Cyprus is a brilliant destination for families, because you experience so much variety here — from the bustle of the cities to the untamed beauty of the Akamas peninsula to the historical and mythical heritage that seems to inhabit every corner of the island. Here, 15 photos to inspire you for your next trip, with a little about each.
We were on our way to Petra tou Romiou (see below) and pulled over when we spotted this view — the pale rocks, the aquamarine sea, the rugged landscape. It reminds you to take a moment, pause and just admire what nature hath wrought.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, sailed to shore on a scallop shell and this spot is where she landed, according to myth. Get kids excited about their Greek mythology by walking through the short darkened tunnel to the pebbly shore, kicking off your shoes and dipping your toes into these be-goddessed waters. Bring it even more to life by showing them Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (referencing the goddess by her Roman name). Can you believe he Instagrammed the whole thing?
Lara Beach is home to a turtle conservation and nesting project that’s received support from the World Wildlife Fund. Activity on the beach is controlled during turtle season, but other times you can visit. A small information centre at the beach tells about the project, its significance and what the scientists are doing — an important stop to any Cyprus visit.
The Anassa, one of the most luxurious hotels on the island, prides itself on its family-friendly vibe, from a warm kids’ pool with toys to excellent organised activities to a casual restaurant with self-serve sundaes (a highlight, my daughter says) to a stairway that leads right down to the surf. Come to be pampered on the northern edge of the island.
Cyprus has a long season, with crisp blue skies early in the season and a hot summer. Pick the month depending on how your like evening drinks on the terrace — wrapped in a sweater or lazing in a kaftan.
The infinity plunge pools in the suites at Anassa look out onto a landscape of natural Cypriot plants, highlighting your location near the Akamas Peninsula nature reserve. Parents will love the serenity. Kids will love a splash around and the opportunity to do handstands.
The beaches we visited in Cyprus were lovely, and ideal not just for wading or swimming but also watersports. Book a sailing lesson like we did or paddle out in kayaks. Take a boat outing to the Blue Lagoon, the storied bay where you can snorkel in crystal clear waters. The views out to sea are beautiful; the views from the water back to land are truly dazzling.
We couldn’t believe the stunning rock formations of the Avakas Gorge were only a half hour walk from the parking area — great for an adventurous but not-too-exhausting outing. If you’re lucky and are there in spring, you might even see the rare centauria akamandis purple flower…or at least people searching for it.
Choose from several walks in the Akamas Peninsula to explore the plants and flowers of the region, pause at glorious panoramic views of the fishing village of Polis and Latchi, and get exercise that ranges from strolling to heavy breathing. The Aphrodite walk that we did begins right near the very busy Aphrodite Baths, where the goddess is rumoured to have bathed.
A highlight of any Cyprus trip is the food, especially mezze and grilled foods, which are tasty and fun to eat with children. Many of the restaurants are casual and kid-friendly, like this one we visited in Latchi, which included outside seating, a lawn and a playground.
The mosaics in Paphos date from the late 2nd and early 3rd century A.D., depicting mythical stories of the gods. You can get astonishingly up close to these beautifully preserved works in the restored villa just off the waterfront. An elevated walkway takes your around the rooms to admire scenes with descriptions in English of the stories they feature. A don’t-miss.
What could be better than relaxing on your own rooftop terrace watching the sunset? There is something but on our stay at the Almyra, we couldn’t remember what it might be. We fell in love with this ultramodern hotel in Paphos, with its clean lines, beachfront location and great food. Stay in one of the enviable Kyme Suites and you have your own penthouse lookout — perfect for end-of-day drink and a game of cards with the kids.
It’s adults-only in the spa at the Almyra, where you get coddled and cossetted. There is an indoor pool, yoga deck, sauna, steam room, Vichy showers…but all we wanted to do was slide into this outdoor pool-with-a-view.
The boxy profile of the Kyma suites at Anassa reminds me of California houses I see pictured in Dwell magazine. You’d never know from looking back at them that they are literally moments from the waterfront. Descend some stairs and go through a wooden gate and you can be strolling the waterside fish restaurants, hitting the nightclubs or, in our case, seeking out an emergency ice cream.
At the end of any busy day as a family on the move, one of the nicest moments is that detente between the craziness of sightseeing, swimming, eating and shopping and the cosiness of the evening meal. You shower, you change clothes, the kids have a play on their tablet or phone (I know, I know, but that’s the reality), and we have a moment to mull over the day’s activities. I snapped this picture at the end of our trip and it reminds me of how enriching our first visit to Cyprus was. We can’t wait to go back.
Jenography was a guest of Thanos Hotels on our trip to Cyprus, owner of the Anassa and Almyra. All opinions are my own.