10 great reasons why Irish holidaymakers should head for Cyprus this year
Cyprus is saying ‘fáilte’ once again to Irish tourists for summer 2017.
This island of sunshine has traditionally been a popular destination for the Irish, hosting up to 70,000 tourists annually, but with the lack of a direct air link, these numbers had dwindled.
Now, a new direct air-link has been re-established between the two islands, making it much easier for Irish consumers to think about a summer break in Cyprus. Cobalt now flies twice weekly direct scheduled flights to Larnaca in Cyprus. Dublin Airport has had charter services to Cyprus in the past, but this is its first direct scheduled service to the island.
Here are 10 reasons to visit Cyprus this year:
1. From skiing to swimming with turtles
Cyprus is one of the Mediterranean’s most popular tourist destinations now attracting more than two million visitors annually. It’s more than just fantastic weather and superb beaches though - Cyprus is developing year-round activities from skiing to wine tasting and from bird watching to swimming with turtles.
2. Sunshine almost guaranteed!
Cyprus is a small island with a long history and a rich culture that spans 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest civilizations in the Mediterranean. Cyprus certainly gets a lot of sun – they estimate it as 326 sunshiny days per year! Flights depart on Wednesdays from Dublin at 15.20 arriving in Larnaca at 22.35. They also depart on Saturdays at 14.20 arriving at Larnaca at 21.35. The new airline operates its Dublin route with Airbus A320 series aircraft.
3. Ayia Napa – One of the best destinations worldwide
Ayia Napa, a small fishing village, is today considered one of the best tourist destinations worldwide. With 14 golden sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, all awarded with the Blue Flag, it is a stunning place to relax. Packed with history, there are monasteries, a Municipal museum, archaeological tombs, a Venetian aqueduct, a sculpture park, Celebrities’ square, love bridge and the much-photographed ‘I Love Ayia Napa’ sculpture at Central Square.
4. Reawaken your memories
For the thousands of people that travelled to Cyprus in the 80s, 90s and since then it’s a great time to reawaken memories. It’s a great destination with a mix of sand, sun, culture, great cuisine and an English-speaking friendly people. Cobalt, which started operations on June 2016 is Cyprus’ first airline since the collapse of Cyprus Airways in 2015. While Cobalt is starting with a point-to-point service from Dublin to Larnaca, it already has plans to expand. “We offer connections from Larnaca to Israel and Lebanon and we look forward to offering a great Cypriot-style ‘Fáilte’ to our Irish customers,” says Cobalt’s Chief Executive Andrew Madar.
5. Have you heard of Protaras-Paralimni?
Boasting the first sunrise in Europe, Protaras-Paralimni, on the southeastern fringe of Cyprus, has an air of timelessness. Hundreds of windmills give the landscape a quaint, tranquil beauty. Fig Tree Bay is the gem of this coastal region, named after a solitary fig tree planted here in the 17th century and there are recently revealed glass-covered Hellenistic tombs on the headland. If you want breathtaking views, take the 153 steps up to the chapel of profitis Elias and you’ll get seamless views of the sparkling sea. A haven for watersports lovers, there’s also a great nightlife with pubs, restaurants and clubs to choose from – plus fantastic shopping.
6. Glittering coasts and Blue Flag beaches
If you’re searching for Blue Flag beaches, Cyprus is definitely where you’ll find them. From snorkelling to ancient history and quaint surroundings, the coastline is stunning, from the peaceful and chic Santa Barbara Beach in the Limassol district to Pissouri Beach with the spectacular white cliffs of Cape Aspro. Vathia Gonia Beach, west of Ayia Napa, the 300 metre long beach is right beside the Makronissos Tombs, a fascinating archaeological site.
7. Rare plants and rolling mountains
Inland and along the coast, Cyprus has the best of nature’s palette with scenery unfolding across rolling mountains from fragrant forests to rugged headlands. It’s a photographers dream with waterfalls and secluded sands. As it’s on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus is a birdwatchers dream, with flocks of flamingos around the salt lakes at Larnaca and many significant species passing through or nesting. Deep in the forests, the national animal – the Mouflon – roams freely and a sight of this timid sheep is a treat for locals and visitors alike!
8. Culture at the crossroads of three continents
At the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus has a unique geographic position. Its Prehistoric Age inhabitants were joined 3,500 years ago by the Mycenaean Greeks, who introduced and established their civilisation, thus permanently instilling the island’s Greek roots. Many other cultures followed thereafter, including Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Romans, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans and British, who all left behind visible remnants of their passage, creating a mosaic of different cultures and periods. There are monasteries, museums and cultural routes from walking in the footsteps of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek or a tour of the island’s rich and significant historical ties with copper.
9. Fresh local cuisine
Cypriot cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern cultures, sprinkled with remnants of ancient civilizations such as indigenous Roman root vegetables or old Phoenician delicacies. Cyprus is a great place to indulge in the famously healthy Mediterranean diet of hearty olive oil, lean meat, local herbs, pulses and freshly grown fruits and vegetables. The amazing climate gives the food of Cyprus an intense flavour and there’s always a celebration around each corner!
10. Travel by theme – From wine routes and charming churches
Why not travel by theme … if you’re interested in wine, there are routes all over the island – from the Commandaria Wine Route to the Lemesos winemaking villages, renowned for their deep-rooted history of viniculture. The Diarizos Valley Wine Route will take you through unspoiled green landscapes with the perfect backdrop for tasting. If you want to discover the island’s deep religious roots, why not take the Byzantine Route and see the 10 painted Churches of Troodos.
Cyprus-based airline Cobalt now flies a twice weekly direct scheduled service from Dublin Airport to Larnaca, Cyprus.
Flights depart on Wednesdays from Dublin at 15.20 arriving in Larnaca at 22.35. They also depart on Saturdays at 14.20 arriving at Larnaca at 21.35. The new route operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from April until November 4 and there will be flights once a week during the winter season.
Re-discover Cyprus and fly direct with Cobalt from Dublin every Wednesday and Saturday. Fares from Dublin to Larnaca start at €88 each way. Book now here.