Cyprus is a magical island — one where you can go for a holiday, hide from the cold, welcome in the New Year and enjoy the great outdoors. The island’s modern European culture combined with the mysteriousness of its ancient civilisations makes for a very unique place. For those planning to spend November to May in Cyprus, I’ve found seven ideas for ways to relax while at the beach. I’m sure you’ll be able to choose at least three options listed which are suited to you.
Who is a November-May holiday in Cyprus Right For?
As a holiday in Cyprus doesn’t involve constant clubbing, lovers of such a high-paced, active break ought to make note that many entertainment centres and hotels are closed out of season. This first and foremost applies to the central resort of Ayia Napa, while Nicosia and Limassol don’t experience this lull, as in these spots, life goes on all year long.
In November, the island gradually begins to turn into a quiet, peaceful and atmospheric place. The heat starts to subside, and more favourable conditions for cultural, ecological and informative types of tourism appear.
Don’t forget to take your umbrellas and raincoats, as the island is periodically hit with heavy showers. If you enjoy a swim, choose a spot with an indoor swimming pool. For instance, in Paphos, the hotels Agapinor, Veronica and Captain Karas feature heated swimming pools. After you’ve been for an evening stroll, taking a dip in the pool or spending some time in the SPA will help you to relax and warm up. The island’s trademark procedure is thalassotherapy — a complex set of procedures based on ingredients originating from the sea.
Relaxing on the Beach: Can you go Swimming?
Despite the change of climate and occasional showers, you can try to catch a tan by lying on the sun-kissed sand. Some even periodically go for a swim in late October, if the weather has been hot and dry. However, this is likely an exception to the rule. But even at this time of year, you ought to apply sunscreen with 20 SPF - 30 SPF, as well as lip balm with 30 SPF, before going outside.
The water temperature matches that of the air, ranging roughly from 10-22 degrees. At this time of year, there can be strong winds along with frequent showers on the island. You can see the water temperature at any moment here and here.
Which Clothes to Take?
The island temperature from November thru March ranges from 5-19 degrees, so don’t forget to pack some trousers, an autumn coat, jacket and trainers.
The temperature from April to March switches between 10-30 degrees. If you’re feeling bold, you can wear cotton and linen summer clothes in the daytime, as well as shorts and flip-flops. In the evening — a light coat, long-sleeved jumper, trousers and closed footwear.
If you’re planning to go for a swim in the pool, take a change of swimwear with you. When going on the beach, you can bring a pareo and Panama hat. Grab a rucksack or small shoulder bag for tours around the city, as they’re more convenient for carrying cameras and sunglasses. I advise wearing glasses with UV protection. Interestingly, in the European Union, it is prohibited to sell dark sunglasses without a UV filter, so if you haven't bought your glasses at home, you can get a pair from practically any small shop for around 10 euro.
Aside from clothes, your suitcase should also contain the following:
- Body moisturising lotion,
- Thermal Water,
- Insect Repellent,
- Water repellent spray for clothing and footwear.
You can find a full list of advice on what to pack in your suitcase here.
Ideas for Relaxing at the Beach
1. Aerial Yoga. Antigravity yoga takes place in the air — on a hammock or swing. Lie on the hammock face-down with your arms and legs to the sides, forming a butterfly position. In your time on the island, you will be fully able to relax, improve your flexibility and discover a world of new sensations. If you’ve been planning to practise yoga and meditation for a long while, then this is the ideal time to try a beginner’s pose.
2. Make a picture from shells or decorate the trees with hand-made stone trinkets. You can have a great time making shell pictures, which you can buy from shops in winter, or construct by yourself after a stroll along the beach, as more storms happen in this season, meaning that many shells wash up on the coast. If you love to draw, you can grab yourself some watercolours and try to recreate, for instance, the “Ninth Wave”.
3. Badminton. A sport requiring speed and attentiveness, which will improve your mood and help tone your muscles. The game aids in developing motor coordination, as well as improving your focus and reaction times. For such an activity, you’ll need two rackets and two-three shuttlecocks — so you have spares. It’s better to time this with a period of windless weather, but this is no easy feat in winter. Therefore, for such cases, a beach option has been created, which is somewhat of a cross between badminton and ping-pong, only with heavier balls made of rubber. You can get a “beach badminton” set from almost any beach kiosk.
4. Beach Golf. You’ll need two golf balls or ping-pong balls. Dig out your target holes at a distance of half a metre to a metre from each other, then take turns at throwing the balls. I usually order some online before my trip. If I’m successful with my choice of seller, I’ll manage to save on my purchase and get an additional piece of sports equipment for a beneficial price.
5. Sand Sculptures. This activity involves manifesting and developing your creative skills. Castles, strange and fabulous sculptures crafted from sand. You’ll need children’s buckets, sand moulds and spades. There’s also a second option — make a sandbank in advance, then give it some original, artistic polishing. You can take a spray bottle with you to create sculptures more effectively.
6. A Picnic with Sliced Fruit and Veg. You can usually combine a picnic with any of the activities listed above. We all love to relax in the great outdoors, enjoy some juicy fruits, get a tan in the sun or study the starry sky. You can make some delicious snacks beforehand, fill a thermo-flask with tea, coffee or make some tasty smoothies from local fruits.
7. A Walk on the Water. Despite the low water temperature, nobody removes the boats, catamarans, kayaks and many other variations of water sports, which will be a pleasant experience for everyone. If you prefer extreme sports and aren’t afraid of the water, then go for a ride on a banana boat, hydro cycle, “tablet” or try water skiing.
Fun on the Beach for Kids
1. Treasure Hunt. Children are split into teams of 2-5 people. The first team creates clues and riddles beforehand then hides them in the sand and trees. The final clue should lead to where a prize — a packet of sweets, a bar of chocolate or a toy — is hidden. The second team rushes to look for the shells, while the first team completes a large lap of the beach. If the second team doesn’t manage to find all the shells in this time, the first team begins to catch those looking for the treasure. If the second team is caught, the prize goes to the first team.
2. Storytelling with Stones and Shells. A game that even adults will enjoy. You need to get a group of friends to gather different-sized shells and stones as a team. Each player should place the stones in the sand as illustrations, coming up with one sentence to create an exciting tale which corresponds which the figure made. The idea of the story and the stone drawing can be changed throughout the game.
3. “Go! Stop!”. The leader stands in the middle of a numbered circle, closes their eyes and shouts “Go!” and “Stop!”. The other children start to run after the word “Go”. After the word “Stop!” they freeze in place, while the leader calls out any number on the circle. The person located opposite the number runs away. A little later the leader again gives the command “Stop!”, opens their eyes and guesses their distance from the player in steps. The steps can be different: tiny lilliputian steps (foot to foot, toe to heel), gigantic steps (stretching your legs as far as possible) or camel steps (the length a camel’s spit can reach). The leader begins to step while the remaining players watch. After they have finished stepping, the leader extends their arm. If they manage to touch the player who ran away, the leader is the winner, and another player takes his place.
The Best Beaches in Cyprus
Aside from exciting holiday ideas, I’ve pointed out the three best beaches to my taste (see here for more options). Places where you can make your holiday more creative, and ones you can recommend to your friends and relatives.
- Coral Bay. It lies surrounded by slopes in a small bay in Pegeia, part of the Paphos district. From both sides, you’ll be able to see the cape and the small island of Maa-Palaiokastro. Strong winds are a rarity here. The sea is always two-three degrees warmer compared to other beaches.
The beach is covered with soft, warm yellow sand, without any shells or small stones mixed in, so it’s appreciated by large families with children.
There are changing rooms here, separate fountains for washing your feet, shower cabins, restaurants and small fast-food islets. The beach has been equipped with water and inflatable attractions for children. There are also boats and hydro-cycles for adults, but many activities will most likely be unavailable out of season.
- Fig Tree Bay. In the small resort town of Protaras, people visit this bay more than any other relaxation spot. It was named after a fig grove which according to legend, invaders from the East planted in the 12th century. The forest used to be rather large, but part of the trees was chopped down, and a beach has been created in its place.
The beach is kitted with deckchair loungers, small cafes, changing rooms, slides and banana boats. Fans of diving have the opportunity to explore the underwater world of the stone caves.
- Pissouri. The beach neighbours a bright, atmospheric village. You rarely encounter people on it in the wintertime, but this is the place where you can be one with nature, take a break from the large cities and the constant hustle and bustle in them. Pissouri is mainly used by people living in Cyprus.
The sea coast is always clean and well-kept, but the beach is pebbly, and sand is often encountered in small, grey-shaded strips. Small-sized shells can sometimes end up there, so walking barefoot isn’t desirable. If you’re planning to have a holiday with children, then you’re better to choose the first or second beach, as Pissouri has a large and quick incline into the water, and the waves can be rather intense.
A cafe is open here all year round, but only till sunset in wintertime — roughly until 5 pm. Pissouri beach is suited to those who love being alone with their thoughts, with nature, and to those who enjoy taking photos of the unforgettable spots in the Mediterranean Sea.
Naturally, Cyprus in the out season can seem like a cold and dull place in comparison to the summer months, but this wonderful island conceals a great many surprises. The main thing is to plan your holiday with a positive attitude. I reckon that having been to the island, at least once, you’ll definitely fall in love with Cyprus.
Have a Great Holiday!