Touring the Island of Aphrodite
Travelling around Europe is nothing new to many camper van owners, but leaving the mainland might be – and if you’re considering some island-hopping in your camper van, Cyprus could be the perfect destination.
Not only does Cyprus have year-round sunshine, with rainy days a real rarity, it has hot summers, mild winters, some exceptional beaches and is roughly half the size of Wales, so it won’t take too long to get around the entire island.
And they drive on the left too, so there’ll be no confusion at roundabouts!
So, where should you go when you get there? Check out our itinerary – it could take you six days or six weeks, it’s up to you…
Landing in Limassol
You’ll most likely begin your Cyprus odyssey at Limassol airport and you won’t be short of things to do – Limassol castle is close by, and the city’s markets are well worth a look.
Alternatively, take a trip to the Cyprus Historic & Classic Motor Museum, the only one of its kind in Cyprus, or a trip out to the KEO Winery, the largest drinks manufacturer on the island.
If it’s thrills you’re after, Sayious Adventure Park offers paintballing, archery, and drift go-karting as off-road ATV and buggy tours – though you’ve probably had enough of driving by now!
Upon leaving Limassol, head for the historic city of Paphos, but make sure you stop off Kolossi Castle, Kyrenia Castle and the Kourion ruins on the way. The charming village of Pissouri is also worth a stop-off en-route.
Paphos is crammed with culture and history – there are year-round festivals and ancient ruins everywhere – and the city will be the European Capital of Culture in 2017. If history is your thing, the museum on the site of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite is well worth a visit, and parts of the city’s ancient wall are still intact – more than 2,500 years after they were built.
Make sure you take a trip out to the Ancient Odeon, which dates back to the 4th Century BC and is still in use today.
It you are in Paphos between the months of May and September there are a number of festivals including Aphrodite Festival of Opera, the Anthestiria Flower Festival, or the Dionysia Festival, a three-day arts, crafts and dance carnival that has been going since the 1960s.
Take in the Troodos
Upon leaving Paphos, head for the Troodos Mountains – the largest mountain range on the island and a UNESCO National Forest Park covering 9,147 hectares around Mount Olympus.
Head east to Pitsilia to discover charming, picturesque villages and vineyards nestling among the mountain peaks and valleys, or head west to the Marathasa Valley which is also dotted with picturesque villages like Kalopanagiotis, Moutoullas and Pedoulas.
To the north is the Solea Valley, with Byzantine churches, traditional architecture and some great restaurants in the villages of Galata and Kakopetria. And if vineyards are more your scene, the mountain’s southern slopes house a number of wineries that welcome visitors, while Omodos village is well worth a visit to take in its cobbled streets, museums, monastery and folk architecture.
If you go during the winter months you might also get a bit of skiing in as Mount Olympus, the range’s highest peak, has four ski slopes.
Nicosia and Nightlife
Upon leaving the Troodos mountain area, the next part of your trip takes you to Nicosia, a vibrant city that is Cyprus’ financial hub and world’s only divided city – the northern part of the city is the capital of northern Cyrpus, while the southern section is Greek Cypriot territory.
Again, history and culture are strong here, with the Cyprus Museum, Famagusta Gate, and the Venetian Walls all worth a visit. Alternatively, Nicosia has some great shopping, from high-end fashion boutiques to the more traditional wares on offer at Laiki Geitonia.
And after all that, you can end your road trip by crashing out on the beautiful beaches of Ayia Napa, or letting yourself in the island’s party capital, before heading back to Limassol. There really is something for everyone on a road trip around Cyprus.