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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Ten Reasons to Love Cyprus in the Summer

  1. It’s too hot to do anything. What better excuse than this to laze around doing nothing? No need to feel guilty about sitting for hours in a coffee shop or lounging on the beach. The heat is just too extreme to even contemplate getting all those chores done, let alone going grocery shopping. Much easier to take it easy and order some delivery later. In fact, with temperatures rising above 40C, it is practically dangerous to be outdoors in the sun. So don’t sweat it! Stay in, turn on the fan, and watch a marathon of DVDs. Respond to the effects of global warming, by taking long cool dips in the sea, or - if you’re not as conscious - long afternoon naps in the A.C. (if you have a job, hopefully they understand the importance of ‘siesta’ time). Don’t worry one bit about accomplishing nothing. Just don’t complain about the heat – remember: it’s your ally! 
  2. It never rains. Predictable weather means no need to worry about sudden downpours or thunderstorms. Although it’s true that Cyprus could really do with some precipitation, there is a positive side to the fact that it never rains here in the summer: it means you can plan ahead without the need to reschedule expeditions or outings because of the weather. It may not be exciting, but the fact that it’s sunny each and every single day is truly a blessing to many. It’s the reason why most people visit Cyprus, love it out here and move to or retire on the island. A Mediterranean climate is a lucky thing to have, so take advantage of it, and pull the top down on your jeep (or if you’re lucky, your convertible), and start making sandwiches….because everyday in Cyprus is picnic day.
  3. The island vibe. We all know it: Cyprus during the wintertime is a quiet, relaxing place to be, but it’s not very happening, is it? Well, come June, the island springs back to life. Suddenly there are things to do, events to attend, new shops, bars and restaurants opening. Check out the open-air festivals and array of concerts: this year the International Music festival took place in the lovely outdoor setting of Curium Amphitheatre, Limassol hosted not only the European Dance Festival and the Ethnic festival but also the International Documentary Festival, jazz festivals took place in villages in the Paphos region, and a new drive-in cinema opened in Nicosia. The great thing is that a lot of these events are free to the public - yet another incentive to experience, explore and discover what this island has to offer come the summer. (And even if you don’t go anywhere, if you live somewhere touristic there is always some sort of music emanating from a nearby hotel or outdoor nightclub to enjoy, free-of-charge).
  4. The sea-side culture. What I love about Cyprus in the summertime are the lovely open-air beach bars, cafés and clubs. For a small, modest island, the classy night-life establishments match those found on the Italian Riviera or the South of France. If you are lucky enough to live in a sea-side town, you probably already frequent such venues (and shame on you if you don’t). Idyllically located right by the beach, these stylish, sophisticated and extremely popular spots are the perfect places to take in the sea-view whilst relaxing or enjoying yourself with your mates. Luckily, every year, new bars open up, and old ones are renovated and renamed, offering both locals and tourists a fresh place to party or sip that frappé.
  5. Swimming. Cyprus has unpolluted, clear and (usually) shark-free waters. No poisonous jelly-fish or really dangerous surf. Unlike many other countries, the law here states that all beaches are public territory, so no matter whether you are in front of a deluxe resort, someone’s private home or at the local beach with your fifteen relatives, you have a right to be there… for free. Take your pick: the brown sands of Limassol, the red sands of Paphos, or the golden white sands of Ayia Napa? Make the most of the coral reefs in the Protaras and Akamas regions and go snorkeling or scuba-diving – Cyprus has a vast variety of colourful fish and aquatic life that rivals that of tropical isles. Already, inhabitants of this island are lucky enough to be able to swim almost 8 months a year (or more, if you’re brave!), but even better is the fact that the sea-water is truly warm during the summer months, making it ideal for all.
  6. Mountain life. If swimming is not your thing, then do not despair. Cyprus not only has gorgeous mountain scenery and wildlife, but a trip up to the summit of Troodos mountain or to the various picturesque villages around the region will take you less than an hour from Limassol and only a little more from other towns. In fact, the benefit of being on such a small island means that you could potentially go to the beach and up to the mountains all in one day! So, if you’re finding it a little too hot to be out in the sun, take a refreshing break from the busy beaches and drive up to the shady forests of Platres or Platania , where you can make the most of the peace and quiet.
  7. Less traffic. Most of you will be aware of the challenges of driving on Cypriot roads. Well, thankfully, during the summer-time, mainly because the schools are closed, and also most locals are away on vacation, there is substantially less traffic, which makes getting around much easier and faster (and safer) for the rest of us!
  8. Plenty of locally grown fruit. Cyprus is renown for its plethora of delicious fruit, especially in the summertime when its climate makes it a perfect breeding ground for cactus pears, cherries, strawberries, avocados, figs, peaches, pomegranate and grapes. In fact, despite the oranges and lemons that the island is famous for, if you like gardening, there are also many tropical fruit which can easily grow here in the heat and humidity, like mango, papaya, and kumquats.
  9. The Social Scene. Cyprus almost doubles in population in the summertime. With hundreds of thousands of tourists and foreigners flying in from abroad and Cypriots returning to the mother-land or emerging from hibernation, the island is once again alive and buzzing with people. It is a chance for families to reunite, for friends to socialize and for locals and foreigners to intermingle. Parents welcome their children who return home for the holidays from their studies abroad, and the island thrives with the energy of crowds of people getting together to celebrate just that: getting together. 
  10. The never-ending summer. Because “there’s always tomorrow – the sun will still be shining,” the summer here feels long (even longer than it is), and so you never worry that it may be your last chance to do any of those summery things you haven’t gotten around to doing yet. Because of this, there’s never any rush and you can take it easy – all of which contribute to the laid-back and hassle-free atmosphere of the island. Honestly, what is there to stress about when summer lasts forever? 
          Nathalie Kyrou ©2010

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