CYPRUS

Le­gend says Cyprus is Aphrodite’s birth­place – and the is­land is easy to fall in love with

Friday - - Leisure Charts -

I want to ex­plore…

The south­ern half of Cyprus with its glo­ri­ous golden beaches is where all the ac­tion is at and to squeeze in as much as you can into a four-day Eid break, Lar­naca is your best start­ing point. The an­cient port town is a pleas­ing as­sort­ment of an­cient ru­ins and ur­ban coastal prom­e­nade lined by palm trees and cozy cafes, such as Finikoudes. Cyprus is first and fore­most about beaches and Macken­zie beach, strewn with sunbeds, stretches of golden sand and wa­ter­sports op­er­a­tors, epit­o­mises the ‘fly and flop’ hol­i­day cul­ture. For a cool va­ca­tion tale to tell, go scuba div­ing around the MS Zeno­bia ship­wreck, a ferry that cap­sized off the coast of Lar­naca in 1980 and is one of the world’s top 10 dive sites. The beach is dot­ted with PADI-cer­ti­fied dive shops.

Fur­ther in­land the 6,000-year-old past creeps up on Lar­naca – all the must-see relics and Byzan­tine mar­vels are pooled in its cen­tral Old Town. The me­dieval Lar­naca Cas­tle, Saint Lazarus’ Church, 8th cen­tury Cat­a­comb of Phaneromeni Church and the Ka­mares Aque­duct can all be cov­ered in a sin­gle day’s walk­ing tour.

Stay at the Lokal Ho­tel. This her­itage listed fam­ily home in the Old Town has been con­verted into a stylish 17-room bou­tique ho­tel. Stan­dard dou­ble rooms start from Dh800. Visit lokalcyprus.com.

I want to un­wind…

A dip in Aphrodite’s Baths in the north­ern city of Latchi might be tough to squeeze into over the Eid break.

You’ll have to skip the pools of eter­nal youth this time but the city of Paphos, an hour’s drive away from Lar­naca and the myth­i­cal birth­place of Aphrodite, makes up for it with its lux­u­ri­ous spa re­sorts fo­cused on well­be­ing – pick from tha­las­sother­apy, spring water treat­ments or Gre­coRo­man mas­sages. The best tac­tic to ex­plore Paphos is to set up shop at a re­sort of your choice and once you’ve re­booted, fan out and ex­plore this Unesco World Her­itage-listed city’s most breath-tak­ing sight – Aphrodite’s Rock, the foamy spot in the churn­ing milky sea where Aphrodite is said to have risen. The rocky beach, while spec­tac­u­lar, is closed to swim­mers be­cause of how rough it is. Fur­ther off, by the har­bour, the beaches are calmer, with op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­joy lazy cata­ma­ran rides, bob­bing across waters that mirror the cloud­less blue skies Cyprus is known for at this time of year. Paphos Cruises or­gan­ise half and full-day trips (pa­phosseacruises. com). The magic of his­tory, art and ar­chi­tec­ture all come to­gether at the Paphos Archeao­log­i­cal Park that’s just by the har­bour. The mag­num opuses here are elab­o­rate mo­saic floors of four Ro­man vil­las – the Houses of Diony­sus, Or­pheus, Aion and Th­e­seus. For a bliss­ful spa break stay at the Almyra Ho­tel. The seafront re­sort with its serene white­washed vil­las, of­fers spa pack­ages, day trips to vil­lages in the Troo­dos Moun­tains or guided tours of Paphos. In­land view rooms start from Dh814 per night in­clud­ing break­fast. Visit almyra.com.

Take a lazy cruise from the port of Paphos, or tour the nearby ar­chae­ol­ogy

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