Here are some ideas for fun days out in Cyprus with children of all ages.
Everyone agrees that Cyprus is a fantastic place for children. The long sunny days and sandy beaches are an irresistible holiday combination; but what to you do if the weather is not so good, or you just fancy a change from the beach?
The good news is that there are attractions all over Cyprus that kids of all ages will enjoy.
Recommended reading "Our Travels Through Cyprus", written by Valerie Michaels. This information is especially for children visiting or living in Cyprus.
The book includes lots of fun things for children to do, like word searches, crossword puzzles and drawings and great illustrations by Jasmin Christoforou. You can also find here a detailed list of attractions for children in Cyprus.
If looked on as another adventure in parenting, visiting new places with children can be rewarding. While planning what the family may want to do in Cyprus, give some options to the children about how time will be spent. After all, when they choose, they are more likely to give the activity good reviews. Be sure to think about alternative plans if the weather is a factor in what you would like to do. It can be very hot in the middle of the day in summer, and it does rain occasionally in the winter.
Consider how you can travel between towns and how much the family can feasibly do in the time you have. Because distances between towns are relatively short, parents may be tempted to take in more than the younger set can handle. A hired car is most convenient, but there are buses, service taxis, and for those who want to get there fast, private taxis (the latter being the most expensive, but for some, the most stress-free way to go). Each town has intercity taxis, too. Fares are reasonable, but be sure to check operating times, to avoid being stranded on an evening out in another town.
Take a few minutes to skim the local English press, which offers invaluable information about performing arts, galleries, exhibitions, films, tickets and contact details. The Cyprus Mail (out daily, except Mondays) has a 'Whats On' section, while the Cyprus Weekly, which comes out every Friday, includes 'Coming Events' in their 'Lifestyle' section.
The family activities described below are organized according to districts: Larnaca, Nicosia, the mountains, and Paphos. More activities in more locations can be found in "Our Travels Through Cyprus" by Valerie Michaels.
Tel: 00 357 23741111
Open all year round (daily)
Mazotos village, Larnaka district
Tel: 00357 24991243
Enjoy a day at the Camel Park, learn about the camel's life and experience a ride.
The Park is open daily.
One of the biggest ostrich Farms/Parks in Europe is situated in Agios Ioannis Malountas, 25 minutes from Lefkosia (Nicosia).
There, one can enjoy the day and learn all about ostriches and ostriches eggs.
The Park is open daily:
09:00-19:00 (May - October),
09:00-17:00 (November - April.
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday.
For further information please phone:
Tel: 357 22 99 10 08/9
4772 Vouni village, Lemesos district
Tel: 357 25 94 41 51 / 25 94 54 88 /
99 43 36 95
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00hrs-16:00hrs
Situated by the Poseidonos Ave, near the hotels Cypria Maris and Ledra Beach.
Tel: 357 26 99 11 77
All year round
Daily: 09:30 - 18:00 (winter)
10:00 -23:00 (summer)
A cleverly designed American 18 hole mini course that is beautifully landscaped and provides great entertainment value and challenging play for all ages.
Situated on the main road of Coral Bay and Agios Georgios Pegeia - Paphos
Tel: 357 26813852
Open all year round
The Zoo offers a great wildlife experience, you can meet giraffe, monkeys, meerkats, crocodile, kangaroos, albino wallabies, mouflon, white lions, tigers and many more.
Tel: 357 23724444
Located at the "gateway" to Ayia Napa, on the Ayia Thekla road.
Opening from April to October daily.
Tel: 357 25714235
The Waterpark is conveniently located in the beautiful Fasouri area, fifteen minutes outside Limassol town centre and ten minutes off the Limassol-Paphos highway.
Open from April to October,
Daily from 10.00h to 18:00hrs.
Tel: 357 25 31 80 00
Located on Highway A1 to Lemesos, Moutagiaka Exit, Junction 23.
Catering facilities are available.
Open from April to October from 10:00h-18:00h daily.
Off Poseidonos Ave., (Hotels area) Geroskipou, Pafos,
Tel: 357 99 52 72 11, 26 22 27 22
Open from April to October from 10:00hrs-18:00hrs.
Larnaca's best-kept secret (and especially for children who are interested in the prehistoric creatures of Cyprus), the Palaeontology Museum is located on the seafront promenade at Europe Square (adjacent to the Larnaca Municipal Art Gallery). The first signs of life here date from about 500 million years ago! Aside from all the bones and neat stuff that has been unearthed on the island, children can participate in the Amateur Shell and Fossil Collection by adding any prize shell, (thereby obtaining a certificate).
With a decent camera, try an hour or two at the Salt Lake. To get there from Larnaca town, drive toward the airport, and after the roundabout, proceed toward Kiti. Not far from the roundabout is a sign for a right turn-off to the Salt Lake and mosque, knows as Hala Sultan Tekke. If the island has recently had rain, this can be one of the best natural studios for photo shoots.
For those who enjoy riding, a good half-day outing can be had at the Camel Park in nearby Mazotos village. Families can also enjoy seeing other, smaller animals, the use of a swimming pool, and a restaurant.
Wind your way through narrow stone streets where crimson flowers cascade from window pots and the aroma of traditional baking wafts through open doorways. Explore jewellery and handicraft shops, dine in charming tavernas, marvel at churches centuries old.
Those engrossed in history and art will make their way directly to the Cyprus Museum, which holds the island's priceless treasures from the first stirrings of the Neolithic Age through the Roman period. At the Byzantine Museum, encounter a dazzling collection of early Cristian icons from the Mediterranean's Golden Age. The State Collection of Contemporary Art takes a newer perspective, focusing on Cyprus' modern artists, some of whom have gained note on the international market.
Come full circle in time and visit the Cyprus Handicraft Center workshops, where traditional arts are practised today much the same way they were in ages past. Relax and enjoy a splendid Cypriot meal, enhanced by one of the island's famous wines.
Later, the nightlife beckons near Famagusta Gate, giving expression to the Cypriots' legendary spirit of celebration.
On the outskirts of the capital city, Nicosia, visit the National Forest Park, also known as Athalassa Park, which actually has two major parts and several entrances. One part offers a lake with ducks, the other a wooded picnic and play area. To get to the lake, go to the Aglantzia area of Nicosia and ask locals to direct you to the lake entrance. You could also find St George's Church, which is on the same road as one of the park's marked entrances. Another entrance can be found on the highway as you leave Nicosia, towards Latsia. The park has over twenty kilometres of track, amidst 500 different kinds of trees, herbs and shrubs. While the park is open through the daytime all year round, summer visitors are advised to go early morning or late afternoon, to avoid high temperatures.
Shopping is one of the highlights of any city, and Nicosia is no exception. There are two notable areas. Makarios Avenue is lined with cafes and shops, as is its parallel - and more upscale - Stasikratous Street. Within walking distance is Eleftheria Square, which is the top of Ledra Street, a mostly pedestrian area, where little ones can drop your hand while you stroll in the old city. About midway down Ledra Street, at the corner of Arsinois Street, look for the tallest building, the Shakolas or Woolworth Tower. Take the elevator to the eleventh-floor observatory to view the city with a 360-degree panoramic view. For toy shopping, try Mavros, on Ledra Street, or Jumbo, in City Plaza on Makarios Avenue. Please note that shops close from 1pm until 4 pm.
A fascinating collection of Cypriot treasures can be found in the Cyprus Museum. The leaflet from the ticket counter guides guests through fourteen rooms of artefacts that date from 8000 BC to the end of antiquity. Plan to spend at least one hour there. Point the children towards the lion statues, silver coins found in a vase, the early Cypriot alphabet, helmets, and an awesome collection of statues, some smiling.
About an hour's scenic drive from Nicosia or Limassol, are Troodos and Prodromos mountains, which peak at 2,000 metres above sea level, two historic hotels nearby are the Jubilee Hotel and the Forest Park Hotel in Platres. You may want to carry a couple of empty bottles with you, because along the way, you can stop and fill them with some of that healthy mountain water. The village of Kakopetria boasts a lovely restaurant and hotel, the Old Mill, where a trout lunch is highly recommended. In Vouni village, the Donkey Sanctuary is an animal lover's paradise, a place where unwanted and old donkeys can be cared for.
East of Limassol, Governor's Beach and Ayios Theodoros offer relatively unspoiled stretches of coastline, Governor's Beach is sandy, while Ayios Theodoros is rocky, but the pleasant ten-minute drive from the highway down to the sea is naturally splendid. Once in Ayios Theodoros, and wearing plastic sandals, older children and adults can enjoy a search to find the most unusual stone, before lunch at a fish taverna. Limassol boasts a beautiful promenade along the sea, where, on a windy day, you could fly a kite (available in most kiosks). One of the cultural centres of the island is the refurbished Rialto Theatre, originally opened in 1933, and beautifully renovated in 1999. The theatre offers both Cypriot and international theatre, dance and music. In Paphos, ancient mosaics of mythological gods can be viewed at the House of Dionysos, the House of Theseus and the House of Aion. These works of art were actually floors of the homes of noble families who lived here between the third and fifth centuries AD. For an up-close look at colourful marine life, check out the Aquarium, next to Theoskepasti Church, in town. About 15 kilometres north of Paphos, along the coastal road to Ayios Georgios, George's Snake Farm is an impressed stop for reptile fanciers.
Being at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, this island has attracted people to its welcoming shores for thousands of years. With so many places to see and its tradition of warm hospitality, no matter where the family roams here, children should find their visit to Cyprus an awesome experience.