A help to pack for your next trip
The divided Mediterranean island can be a perfect spot for any kind of traveller, from lazy tourists laying at the pool all day and storming the night clubs of Ayia Napa by night, to the unique experience seekers looking for mountains to climb and borders to cross right in the middle of the capital city Nicosia.
We took a children safety test on Cyprus. With my two children (4 and 1,5 years old), my wife and her teenager brother, we hopped on a cheap Wizzair flight with an intention to spend a calm week wandering round the island. Yeah, right!
These island vibes are to be taken seriously. Just as many places down south, Cyprus runs on it’s own unique and bizarre philosophy, that seem to strike you on every other corner and absolutely unprepared. Don’t over plan and don’t stress when things do not work out the way you hoped they would, this place has it’s own plan for you.
Such a small island yet has two places with an identical name, while roads are perfectly paved and marked. Black-outs are common, so common that don’t get surprised when locals are fixing the electricity with lit up cigarettes in their hands, while Wi-Fi might only work with the front doors opened.
What to do? Make your peace with it, it’s beyond you!
It can get quite cold
They do have a winter! Coming from a minus temperature, +20 sounds more than appealing. But, note, that +20 in Cyprus might mean a completely different thing than you imagine. Especially at night when it does get quite cold. Nearly every house in Cyprus is equipped with air-conditioning. You can also use to heat the place up, but that’s a straight way to catching a cold! So, if you are with small children and travelling any time from November to April,ask for a heater and turn off the air-conditioning right away.
Hospital is superb! From the winter back home, the climate change upon arrival and all the air-conditioning blasting in every restaurant or shop, both of my guys started coughing and got some fewer. For precaution we took them to the Famagusta region hospital near Paralimni.
We were unfriendly greeted by the receptionists. She, without asking, decided that we were from Russia and immediately stated our insurance not being valid. We showed our pink EU passports and her tone changed unrecognizably! I don’t know what’s the story there, but that was very rude and discriminating from her side.
Apart from that, they took great care of us and the children. My guys had a beautiful big play room at their disposal. Doctors were great professionals and staff even bothered to bring the dinner to me and my wife.
border crossing in the middle of Nicosia
December is still great in Cyprus, as there are few tourists and everything is much cheaper. But you do get some rain and kids do find the holiday somewhat boring: all the attractions for them are closed, so go there earlier.
Cross to the Turkish side! I was pleasantly surprised that crossing the border has become no more than a formality. They no longer even issue a piece of paper, that used to be a 90 days visa! The border crossing point is where the main pedestrian street ends right in the middle of the city. 1 minute and you are in a quite different world! Where else can you get that?
Rent a Car
Getting around the island can be tricky. It might be due to the Cypriots obsession with new cars, or the small population, but the public transport on the island is quite poor. It is somewhat better on the Turkish side, but else, using buses ain’t easy. They don’t follow the timetables, the route makes huge circles stopping literally everywhere, thus takes forever and often does not reach the beautiful and interesting places, so you will need to hitch-hike.
Renting a car is probably the best idea. It is not as expensive as you might think and it does give the flexibility. The roads are really good, just note – you must drive on the left hand side and you cannot enter Turkish side with a rented car! Be careful, though, when choosing the car rental company. The big companies with their 50 pages agreements do have some major flaws. When it comes to Cyprus, local rental companies are a good choice. The car might not be a brand new one, but everything will be in order, while their rental agreements are fair and don’t require a card.