Best Beaches in Cyprus

Best Beaches in Cyprus

Now Cyprus is a country I feel pretty qualified to talk on. Unlike many other countries I talk about, where what I have is a rather fleeting impression of a small part of the land, Cyprus is a long term relationship for me. I have visited Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot part of the island, now 12 times, for at least a week each time, and feel like I have really grown up with the place and the Cypriot people, the friendly, down-to-earth, warm Cypriot people.

Me at the ruins

Beaches are something they do well in this part of the world so I thought I’d share my absolute, unrivalled favourites with you.

Kourion Beach

Sprawling below the site of Kourion ruins, which happens to be one of the most impressive and now well preserved array of mosaics and Roman structures I’ve ever had the luck to wander round in the midday heat in August, is the gem of southern Cyprus. From the view points at the ruins you can survey the coast from the close by Akritiri military base on the east to the white cliffs which cup the west of the bay. The beach is long and rocky from this height with three buildings and a few sun beds, cars appear to be slung right near the water and on the east side you might catch a swathe of kite surfers doing their thing come mid afternoon if the tide is right.

Kourin from the Ruins

Kourion from the Ruins

Kourion from Above

Kourion from Above

When you get to the beach the picture is much the same, the east side of the beach (left as you look at the sea) is a no-go for swimmers due to the undertow/riptide but the west side up by the cafes is a warm, wavy heaven. In the morning the water can be quite calm, or a bit choppy here, and it’ll be almost bath temperature by lunch. The cars aren’t actually parked up on the beach; there’s a flattened car park of large pebbles and sand created a few metres from the beach making for super-convenient access. I’m not a fan of the sand here, it’s sticky and kind of gritty and I’ve never been good with the sensation of even the nicest sand, however sun beds are easy to rent. I spend my time when I’m not in the water at the first bar, nothing fancy, I always remember than everything is a sunshine yellow colour, but the beer is cheap (as everywhere) and the fish here is fantastic. I love to come down in the evening for a fish meze, a mighty selection of fish dishes which arrive at your table one after the other in a seemingly never-ending stream until, and it all tastes so good.

At the Beach Bar

At the Beach Bar

Kourion

But I missed the best bit – the waves! Everyone loves the waves here. If you catch the tide and the wind right, huge white breakers roll in and smack into you, or crash over you, or soar with you and your inflatable in tow, towards the shore line, making for exhausting wave-jumping fun. I can’t explain why everyone seems to love it so much, kids especially, perhaps it’s the spa-like quality of warm water crashing over your skin from all angles, or maybe it’s the thrill of occasionally getting completely swamped in wave. Either way, it’s the most fun beach I’ve ever been to.

Kourion

“Melanda” at Avdimou Bay

I can’t really explain how to get here, but you could google Melanda Restaurant, Avdimou and this should take you to the beach. This was one of my family’s first loves in Cyprus, a sheltered, shallow and beautifully clear blue bay, set into the dusty hillside, offering nothing but pure bliss. It’s mostly locals and ex-pats who come here, it’s small and, again, there isn’t much sand and it isn’t very nice, it’s mostly hot pebbles. But you can rent, or bring your own equipment to lie on, or get inventive and sprawl out on the large, warm rocks at either end of the bay. There are always a few small boats parked up near the old jetty, a very few locals bringing in their catches, but their don’t seem to be many fish where I swim. I can’t decide what the best part is; swimming in the cool, smooth water, out for as far as I care to swim, or sitting in the shade of the bar, sipping cold Keo (the only beer worth buying in Cyprus by the way!), munching on some chips and halloumi and watching the world go by. Did I mention, there is nothing else to do here? It’s paradise if you’ve got a good book to read, or some thinking or meditation to do.

Melanda Bay

Melanda Bay

Melanda Bay

Pissouri Bay 

You drive away from Pissouri village (I recommend you don’t take the “old road”, it’s a bit hairy, but it is more scenic…) down the windy road, towards Pissouri Bay, a collection of mostly holiday lets right on the water. Visit this beach at night, and walk as far away from the hotels as you can until most of the ambient light is insignificant; now look up. This was the first place I remember seeing the milky way, in all its misty murky glory, hanging there above us like a holy mist. The stars here are stunning. I like this beach in the daytime too though, the bar/restaurants are friendly and very child friendly, there are plenty of sun beds and plenty of space besides. The water is, as always, blue, warm and calmest especially in the early mornings, but it’s never what you’d call rough here. I tried paddle boarding here, at about 9 am, and it was lovely. There are also kayaks, jet skis, para-sailing, banana boats and those funny jet things where it’s like you have a jet-pack (do you know what I mean?). You’re a bit of a captive audience, so the prices aren’t as cheap as some places I’ve seen in the rest of the Med, or Spain, or other countries, but it won’t break the bank. Paddle boarding cost me 15 Euro for the hour – you choose whether that is reasonable or not! I like the dawn till dusk-ability of this beach. It’s easy access, free parking, friendly people and everything you need in a small space, you could easily spend all day here.

Sunset

Runners Up

There are lots of beaches I like in Cyprus, there are some nice rocky ones over near Latsi on the other side of the island – great fish mezes but don’t bother with Aphrodites Baths … Aphrodites muddy trickle, if I were her I wouldn’t have bathed there. Also Lady’s Mile Beach near Limasol is a wonderful expanse of peaceful sand, not much shelter and a weird view of the docks but it comes complete with a friendly, house-trained pelican. And Fig Tree Bay in Protaras is crowded, but has bath-like, extremely buoyant seas and you can find some great little fish for snorkelling there. I don’t recommend Coral Bay in Paphos; the last time I went there the sea was great and the bar was lovely but the beach was like an ash tray, I can only hope it’s changed.

A Murmuration of Starlings

A Murmuration of Starlings

So, turns out finals at university are a lot harder than I imagined. I mean, I always knew they were supposed to be blooming difficult but … this really takes the biscuit, it takes the entire tin of biscuits! And they have really stolen my life, including this blog. So I thought I’d share one of my favourite moments of the last few months.

Ask me and my boyfriend what we’re doing in the evening and it’s probably not a meal out or a movie (I mean, it is sometimes) or going to a bar; we’re most likely heading for a walk or to a beach to take photos until our hands go blue and the light has vanished. That’s how we roll.

Sunset Aberystwyth Pier

Aberystwyth Pier

Aberystwyth Pier

The murmurations are fascinating; a mesmerising pulsing and buzzing of starlings swirling overhead. No one’s quite sure why they’re doing it, we know there’s safety in numbers but it doesn’t quite explain the shapes and the movement of the flock. For anyone who hasn’t seen a murmuration it’s almost indescribable; a mass of tiny black birds swarm together and descend over the body of water. The sky is dancing. There’s nothing like watching it – it’s like a spell. It was one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever seen. Aberystwyth happens to be an exceptionally good place to see them, but they are visible in plenty of places in the UK, I think it’s best at dusk and usually near a body of water, since they’re hunting tiny insects. (Take a look here, the RSPB are very helpful!).

Aberystwyth Pier Aberystwyth Pier Murmurations Murmurations Murmurations Murmurations

 

It can also be oddly threatening at times, when they fill up the sky like something out of a Hitchcock film, an ominous black cloud giving off a kind of half-noise from the sheer amount of flapping. I’m struggling to find words to describe this bizarre, meditation feeling you get while watching them, it’s very rhythmic and distracting, they move like a fluid being; truly beautiful. Definitely something everyone should watch at least once, I could quite happily chase this spellbinding sight around every evening.

Aberystwyth Pier MurmurationsMurmurations Murmurations

At The Airport Again…

At The Airport Again…

… But this time I’m not flying anywhere, say what?!

Monarch

A great fact, known to many Aviation Geeks, including my boyfriend, but not previously to myself is that most airports have an observation area. That’s a space where you can go and watch planes take off and land, great if you have excitable children to occupy, or an excitable Other Half for that matter, or you’re one of those travellers who really likes the flying part of travelling and finds planes fascinating.

TUI

The Manchester Observation area has the Concord, which you can book tours round, a lovely cafe and some cool information points too, which makes it a nice little day out. In all fairness we didn’t pick the best day to go, it was cold and overcast and we got a little bit lost on the way. I tired my hand at taking pictures of the planes but was rather hopeless, while my boyfriend managed to take some great shots.

BA

It seems weird doesn’t it? Hanging out at the airport and not going anywhere but it was weirdly fun and a good fantasy if you’re craving an adventure but can’t get away to go on one right now. Maybe…alternatively it might be torture!

I booked it!

I booked it!

I did IT.

Yea … I did THAT … I booked a post-graduation blow-out trip, because clearly I can’t see any need to have money left after graduation. *ahem*

As with the last time I posted about an adventure, I’m sat at a desk, where blogging is not my main job (I’m not even being paid for the main job I’m sat here for), I’m sipping on some team and rain is battering the window in true Manchester fashion; it’s so different from the place I am thinking of that it’s hard to comprehend.

I’ve booked a tour of Asia. I’ll talk about the politics of ‘Tour-ing’ rather than going it alone in another post but for now I’ll just tell you I’ve booked with STA travel, on their Indo-China tour, which will take me to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in just four weeks. My brain feels like it might explode – I’ve wanted to go to Vietnam for so long, it’s a fairytale country in my heart and I can feel fireworks going off when I think I’ll be touching, tasting, seeing and smelling Vietnam in just a few short months.

It took a lot of time for me to work up the guts to book the tour. I’ve booked it with my boyfriend, for one thing, which means I’ve banked quite a lot on our relationship lasting (not that I’m worried), and it’s something your friends usually, unreservedly warn you against doing. But I’ve done that. He booked before me and then, somehow, a few weeks later right after an essay hand-in, I just walked up to the same travel agents (STA Manchester) and said “put me on the same trip”, which my lovely travel agent dutifully did.

I still have some planning to do, oh yes. We need to organise VISAs, look seriously at some insurance given that we’ll both want to take our cameras, buy Malarials, get injections (although I’m almost all up to date) and buy all the travel essentials of course. I’ve also got to sort my life out in terms of when I’m moving out of my flat, and how, and where I’m staying for Graduation – since we’ve booked the trip in June, meaning it clashes with just about everything. All accommodation stresses are sorted for us with a tour – fantastic – and although we’ve already already booked flights, we still need to work out money and a few other things.

I’ve been enchanted by the idea of going to Asia for a while, more so since I booked the trip I must say, I can’t wait to discover something new, something totally different. If anyone’s ever done the Indo-China tour with STA before, or toured with them at all, do please let me know below! If you have any recommendations or tips for any of those countries then please tell me those too, I’d be chuffed for any information.

Thank You For All Of 2014

Thank You For All Of 2014

There are quite a lot of us blogging about travel on the internet and one thing I notice is, that we don’t seem to mention how thankful we are often enough.

That’s not to say travel bloggers aren’t grateful or thankful, I can almost guarantee most of us are but we very rarely post our thanks. Now, I’m not paid to write these posts, obviously if I were I’d probably be a bit more together and on time, but looking back over the last year I’ve really noticed how much I was able to travel and how far I’ve been. And wow am I one lucky girl!

A view from the Charminar

From August 2013 to August 2014 I managed to visit 5 new countries, 18 news cities (unless I’ve forgotten or miss-categorized any) and 1 new continent. And I couldn’t have got there without a LOT of help! Although my travel is largely self-funded, there’s some things you just can’t do alone. I’ve got a small honours list of people who’ve helped me get there…get everywhere;

My wonderful parents. Without them I wouldn’t even have got to Turkey, since they paid for that, just as they’ve paid for every holiday I’ve been on with them throughout the years. They also paid for my paragliding, which was incredible. It’s not just the money either; as anyone who’s ever been on holiday, even in their home country, knows, the organisation takes a lot of time. From the airport parking, to the accommodation, to reading up on Trip Advisor, buying a holiday guide book, arranging kennels for the dog, driving me to the airport. My parents usually drive me to the airport even when they’re not coming away with me. I am exceptionally thankful for the amount they support me in all of my ventures and adventures. And for the cocktails they bought me in Turkey…

My lovely boyfriend, who’s only been around for the last year and a bit of my Travel-life but has increased my lust for travel tenfold. Not only does he make it a little bit competitive, which makes me just a little more fired-up to go and a little more likely to push myself the extra mile, but he helps me build my dreams, encourages me to carry them out and inspires me, with his dreams, to travel more. He’s also much more financially savvy than I am… so he keeps me realistic.

Of all my friends, the biggest thanks over the last year go to Srivalli. My gorgeous bestie, who I’m not going to be able to see for quite some time since she’s back in India for the foreseeable future. Without Srivalli I wouldn’t have even been able to consider going to India – she made it not only affordable for me but also safer, possible to go alone and know I had someone when I got there, she stopped me getting ripped-off my tourist ‘deals’, she helped breach the language barrier and knew where not to go, which is sometimes half the battle. Also lots of love and respect to her Ama, Amama, Father, Sister, cousins and the rest of the family and friends who fed me, let me live in their houses for free, answered my endless questions, drove me around for free and let me into their lives; it was a magical experience made possible only by every one of them.

Umbrellas for street art

Paddling in the Blue Lagoon

Paddling in the Blue Lagoon

Then the rest of my friends, mostly for putting up with me running off all the time and supporting me in my dreams; mostly for still being there, as though no time has passed, when I return. What are friends for if not that? Especially Ellen, who’s been around for more years than I’ll say, who always has and always will inspire me to travel with her insatiable desire to travel too. I took my first trip sans-parents with Ellen, she’s always incredibly brave, unflappable and an extremely organised travel companion.

It’s been an amazing year and I’m so excited for this one for so many reasons! Thank you so much to everyone who supports my dreams, in all their shapes and sizes, and allows me to be crazy, disorganised and repeatedly absent. And thank you life … because without certain opportunities, which have allowed me to get jobs, I would never have had the money to travel like this.

Paragliding

Everyone here is paragliding

Lodge Evening

After Dark

Morning over the Lake

Morning over the Lake

A very traditional Mass

A very traditional Mass

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Frauenkopf- summit

Bucket List 2015

Bucket List 2015

As usual I don’t plan to complete the list, as I didn’t list year, but it’s fun to set yourself a challenge. I’ll update this as I plan things and go to things so you can see how I’m doing. Is there anywhere you’d like to hit up? My more serious Bucket List might contain getting a job, learning how to drive, entering a marathon etc. but…well, this one just doesn’t. Here’s my 2015 Travel Related Bucket List:

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos [Semi-Planned]

Is it cheating to put this on because I’ve booked it? This will be my graduation present to myself (bloody better get good results hadn’t I?)! I’m so excited, I will be travelling on a tour with STA with my boyfriend too and I already can’t stop grinning when I think about it. I am most excited for Vietnam, as I’ve been obsessed with the idea of going since I watched the Top Gear Vietnam Special where they tour Vietnam on a motorbike. I won’t get to everything I want to see but I’ll see a lot. I’m also very excited – if that can be the word – to see the Killing Fields in Cambodia and the tunnels that were used during the time of the Viet Kong in Vietnam; I love war history.

Alderly Edge

Just outside of Manchester, or possibly technically in Greater Manchester, it’s certainly less dramatic than my previous one but it’s supposed to be a stunning view over Manchester. I’ve been meaning to get here for the last three years, it’s about time I got it done!

Chester Zoo

I love zoos, they’re one of my favourite places, and I haven’t made it to Chester Zoo yet; it’s a spring plan. (I did get to Blue Planet recently, or that would have been on my list too).

Whitby

I want to get the famous fish and chips – not that I didn’t have enough Fish and Chips at home, I worked in a chip shop for 4 years. I’m told I need to have kippers too. The idea of Whitby is so quintessentially British I can’t resist.

Snowdon

Well, Snowdonia but I want to pop up Snowdon too; I’m aware it’s not too high or challenging but I’d just like to say I’ve done it. It’s pretty do-able since I’m commuting to and from Wales a fair bit to see my boyfriend at the moment.

Estonia

I have some friends in Estonia who I met in Germany last year and I want to go and visit them, see what that little country is all about. I want to check out the architecture and the coast. And probably get drunk.

Hamburg

It was there last year, it remains there this year; it’s a German city that I’m annoyed I haven’t seen yet, I really haven’t done very much of north Germany and I’m dying to get over there again, money permitting.

Edinburgh

Yep, I’ve never been into Scotland at all, which is pretty shocking, but I have a craving for Edinburgh as a first stop. I mean, I always have wanted to go but I feel like this might be the year. I have the impression of it being a really good romantic city for a weekend.

Northern Ireland

I am a geography nerd so Giants’ Causeway has been very high up my to-do list, for a long time, and yet it hasn’t been done. Again, I have a feeling this year might be the year, though I’m not sure if I’ll make it. I love to walk and be by the coast, and it’s one of the best examples of a limestone pavement you can get – that’s very exciting for me. While I’m heading that way I’d love to go via Belfast too, it’s the home town of one of my best friends and I’d love to check it out. Ireland has a really romantic appeal for me, there’s something very fairytale-ish about it in my head. But we’ll have to see.

It’s Not The Leaves That Are Leaving…

It’s Not The Leaves That Are Leaving…

Anyone know that quote? It’s Winnie the Pooh (or A.A.Milne really I suppose) and I love it!

Red LeavesDunham House River

Old Barn

Oh Deer They really get this close

Anyway, better late than never, one of my favourite places I can recommend in the North West, especially when all the autumn colours are a-glow, is Dunham Massey. It’s a lovely place for families too. The grounds are large, not as large as Tatton Park but big and wooded with a lovely garden and vegetable garden too. My favourite part of the day was watching the deer; I crept closer and close, until I realised creeping was an unnecessary precaution, these are really quite friendly as deer go. Apparently they will steal an ice cream from your hand in the summer.

Deer Deer Deer DSC02834 Mum & Dad find a deer Chard Vegetable Garden

If you’re as much of a fan of autumn golds and burnished orange as I am, then put it on your list for next year, or visit in the spring to catch the lovely fawns.

Wood Sculpture The House Mum Autumn Colours Autumn Colours Purple Plants Lime Tree Roses hydrangea

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