In March I visited Cyprus. The length of the trip was one week. The purpose of the trip was a mixture of relaxation and adventure. We had rented a car so we easily could get around. The infrastructure is quite good in Cyprus with a good highway system along the southern coast through tourism and coastal towns. In Cyprus car rental is very cheap and can highly be recommended. We had rented the car from Larnaca, which is one of the largest towns. We had booked a rental villa in Paphos, which lies on the southwestern coast. The region between Larnaca and Paphos is a beautiful coastline with both sandy and rocky beaches. Generally, there is very little vegetation on Cyprus, which is due to the low annual rainfall. Just outside Limassol lies Aphrodite’s Beach, where it is believed that the goddess was born. Here are some beautiful rock formations. Also, Aphrodite Beach is well-known for impressive sunsets.
Cyprus is very hilly and you can easily get some good scenarios. There are plenty of opportunities for walking and cycling. We saw some amazing views out over the turquoise blue sea that surrounds the island. It is an island adjacent to an active holiday.
Cyprus Financial Crisis
Our villa was located in a newly built residential area, which primarily is owned by foreigners especially Brits. The economy was already then very weak, which means that the locals are not able to buy their own houses. Our house was owned by a couple where the man was local, but lived with his wife in England. The villa was rented through owners.direct.co.uk which worked very well and can highly be recommended. The economic crisis means that many of the houses are empty. Generally, you can also see a big difference in wealth on Cyprus. Moreover, , as in many other southern European countries a myriad of non-completed properties around the landscape.
Take note of stray dogs running around on the roads. The Cypriots are not able to take care of the dogs and consequently they left them on the roads.
Weather in Cyprus March
The first days were cold and windy with little sunshine and only 13 – 14 degrees. A few days before there had been a heavy storm, which had struck a window into the villa. After a few days, the weather changed to clear sunshine 18 – 21 degrees. By talking with the locals, we found out that this significant change in the weather is very common in March and the calendar can almost be fixed according to this change in weather.
Turkish part of Cyprus
We flew to Cyprus with Turkish Airlines, where we landed in North Cyprus Ercan Airport. After the Turkish invasion, Cyprus is divided into a northern Turkish part and a southern Greek part. Officially, the country is not divided, as it is only Turkey that recognizes the border. There is a big difference in wealth between north and south. We got a taxi to take us from Ercan airport into the Greek part of Larnaka. Since it is the tourists’ only option prices are quite high. They were hard to communicate with and it was difficult to bargaining. It was really obvious that poverty and unemployment were common. The villages were totally dilapidated and the locals were sitting in front of their small shops and waited for the next customer – who probably never comes. There was a sea of small mosques with minarets. The most notable was that they actually turned their heads when they saw a tourist.
When we got closer to the border, we began to see military installations and soldiers with weapons. There staying lots of soldiers on both sides of the border. At the border transition we were stopped by a customs officer, who should look up our luggage. They checked whether we imported goods purchased outside the EU into the union. It was strange to cross a border – which is not really a limit, officially speaking.
If you are in Cyprus, I will recommend that you also experience the Turkish part. It’s an authentic experience, where there are a lot of fascinating history, culture and especially nature. You should be aware that it is not always allowed to drive your rented car into the Turkish part although it can be arranged at additional cost.
Best places to visit in Cyprus
Read More: 15 Best Places to Visit in Cyprus
Akamas Peninsula Cyprus
We took a day trip to the peninsula of Akamas, a lush rocky headland in the northwestern part of Cyprus. Lush unit here is due to higher precipitation than the rest of the island. The nature of the peninsula is absolutely beautiful with wooded cliffs which rears down to the crystal clear sea. In the area, there are established systems of trails and hiking is definitely recommended. Because of the rocks good footwear is very important. One of the biggest attractions in the area is the bath of Aphrodite, where the goddess is believed to have bathed. Thus, I can recommend a trip to the Akamas.
The great diversity of flora and fauna has led to that the area is declared as one of the most significant natural areas in Europe. It is feared, however, that the increase in tourism will affect the ecosystem and various nature organizations are focused on protecting the Akamas region.
Troodos Mountains Cyrpus
We took a day trip up to the Troodos Mountains cyprus. We had been recommended a drive up there – but we did not realize that it was such a great experience. Centrally in Cyprus is a massive forest area that covers the impressive mountain range of Troodos. This mountain range stretches along the island in NW-SE direction where the highest point is Mount Olympus with its 1952 meters. On the top is a recognized ski resort, where the island’s inhabitants are skiing. Due to the mountainous terrain, the area offers very varied flora. Common to the middle and lower regions is the massive forests. It is believed that some of the oldest trees on Earth is found in the Troodos. For several hours we drove continuously between dense forest in hairpin bends – it was a great experience.
Monastery Cyprus Troodos Mountains
Far away from the touristy beaches and coastal towns are villages which look like for 100 years ago. You will find breathtaking monasteries, churches and fabulous old houses built on the steep hillsides. Towards the top we drove through a number of these impressive villages. It was like traveling back in time – as if time stood still. We took the time to feel the local atmosphere and everyday life in the village and just enjoy the view. At one point the church bells rang – at this moment it was really authentic. These villages are a must-see destination – it is also possible to rent rooms in the villages.
The many beautiful Byzantine churches and monasteries in Troodos are found on UNESCO’s list of World Cultural Heritage. Unfortunately, we did not see some of the buildings, but I will clearly prioritize it on my next visit.
Read also: List of the World’s Most Amazing Monasteries
Mount Olympus Cyprus
When we reached Mount Olympus we suddenly reached heavy fog. The fog occurred about the same time as we passed the tree line. Here the landscape really got opened which are giving a fabulous view over the island of Cyprus. Within a few hundred meters the landscape has changed completely and the entire landscape was covered by snow. It was really beautiful. A shinning spring sun from a deep blue sky together with a white snowy landscape formed great color contrasts.
The snow drifts along the way were several meters high, which indicates that a lot of snow falls during winter in the Troodos Mountains Cyprus. Right next to the top we parked the car and went for a walk in the snow in shorts – here there were only 2 degrees Celsius. It felt, however, not nearly as cold due to the power of the sun. It was a strange feeling that a few hours ago we were sitting at the terrace by the house in shorts and now we stood in snow above the ankles in almost 2 kilometers altitude. There was an unforgettable view from the mountain, and not least the trip up there has to be experienced.
The trip up to Mount Olympus and especially the journey through the ancient villages clearly underlines the fact that Cyprus has much to offer and therefore offers diverse holiday experiences for your family.
Cyprus Travel Tips: Recommendation and summary
Most people know Cyprus as a favorite tourist destination. As a sun tourist I will clearly say that March is too early. Although, Cyprus is a renowned tourist destination the island’s popularity is much lower relatively to islands like Mallorca, Crete and the Canary Islands. Cyprus is good to visit during late spring and autumn – although it depends on whether you prefer sun and heat or not. In late spring the weather is warm and nice and the amount of tourists is not overwhelming. In summer, it can get very hot with temperatures above 35-40 degrees Celsius, which for many is too hot. Personally, I believe that Cyprus is a good alternative relatively to the better known holiday islands in southern Europe.
Recommendation and summary
My recommendation is that you should not forget the beautiful natural resources that Cyprus is offering. Firstly, I will mention the Troodos Mountains, which for me was an unique experience – but also Akamas Peninsula and the salt lakes with the flamingos are worth a visit. It is a really good idea to rent a car as it is cheap and the infrastructure is good. Running around on Cyprus bring you into different time periods as well as climate zones. I will also recommend if you have the courage to do it, driving into Northern Cyprus that is the Turkish part. The cultural and economic shift that face you, is really fascinating. Next time I will be planning a trip to Northern Cyprus along the north coast and visit the capital of Nicosia, which is divided into a northern and southern part; a Turkish and Greek part.
Cyprus is a good option for families who want to combine sun and beach with culture, history and beautiful scenery. Cyprus has something for everyone. In the near future, I would really like to visit Cyprus again. The main purpose of that trip will definitely be to take a deeper look into Troodos mountains as well as the painted churches and mountains villages.