Lonely Planet Pathfinder and the adventurer behind WildJunket, Nellie Huang, recently took some time out to visit Cyprus. Here she shares some of her favourite Instagram snaps she took while exploring, and shares her tips on how to make the most out of your visit.
‘Marooned in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is an island nation where the east and west come together in a beautiful union. It’s a true melting pot of Greek and Middle Eastern flair, characterised by an eclectic mix of Greek Orthodox churches and Ottoman mosques, ancient Roman ruins and Soviet-style buildings.
I took some time to peel through the layers of history and culture, and found it be a destination that’s truly unique and intriguing.’
A YEAR-ROUND DESTINATION
‘Where in Europe can you find t-shirt weather in winter? Thanks to its geographical location, Cyprus is known to have the warmest winter in the continent, with temperatures around 22-24℃ in the day and 12-14℃ night. During our winter visit, we had warm sunshine every single day — good thing I left my parka at home and opted for my sunglasses and straw hat instead.’
BEYOND THE BEACHES
‘It comes as a surprise to many that Cyprus is more than just a beach destination. Far from the coastline, the island is in fact covered with endless pine forests, colourful vineyards and towering mountains further inland.’
‘Home to the highest peak in Cyprus, the Troodos Mountains are one of the best regions to get active and experience the island’s nature. With our 9-month-old baby perched on our back, we hit the Kaledonia Nature Trail, a 3km gradual uphill hike that’s relatively easy and short, perfect for families travelling with kids.’
‘Cyprus was an important centre during the Byzantine and Roman empires when a flurry of ancient cities were built throughout the island. Many of them still stand strong today. One of the most impressive historical sites on the island is the Kourion archaeological site, originally built in the 2nd century BC. You can easily spend a full day or more strolling through its agora (an open space for public assemblies and markets) and admiring the impressive mosaics and colonnades.’
‘With so much to see and experience in different corners of Cyprus, there’s no better way to explore the island than by car. Take to the wheel and feast on stunning coastal views such as the one pictured above at Petra Tou Romiou, or Aphrodite’s Rock where Aphrodite was believed to have emerged from the sea.’
‘Cypriot food truly surprised us in many ways. The blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours coupled with fresh ingredients has made it one of my favourite cuisines in the world. Mezes are a staple of Cyprus food — lunch is not just one dish, but a spread of dips, pita bread, vegetables and seafood or kebab meat served all at once. In Cyprus, you definitely won’t go hungry.’
‘On our last day in Cyprus, the sun put on a show for us and painted the skies a beautiful shade of vermillion with its spectacular evening rays. It was a perfect end to our short week in Cyprus packed with plenty of history lessons, cultural immersions, outdoor fun and excellent meals.’