Family vacations must be well thought out and planned. The location and accommodation needs good facilities and activities for the kids to keep the days busy, as well as being nice and convenient for the parents. At the gates of Europe is the beautiful, sun-kissed island of Cyprus, with a host of long, sandy beaches, kid-friendly attractions and excellent 5-star family accommodation. Cyprus could very well be your next holiday destination.
Cyprus is located at the crossroads of three continents, where east meets west and new experiences await you around every corner. The island is located in the idyllic Mediterranean Sea, so it already offers a variety of water activities for you and your family. Low-cost airlines from most UK airports fly to Cyprus and a flight of just four and a half hours will leave you in the sun (so hopefully the kids won’t fret too much). The cost of flights starts from £150 return per person at the start of the summer season in May, some airlines may offer family packages so be sure to shop around for the best deal. With all that Cyprus has to offer, you won’t be disappointed.
When trying to choose the exact location for your family holiday in Cyprus, you will find that Paphos, a charming little port town in the west of the island, has the best reviews. Paphos hotels welcome families with open arms and offer a number of special offers and activities for children. Paphos has a rich historical background, hosting many interesting archaeological sites, including the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, the Tombs of the Kings, the baths of Aphrodite, the very famous House of Dionysus Mosaics (under the protection UNESCO) and Paphos Fort. Cyprus is well known for its year-round warm weather, but for families it may be best to visit a little before or after the peak summer season. Consider booking your vacation between March and May, which fits in nicely with the Easter school break. The maximum temperature between these months ranges from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, so remember to pack your sunscreen!
With any family vacation, you and the kids need to be kept entertained. Having a daily itinerary of activities before you arrive is a good way to plan your vacation. Paphos has some fantastic family activities on offer, here are a few suggestions:
Amusement parks and water parks are a great day out for the family, an activity that can be enjoyed by both adults and children. Located at the eastern end of the Kato Paphos coastal road, Aphrodite Water Park is close to many of Paphos’s hotels and offers a short ride if you are staying nearby. There is a wide and varied selection of rides and attractions. Spacious changing rooms and secure changing rooms are among the good facilities available at the park. One particularly nice feature is that any purchases made within the park are charged to your individual wristband, meaning you don’t have to carry cash, which in some busy adventure parks can be a security risk. A day at a water park for an adult (ages 12 and up) will cost €29, children ages 3-11 are €16, and babies under 3 are free. If you think you may want to visit the park a second time during your vacation, you can get a two-day pass, adult tickets €46 each and children €26.
If the hectic atmosphere of a water park isn’t for you and your family, but you still enjoy the water, then a boat tour of the Paphos shoreline may be a better option. With a number of scheduled boat trips departing from Paphos port, visitors can choose between half-day or full-day trips, depending on how full the rest of your holiday schedule looks! There is also a wide selection of glass-bottom boats: these usually depart from Paphos and sail along the coast to the famous Vera K shipwreck, giving you the chance to admire the hidden treasures of the Mediterranean, sight tropical fish and intriguing marine life without getting soaked. The trips only last an hour and leave the port of Paphos several times during the day.
If kids crave a little more entertainment, a ship called the Jolly Roger is the ship for them. It is an old pirate ship that offers a fantastic day out for the whole family. Sail from Paphos along Coral Bay, then drop anchor to swim and snorkel. You can have a buffet style lunch while enjoying the scenery and experience some fantastic family entertainment such as limbo, face painting, acrobat shows and pirate stunts, so hopefully there will be no bored kids or adults!
Cyprus is located in the easternmost part of the Mediterranean basin and right in the middle of the migratory routes of millions of birds. Cyprus has a bird list of 374 species, making it a great destination for wildlife lovers. Luckily, Paphos is home to some truly spectacular birds at the Paphos Bird and Animal Park. When visiting the park, you will come across parrots, cockatoos, emus, ostrich, toucans, and even pigeons, among many other species. Some of the animals that you will see in the park will be camels, deer, giraffes, zebras, primates, snakes and many more. Park facilities include a restaurant and snack bar and a children’s farm where children can get up close and personal with rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and goats. If this is something you know you and your family will love, the park is open to the public from October to March (winter season) and from April to September (summer season), the adult rate is 15.50 euros and that of children of 8.50.
Where to eat
With all the sightseeing and adventures you will have, you need to keep your energy up. Cypriot cuisine is full of lovely warm Mediterranean flavours, there are many restaurants and cafes to choose from serving a variety of Cypriot, Middle Eastern and British influenced cuisine. There is a selection of restaurants around the Old Port offering a variety of culinary styles with fantastic views. In most places you will find a children’s menu due to the popularity of Paphos as a more family friendly destination. Paphos hotels have a wide gastronomic offer in their restaurants/bars. Many large resorts have complimentary children’s meals, including a buffet-style lunch and dinner with a selection of kid-friendly dishes; In addition to food, a selection of free drinks will also be served. That will help keep costs down and allow the adults to have a bit of fun!
Paphos clearly has a lot to offer tourists on family holidays, but there is still one more thing you need to be aware of. Some of the Paphos hotels have a variety of activities and programs throughout the day and night to keep you and your children entertained. These activities may include organized Wii competitions, painting and t-shirt design, table tennis, and other sports. While the children take part in organized activities, well looked after by the hotel staff, the adults can relax by the pool or book a Greek course, a cooking course or an exercise class. You may not even need to leave your hotel with all the activities on offer, but be sure to head out to see all the local historical attractions Paphos has to offer!
If you have never been to Cyprus before and don’t know the language, here is a short guide with some key phrases that children and parents may find useful.
Where is the closest beach?
Pou ine i pio kontini paralia?
Που εÎ¯ναι η πιο κοντινÎ® παραλÎ¯α?
Where is the closest bathroom?
Pou ine i pio kontini toualeta?
Που εÎ¯ναι η πιο κοντινÎ® τουαλÎτα?
Where is the tourist information?
Pou ine i Touristikes plirofories?
Do you have any baby changing facilities?
Ehete diefkolinseis peripiisis vrefon?
Îˆχετε διευκολÏ νσεις περιποÎ¯ησης βρεφÏŽν?
Do you have any highchair?
Ehete pedika kathismata?
Îˆχετε παιδικÎ¬ καθÎ¯σματα?
Do you have a children’s menu?
Ehete pediko menou?
Îˆχετε παιδικÏŒ μενοÏ?
How far is the airport?
Poso makria ine to aerodrome?
ΠÏŒσο μακριÎ¬ εÎ¯ναι το αεροδρÏŒμιο?
I want ice cream
Thelo ena pagoto
ΘÎλω Îνα παγωτÏŒ
Lastly, here are some tips on transportation. Paphos has a recently renovated airport which can now be used in place of Larnaca airport (The Maingate of Cyprus). Paphos New Airport is approximately a 10-15 minute drive from most hotels, while Larnaca is over an hour away. Airport transfers should be available as part of your accommodation, if not, there are many car rental options at the airport that are open 24 hours. If you want to get around easily with the family, the best option would be a rental car, but remember that you drive on the left. If you prefer to rely on public transportation, it can be cheap and convenient, but it’s not the best idea if you’re traveling with small children. Buses can be cheap, but patience is required, they do not run on a regular schedule and only run on certain roads. Why not hire some bikes to get around Paphos, this way it’s cheap and you can see the sights in your own time.
Paphos is a great family destination full of lively activities, historic sites, exotic wildlife and friendly people. If you book flights in advance, accommodations that can meet all your needs, and explore activities that suit the family, then it will be a fruitful and affordable experience that everyone will enjoy.