The Island of Aphrodite
Most people have never heard of this island country, most people can’t locate it on a map or recognize what it’s famous for (the Goddess Aphrodite — I’ll explain later). But in fact, Cyprus is slowly becoming a seducing destination where it feels like an endless summer while being surrounded by glistening blue waters and exotic seafood. But before you dive into the luxurious waters and the speckled beaches it is important to learn about the rich and fascinating history that is Cyprus.
History of Cyprus:
Cyprus has had many invaders, many settlers, and many immigrants throughout the centuries. From the Greeks to the Romans, Ottomans, British and Turks. in 1974 a Turkish invasion left the island divided in two: Northern and Southern. Both with strong Greek and Turkey influences, that can be seen throughout the architecture, the historic ruins, food, and people. Despite the Southern part having a more attraction reputation to travelers and tourists looking replace their everyday blue with the blues of the Mediterranean; the Northern part of the country still deserves some exploration.
Geographically the island is between Europe and Asia, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the history of inhabitants, the island is filled with a plethora of ancient ruins, castles, variations of food, and influences found throughout the island.
Breakdown of the Island:
Four Days in Cyprus:
Our Itinerary: Larnaca -> Limassol -> Paphos -> Nicosia -> Larnaca
Day One – Larnaca:
The first stop in Cyprus will most likely be Larnaca, it is home to the largest airport on the island (which is probably where you will fly in) and rent your car. Renting a car is a MUST if you are trying to visit other parts of the island. The drive on the left side (which is opposite for me) of the road (hence the level of concentration on my face).
Obviously, the first stop when visiting an island is the beach!
One of my favorite pieces of travel equipment when going to a sandy destination is a mini floatie! You’d be surprised by the number of things you can use it for (just don’t take it onto a plane already blown up).
When Katy and I normally travel we consider ourselves budget travelers or broke as shit. In which most cases we become very familiar with the local grocery stores and bakeries. Never doubt the deliciousness of a two for one sale on breakfast pizzas. But treat yourself once in a while. Cyprus/Greek/Turkey souvlaki for the win!
Larnaca Salt Lakes
The salt lakes are located just 5km outside the city center, and impossible to miss if driving around the city. These famous salt lakes are actually composed of four different lakes, that yielded a TON of salt and were vital to the survival in ancient times; but up until the 1980’s it is considered unsafe to eat. Today, it is home to a number of migrating birds (during the months of November-March).
Day Two – Limassol
Limassol was just a drive through town for us on the way to Paphos but a gorgeous place to stop and wander around the streets. It was a quiet quiet day in Limassol for us, everything was closed, it was 1000 degrees, the sidewalks were melting and everyone was hiding from the sun.
Day Two Continue – Paphos:
After our scorching break under the fiery heat of the sun, we continued down highway A6 towards Paphos. Paphos is the legendary place of the birth of Aphrodite; the goddess of love and beauty. The legend was born through Greek mythology; which claimed that the goddess emerged herself from behind the waves of Petra tou Romiou (meaning Rock of the Greek or better known today as Aphrodite’s Rock). Whether you believe in the mythology and legends or not, Petra tou Romiou is a gorgeous beach, filled with large rocks. It’s not a sandy beach; so I’d suggest some flipper/water shoes.
Many have said that if you successfully swim around the rock three times, you will find true love. It was actually a lot of work and exhausting (#imoutofshape HAHA).
Day Three: Paphos Continued
Tomb of Kings. If you are the type of person that walks on ancient ruins and imagines what life was like for those that once walked your same footsteps (yup, I’m a history geek) or if you have any interest for the ancient world or archeology then the Tomb of Kings will blow your mind.
The Tomb of Kings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains well-preserved ancient tombs (eight of them to be exact) for high ranking officials dating back to the 4th century BC. Fun Fact 👆 there are no kings actually buried here, only high ranking officials.
It was PAINFULLY hot outside. I would not recommend wearing the color grey when the temperature is in the triple digits.
If you are planning to visit the Tomb of Kings (entrance fee: €2.50); make sure you pack:
- plenty of water. PLENTY of water. It will be hot. stay hydrated.
- comfortable shoes. you are walking around an ancient tomb site. unsturdy stones, dirt and loads of actual walking.
- sunglasses. sunblock. sunhat. the sun is literally a ball of fire and it is just shining it’s rays of hotness down on you. prepare wisely.
- snacks. because everyone gets a little hungry. Hunger plus heat = haaaangry (fair warning)
- camera. it is a mind-blowing archaeological site. but remember to stand there and appreciate it with your eyeballs for a little bit.
THEN go find a beach to cool off in!
Day Four: Nicosia
We decided to spend our last day in Cyprus roaming around the capital. The most exciting part about this capital is that it is the last divided capital in the world. Half of it is owned by Turkey and half by Cyprus. Buuuuuuuuut I have dedicated a whole post about what to do with your time with exploring Nicosia.
Until next time Cyprus!
Have you been to Cyprus before? What were your experiences? What was your favorite thing about the island? I would love to hear your stories about your time there!