Winter in Cyprus, worth it?

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Israel to Paphos for 20 euro, hard to resist. But despite the SUPER CHEAP tickets, I wondered, is it worth visiting Cyprus in January??

Hmm… I bought tickets for my friend and I (ooh, so generous;) and checked it out for myself:

Wednesday to Sunday, here’s our itinerary (with prices) :

Paphos is out in the far west of Cyprus where the mountains meet the sea. There are two distinct sectors: Ktima, the stately old town, uphill and inland, where there are elegant colonial houses and several museums; and Kato Paphos, the main tourist area of restaurants, souvenir shops, low-rise apartments and a few British pubs scattered around the harbour.

Wednesday (arrive)

6:55- 8:05 p.m- Flight to Paphos

Took a bus for 2 and a half euro, walked a lot and got lost until we found our apartment:

We stayed at  -Panklitos Apartments, for a total of 63 euro for the two of us, the entire stay! It was a bit far from the harbor area but close to Tomb of the Kings and at the completely affordable price, it was great… then again, everything is cheap in Paphos in January. The first plus of our January stay.

Thursday
It was raining! Winter, I know, we had to expect it. Instead of hiking, we slept in and went to the nearby ‘Tomb of the Kings’ (which we accidentally called ‘King of the Tombs a lot). Beautiful ruins near the beach, free entry for students so bring your ID. We spend a nice hour there.

Past the tombs, along the beach there is a BEAUTIFUL walkway that reaches the harbor. All together it’s a 45 minute walk. We walked partway, stopped to test the water (it was FREEZING, #January) and then the rain started dripping so we ran for cover by the mall where we discovered European shops and winter sales, yay for winter sales!

The vegetables are also great priced!

 

Friday (hiking!)

We bought a daily bus pass (5 euro) and took the 6:20 bus from Karavella Station to Polis Chrysoxous (line 645) and transfered from Polis Chrysoxous to Bath of Aphrodites (line 622) at 8:00 (http://www.cyprusbybus.com/routes.aspx?sid=4 – this website has all the schedules)

There are two trails and the start is  easy to find:

  1. Aphrodite Trail (circular)

Starting point: Baths of Aphrodite. The section between the Baths and Pyrgos tis Rigainas (the Castle of Regina – Queen’s Tower) is shared with the Adonis trail. The trail follows a rising path to the hill known as Moutti tis Sotiras (370m) and this can be quite tiring, especially in summer. There are springs with drinking water at two points,one at Pyrgos tis Rigainas (the Castle of Regina) and the other at Kefalovrisia.

Length: 7.5 km – Duration: 3 hours – Degree of difficulty: 2

Points of interest: The baths of Aphrodite where, according to tradition, the Goddess of Love used to bathe. Ruins of the Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower), which are believed to have belonged to a medieval monastery. It is worth mentioning the huge centuries-old oak tree which can be seen at the picnic site, where drinking water is also available. Along the trail there are several points which give a view of Polis Chrysochous and the Pafos Forest. Along the route, there are two potable water fountains, one near the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower) and one between location Loutra and Kakoskali. The trail links with Adonis trail.

  1. Adonis Trail (circular)

Starting point: Baths of Aphrodite. Like Aphrodite Trail, the walk can be quite tiring. Two springs of drinking water can be found at Pyrgos tis Rigainas and Kefalovrysia.

Length: 7.5 km – Duration: 3 hours – Degree of difficulty: 3

Points of interest: From the western part there is a view of various beaches of Akamas, such as Lara Bay, Tzioni, Karavopetres, etc. The path goes past Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queens Tower). At Kefalovrysia location it links up with Smiges trail. In order to complete its circular path the trail follows the main road connecting the Baths of Aphrodite and Polis, for about 400m.

 

The view from the hike was UNBELIEVABLY beautiful and the hike itself started out very pleasantly. Sometime in middle we must have merged from the Aphrodite Trail to the Adonis Trail and it took longer than we thought with steep inclines. Also, of course, the trail was muddy and slippery from the rain. It was still great fun, beautiful and definitely recommended.

 

 

Shabbat

A new Beit Chabad opened in Paphos! Yay! (in addition to Limassol and Larnaca)

Activities- we walked along the trail to the harbor, determined to complete it this time (we didn’t)

In the evening we went out to a few bars and a club. The city is seemingly empty and dead in the day (bar a few elderly folk) so this gave us a chance to see some youngsters. Yes, even in the winter there is a bit of nightlife. The drinks are unbelievably cheap (for Israel’s standards at least)

Sunday

Finally we visited the harbor, checked out the Medieval Castle of Paphos. Thank God for this student loving country, entrance was free (instead of 2.50 euro)

We sadly didn’t have time to see the (highly recommended) Mosaics, but like I say, we have to leave something for next time!

The airport bus costs 2.5 and takes around 45 minutes.

 

 

6:55-8:05 p.m- Flight to Tel Aviv

 

SO all in all: Cyprus in January? Definitely! There is so much to see and do, the prices are unbeatable and the crowds are… nonexistent. The locals are great- friendly and helpful,

also! Something we didn’t do but I totally would want to IF we rented a car or had more time- there’s skiing in Troodos Mountains in the winter! Possibly not the greatest skiing, but definitely affordable for students like me.

Have you been to Cyprus? Please do share! I’d love to hear about your experience, what you liked, disliked… 🙂

 

Total spent:

Tickets: 20 euro roundtrip

Hotel: 30 euro per person, 4 nights

Spending money (including 2 dresses from the mall): 50 euro around

 

 

 

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Coming soon… Sofia, Bulgaria!

Next trip: Sofia, Bulgaria. In May! Why Sofia? Well the options I found for the price I wanted were either Burgas or Sofia. Burgas is a beach destination and while that could be fun, May doesn’t seem like the best season for that (despite Paphos in January proving a wonderful experience, see previous post for details;). Mainly I am uninterested in Burgas because last summer I’ve been to Varna (another Bulgarian coastal city) after extensive Burgas vs Varna research. (Varna wins!) This trip I wanted to change it up and see what the Bulgarian inland has to offer.

Just how much were the tickets?: Tickets for two were 220 shekel each. With a member discount they were around 135 each. So we purchased the membership for 130 shekel. The grand total came out to 400 shekel for 2 roundtrip tickets. Not bad. Tuesday morning to Friday morning so that’s three full days. We’ll make the most of it.

What we have planned for now: Sofia is GREAT with its free tours. We scheduled a Free Hike Tour, a Free Bike Tour and a Free Walking Tour (https://www.freetour.com/sofia). Don’t worry, I’ll report back with detailed reviews. Other that there is an opera house we’d like to check out one evening and we’re saving our last day for a day trip.

The day trip options: 7 Rila Lakes– The Seven Rila Lakes are a group of glacial lakes, situated in the northwestern Rila Mountains in Bulgaria. They are the most visited group of lakes in Bulgaria. The lakes are situated between 2,100 and 2,500 metres elevation above sea level. This undisputed Bulgarian wonder spot has fascinated mountaineers for over a hundred years.

Or Plovdiv- With an easy grace, Plovdiv mingles invigorating nightlife among millennia-old ruins. Like Rome, Plovdiv straddles seven hills; but as Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city, it’s far more ancient. It is best loved for its romantic old town, packed with colorful and creaky 19th-century mansions that are now house-museums, galleries and guesthouses.

They are similarly distanced from Sofia and both accessible by public transportation. Tough choice :/

I’ll let you know as further trips and itineraries update!

Have you been to Sofia? Share with me your best city tips and recommendations in the comments!