This past summer we were looking for a holiday destination that was close enough to Qatar not to cause us or our toddler too much distress. Included in our requirements was a relatively short commute time from the airport to our final destination as well as affordable housing near or on a beach with access to a pool. We had considered Sri Lanka. But ruled Sri Lanka out, as the easily accessible west coast is in the rainy season during the summer months and we did not want to attempt driving from Colombo to the east coast beaches with a toddler.
We settled upon Cyprus which is just over 3 hours of flight time from Qatar. We found a place to stay 15 minutes from the airport; a pretty basic 2 bedroom apartment in the quaint little town of Pervolia outside of Larnaca.
Here is the view off the balcony of the apartment:
The ocean is just past the houses seen in the background.
Here is the view outside one of the bedrooms on the other side:
You can see the bales of hay in the field. The whole town is like this (aside from the town center) newer pastel colored houses, and apartments amongst the fields of grass which have mostly been plowed and baled.
The toddler did well with the travel as it was relatively short. We did have to distract her quite a bit. At one point in the flight she announced: “I’m finished flying!” Oh, no we thought this is the start of a tantrum but none ensued.
The beaches near were a bit of a disappointment particularly Faros Beach. The sand was that dirty sand that embeds in your swimsuits and doesn’t come out. The beach was full of seaweed as well.
“Don’t go down there”… augh:
The beaches were much nicer a 45 minute drive to the east in Aiya Napa. Have a Look:
Now that’s more like it; clear blue water and fine white powdered sand. No, the toddler didn’t think so. She did not like the feel of the powdery sand on her feet. The dirty sand did it for her. So, we were back to the pool while my son and husband enjoyed the beach.
Cyprus is ½ Greek and ½ Turkish. Larnaca is on the Greek side, OPA! The Greeks are predominantly Orthodox Christian. There were many churches throughout the surrounding areas.
Here’s one. Isn’t it quaint?
And another in Aiya Napa, on the grounds of Adams Beach Hotel:
Makes you want to get married there! As an aside, my husband and I enjoyed our weddings so much that we wanted to do renewal of the vows every 5 years. You heard me right weddings in the plural. We had 3 receptions in 3 different cities on two different continents. I know it sounds excessive but this is what happens when one is American and the other is a New Zealander. We missed the 5 year mark for a renewal but celebrated at the 7 year mark in 2007 in Singapore. It was very memorable. I couldn’t resist putting in this photo taken after the renewal ceremony.
The town of Pervolia was quaint. Did I tell you that already? Take a look at these men engrossed in conversation. Yes, I was spying with my zoom lens.
The food despite our love of Greek food was also a bit of a disappointment. Really overcooked meats and fish with French fries prevailed. Our children wouldn’t eat the food either. Thankfully for them, we ate in the apartment for breakfast and lunch. I had my best meal; grilled lamb at Dinato’s Art café which had only been open 2 months. We ate there twice and came back for ice cream a third time. The lovely owners also have a larger art gallery in Larnaca near the waterfront: Famagosta Art Gallery. We actually ended up buying a painting by the Greek artist Rentis Ranxha. It is being framed as I type. Here is a peekaboo look at Dinato’s:
Aside from the beaches and pools, we made it to the Water World Water Park in Aiya Napa. Great fun despite the high price! We lucked upon discount coupons for the park that came with our grocery purchase at Carrefour.
While driving through the country side, you never know what you will see.
A pink house and car!
Overall, the trip was great family bonding time. Next time we go, we would choose to stay outside of Aiya Napa if we could find a town as quaint as Pervolia.