Ten romantic things to do in Cyprus
1. Petra tou Romiou and the myth of Aphrodite
Halfway between Limassol and Pafos, a distinctive group of huge rocks are scattered just offshore and according to mythology this is the point where Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, emerged from the waves to begin her life in Cyprus.
Today these famous rocks are a popular attraction with visitors and residents alike as there is a very distinctive ambience there – especially when the rising sun chases the night away and the numerous fishing boats head back to the harbour with laden nets.
Local legend tells how any woman wanting to be blessed with eternal youth should swim out to the furthest rock, swim around it in an anti-clockwise direction and then back to the shore.
2. Sailing around the Akamas
Cyprus is like a leaf floating in the eastern Mediterranean and it is surrounded by sea of the deepest blue.
With 330 days of sunshine each year, there is always the opportunity to enjoy the sea. There are boat trips available from all the harbours and there is nothing more romantic than snuggling up to your other half and relaxing to the motion of the boat.
One of the best boat trips leaves Latchi harbour on the north coast every morning and heads westwards along the coast towards the tip at Cape Arnaouti.
The coast in this part of the island is beautiful with sheer cliffs, small secluded bays and the beautiful blue lagoon which is the perfect place to enjoy a dip in the crystal clear water. The water is enjoyably warm for much of the year and as you peer down through the water it is not unusual to see small shoals of silvery fish around your feet.
3. A drink at sunset
Cyprus at sunset is always romantic and a drink sitting at the clifftop restaurant at Konnos overlooking Konnos Bay and the beautiful azure sea that stretches to greet the horizon. It is certainly an idyllic spot. The golden sandy beach is cradled between two craggy headlands on the south-eastern tip of Famagusta Bay and the backdrop to the cliffs is a pine wood. It is well worth the drag down the steep steps to reach the beach with its wonderfully fine sand, although a boat trip from Ayia Napa or Protaras is easier!
4. The little church at Ayios Giorgios and the legend about love
North of Pafos lies the tiny settlement and fishing shelter of Ayios Giorgios which overlooks the islet of Yeronisos which is proving to be an archaeological treasure chest. Perched on the cliff top near to the large modern fish restaurant and modern church of Ayios Giorgios (Saint George) stands a little chapel, known locally as ‘the church of lovers’. Small and unimpressive on the outside, this tiny 18th century stone chapel is popular with lovers across Cyprus – keen to know that theirs is a true and equal love.
Local legend tells that those eager to know if their love is true should visit the chapel. Inside there are wax candles on sale and traditionally these are lit in memory of someone who has died, or in prayer for a special request. For those needing an answer to that burning question ‘does he/she truly love me? The test is to light a candle and to point it downwards whilst saying loudly and clearly the name of your loved one, three times. If the flame continues to burn strongly you can rest assured that you are truly loved by him/her but alas if the flame dies.
5. Troodos mountains
The Troodos mountains are a fun and romantic place to visit any time of the year. During the spring there is the wonderful smell of fresh pine and a myriad of wild flowers gently blossoming in the warm springtime sun. In the summer, the mountain air remains cools and fresh and a wonderful contrast to the hot coastal resorts. During the brief winter months, the mountains are completely transformed by a thick dusting of snow and everyone heads for the ski slopes.
Explore the mountains at a leisurely pace following meandering paths on one of the CTO nature trails through the pine trees to one of the ten UNESCO Byzantine painted churches or one of the monasteries, enjoying the clear mountain air and the fragrance of wild herbs and fresh pine. Wander along the cobbled streets of picturesque mountain villages such as Kakopetria,Kalopaniyiotis and Phini (Foini) where a wealth of architectural styles and craft workshops will be revealed where red clay pots, embroidery, rose water and rag rugs are made or food specialities such as soujouko (strings of almonds dipped in thickened grape juice), glyko (seasonal fruits preserved in sugar syrup) and delicious mountain honey are produced.
There is so much to see and do in the mountains including a visit to Kykkos Monastery, the richest one in the Orthodox church, a walk up the side of the Kaledonia falls at Pano Platres and a fresh trout lunch together afterwards, or a romantic stroll through the trees to find one of the Venetian bridges, tumbling streams or mountain rivers and at the end of each fun-filled day, there is nothing more romantic than sharing dinner together in a small stone taverna in front of the roaring log fire in the winter or in the summer outside in the avli (courtyard) in the golden glow of candlelight.
6. Stand and watch the sunset
Whilst many enjoy the colourful and varied nightlife that Cyprus offers, for those in love, a walk along the coast is VERY romantic. Two of the most popular walks are the new coastal promenade in Limassol or the Phinikoudes promenade in Larnaka. Both are lovely smooth paths with plenty of places to linger awhile. The sunsets in Cyprus are magnificent throughout the year but especially in the autumn and in Pafos as is it is situated on the island’s west coast. Be warned though, the sunsets in Cyprus are dramatic but short-lived and as the sun sinks below the horizon an inky blackness covers the island really quickly with no dusk in between!
7. Ayia Napa and Protaras
If you fancy stretching out under a sun umbrella on the softest, whitest sand and dozing to the sound of the waves with the love of your life, then head for Ayia Napa! The beaches are beautiful with pale golden sand, sheltered water and a plethora of water sports. Situated just outside the town, is the popular Nissi Beach which is big and sandy and the water is perfect – shallow and calm, with a small island just 100 metres out for those who want a challenging swim (‘Nissi’ in Greek means ‘island’)! In complete contrast the, the beach at Ayia Thekla is small sandy – and a relatively – secluded beach which is overlooked by a pretty little white -washed chapel.
Protaras is another popular beach resort because it has several lovely beaches and great water sports including windsurfing and sailing. The most popular beach in this resort is ‘Fig Tree Bay’ and it is easy to see why with its fine sand that is almost white in colour and the clearest azure water you have ever seen.
8. Concert at moonlight
During the summer months, a number of evening concerts are held under the canopy of stars and are almost magical in character. Ancient Curium is a magnificent Roman theatre perching on the cliffs high above the beach just a few kilometres west of Limassol where each year a popular Shakespearean play is performed and has seen some wonderfully diverse musical concerts ranging from military bands to Vanessa Mae! Ancient Amathus on the other side of Limassol is an equally stunning setting for musical and dramatic events. In the heart of Limassol, the Tsirion stadium has been the venue for some excellent pop concerts including Sting and Blue. In Larnaka, productions often take place in the popular Finikoudes promenade and Pattichion Amphitheatre and in Ayia Napa, sport stadiums often host concerts by popular Greek and British artists as well as West End shows.
The capital, Nicosia is the focus for musical events of all kinds and whilst internationally acclaimed classical music concerts are hosted indoors by the Pharos Trust, well known international stars regularly perform in the magical setting of the D’Avila Moat – a concert facility situated in the shadow of the old city walls. In recent years there have been some sensational concerts including Elton john, Pavarotti and Diana Ross.
In Pafos, the picturesque harbour is transformed each September for the annual Pafos Aphrodite Festival which draws opera lovers from all over Europe. Against the magnificent backdrop of the medieval castle, an international opera company performs a much loved opera and it really is a breathtaking experience to relax and listen to the opera with the moon above and a plethora of fishing boats heading out to see in the distance.
9. Walk the walk
A walk in the Cypriot countryside is always romantic but particularly so in springtime when the fields and meadows are completely transformed by a myriad of wild flowers including asphodels, fennel, irises and numerous species of orchids. The Akamas is the wild and rugged wilderness situated northwest of Pafos and said to be the ‘playground of Aphrodite’ and the perfect place to walk along the meandering paths through the gorse to Lara, one of the most beautiful bays in Cyprus and home in the summer to the Lara Turtle Project.
For those staying in Pafos the walk along the harbour towards Pafos Castle is fun, whilst in Limassol, the new coastal promenade from the Molos area towards Ayios Tychonas is great fun with plenty of bars along the way for a refreshing drink.
In Larnaka, a walk around the marina is both fun and romantic as you day dream about the sleek white yachts and their destinations. The Finikoudes promenade in the town is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists and can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace all the way to the medieval castle.
If you are exploring the island’s north coast, the perfect places to wander are in the harbours of Latchi, Pomos and Kato Pyrgos with a delicious meal of freshly cooked fish as the perfect reward.
10. Get married in Cyprus – One of Europe’s most popular wedding destinations
For the most romantic day of all… your wedding day Cyprus is the perfect choice.
Regularly voted as one of the top ten wedding destinations in Europe, Cyprus is the perfect choice for so many reasons: – In Cyprus, rain rarely stops play, the cost of a memorable wedding is much lower than in many other countries and with a wide choice of accommodation available it means that friends and family can be with you on your wedding day – combined with an enjoyable holiday.
Pafos, Larnaka, Limassol and Famagusta are all popular wedding destinations on the island and offer couples civil ceremonies in their Town Halls and other locations and religious ceremonies in their beautiful churches, beaches, ancient sites and chapels.
Weddings in Cyprus are relaxed and fun and the beautiful wedding photos taken on the beach, in an archaeological ruin or a field of poppies are definitely ones to treasure.