With stunning seas and 300 days of glorious sunshine a year, Cyprus is our hot tip for early and late-summer sun.
As the third biggest island in the Med, Cyprus appeals on many levels. There are charmingly sleepy stone villages, picturesque terraced hillsides, the lofty, forested Troodos Mountains (great for keen hikers), and some of the warmest and clearest seas in the Med. Being so close to the Turkish coast, its balmy summers last well into October and availability stays good at many of our boutique gems.
A former British colony, with Middle-Eastern and Ottoman influences, Cyprus is divided into 2 parts: the Greek-speaking south, which is more accessible and developed (this is the region we cover), and the smaller Turkish-speaking north, which we recommend for day trips.
For a peaceful getaway, head inland to the undulating, vine-rich foothills of the Troodos Mountains. Apokryfo (meaning ‘hidden’) is our favourite Cyprus guesthouse, sitting halfway between the pine-forested summits of Chionistra and the buzzy coastal town of Limassol, in the pretty village of Lofou. We whiled away our days by the turquoise, herb-lined pool, feasting on the most delicious mezzes of our trip. Wine lovers can head to the nearby Ayia Mavri winery, where great Muscadet can be sourced.
Up past the mountain town of Platres (where colonial Brits had their summer capital), signed trails and mountain-biking tracks lead to hidden waterfalls, graceful Venetian bridges and imposing Orthodox monasteries, such as Trooditissa.
Down in the working harbour city of Limassol, you’ll find a palm-lined promenade, covered market, medieval castle and a buzzy nightlife in the Carob Mill area. Londa Beach Hotel is the en vogue meeting place for Limassol’s bronzed and beautiful, and a great boutique option for couples who want a beach and city-chic holiday.
Luxurious Anassa has the most picturesque location on Cyprus, a secluded hillside spilling down to the blue waters of Latsi Bay, where you can snorkel amongst schools of colourful fish. This ultra-luxe 5-star resort has everything you could want from a Med beach holiday: an all-ages kids’ club, an award-winning Thalassotherapy spa, and 4 restaurants.
Nearby you’ll find hiking trails crossing the rugged, juniper-dotted Akamas peninsula, passing the imposing ruins of a Byzantine monastery. Falcons wheel over sea-washed rocks, lizards scamper through prickly undergrowth, goats stare quizzically down at you from crags, and the millpond sea is broken only by the triangular wake of a passing speedboat.
Equally tempting is Almyra, an unpretentious design hotel in sunny Paphos. With 4 pools to choose from, lawned grounds to sunbathe in, a small patch of beach to swim or sail from, a superb spa to pummel you into glorious submission, and Asian-Med cuisine served alfresco at low cushioned benches, this is the island’s coolest family hotel. Just look at those Instagram-worthy rooftops!
When to go
We’d recommend spring (April-May) or autumn (September-October) – pleasantly warm and not too busy – or March / November if you don’t mind taking a chance with the weather. We stayed in early November and enjoyed 30-degree sunshine for a week.
Our top tips
For a great-value family holiday, book a self-catering stay at Modus Vivendi. Set in the sleepy hamlet of Psematismenos, its rustic-chic cottages share a sunny pool framed by tall cypresses, shocking-pink bougainvillea and fragrant rosemary bushes. Families with older children could take both bedrooms at bijou B&B Little Lodge – there’s a small pool, beaches nearby, and friendly English owners to give advice and provide breakfast.