doing as often there are no flag systems or lifeguards. Coral Bay in Paphos is calm and child friendly, with a lovely harbour with coloured fishing boats, boat-trips and a fun covered market. Then bribe the kids with ice creams to walk up to Paphos Castle, with brilliant views. A short walk from the harbour you’ll see ancient mosaics (the site at Kato) from Roman times.

Soak up the atmosphere at the mysterious Tombs of the Kings and the catacombs at Agia Solomoni – fun if somewhat gloomy. This is where persecuted Christians hid.

Head for Phinikoudes Beach, one of Cyprus’s most famous, with plenty of cafés and bars. In June it hosts the two-week Larnaca Kataklysmos (Flood) Fair of folklore, with craft and food stalls and outdoor performances.

Take a trip up to the Troodos Mountains, where you’ll find surprisingly green and forested land and Kykkos, Cyprus’s main monastery.

Explore Lefkosia, the largest town on Cyprus, with enough historical sites and museums to fill a day, plus good shopping. If you take your passports, you can cross the border into the Turkish part of town in North Cyprus.

In the east of the island, visit Curium, with the best amphitheatre on the island – the Magic Dancing Waters Live Show will amaze younger kids.

Head for the camel park at Mazotos, just outside Larnaca, or the donkey sanctuary just outside Limassol.

Go roaming in search of beautiful and interesting inland villages that will show you a bit of the real Cyprus – once there, have a wander then sit in the shade of a veranda to watch the world, and your children, go by.

And make sure you visit the Baths of Aphrodite, a pretty spot where the goddess used to take to the waters. 

Other possibilities for half-day outings are little Pafos Zoo (now incorporating Pafos Bird Park) and Aphrodite Waterpark, with plenty of rides and pleasant landscaped gardens to walk around.


Eat

No matter how picky your kids are, you’ll find something for everyone in Cyprus, whether it's familiar fast-food names or Greek classics such as houmous and taramasalata. Barbecues are very popular here, with souvla (skewered lamb or chicken) and shiftalies (small sausages) a highlight. Meze is a way of life and means your kids get to try a little bit of everything, although this isn’t the meal to have if you’re in a rush. There’s plenty of fresh fish but it isn't always listed on the menu so ask the waiter what the catch of the day is.

For treats, try the sticky little pastries called dhaktyla. Bottled water is recommended, but there’s a wide choice of fruit juices and fizzy drinks.

When to go to Cyprus

Cyprus is in the southern Mediterrean so schedule family holidays here for quite early or late in the year and you can still enjoy decent weather. Indeed, the heat of summer may be too much for young children.

Cost

Cyprus caters for all budgets, with package deals starting at less than £300pp and rising beyond £1500 each. The competition means you should be able to secure great deals, particularly if you can travel outside school holidays.

By Rachelle Keyes

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