The day after running my third half marathon, I found myself unexpectedly running again, this time through Luton airport in a crazed rush to ensure we didn’t miss our flight. Where were we heading you might ask? Well, I’m glad you did as we were off seeking sandy beaches and sunny days at Coral Bay, near Papthos in Cyprus.
Within a few hours on the plane and a few coffee’s later, we were landing in the warm breeze of Paphos and our holiday had officially begun. Even though I’ve been to Cyprus several times over the last few year’s this was my first ever visit in May and my first ever visit with Graeme. I’d packed my shorts, bikinis, sun tan cream and I was ready for some relaxation and adventures.
Once I’d reacquainted myself with my family and our room at the villa, we unpacked, ate a light snack and headed off for a walk to shake out and to look at the waves crashing about, whilst displaying ombré shades of blue.
It felt like a huge weight had been lifted, no work to worry about, no housework, commuting or rushing around like a wild thing trying to fit everything in. Sometimes, it takes a holiday to make you realise, just how much you really do need a holiday.
For me, It’s all about balance on holiday, some day’s we got up early and ran before 8am and other day’s we would lay in bed until 9am. For me, some mornings were spent giving into a leisurely breakfast on the patio in the sun. I planned my day around meal’s (no change there). Primarily we ate in, favouring buffets of fresh deli produce; Greek salads, ripe apricots, lashings of hummus, olives, Waldorf salads and glossy cherries.
Where is the best Deli in the Coral Bay area? Well, ‘The Blue Olive’ comes very highly recommended or you can nip into the local supermarket and pick up a selection of meze according to your tastes.
What is meze? – putting together a selection of small dishes of food, not unlike tapas or building your own mini buffet. Think feta cheese, garlic olives, hummus, ripe peaches served with honey, salads and cold meats.
In my opinion, Cyprus is most beautiful when you leave the tourists on the beach, avoid the beaten track and spend time exploring the road less trodden. Whilst it may not be lush and green, we spent our time exploring sea caves and paddling in rock pools. On our travels (mainly by foot) we introduced ourselves to the local wildlife of lizards, bearded dragons, goats, baby pigs and even a brief sighting of a turtle.
Tip: Walk along from the Coral Bay beach and spend an afternoon exploring the sea cliffs and dipping into rock pools.
Where did we stay? In a villa a few miles away from the centre of ‘Coral Bay’ in a rented villa, one thing I would recommend is spending a little extra and hiring a car if you fancy seeing more of the area.
Where should I eat in Coral Bay/Paphos Area? For casual outside dining with fresh flavours, incredible smoothies and salad’s I recommend ‘Oniro by the sea’. Just down from Oniro is an old ship that beached itself during a storm, this always makes a good photo opportunity. Does hand cut chunky chips, salad and a huge plate of barbecued meat sound good? If so, head to ‘The Last Castle’, no menus, a set price and no fuss, just simple great food.
The best Italian is – Trattoria La Vigna
For a greasy but fulfilling breakfast – Frog & Toad
The ‘Hidden Jem’ is – Sidayes
What activities are there to do in the area? We noticed that many people were renting quad bikes for a more adventurous way of exploring the area, I would recommend searching for the best deal online first. For shopping, I would recommend Paphos centre which has a Thursday market, new shopping centre and the normal array of seafront shops if that tickles your pickle.
A walk I firmly recommend is the Avakas Gorge, I do thoroughly suggest that you wear sensible shoes and clothing that you aren’t worried about getting dirty. There are points where you have no choice but to scramble and I did get muddy, also if there has been a lot of rainfall this may not be the safest choice of walks.
Make sure that you visit the sea caves, this is one of my favourite places in the area and we go every single time we are in Cyprus. If you fancy cycling, there’s plenty of options to hire a bike or explore the area by foot, due to the hot weather we mainly ran from 6-8am or from 5-7pm.
Alongside the glorious sandy beach, there’s a standard mix of tourist amenities, including places where you can sip cocktails or book a trip to the zoo, rent a dune buggy and you can even play crazy golf. Why not spend an afternoon horse riding? Or jump into a car and explore some of the historical sights in the area as the ‘Tombs of the Kings’.
Have you ever visited Cyprus before? Where are you heading on your next holiday? Or where would you like to visit?