If you’re indoors, hibernating in your cosiest pyjamas and scrolling through winter holiday destinations on your laptop, we don’t blame you but we can help you think outside the box.
When you think of Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, 64 stunning Blue Flag beaches, warm waters legendary Greek hospitality definitely comes to mind but you might not realise how green and luscious the island is, 25% of it is covered in forest and it’s beautifully green particularly during the winter months. Here’s some inspiration, brought to you by the Cyprus Tourism Board, for an action-packed activity holiday to that you never knew you needed and now that your itinerary is sorted, there’s kind of no excuse!
Cycle your way to wine
The excellent weather conditions, versatile terrain and rare headwinds make Cyprus a paradise for both new and experienced bikers. Bikin’ Cyprus offers guided road cycling, mountain biking and bike rental. For those who like working for their rewards, you can whizz along the countryside with the sun on your back, following one of the island’s seven traditional wine routes, for a guaranteed glass of red. Or, there are also lots of international cycling events which take place throughout the year, including the VW Cyprus Cycling Tour and the Akamas Mountain Bike Challenge for the Bradley Wiggins’ among us.
Concentration, balance and determination is what you need to be a good rock climber. Zephyros Adventure Sports believe that adventure is the spice of life so with their two established climbing sites, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll be able to tackle heights between five and 50 meters. If you get really confident, there’s the option to admire the stunning scenery from the top of extreme overhangs and if not, just stick to the milder walls.
Take a hike
There’s no shortage of places to hike in Cyprus with 200km of purpose-built tracks across nearly 50 nature trails. All the nature trails are signposted with information about the flora and fauna you’ll see on your chosen trail so you can learn about the local environment during your walk.
Hiking in the Troodos Mountains is popular all year round due to its altitude: in the summer, you can escape the scorching heat and in the winter, the mountains will be covered by snow. If you’re looking for a leisurely walk try the 3km Caledonia Falls Trail which ends with a breath-taking waterfall.
Ride through rural Cyprus
Being on horseback is a wonderfully natural way to see unspoilt, rural Cyprus with its mountains, valleys, forest tracks, picturesque mountain villages and stunning sea views. Ride in Cyprus, based in Lysos, has beautiful wooden stables and happy horses where you can choose from one-hour rides to seven-day riding holidays. In the spring, autumn and winter you can ride at any time of the day; during the summer rides take place at sunrise and sunset. What’s more, if you opt for a two-hour sunset ride, you’ll be treated to a Brandy Sour and nibbles at the viewpoint.
Skiing in the Mountains
Renowned for its long, warm summers it might be hard to believe that the temperature level drops low enough for skiing, but high up in the Troodos Mountains, there’s a ski centre open in the winter months. At 2,000 meters above sea level on Mount Olympus, you’ll find the Cyprus Ski Federation and Club with eight alpine ski runs to enjoy. Book onto one the ski schools if you’re a novice, or brave one of the cross-country ski tracks and picturesque runs if you’re a seasoned skier. During winter, if conditions are right, it’s even possible to ski down the mountain in the morning and go swimming in the sea in the afternoon.
Get a hole in one
Golfing has really taken off in Cyprus and we can see why. With over 300 days of guaranteed sun (so jealous) and its luscious scenery, the weather conditions are nearly always perfect. There are three 18-hole courses of international standard on the island, including the Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort; a splendid 18-hole championship course spread over 6,289 meters, with a Golf Academy and a magnificent Clubhouse that re-opened last month.
Tyrolean Traverse is an ancient method of crossing a large open space by attaching a rope between two fixed places, which will often be high up and over water. Head to the village of Kyperounta to find the Adventure Mountain Park in Cyprus. You’ll be able to experience Tyrolean Traverse in the beautiful foothills of the Troodos Mountains. Once you’ve got your harness and you’re clipped onto the rope you’ll be free to ascend and descend spires, negotiate rivers or reach a detached pillar.
With all that activity, you’ll need time to chill out too. If you thought yoga retreats were something you find in South East Asia, think again. You can relax in the warmth of the Cypriot sun with Padme Hum, based in Limassol. They organise beach lessons on the beach so you can meet your inner self with the therapeutic sounds of the sea around you. Inner Harmony is a yoga retreat that offers classes in a Tochni, a traditional Cypriot village set in the countryside. Try a four-day ‘Silent Retreat’ with Vedanta Yoga, where you’ll stay in Mongolian Yurts if you’re looking for a complete mind and boy reset.
For more information, visit the Cyprus Tourism Board