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Activities for a long stay in Cyprus
Activities for a long stay in Cyprus
293
Evgeniya Kondakova-Theodorou
Author: Evgeniya Kondakova-Theodorou
Translation: Inna Guseva
Photo: Daria Saulskaia
16.03.2020

You’ve probably learned from our previous articles how to navigate and to make the most of your time in Cyprus. Today we suggest you to think about how to make your stay here more interesting, useful and inexpensive at the same time.

What do I mean? For example: where can you learn one of local crafts, when are different festivals, celebrations and events held; which museums open their doors for free; where to go for a walk on foot or by bicycle; where in Cyprus can you find a bookcrossing kiosk and many more similar questions.

Read about all these opportunities in the article below.

Agro-tourism

It’s a kind of active vacation both low-cost and comfortable [1] that will dive you into a country life of Cyprus [2]. This experience allows you not only to admire the pastoral views every day, to treat yourself with home cooking dishes and to walk around the neighborhood but also to take part in traditional seasonal work on the farm.

Harvesting grapes, peaches or gourds — these are just few examples of works you could be helpful with. The crop is harvested all year round in Cyprus. You may also choose to try your hand at a cheese making; for example, the season during which Halloumi is made, starts in May when the lambs and baby-goats are big enough and don’t need their mother’s milk any more. Another option is to go out to sea together with the fishermen, however this activity is more suitable for very committed individuals because of very early wake up; it starts at 5 or 5:30 am in the morning. All these activities will not only enrich your experience about the land and its people and tell you more about local customs and traditions or about its cuisine. This new daily routine, even a temporary one, can also give you a chance to test yourself in a certain way.

To read more: www.agrotourism.com.cy.

Halloumi cheese production in the village of Tohni, Cyprus

A celebration of life

Wherever you plan to stay in Cyprus, you should definitely try to take part in different festivities. There are celebrations during the year to begin with the Easter week in March and April right up to the Christmas in December.

The folk and modern music concerts, dance parties and costume performances, tastings and open air meals, workshops and fairs — it is not the complete list of festive events that are worth to experience in the villages of Cyprus and to have fun at.

Many Cyprus municipalities (and sometimes district governments too) organize free concerts, fests and performances for their citizens from time to time. To learn about the closest event visit the website or subscribe to the announcements at: www.cyprusevents.net.

You can also find the information about celebrations and festivals in Cyprus if you follow the link: www.myguidecyprus.com.

Carnival in Limassol, Cyprus

For students and bookworms

If you are in Cyprus for business or you have come here to study [3] in one of the local universities you probably start thinking what will you do in your spare time during the day.

To read a book might be your choice wherever you are.

You can find bookcrossing kiosks around Limassol and Nicosia where this experimental initiative started in 2015. The bookshelves are waiting for you at the certain places (you can find the list here). People who don’t need their books any more but want to share them with the others leave them there. May be one day someone will read the book you left at the bookshelf.

That’s how it works: if you have already read the book let other people read it too. It’s just so simple and lovely!

Of course there are libraries on the island, including the public one in Limassol, which is one of a kind in Cyprus: its library card is available not only for the locals but also for students and foreign tourists.

Do not forget that the bookstores organize their own sales and meetings with writers. There are several book fairs arranging on the island. For the detailed information please use the following links: www.cyprusevents.net, www.moufflon.com.cy, www.parga.com.cy, www.mavromatis.biz.

Also here are a few Facebook pages here and here.

If you are searching for specialized narrow-themed and translated literature you would better to contact Armida Publications, Rimal Publications, Dias United Publishing Co. Ltd (phone: +357 22 580580) and other.

For everyone

Althought for the many museums and major galleries like the Leventis Gallery and Zampelas Art Museum in Nicosia or Municipal Art Gallery in Limassol, as well as cultural centres and archeological websites in Cyprus the prices for an entrance ticket recently went up, there are still many interesting places with beautiful collections of art and artefacts you could visit for free.

The concerts and other events that are held up there are also free and with rare exceptions suitable for the whole family.

Pay your attention to these places:

Nicosia

Leventis Municipal Museum (15-17 Hippocratous Street; not to be confused with the Leventis Gallery);

NiMAC (Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre) — is a contemporary arts centre and a reading room situated on 19 Palias Ilektrikis Street;

The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation with its exhibit halls and atrium for hosting the events and Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage (86-90 Phaneromenis Street);

The Museums of The Pancyprian Gymnasium;

The Melina Mercouri Hall (on Athinas) and Famagusta Gate on the same street;

Casteliotissa Medieval Hall Paphosgate on Agios Maronas Street;

E.KA.TE (The Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts) — is a gallery of Artist Union of Cyprus located inside the traditional old city house on 11 Peonos Street: exhibitions, workshops, meetings;

Nicosia Pop-up Festival at the end of the year; fairs of artists, goldsmiths and masters in different kinds of crafts.

Leventis Municipal Museum

Limassol

Limassol graffiti on Saripolou Street and Athinon Street;

Carob Mill Museum on Vassilisis 11/1;

Bread Museum “To Ploumisto Psomi” on 9 Gregori Afxentiou Street;

Akrotiri Environmental Educational Centre and wicker weaving workshops;

Also in Akrotiri you may visit a unique monastery of Agios Nikolaos with its beautiful architecture and remains of the old buildings and learn about its ancient history.

For detailed information go to the municipality website: www.limassolmunicipal.com.cy.

Bread Museum “To Ploumisto Psomi” in Limassol, Cyprus

Ayia Napa

Ayia Napa Sculpture Park;

The Medieval Monastry of Ayia Napa and Agrotospito Farm House close to it on Seferis Square;

Cape Greco headland: National Forest Park, Cape Greco Environmental Center and Ayioi Anargyroi Chapel dedicated to the twin brothers and Saints Cosmas and Damianos.

Municipality website: www.ayianapa.org.cy.

Sculpture Park in Ayia Napa

Paphos

Saint Paul’s Pillar and Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Basilica on Pafias Afroditis; phone: +357 26306217;

The Place — Creative Art and Cypriot Craft Center on Constantinou Kanari 56, phone: +357 26101955;

Paphos Archeological Park with preserved mosaic floors, Odeion atrium and Christian catacombs on Ayiou Agapitikou Street.

Website of Paphos municipality: www.pafos.org.cy.

Paphos Archeological Park and Christian catacombs on Ayiou Agapitikou Street

Larnaca

Open air museums: website of Ancient Kition and Hala Sultan Tekke mosque with a Late Bronze age settlement nearby;

Kamares Aqueduct on Larisis Street;

Agios Lazaros Church and its museum;

Events organized by CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organisation);

Annual bird watching of migratory birds and observing other fauna of the island;

Excursions and short trips to the reserves (from November to April) [4].

Website of Larnacamunicipality: www.larnaka.org.cy.

The villages often have their own museums where you can learn more about the local history, living and crafts. Many of them not only dispose of rich collections but also show their exhibits according to modern approach. You can visit this kind of museums for free: so are the museums of Steni, Lefkara and Kakopetria villages; or for a small charge as in Gourri and Fikardou, Kato Drys, Deryneia and Kalopanayiotis villages. Voluntary contributions are always welcome.

An active vacation

It’s always a good option to be close to the nature and spend a great time outside. Sometimes you don’t even need to leave the city for that purpose and I’m not talking about Limassol or any other coastal cities now. It’s about Nicosia.

The parks of the Cyprus capital are just wonderful and have bicycle rentals and different in length walking trails and cycle tracks [5]. There are always plenty of “green activities” to choose from.

Parks in Nicosia

Grammiko Park is the biggest park of the island with the length of 10 km (9,6 to be more precise): it stretches from Athalassa National Forest Park along the territory of President Palace near Strovolos municipality, through the Jumbo store surroundings and ends on Agiou Georgiou in Lakatamia suburb.

Besides the walking trails there are also a cycle track and a few sport grounds, playgrounds for children and courts. Pair of cafes and a special path for dog walking are situated along the river bank. The park has an evening lightning as well.

Metochi Kykkoy Gradens (10 ha): is a park with a former monastery not far from the historical and business centre of the city on Ayiou Prokopiou Street, Engomi district.

It’s a perfect well-maintained place with a quiet and measured rhythm of life, Versailles kind of park in Cyprus with a great fountain in the middle of big round square. Spacious beautiful alleys radiate from the square in all directions. There are several artificial pounds and flower gardens on the territory of the park. You will also have an opportunity to watch the birds and the local fauna species at the aviary and zoological garden.

The park is open for its visitors during the day and sometimes in the evenings during the social charity events that are held there.

Athalassa National Forest Park [6] is a big preservation woodland park that spreads out from the Mall and IKEA to Plati Aglantzias and Dynamic Urban Campus of Nicosia University. The plantations are mixed up together with the park zones. There are special areas for recreation and picnics and pounds with the observation stations for those who want to observe turtles and birds in their natural habitat.

You can buy some drinks and snacks at the kiosks and cafe in the park. The café is also open for the open-air children’s parties.

The walking, skating and cycle paths go in every direction over the rocky hills and hide inside groves of eucalyptus and pine trees.

An unexpected amazing spectacle waits the most active visitors of Athalassa Park: the travel off the beaten path can lead you to the old Venetian stone bridge (we would not reveal its location, it’s more interesting to find it by yourself).

Please, stay on the path during your walk in the park and do not pick up any plants and flowers, because the whole territory is a protected area.

Acropolis Park (on the Acropolis Avenue in Strovolos, it also has exits to the Mykinon, Dasoupolis and Pentelis Street) — is a favourite place of parents with their children and the youth living nearby. Acropolis Park is quite small but a very scenic place with fountains, pounds, playground and a café. But the main attraction are the natural caves that also work as art exhibition and concert halls.

Fun fact: local filmmakers often use this park as a location to shoot the scenes for the series. So another kind of amusing entertainment for you is to watch the filming during your walk in the morning.

The park is closed at night.

Botanical garden on Markou Drakou Square is located right in the middle of Nicosia not far from the walls of the old city where Mouseiou Street meets Nechrou Avenue and Kinyra Street. It’s a green corner with many beautiful shady spots, fish and lotus pounds, fountains, a cacti garden, a peacock’s aviary and a small zoological garden.

It’s also closed in the evening.

Handmade

There are a lot of opportunities for both adults and children to learn a new craft or at least to try one of the workshops on a budget in Cyprus. Apart from advertised workshops at various art schools, galleries and studios there are always festivals where you can learn many different skills for free, for example lefkaritika (Lefkara lace) in the Lefkara village, pottery at the Farm house in Ayia Napa on the Easter week or during other holidays.

You can use our Encyclopedia of crafts as a guide for local folk arts and crafts. May be it will help you to choose a new hobby for your taste. Why not?

There are several Handicraft Centres all over the island. The most famous of them are situated in Nicosia:

Chrysaliniotissa Arts & Craft Centre on Dimonaktos 2, phone: +357 22 347465 and The Cyprus Handicraft Centre of the Ministry of Commerce on Athalassas Avenue.

Industry of Tourism to the left side after Limassol Avenue exit, phone: +357 22 305024.

You can not only buy an authentic souvenir there but also try to make it with your own hands.

Another very famous and popular not to say iconic place is The Place and its workshops in Paphos on Constantinou Kanari 56, phone: +357 26101955.

Stay tuned for our next trips and discoveries!


[1] Winter in Cyprus it’s not only the sun, the green meadows and the warm air at the day time but it is also the sudden freeze in the evenings and at night, the rains and piercing damp or even the snowstorms in the mountains.
So we would warn you against excessive euphoria and kindly ask do not let the warm and sunny weather deceive you and do not wear very light clothes during this season. Take the warm clothes with you on the trip: a turtleneck sweater, a jacket, gloves and a knit hat will come in handy here. While the weather in December and January can be foreseen by the way it begins in the morning, February is rather full of surprises even when you are planning to live on the coast where the weather is always milder.

[2] Cyprus Agrotourism Company is responsible for promoting agrotourism in Cyprus. Its members are the owners of the traditional houses and country farms. More than 60 villages all around the Cyprus are taking part in this project.

[3] I can tell from my own experience that students in Cyprus are those who won’t get bored at all. No matter how old are you at the time you will enter one of the main universities like University of Cyprus for example you will be immediately dragged into its social life full of events and entertainment.

[4] The free of charge offer is valid for guest voucher holders of hotels on the list of CTO
For details visit: www.visitcyprus.com

[5] The exact address you will find on the CTO website. You need to choose the location interesting for you on the map: www.geomatic.com.cy

[6] Add the phone number 1407 (Forestry Department and Fire report line) to your contact list if you are planning walks in the nature like a forest ones for example.