It’s well-known for its gorgeous beaches, pine-forested mountains, ancient historic sites, and amazing food. Oh, and apparently it gets around 340 days of sunshine a year! So basically, it’s an island that’s got it all!
With so many great things to see and do here, I couldn’t wait to explore. Here are the very best things about my Cypriot adventure.
1. Stunning, Natural Beauty
The first thing I noticed about Cyprus? The mind-blowing scenery! In the same country, you can lie on a sandy beach, go hiking through forests, and then go skiing down a mountain. And, as a globe-trotting gecko on a grand adventure, I decided to do it all!
I started with some sunbathing on the island’s powdery-soft beaches – lounging in the sun is what us geckos do best! And then, I got stuck into all the watersports you can do here – jet skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving, the list is endless!
After my time on the beach, I headed inland to explore the rest of the island. Turns out Cyprus has a bit of a wild side!
There are acres of open forests, deep blue lakes and towering mountains. It feels like a completely different world once you’ve left the beach behind. I went hiking to a place called Caledonia Falls which involves a scenic woodland walk that leads to a beautiful waterfall.
Now, us geckos love the heat, but after that long walk I was seriously ready to cool off. Luckily, you can take a refreshing “shower” beneath the waterfalls. I’m used to taking a quick wash in a muddy puddle, so this was a real treat!
Oh, and now it’s winter in Cyprus, you can even go skiing in The Troodos Mountains – ski slopes in a country with beaches! Crazy right? And, of course, after my skiing adventure in Tignes, I was quick to carve up the slopes gecko style!
2. Exploring the Kykkos Monastery
For lots of people, visiting The Kykkos Monastery is the highlight of their trip. It’s high up on a mountain northwest of Troodos – and I was told it’s the richest, most lavish monastery in all of Cyprus.
They weren’t kidding! The inside of the church here is like a twinkling treasure box. It’s covered with beautiful icons including the famous icon of the Virgin Mary – which they keep safely locked up behind a case made of silver, mother of pearl and tortoiseshell!
And, near to the church is a museum full of religious relics, woodcarvings, manuscripts and ornaments. My guidebook said lots of the items are “invaluable”, so I made extra sure my tail didn’t accidentally go and flick a priceless artefact off a shelf.
All in all, this place was totally worth climbing up a mountain to see.
3. Finding Love at Aphrodite’s Rock
Love is definitely in the air in Cyprus. I came across lots of romantic beaches and quiet little restaurants, and I’m told a lady called Aphrodite was born here – she was the Greek Goddess of love! You can visit a place called Aphrodite’s Rock in Paphos, which is where Aphrodite apparently emerged from the sea and instantly fell in love with Cyprus.
I also came across a place called the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Kouklia. You can see some incredibly old ruins here, but the top attraction is the nearby museum. It’s full of precious artefacts that are thousands of years old, which have been carefully dug up from the surrounding site.
I also heard that long ago, the temple that once stood here was built by a group who worshiped Aphrodite. Having your own temple built for you? Now that’s love!
4. Taking a Camel Safari
Here in Cyprus, you can take a camel safari at a place called Mazotos Camel Park in Larnaca. Sounds fun, right?
Well, I’d never seen a camel before – I’d just heard they were smelly, noisy, and pretty bad tempered. Totally unfair, because it turns out camels are awesome – and riding one is waaaay more fun than walking.
Once you’ve made friends with your camel, you climb onboard (or scamper up the side of them if you’re a gecko), and take a safari ride around the countryside. You even get to feed the camels and have your picture taken with them. Ha, ha, wait until my gecko mates back home see this one.
Oh, and this place is particularly great for families. As well as a kid’s play area, there’s a 5D cinema, games and loads of other animals to meet including ostriches, deer and wallabies. But, obviously, a walking/talking gecko like yours truly is always going to be the star attraction.
After such a great experience in Cyprus, it’s hard to imagine how the next leg of my trip will top this one. But I can’t wait to get going – onwards to Croatia!
Published 19th January 2016