Aphrodite, goddess of love, goddess of Cyprus – both were synonymous to the ancient Greeks.
Born from the foam of the sea, the legendary lady has been (like all of us) a little washed recently. Caught in the boring tangle of lockdowns and postponed travel plans, romantic Cyprus getaways have been put on hold – but perhaps not for much longer.
Cyprus is open for business (under certain conditions)
If you’ve been cramped to a tiny European apartment for the past year or so and craved some of that bright Cyprus sun, can you visit?
Well, it depends where you come from.
At present, EU citizens are allowed to visit the Mediterranean island. The exact procedure depends on the place of your home country in the Cyprus traffic light system.
Malta, New Zealand, Iceland and Australia, for example, are in the Green category, which means travelers can enter the country without any restrictions.
If you are not lucky enough to come from here, don’t worry, the Cypriot borders may not be closed to you. Countries in the Orange category can still enter but will have to produce a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours before departure. Currently Ireland, Romania, China, and the UK are among the countries listed here.
Cypriot citizens and legal residents coming from somewhere on the Amber List can opt for an arrival test instead. But, they will have to self-isolate while the test is being processed.
Traveling from a country on the Red List is a bit more complicated. If your country is in the Red category, you are required to produce two negative tests, one within 72 hours before departure and one upon arrival. Passengers will need to self-isolate until the results of the second test come back.
Currently, Germany, France, Italy and Belgium are all in the red zone. Countries are re-categorized regularly and a fully updated list is available here.
No matter what category you find yourself in, all travelers should always complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before boarding flights to Cyprus – airlines have been made aware of this requirement and are required to enforce it.
I am vaccinated, what do I need?
The Cypriot government began to legislate for vaccinated trips. What does this mean exactly?
First, no vaccinated tourist should self-isolate upon arrival. However, you may need to produce a negative PCR test, depending on where you are from.
Travelers whose country of origin is in the orange or red zone will be required to test negative within 72 hours of departure. Passengers in the green category will not.
If you are departing from a Red List country, you will also need to produce a negative PCR test upon arrival in Cyprus, even if you have been vaccinated.
All passengers will still need to complete the Cyprus Flight Pass before boarding.
Alright, I arrived in Cyprus. What are the best things to do?
Plan this summer island adventure now. Cyprus has seen its share of restrictions on coronaviruses and it would be wrong to say that these have had no impact – in fact, the Cyprus Mail reports that nearly a third of bars and restaurants will not be able to reopen once pandemic regulations allow, and that’s a lot. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start planning your trip to Cyprus now.
First-time visitors to the island should consider spending at least two days in Larnaca or Limassol, the main towns along the long southern coast. The reason is to soak up the historical background and flavor of the island before you start applying sunscreen.
Ancient ruins and mezze in Larnaca
Everywhere in Cyprus has ancient roots and bears the marks of the earliest civilizations and empires that swept through what is, after all, the third largest island in the Mediterranean.
Within the city limits of Larnaca, you can see the surprising ruins of Kition, an ancient city-kingdom with temple remains dating from the 13th century BC, a Byzantine seaside castle with Ottoman inscriptions and the legendary ( and beautiful) Church of Saint Lazarus.
Many restaurants and cafes await you opposite Finikoudes, a promenade lined with palm trees that straddles the sea.
For Lebanese cuisine, Maqam Al-Sultan is a must (it’s quite atmospheric, but they also do take out) and the seafood mezze, or small plates, shine in airy taverns like Militzis, Monte Carlo and Pyxida Seafront.
Visit the amphitheater that adorned Cyprus banknotes
Limassol is the sophisticated port city of Cyprus flanked by archaeological treasures: to the east are the windswept ruins of Amathus, one of the island’s 10 original royal cities, while to the west, you’ll find Kourion with its ancient amphitheater perched above the sea – a Cypriot sight so iconic it featured on the reverse side of the Cypriot five pound note before the euro was adopted in 2008.
In Limassol itself, there is no shortage of fun activities, from the old town with its medieval castle and graceful British colonial buildings to basking in the sun around the long seaside promenade or the elegant Limassol marina.
One of our favorite restaurants is the Karatello Tavern, next to the Carob mill museum and renowned for its contemporary Greco-Cypriot cuisine.
Holidaymakers of a certain age – and by that I mean the millennial crowd and the younger ones – may equate Cyprus with devilish pampering stays at one of the many resorts around Ayia Napa on the coast. South East.
The beaches are indeed superb, but the tourist season will take longer to navigate because the classic beach escape is more prepared for summer than for spring. As we run head first into the summer, we just hope the beaches are ready.
Luxury Hotels & Aphrodite’s Rock in Paphos
My advice as a seasoned Cyprus enthusiast? Roll a 180 and, once you’ve had a serving of Larnaca and Limassol (each of which is downright more fun than the landlocked capital of Nicosia), head to Pafos (or Paphos, as it’s sometimes called).
Along the way, you will pass the spectacular Petra tou Romiou, the rock of Aphrodite where the myth is that the goddess failed several moons ago.
Supposedly, Aphrodite seduced a young Adonis on the way to this rock, which today is one of the last truly rugged parts of the island.
Pafos is not tiny but it is also very relaxed, packing in a stunning array of ancient sites, including magnificent ancient Roman mosaics and ancient royal rock-hewn tombs, as well as a wonderfully waterfront area. relaxed and many stormy hotels.
Pafos is divided into sections. Kato Pafos, or the lower town, and Pano Pafos, the upper town. Archaeological goodies can be found below, but equally charming Pano Pafos is where locals tend to hang out.
Then there is the stunning countryside beyond, which erupted in mid-March into a sea of almond trees and fragrant wild flowers in bloom. Who couldn’t use some of that now?