Frugal Family Winter Trip To Cyprus - The Itinerary - Part 2

In February, our family turned a trip to the island of Cyprus for the purpose of getting American passports for my children into an amazingly fun vacation. This is part of a series I am writing about our trip there. I've written part one of our itinerary out, what we did the first few days when we were based on the eastern part of the island, in Paralimni, and now is time for part 2, what we did when we were based on the western part, in Paphos.

On Thursday, our fourth morning in Cyprus, I wanted to leave early so we'd have plenty of time to do things while also going on our long drive to the new AirBnB, but we'd had a long day beforehand in the Troodos mountains, so it took us some time to pack up everything, clean up, and leave our AirBnb, so we started the day later than originally intended. (This was a theme on our trip, but that's ok. While I want to have fun on our trips, I would prefer to see less and be less stressed.) 

As I mentioned in the other post, my son, Ike, had a desire to cross as many borders as possible on our trip, which is why we went to North Cyprus, and he also wanted to go to the British part of the island. Akrotiri is on the southernmost part of the island, and to the delight of my son, when you put Akrotiri into Waze, it shows up as "Akrotiri, UK". 

In addition to crossing the border, we wanted to see the Akrotiri salt lake, home to migrating flamingos, the Environmental Education Center, and also visit Kourion, an ancient city state nearby, and if possible also the sanctuary of Apollo and Limassol castle. But because of the late start of the day, we didn't have time for most of those. It would have been too late to go to the Environmental Education Center since it closed at 1:30 pm. There also is an even nicer salt lake with flamingos in Larnaca which is where we would be flying home from on the following Monday afternoon, but I wasn't sure we'd be able to make it there in time before our flight home, so I debated about going to Akrotiri. But Ike really wanted to cross into the British area; that was all he wanted that day.

I decided that since we couldn't see the archeological Cyprus Museum, I wanted to make sure we got to one archeological museum on our trip, so I decided that we'd go to Kourion, but first stop at the Archeological Kourion Museum

It was cute and small and quaint and free

and we enjoyed stepping in there for a little bit to see what discoveries they made at the nearby archeological site. 

(Of course, one of my kids commented about how many butts were on display.)

Then we drove over to ancient Kourion. Or we tried to, anyhow. I inputted Ancient Kourion into Waze and it directed us towards the sea, and as we drove along the beach it wanted us to turn into this overgrown area. Something didn't seem right. I checked again and I really needed to put "Kourion Archeological Site" which was a 4 minute drive away. 

But my kids first wanted to jump into the water at Kourion beach, where we waded and splashed and collected some rocks.

After we headed over to the archeological site. This was going to be the most expensive place we were visiting (other than the ski lift), at 4.5 euros per person, which is still cheap. At the entrance, when I went to pay, they told me "Students and children are free." I asked until what age and he said all. So I said I have 4 kids and then he said "Do you have any senior citizens? They also are free." I said no, just me. But then I decided to ask if they have discounts for people with disabilities, and he said "They're free too". So I said I have disability and asked him if he wanted to see my card and he waved me along and said no need, and we entered for free. So that was nice.

We walked around and took in the sights. 

Lots of antiquities...

Combined with gorgeous vistas...

So many places demanding to be photographed...

It was really pretty and cool but there weren't too many signs explaining what was what, so we just enjoyed the sights even if we didn't know what exactly we were looking at.

There were actually more signs in braille, as well as raised diagrams of the ruins, which I thought was amazing, because it is blind people who need the descriptions more than anyone else, though I would have preferred some more signs explaining the area.

Another place I had wanted to see while I was in the area was the ancient ampitheater, which I assumed was another site nearby but it was actually part of the park we were in and it was beautiful.

Apollo's sanctuary that I'd also wanted to see was, in fact, not there, but a few kilometers away, so we needed to miss that.

By this time it was getting closer to sunset, and I wanted to be able to reach the salt lake while it was still daylight as well as driving to the UK. I put in the address of the UK army base, "Flamingo way" and we drove straight to the army base and saw the salt lake. But there was no actual border crossing or anything to demarcate that we were now in the UK. And the salt lake really was nothing much to see. I didn't see that we could get too close to it, but we couldn't see any birds or flamingos. This was why I didn't prioritize that and instead prioritized Ancient Kourion, since I had seen on the Trip Advisor review of the place that you weren't able to see the salt flats well from there and you might not be able to see any flamingos. We were at least able to mark off "Go to UK" on our checklist, and officially saw the salt lake. But that made me more convinced that I wanted to buck our late start trend this trip and actually leave Paphos early on our last day so we'd be able to see th more impressive and more-likely-to-contain-flamingo salt lake in Larnaca.

We drove on to Paphos after that and settled in to our new AirBnB which my children liked even better than our first one. 

The next day, Friday, after sleeping in (no surprise there) we drove to Innia village to the Turtle Museum.

 I'd call it more of a turtle education center, because there were many videos to teach about turtles, both in general and the ones that call Cyprus's beaches home, conservation, turtle evolution, and more. 

There were also some interactive games and a little exhibition room with some taxidermied turtles, shells, and models.

 It was sweet, we enjoyed it, and it was free. I asked them how they made money and they said that it was paid for by the EU.

There was supposed to be a viewpoint in the area and a short scenic hike to an overlook we wanted to do, but we couldn't find the starting point after many attempts, so we decided to head back to Paphos. On the way back, we saw a little sign on the road for a winery and museum, so decided to be spontaneous and check it out. 

There was a cute little restaurant, a dinky little museum mostly with pictures of the winery from previous generations as well as some interesting paper mache models, a nice gift shop, and an old limestone cave where they used to store wine to keep it cool while it aged. 

It wasn't anything special to write home about, and not something I'd recommend to others to put on their list, but it was free, and I didn't mind going 1 kilometer out of our way to see it.

Back in Paphos we decided to do a little walking tour of the city. We walked down to the harbor, taking in the sights along the way, seeing many antiquities as well as beautiful buildings- St Paul's Pillar, an Ottoman bathhouse, a beautiful monastery, and we ended up by the Paphos castle. By the end the kids were cranky and tired from all the walking.

Saturday was a pretty chill day. We took a walk to the "old town" of Paphos, trying to find something that was, perhaps, the equivalent of Nicosia's market, but it was very dead, being the middle of the winter, and definitely not prime tourist season. 

We met some tourists who were just based in Paphos and without a car, and they were looking for suggestions of what to do, so I shared some of what I found there was to do in the area. We met some natives and they told us that in their opinion, the best time of year in Cyprus is the winter; the summer is just too scorching hot. I asked one of the natives I met while walking down the street, who was sitting at a very sparsely populated outdoor cafes, if there's a nightlife in Paphos, and she laughed and pointed to her table and said "This is it. Going out to eat with friends and having a class of wine. That's it."

The only notable things we saw on that walk was the scenic overlook at Diokitiria square, where we watched sunset, and the Hamam, an old Ottoman bathhouse, below it. There were some plaquards on the wall along side explaining the history of Cyprus and the various conquests, but it was very sun damaged, and not so easy to read. 

I honestly do think that Paphos was one of the more boring places we were in in Cyprus, though the area around it was beautiful. But you really needed a car for that.

After that was a day that I really was excited for- the Avakas Gorge! When I was in Crete in 2019, I took a hike in the beautiful Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, and I was wondering how it would compare. The Avakas gorge was a little bit of a drive from Paphos, and then Waze directed us to a little church, after which there was a very rocky dirt road. Since my rental insurance on the car did not allow off roading, we parked there and walked on from there. A few other tourists did that as well. It was quite a bit of a walk to the start of the Avakas Gorge, but it was pretty and green, so we didn't mind it.

Once we got to the entrance of the area, we found bathrooms (we were concerned there wouldn't be any) and drinking water, and then we went inside. This park was also free. There were signs saying that you should be careful in the winter because water levels can rise rapidly, but I had checked the weather forecast and it wasn't supposed to rain, which was good because flash floods can happen in gorges and be extremely dangerous.

Avakas Gorge has a hike that is along a stream between pretty walls of what I assume is eroded limestone. You can try to balance on the rocks whereever you're supposed to cross the stream, but after too many times that I tried to cross but felt like I was about to fall off, and my shoes got somewhat wet anyhow, I decided to just walk in the water, sneakers and all. There was a part with a small waterfall that you couldn't really pass without getting wet, so that's when my girls and I decided to go all in and just not even attempt to stay dry.  I may or may not have slipped into the mud and gotten my clothes muddy, but that's all part of the fun. My boys still tried their best to stay dry.

It was a really pretty hike. As we went along we saw some people who'd passed us on the way there start heading back in our direction, and we asked them if the path ended. They told us that after a bit the path goes up and no longer in the gorge, so they decided to walk back. More and more people were telling us this, but we finally saw some people who said they'd let us know what they found went they went ahead. 

When we stopped to eat lunch, we saw those people walking back who said that the path did continue back down into the gorge, but they saw the sky becoming darker and they were worried it would start to rain, and they didn't want to be caught in the gorge in the rain. I decided that that probably was the smart decision, because I wanted to avoid becoming casualties of a flash flood. 

We walked back at a slightly brisker pace, but once we were out of the gorge itself we went back to a more leisurely walking pace. We saw lots of goats grazing in the park, as well as a 2000 year old olive tree stump. We grazed on foraged goodies, and eventually made our way back to the car. (It never ended up raining, after all that.)

We still had some more time, and decided to go check out Aphrodite's Baths. You enter a (free) botanical garden with lots of local plants, go along a pretty path, and eventually find a grove where supposedly the Greek goddess Aphrodite met with her lover, Adonis.

 It was gorgeous, but you weren't allowed to go into the water. We walked a little more and by then were out of the botanical gardens. (I think they continued more in the direction we didn't take, but we didn't go back to see.) 

From there, there were some hiking paths we could have taken (called Aphrodite's Trail), but my kids were finished with hiking by then (I can't even keep track how many kilometers we walked on our trip, but it's definitely a lot) so we decided to see if we could maybe see the beach. 

Next to where we parked was a little restaurant that had a bathroom, and from the bathroom we could see a few steps that led a little closer to the cliff that overlooked the water, so we decided to see what was there, and the steps continued until they went all the way down the cliff to a beautiful rocky beach called Aphrodite's Beach.

First one kid decided to make their way down the rocks into the water, then one by one each decided if they wanted to roll up their pants or skirt, take off their shirt, or whatever, and we all splashed around and got fully soaked, jeans and all, in the cold water. 

It was our last full day on the island, and our first time fully swimming in the Mediteranean on this trip. It was intense but fun and a great experience. We collected some absolutely beautiful rocks from the beach. There were so many different colored stones of all different types and colors, and we tried to collect our own unique and beautiful rocks.

There was only one problem with this- the AirBnB we were staying in had laundry facilities, but only a washing machine, and no drier... and wet jeans and sweaters take a while to air dry.

Once we were back at the apartment, we packed up our things and cleaned up, so we could leave as early as possible in the morning, since we wanted to be able to still see things in Larnaca before our flight that left at 2:00 pm.

In the morning, for the second time that trip, period, we actually managed to leave bright and early and headed back to the eastern part of the island. The thing we wanted to see most in Larnaca was the salt lake, with their flamingos, as we'd never seen flamingos in the wild before. 

When we got to Larnaca, we fortunately had a good 2 hours or more before we needed to head to the airport. We got to see the the flamingos in the distance in the very shallow lake... and then we decided to see if we could wade in to get closer to them. We figured... if the flamingos were able to stand there, the water couldn't be so deep. And so we walked, carefully, churning up the muddy bottom, making sure not to fall, attempting to get closer to the flamingos. But despite walking out some ways, they still didn't seem any closer. But it was still fun to do.

After we got out of the water, I needed to fill the tank with a little more gas (I was on empty and I still wanted to do at least one more thing before I returned the car, so I bought a few Euros worth of gas) so went with one kid while the other three decided to go running along the lake. They had a great time.

We still had some more time before we needed to return the car and head to the airport (it's amazing what waking up early can do) so we decided to go check out some of the old sites in Larnaca. 

We saw the old castle, but didn't realize until we got there that you had to pay to enter, and since we had so little time, we didn't bother. 

We just walked around the outside and enjoyed the site. 

We passed near the beautiful and ancient Great Mosque of Larnaca, Dzami Kebir/Kebir Buyuk when we were headed back to our car. 

On the way to the car my sons had wanted to stop and buy themselves hats as souvenirs, so I decided to get some for each of us.

Unfortunately we didn't have time to see the last thing I had listed as an option in Larnaca- the Kamares Aqueduct, and headed to return our car, then to the airport, where check in was a breeze (they didn't seem to care too much about EU rules about liquids). 

And thus concluded our wonderful Cyprus winter adventure.

I'm sorry it so long to write this post. I started it back in February, but getting all the pictures together for the post was stressful, so I decided to bite the bullet and write this post anyhow, so I can finally get this up. 

I have some more posts I wanted to share about Cyprus, and now that this is posted, those are coming right up.

Have you been to Cyprus? Did you see any of these places? Do any of these things that we did seem like things you'd want to put on your to do list? Those of you who have been to Paphos, what were your favorite things there other than the beach? Any thing I missed that would have made me enjoy Paphos more?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

Previous Post Next Post