With its love and sunshine, Cyprus is a destination of choice. Nicknamed the Island of Aphrodite (Goddess of Beauty), this bewitching archipelago fully enjoys this patronage. On the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus, both Hellenic and Eastern, is at the crossroads of cultures and has a mixed heritage. It is a family destination full of promise, where sea, sunshine and a gentle way of life punctuate the year.
Found on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is the gem of the Levantine Basin. Located off the coast of Lebanon and Turkey, it is today the easternmost part of Europe. With white villages clinging to the mountains, medieval castles that are home to many legends, green cypress forests, intimist coves and sea caves, fields of olive trees dotted with poppies … Cyprus showcases landscapes shaped by the Mediterranean Sea, mapped out by the sun and by the Hellenic, Roman, Persian and Turkish civilizations, who successively made it their residence. An amazing blend which gives it a completely unique colour.
Being coveted since the dawn of time, this Island of Love has had a turbulent contemporary history. Since 1974, Cyprus is composed of two separate entities: the north of the island is occupied by the Turkish authorities while the south constitutes the Republic of Cyprus. In the centre, Nicosia, the two-faced capital, marks the border between these two opposite parts. Cut in half by the « green line », this city is called the Berlin of the Mediterranean.
At the heart of the island, Mount Olympus unveils its 2000-meter altitude and serves as a highlight. Its slopes, on which you can ski during winter, are covered with pine forests and cedar groves during summer. It’s a hiking spot that necessitates that you include your hiking shoes in your luggage.
Open to the sea, Cyprus is also a paradise for beach lovers. It boasts 648 km of creeks, golden cliffs and magnificent beaches bordered by unspoilt vegetation. Pebble or fine sand beaches, there is something for everyone!
Imagine a 10-hectare estate where long alleys lined by olive groves and orange trees wind up, and where charming contemporary-style pavilions are nestled. Having the sea as a backdrop and the sun pinned in its blue sky, Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa has everything to entreat its little guests and their parents.
Its rooms with elaborate decorations focus mainly on the colourful patterns and varied materials (upholstered seats, embossed blankets, velvet carpets and wrought-wood furniture…). They welcome families in a comfortable setting with views over the gardens or the deep blue sea.
For children, it’s very simple: 3,000 sqm of play areas have been reserved for them. Playgrounds, sports fields and indoor room for playing or sharing of a delicious lunch… everything has been thought of for little ones’ comfort. Twice a day, your little ones will be granted privileged access to the hotel’s swimming pool, where an impressive pirate ship, water slides and water jets await them. Fun is guaranteed here!
It is on the south coast of Aphrodite Island that Columbia Beach Resort is nested. Overlooking the delicate Pissouri Bay, this charming address with typical Cypriot architecture perfectly reflects the Mediterranean spirit. Local light-coloured stone, loggias and terraces that can make one you lose your head, Roman-decorated roofs give a real architectural unity to the resort. Diligent attention to detail can be found on the tiled floors and exposed beams of the interiors. To make it short, it is the spirit of a traditional village combined with the refinement of a 5-star hotel. You would love the terraces and local-stone walls highlighted by the bougainvillaea, the giant pool and its palm trees and the eco-friendly philosophy that sets the tone, down to the smallest details of the Columbia.
One thing is certain, toddlers lodging at this dream establishment will not get bored, even for a second. On the program: treasure hunts, relay races, cooking workshops, and many others will punctuate their days. Children between 4 and 12years old get FREE playground amenities and direct access to the Blue Flag Beach. An open-air playground for children, a paradise reminiscent of the sweetness of life for parents!
With its 340 days of sunshine per year and its 648km of coastline, Cyprus is the queen of swimming destinations. Scoop: the sea is so good here that you can get soaked in it until November! Here is our selection of favourite beaches.
We told you earlier that the island of Aphrodite is divided in 2 parts. Part of the island is occupied by the Turkish army north of the demarcation line, known as the « Green Line ». The part is still under the surveillance of a UN buffer force but has been partially open and can be crossed since 2003. Note that only the Republic of Cyprus, which controls the southern part, is recognized by the international community and is part of the ‘European Union. As a national of the European Union member-state, this does not prevent you from accessing the northern part, upon presentation of a valid identity document. It is also possible to walk around there, or to even spend a few days there. Simply put, you must be well informed and take some precautions beforehand. Little Guest will assist you on this aspect.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs classifies the whole island as « normal vigilance » while the Belgian Ministry recounts that « most of the visits to Cyprus are carried out without any particular difficulty »: there is therefore nothing to worry about. You just need to be well informed about the situation on site before setting off for it. However, due to the de facto partition and the illegal status of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), the French Embassy cannot guarantee the enforcement of consular protection in the northern part of the island.
In addition, NEVER venture to cross the « buffer zone » outside the authorized crossing points. Armed sentries protect it and certain areas of the green line are minefields. In addition, it is imperative to respect the shooting bans in the vicinity of the protected Turkish military zones, which can be recognised by signs bearing the words « prohibited area », failure of which could lead to arrest.
More information on the official website of your country, as the one of the UK Government, for instance.
You can cross the « green line » at 9 specific points, some by car, others only on foot or by bicycle. There are two in the west (Limnitis / Yesilirmak; Astromeritis / Zodeia); three in Nicosia (Ayios Dometios / Metehan; Ledra Palace and Ledra / Lokmaci), the last two being reserved for pedestrians and cyclists; one in the northwest in the district of Nicosia (Apliki-Lefka) and three in the east (Pergamos / Pyla, Ayios Nicolaos / Strovilia and Derynia).
Please note: if you will be renting a rental car in Cyprus and travelling north, consider purchasing additional insurance on-site at the rental agency.
If you are travelling alone with your minor child, make sure you have the authorization to leave the territory, from the other parent. For more information.
Once again, it is very possible to lodge for a few days in the northern part of the island. Just keep in mind that the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus consider that staying in a hotel which belonged to Greek Cypriot owners before the Turkish intervention of 1974, or which is built on land whose ownership is disputed, can expose you to legal proceedings. Find out more before setting off for your choice hotel!
Have a good trip!
Mylène, 28 years old, art and travel lover, from Strasbourg, France