It’s always good to visit a new place with the help of a local so when one of my best friends invited me to her wedding in Cyprus I knew the trip would be amazing. What made it even better is that all our friends from various places around the world were also attending so we had a week in Cyprus to catch up and party together!
Due to having so many people travelling from so many places (by the way the groom is from Siberia!) we ended up staying in different places across Protaras. We booked a two bedroom apartment in Soustis Palm Village with another couple which actually became the party place! We had a full size kitchen, living room, large balcony and a swimming pool. The place was very modern and as it turned out, was much nicer than any of the hotels our friends had booked. They had problems with toilets not working and having to pay extra for air conditioning etc. The price we paid for the apartment was a very reasonable 100 EUR per night. When we weren’t in the mood for going out we sat and had drinks around the pool (quietly of course) and enjoyed our luxurious home from home.
Two things you should know about Cyprus. First of all, the internet connection is bad, I’m referring to in Larnaca and Protaras of course as I didn’t visit other parts of the island but I’m told it’s not much better elsewhere. Whether you use your 3G on roaming or try to connect to wifi when you find it (most hotels don’t offer free wifi) it’s slow and slightly annoying. My advice is, switch off your phone and forget about it until you leave. You’re on holiday anyway!
Secondly, it’s quite expensive. This does depend on where you go and what you do but I think you need a fair amount of money to really enjoy yourself here. For example, cocktails at the cliff bar are 8.50 EUR each, the place is amazing and it’s definitely worth it for the view but still a bit pricey. Things like parasailing or jet skis range from 30-50 EUR. Also, sunbeds on the beach are charged at 2.50 EUR each plus 2.50 EUR for an umbrella, so if you’re a couple you’ll spend 7.50 EUR a day on this. Not a huge amount but it all adds up. For nice meals you’ll probably spend about 15-25 EUR each including a drink or two. So, if you’ve got a decent spending money budget and you’re not planning to work from your hotel room then you are going to have a great time in Cyprus I’m sure!
As I mentioned, the reason for my trip was my friends wedding, a Cypriot and a Russian who live in London. This was my first experience of a big fat Greek wedding and it definitely lived up to the expectations. The setting was breathtaking, a small white and blue church next to the sea surrounded by beautiful flowers and the bride was like a princess in her big sequin dress. You expected at any moment for the cast of Mama Mia to jump out and start singing! The Orthodox ceremony lasted about 45 minutes and even though we didn’t understand any of what was being said it was lovely to sit by the sea and enjoy the moment. When it was all over we headed to the hotel for the reception where the bride and groom stand for two hours while each guest comes to congratulate them and give them their wedding card (with money inside). Next was the dinner and the party, the food was a buffet and was so good, I ate so much, as did everyone else! We soon burned off the calories though when the music started, there was traditional Greek dancing and of course a few glasses smashed for luck! We partied into the night and the food and drink continued, in fact we had wedding cake with vodka for the rest of the week!
Once the wedding was over it was time for everyone to relax, party and enjoy the holiday. Naturally, as we were in Cyprus, that meant going to Ayia Napa! I admit, when I go somewhere like this I do start to feel a little bit old because I’m no longer 18 however with a big group of friends it was always going to be fun. It’s exactly like all the other party places, San Antonio, Magaluf, Sunny Beach etc, lots and lots of bars and clubs offering cheap drinks and playing loud music. We found a nice bar with live music and then headed to a tacky club for some dancing. Most of the clubs charge between 10-20 EUR entry for guys but are usually free for girls. It was a great night but for me one night in Ayia Napa was enough and anyway, there was plenty of entertainment in Protaras, including a very lively karaoke bar! My kind of place however was the Cliff Bar at the Grecian Park Hotel. A place where you can sit back with a strawberry margarita and enjoy the stunning view, no tackiness found there, it was all class!
Another thing I have to recommend is that you try the Giros kebabs at Derlicious Kebab Corner, they are delicious and at just 3.50 EUR each they are also a bargain!
Getting around by taxi is ok and most of them are limos so you can easily travel with a group of six or seven people but you can also book a rental car and have so much more freedom to explore. With so many nice beaches around you really shouldn’t just stay in one place. Konnos beach is a good spot to relax and the bar is particularly lovely with views over the beach and ocean.
You’ll notice a beautiful church up on a hill in Protaras, it’s a short walk from the centre followed by about 200 steps to climb but you should really go to see the church and the view. It’s called the Church of Profitis Elias. You’ll notice ribbons and cards tied to all the trees which have messages for loved ones who have either passed away or been ill. It’s very sad but also such a special thing to feel so much love in one place and it’s so peaceful there it seems to be a perfect place for such memories.
If you like boat trips you should also check out the different tours available from Protaras beach. We took a two and a half hour ride that went all the way to the Famagusta ghost town and then back to Cavo Greco passing the lovers bridge and the Pirates Church. Half way through the journey the boat stops and you can jump in and swim for half an hour in the crystal clear blue waters. The ticket price was 10 EUR each which we negotiated to 50 EUR for six of us and two free drinks on board. It was a beautiful ride and a lot of fun but even in September it was very hot so be sure to wear sunscreen!
Sadly I didn’t have time to explore the rest of the island however, I’m sure I will go back so I will be able to update my post with lots more then!
And finally, congratulations to the bride and groom, Natalia and Ilya!