We flew into Latvia in late September. Fall time in the Baltics, it can’t be that cold…or so we thought. Over the past few months, we had saved and stocked up on expensive outdoor equipment to prepare for wintertime in Europe. I didn’t think I’d be breaking out the Patagonia jacket until at least November. I kept telling myself not to worry, I had been in Europe before, and was totally prepared for the cold weather. One day into October and I had already busted out my Patagonia, doubled up my leggings, and ran to the supermarket to buy the cheapest slippers possible.
Our next destinations – Lithuania and Poland, were beautiful and honestly everything that we expected and more. However, the weather never got warmer, the sun did not shine brighter, and one October day I woke up and saw it…snow.
Not being one to ever handle cold weather well, we canceled all plans for the day and set out for the nearest coffee shop. I hopped on Skyscanner and noticed a $60 Ryan Air flight from Krakow to Paphos, Cyprus.
After trips to both Greece and Turkey, I knew that the island of Cyprus was high on the list of places to visit. It’s a place where not many Americans travel to, and I had heard little to no first-hand information on the country. We were determined to find the best of Cyprus, and all that it had to offer.
The Best Reasons You Should Visit Cyprus
High Chance of Sunshine
Heading over to Holiday Weather, I noticed that Cyprus had an 80% chance of a sunny day in October and a 61% chance in November. That was a higher chance than almost anywhere else I had found in Europe. Actually, the weather is consistently sunny all year, and rain days are extremely rare. The sunshine may just be the very best of Cyprus. You know what they say Suns out buns out.
The Beautiful Beaches
The island of Cyprus has all kinds of beaches to please every kind of traveler. Crowded beaches, white sand beaches, quaint beaches, and party beaches. From Nissi Beach to Coral Bay, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, you may even be a little overwhelmed by all your options. Grab your bikini and go to Cyprus.
Itching for an adrenaline rush? Cape Greco near Ayia Napa features over 10 meter high cliffs that are great for jumping and diving (if you’re brave) off of. Jumping off of these will give you a serious rush. If you’re not much for heights there are many great hikes and wildlife throughout the region.
Your heart will surely thank you once you incorporate a Mediterranean diet. Who doesn’t love local olive oil, flavorful hummus, and fresh pita bread? It’s hard to narrow down a must-eat in Cyprus because the local cuisine is all great and fresh. There are certain Cypriot specialty dishes not to miss, make sure to try halloumi cheese and lamb kleftiko!
Traditional Cyprus coffee is no joke and is something that should certainly be had while on the island. Coffee is brewed in small, long-handled pots, and is served in teacup sized glasses. The coffee is quite strong but you can choose to have it either medium or sweet and it is always served with a glass of water.
If something lighter is more your fare, opt for a frappe, a delicious concoction of Nescafe, milk, sugar, and water blended together. Cypriots do take their coffee very seriously, with the coffee shops usually being more packed than the bars.
The Friendly Locals
Yasas! There is no shortage of smiling Cypriots on the island. Locals are friendly, welcoming, and very hospitable. Greek is the most commonly spoken language on the island, so brushing up on a few words will get you far. If not, then don’t fear, most Cypriots will be happy to converse with you in English.
If you’re a history buff, then visiting the island of Cyprus should certainly be on your radar! Cyprus has had a long and complicated past, ruled by many different empires for over 3000 years. There are many archeological sites like the Tomb of the Kings, Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, and Amathus to explore. See more things to do in Paphos here.
The two main nationalities that make up the island of Cyprus – Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. The two main languages spoken are Greek and Turkish, although the majority of Cypriots speak impeccable English. You could travel to both Greece and Turkey, or you can just explore Cyprus and experience both cultures!
If you’re getting a little restless laying on the beach drinking daiquiris then head over to one of Cyprus’s many waterparks! Families, friends, and children alike can enjoy the thrills and spills at the waterpark. Go in the off season to enjoy instant access to the rides as there are virtually no lines.
It’s outside the Schengen Zone (for now)
This is a bonus for backpackers touring Europe for an extended period of time. If you need a refresher on the Schengen Visa then read my post on it here. The island of Cyprus is outside of the zone, so it will not count against the 90 days you are given while traveling most of Europe.
Bonus… The Cats
It’s not over yet! For cat people, the best of Cyprus is just about to be mentioned. There are cats everywhere on the island of Cyprus! They roam the streets during all hours and will never turn away some human love (or food). I normally hate seeing stray animals, but the weather is so mild and people so friendly there is no doubt in my mind that most of the island cats are treated like royalty.
Visiting Cyprus anytime of the year will not leave you disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Cyprus can even be done on a backpackers budget!
Plan and Pack for Cyprus
Shop For Travel Insurance
We don’t travel without travel insurance, and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country, and it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo offers excellent short and long-term travel insurance policies.
Book a Tour
Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the work!
Rent a Car
One of the best ways to get around Cyprus is with a rental car. See our tips for renting a car in Cyprus here.
These were great to have! You’ll do a lot of walking around Cyprus in the extremely hot sun. Hiking sandals allow for your feet to breathe and they do not collect sand when trudging through the desert. You bet we’ve reviewed the best hiking sandals for travelers!
Most hotels will provide you with a towel, but they often aren’t suitable or allowed on the beaches. I like to travel with a microfiber towel because they are light and fold up small, and they also don’t cling on to sand our dirt. Here are a few of our favorite travel towels.