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Cyprus winter sun break | Why it’s the best time to visit

Dreaming of a Cyprus winter sun break? Cyprus has a mix of culture, history, foodie finds and gorgeous hotels. Cyprus has one of the warmest winters in the Mediterranean part of the EU. This makes it a perfect winter break in Europe to get some sunshine.  This beautiful Mediterranean island is a popular choice for holidaymakers and it can get very crowded during the busy summer period. Heading to Cyprus in winter not only means fewer crowds but also cooler temperatures and much better Cyprus hotel deals.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus winter sun break

I recently went on a Cyprus winter sun break taking a flight to Paphos with Jet2, flying from Manchester airport. I spent a few days exploring Paphos and the surrounding areas and experiencing the best things to do in Cyprus in winter. I visited Cyprus in November and if you are wondering if Cyprus still hot in November, rest assured, the daytime temperature is around 22°C. This means it is a really pleasant temperature to explore the island and there are far fewer crowds when you visit Cyprus in November.

Disclosure: this post was paid for by Jet2 which has not reviewed or approved the content of this article.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Things to do in Cyprus in the winter

There is so much more to Cyprus than just beaches, there’s a huge range of cultural activities, historical sites, pretty villages and gorgeous restaurants to be discovered. Read my guide on having a Cyprus winter sun break and get inspired for your next trip.

Cyprus Jeep excursion

Spend an afternoon having a guided jeep excursion in Cyprus. It’s a fantastic way to cover a lot of ground and learn more about the island. We went on a jeep tour with ‘George’s jeep safari’ and went off-roading around the beautiful Akamas Peninsula and secluded Lara Beach.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The Akamas Peninsula is one of the undeveloped and beautiful parts of Cyprus. Exploring the area requires four-wheel drive off-roading, a keen sense of adventure as well as tolerance for dirt tracks and potholes. We bumped along dirt roads and gazed out towards rugged and remote scenery as our driver gave us a rundown of Cypriot history and facts.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Lara Beach Cyprus

We then went to explore Lara Beach, this remote beach is home to green and loggerhead sea turtles, who come to lay their eggs on the beach. As a result of this, loungers and umbrellas are not allowed on Lara beach in order to protect nesting turtles. We didn’t see any turtles as it was the wrong time of year. This is surely a great excuse to come back to Cyprus thought? The soft sands and crystal clear waters make this quiet beach utterly picturesque and definitely worth a visit. In order to access Lara Beach and the Akamas Peninsula you either need to hike, rent a 4WD or book a jeep safari. Do not attempt the dirt roads in a small rental car, you will get stuck! You can also rent a Quad Bike or Beach Buggy and discover the scenic beauty at your own pace.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Laona Valley region Cyprus

We continued on driving towards the Laona Valley region, home to some of the prettiest villages in Cyprus. I loved whizzing past the course, mountainous views and stopping to take some snaps of the scenery around us. The best part of doing a guided tour is that you knot only get a lot of information from your knowledgeable driver, but you also get to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time. This is ideal if you are on a short winter break in Cyprus. You can book a jeep tour for Cyprus online so that you can get a great deal in advance!

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Why not book a tour of Cyprus?

 

Paphos Harbour

Strolling around Paphos harbour with its gentle sea breeze and turquoise blue water is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Stop for a cocktail or a glass of local wine at one of the many bars and eateries on the waterfront. I have been informed it can get quite lively in the evening, so get your dancing shoes on darlings and hit those tavernas!  You can also jump aboard a glass bottom boat for a trip around the harbour seas to try and spot wildlife and shipwrecks. Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The harbour is also home to the iconic Paphos Castle, originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour. It has functioned as a sea fortress, prison and a salt warehouse over the years and is now a popular tourist attraction. Entrance fee to Paphos castle is €2,50, a proper bargain for history lovers and photographers. As it’s quieter in Paphos in November, you should also be able to get those postcard perfect shot for ‘the gram’ without too many tourists in your shots!

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Tombs of the Kings

Tombs of the Kings is an important historic and archaeological site and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient necropolis site contains many large tombs dating from the 4th century BCE to the 3rd century AD. Whilst there isn’t a massive amount known about the site, archaeologists believe it served as a final resting place for local nobility, rather than royalty, as the name suggests.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Visiting the Tombs of the Kings in the winter means there are far fewer crowds than the summer, so it’s a more peaceful and enjoyable visit, especially as the turquoise blue ocean makes for a beautiful and calming backdrop. You could spend hours wandering the site and going into the actual tombs. I personally enjoyed roaming around the tombs pretending I was Lara Croft [minus the heaving bosom]. The site is open 8.30am-5pm daily and the entrance fee for the Tombs of the Kings is €2.50.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Elysium Beach Resort

Spoil yourself with a luxury hotel in Cyprus and stay at the Elysium Beach Resort, one of the best 5 Star Hotels in Cyprus. You can book the Elysium beach resort in advance and get yourself a great holiday deal for winter. The Elysium Beach Resort is a most luxurious stay in Paphos, with swimming pools, private beach, spa and fine dining.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

It’s perfect as a couple’s romantic getaway in Cyprus and has a huge range of facilities and amenities. Winter is a great time to stay at this resort as hotels are often cheaper during the off-peak season in Cyprus, so you can get yourself a great deal on a Luxury Cyprus hotel.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The rooms are air-conditioned and are fitted with a large flat screen TV, there is also a minibar, safety box, free toiletries and hairdryer. The rooms all have a private bathroom and feature contemporary furnishings and sleek design.

I loved that my room had a spacious balcony that overlooked the pool area. It was great to sit out on the balcony at night and quietly reflect on my adventures at night with a glass of wine.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The hotel also has several gourmet dining options, including Cypriot cuisine, pan-Asian and Italian. You have plenty of choices when it comes to dining at the resort. My favourite part of the hotel though is the man-made private beach. Get up early and go for a stroll and be the only person on the beach. It’s so peaceful to sit there and hear the waves crash and no other sounds around you. Utter bliss.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Limassol cycling

Hire a bike and explore pretty Limassol Marina on two wheels. You can easily rent a bike with the Nextbike App, a public bike sharing system. You can register, rent and return bikes using the app and start exploring the marina for only €8 euros per day. Once you have picked up your bike, cruise along the purpose build cycle paths that hug the waterfront and enjoy beautiful views of the ocean.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The newly developed Limassol Marina is certainly an impressive sight as you cycle along, there are numerous flats, shops, restaurants and bars that are all highly modern and very swish. If you need a little rest after biking, I recommend stopping at the Cafe Nero that is right on the waterfront for a coffee and a little relax.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

There are also plenty of places to stop and take a photo, one of my fave places was the little pier where you can watch locals fish. The best thing about visiting Cyprus in the winter is that stunning seaside places like Limassol aren’t overly crowded. So you can easily rent a bike and explore the area without throngs of tourists everywhere.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Paphos Mosaics

The Paphos mosaics is an incredible collection of Roman mosaics and archaeological finds. Accidentally discovered in 1962, this UNESCO World Heritage Site contains mosaics that are 2000 years old. You can find the Paphos Mosaics within the Paphos Archaeological Park, located near the harbour.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The museum authorities have constructed a series of criss-cross boardwalks that allow you to view the fragile and historic mosaics from above, there are several viewing points and information panels to give you an insight as to what the mosaics depict. Definitely go here with a guide if you can though, as there are so many stories and insights behind the mosaics. The Paphos Archaeological Park entrance fee is €4,50 and is well worth a visit.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Choirokoitia village

The pretty village of Choirokoitia is an archaeological landmark and Neolithic settlement that is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cyprus. You can wander around several of the old churches including Byzantine church ‘Panagia tou Kambou’. A popular activity in Choirokoitia is traditional basket weaving workshop at the residence of local artist Petros Nicolaou.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

You can watch an engaging demonstration of this traditional Cypriot handicraft inside the stunning and fully restored, 1903 stone-built house. Petros will explain how this tradition is passed down through the generations as well as demonstrating some of the techniques used to create these beautiful baskets. You are also able to purchase a decorative basket as a rather fabulous souvenir, or as a gift for a loved one.

As well as basket making, visitors can also try their hand at preparing traditional halloumi and soft cheese. Making authentic halloumi involves several steps that Petros talks you through. I’m not entirely sure I have the confidence to try it at home though? I have a reputation for being an enthusiastic, rather than accomplished cook.

After your halloumi making, you can kick back and eat the finished product with a cup of traditional Cypriot coffee in the very Instagrammable courtyard. It’s a really relaxing way to spend a few hours and pick up some knowledge on local culture.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Kourion Ancient Amphitheatre

Historic Kourion is located on a hillside, just outside of Limassol. This impressive city-kingdom has a beautiful ocean backdrop and has huge historical significance for Cyprus. It was one of the most powerful city kingdoms of ancient Cyprus, dating back to 8th century BC. It’s an incredible place to wander around to soak up some history. It also offers several Instagrammable spots for photographers. If you can come with a guide, you’ll get a lot more out of the experience, as they will be able to fill you in on the rich history of the site.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

The centrepiece of this site is the magnificent Greco-Roman theatre. First constructed in 2nd century BC and extended in the 2nd century AD. The sun-drenched theatre has a capacity of 3,500 seats and is still used today for a variety of cultural and theatrical events. The site is open daily and the entrance fee for Kourion Archaeological site is €1.70. Another benefit of visiting Cyprus in winter is that popular tourist spots like these are relatively empty. Meaning you can appreciate the site without encountering busloads of tourists rolling in.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Wine tasting at Omodos village

The quaint village of Omodos is located in the geographical region of the wine-making villages of Cyprus. This traditional village produces a large volume of high-quality local wine. Wine tasting is an absolute must here! Make sure to visit ‘Linos tou Charilaou’, a  medieval wine press that has been converted into a museum. Here you can learn more about traditional winemaking techniques. You can also have a smashing hour or so sampling local wines and playing with the many cats that wander in and out of the building.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

There are several other wineries in the area, including Zenon Winery who produce several award-winning wines such as the famous shiraz-maratheftiko. There’s also a small museum on site as well as the opportunity for wine tasting.

If you are able to stand after wine tasting you can also have a wander around this pretty village taking in sights such as the monastery of the Holy Cross, the many shops selling trinkets and souvenirs as well as Georges traditional Bakery. At this bakery and deli, you can taste local products such as cakes, bread and nut brittle.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Pano Lefkara

Pano Lefkara is famous for its lace and silversmithing and is a popular tourist hotspot in Cyprus. You could spend hours wandering around the alleyways of this traditional village. The houses here are really pretty, they were the homes of artisans and merchants and often then have dreamy, vine-filled courtyards and plant pots. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream here for photography. You can also take a tour of Lefkara to  learn more about this historic village

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Lefkara is home to Cyprus’s traditional embroidery which called “lefkaritiko”. The traditional hand-made lace produced in Lefkara is now included in the UNESCO Representative List of ‘Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity’. The work is incredibly intricate and large pieces can take years to create. I would recommend visiting one of the traditional lace shops to learn more about this craft. You will also be able to purchase some beautiful lace pieces.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visitIf you are keen on buying souvenirs on your Cyprus trip, Lefkara is also known for its silversmithing. Several shops sell all manner of silverware including spoons, crosses, bracelets and rings. Locals will wave you into their shop and enthusiastically discuss their handicraft work with you. Take the time to wander the alleyways in search of shops, Instagrammable spots and of course, local cats to fuss.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

2009 UNESCO recognized Lefkara lace as intangible heritage

There are also several cafes and restaurants in Lefkara should you want to stop for a bite to eat. Some of the best restaurants in Pano Lefkara include Lefkara Leonardo Da Vinci, Stone Lounge, Hercules Fish Tavern and the highly instagrammable Tasties Cafe.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Pano Lefkara is a very popular place with tourists. To make the most of your time there I would suggest visiting very early in the morning. Or perhaps visit Cyprus in winter? It will be a lot less crowded and the temperatures will be a lot cooler for wandering around this small village.

Cyprus food and drink

Cypriot cuisine is so fresh and tasty and compromises of olive oils, bread, fresh fruit, salads, fish and vegetables. There is a huge number of cafés, restaurants and upscale eateries across the island. Many serve traditional Cypriot cuisine, as well as international dishes. You will be utterly spoiled for choice dining out in Cyprus.

Fish Meze

This large foodie feast is a popular part of the Cypriot culture and is a social event rather than a formal meal. Whether you order a fish, meat or vegetarian meze, typically there should be around 15-20 dishes, including dips and bread! Make sure to order a fish Meze at Thalassa restaurant, located at Governors Beach in Limassol. This incredible feast featured squid, cuttlefish, sea bass and octopus as well as vegetables, fries and bread.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Nut brittle

One of the traditional sweet treats of Cyprus is nut brittle, making use of locally grown nuts and sesame seeds, especially almonds and peanuts. You can purchase nut brittle in many shops across the island. You can also see how it is made at ‘Aphrodite Delights’. They are a traditional Cypriot Confectionery Manufacturer, located not too far away from Paphos.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how Aphrodite Delights make their famous Loukoumi Geroskipou, a soft and chewy sweet covered in sugar powder.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Aphrodite Delights has been using the same recipe for over a hundred years for their traditional sweets. You can purchase a range of sweets from their shop, with several different flavours and with or without nuts.

Traditional Cyprus Tavernas

I adore tavernas in Cyprus, especially old traditional tavernas. The ones that have classic, blue and white checked tablecloths, are family run and serve incredible local dishes. In small Cypriot villages very often the local taverna will be the only dining option available. Many will have outdoor seating and pretty courtyards filled with vines and flowers.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Visit some of the traditional villages in Cyprus to find the best and most authentic local home-cooked food. Make sure to order mixed meze for the proper taverna experience. Also order traditional dishes such as souvlaki, courgettes with eggs [Kolokouthkia me ta afka] and moussaka.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Yiannis tavern in Kathikas village is a fantastic traditional tavern with warm and friendly staff, excellent service and lovely views. Be sure to order the Cypriot dips selection with pitta bread and a Greek village salad.

Cypriot breakfast

If you are wondering what a typical Cypriot breakfast is, it normally consists of coffee, olives, halloumi, fresh bread and juicy tomatoes. Most hotels will offer a continental breakfast including pastries and cheese and cold meats. The larger resorts will also offer a full English breakfast. The Elysium Beach Resort has an extensive breakfast buffet featuring local produce as well as British breakfast favourites, for those who need a taste of home.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus fine dining

There are many fine dining experiences in Cyprus with upscale restaurants serving local and international cuisine. Have a luxurious meal at Ristorante Bacco in Paphos. They have a warm, ambient atmosphere, attentive and knowledgeable staff and a fantastic a la carte menu.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Try dishes such as duo of duck breast and confit leg, roast rack of lamb and veal Saltimbocca. All utterly mouthwatering and cooked to perfection. For dessert, I highly recommend the ‘Opalys’ chocolate soup with chilled berries. The combination of warm white chocolate and fresh, cold berries is heavenly. The Tiramisu is also utterly exquisite.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Traditional Cypriot Coffee

Coffee culture in Cyprus is prevalent throughout the island. Coffee is not only enjoyed in the morning but also throughout the day as a social activity. To brew traditional coffee, Cypriots use finely ground coffee beans and water. They then brew in a long-handled pot called a ‘mbriki’. You can drink this strong coffee with or without sugar, dependent on your preference.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus Wine

There is a range of wine producers in Cyprus, producing some very high-quality Cypriot wines. The epicentre of Cyprus wines production is in the picturesque Limassol region. Here you can sample some of the local wines from producers. Restaurants, bars and tavernas across the island will also serve house wine, so you will have lots of opportunities to sample Cypriot wine.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus has its own indigenous grape varieties that include Xinisteri for white and Mavro and Maratheftiko for red. Some typical Cyprus wines include Ayia Mavri Moshato, Vasilikon and Onoufrios. There are many Cyprus wines to try in restaurants and bars across the island. I would always recommend ordering the local  Cypriot wine when dining out.

Cyprus winter sun break | Why it's the best time of year to visit

Cyprus winter sun break

After spending several days exploring Cyprus in November I can happily conclude that Winter in Cyprus is a wonderful time to visit. Cyprus is warmer than elsewhere in Europe at this time of year and the island is considerably less crowded. It’s a really peaceful time to visit and feels very relaxing and refreshing. I love visiting popular places like Cyprus, Venice and Dubrovnik during the winter season as I find it a more enjoyable experience as I can wander around without being shoulder to shoulder with tourists. It’s also beneficial to anyone interested in travel photography.

There is also the advantage of off-season prices and flight deals to be had. Would you have a Cyprus winter sun break? Let me know in the comments below!

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Dreaming of a winter sun break? With a mix of culture, history, foodie finds and gorgeous hotels there are plenty of reasons why you should have a Cyprus winter sun break. Read this guide to learn about visting Cyprus in winter and what the best things to do in #Cyprus are. #wintersun #luxuryholiday #holidays

Dreaming of a winter sun break? With a mix of culture, history, foodie finds and gorgeous hotels there are plenty of reasons why you should have a Cyprus winter sun break. Read this guide to learn about visting Cyprus in winter and what the best things to do in #Cyprus are. #wintersun #luxuryholiday #holidays

Dreaming of a winter sun break? With a mix of culture, history, foodie finds and gorgeous hotels there are plenty of reasons why you should have a Cyprus winter sun break. Read this guide to learn about visting Cyprus in winter and what the best things to do in #Cyprus are. #wintersun #luxuryholiday #holidays

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Jet2. They did not review or approve the content and all views remain my own. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no additional cost to you. By clicking these links you are supporting Pip and the City and helping to keep the content free. Massive thanks for your ongoing support. 

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Pip Jones
Pip Jones

Pip Jones is a UK travel blogger, freelance writer and travel contributor for BBC Radio. She has been shortlisted for at the Visit Holland Press Awards for Travel Journalism. Also shortlisted for a Vuelio blogging award and the UK Post Office Travel blogger of the year. She can normally be found drinking wine, typing an article and taking a selfie all at the same time.

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