Family Fun In Cyprus



Everyone agrees that Cyprus is a fantastic place for children. The long sunny days and sandy beaches are an irresistible holiday combination; but what to you do if the weather is not so good, or you just fancy a change from the beach?

The good news is that there are attractions all over Cyprus that kids of all ages will enjoy.

Fun Things to Do With the Children

If looked on as another adventure in parenting, visiting new places with children can be rewarding. While planning what the family may want to do in Cyprus, give some options to the children about how time will be spent. After all, when they choose, they are more likely to give the activity good reviews. Be sure to think about alternative plans if weather is a factor in what you would like to do. It can be very hot in the middle of the day in summer, and it does rain occasionally in the winter.

Consider how you can travel between towns and how much the family can feasibly do in the time you have. Because distances between towns are relatively short, parents may be tempted to take in more than the younger set can handle. A hired car is most convenient, but there are buses, service taxis, and for those who want to get there fast, private taxis (the latter being the most expensive, but for some, the most stress-free way to go). Each town has intercity taxis, too. Fares are reasonable, but be sure to check operating times, to avoid being stranded on an evening out in another town.

The family activities described below are organized according to districts: Larnaca, Nicosia, the mountains, and Paphos.

Marine Park - Ayia Napa

At Agia Napa area, near Nissi Beach Hotel one may visit the Agia Napa Marine Park, meeting all EEC and International Standards and regulations. Dolphins and sea lions offer an interesting show throughout their daily performances and encounter.

Dinosaurs Park, Agia Napa

Park full of impressions from the tremendous creatures that existed millions and millions of years ago. Original sounds and movements.
Souvenir shop and snack-bar facilities.
Open daily: June - Nov.:
11:00-13:00, 16:00-24:00

Ocean Aquarium, Protaras

Open all year round (daily)
Summer: 10:00-20:00
Winter: 09:00-17:00
Camel Park, Larnaka

Mazotos village, Larnaka district

Enjoy a day at the Camel Park, learn about the camel's life and experience a ride.
The Park is open daily from 8.00hrs to 18.00hrs all year round.

Ostrich Wonderland Theme Park, Lefkosia

One of the biggest ostrich Farms/Parks in Europe is situated in Agios Ioannis Malountas, 25 minutes from Lefkosia (Nicosia). There, one can enjoy the day and learn all about ostriches and ostriches eggs.
The Park is open daily:
09:00-19:00 (May - October),
09:00-17:00 (November - April.
Closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday.

Cyprus Donkey Sanctuary, Lemesos

4772 Vouni village, Lemesos district
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00hrs-16:00hrs

Island Cove, Adventure Mini Golf, Pafos

Situated by the Poseidonos Ave, near the hotels Cypria Maris and Ledra Beach.
All year round
Daily: 09:30 - 18:00 (winter)
10:00 -23:00 (summer)

A cleverly designed American 18 hole mini course that is beautifully landscaped and provides great entertainment value and challenging play for all ages.

Bird Park, Paphos

Situated on the main road of Coral Bay and Agios Georgios Pegeia - Pafos
email: info@pafosbirdpark.com
Open all year round
Daily: 09.00-17.00 (October - March)
09.00-20.00 (April - September)
An interesting park with tropical birds (parrots, eagles, ostriches, flamingos etc)

"Water World" Waterpark, Agia Napa

Located at the "gateway" to Agia Napa, on Agia Thekla Rd.
Its theme is based on Greek mythology.
Catering facilities are also available.
Opening from April to Mid-November from 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs daily.

Protaras Fun Park, Waterpark, Paralimni

Next to Paschalia Hotel,
Open from April to October, daily from 10:00hrs-18:00hrs.

Fasouri "Water Mania" Waterpark, Lemesos

Located on the way from Limassol (Lemesos) New Port to Pafos via Trahoni village.
Open from May to October,
daily from 10.00h to 18:00hrs.

"Wet 'n Wild" Waterpark, Lemesos

Located on Highway A1 to Lemesos, Moutagiaka Exit, Junction 23.
Catering facilities are available.
Open from April to October from 10:00h-18:00h daily.

"Aphrodite" Waterpark, Geroskipou, Pafos

Off Poseidonos Ave., (Hotels area) Geroskipou, Pafos,
Open from April to October from 10:00hrs-18:00hrs.

Paleontology Museum, Larnaca

Larnaca's best kept secret (and especially for children who are interested in the prehistoric creatures of Cyprus), the Palaeontology Museum is located on the seafront promenade at Europe Square (adjacent to the Larnaca Municipal Art Gallery). The first signs of life here date from about 500 million years ago! Aside from all the bones and neat stuff that has been unearthed on the island, children can participate in the Amateur Shell and Fossil Collection by adding any prize shell, (thereby obtaining a certificate).

With a decent camera, try an hour or two at the Salt Lake. To get there from Larnaca town, drive toward the airport, and after the roundabout, proceed toward Kiti. Not far from the roundabout is a sign for a right turn-off to the Salt Lake and mosque, known as Hala Sultan Tekke. If the island has recently had rain, this can be one of the best natural studios for photo shoots.

For those who enjoy riding, a good half-day outing can be had at the Camel Park in nearby Mazotos village. Families can also enjoy seeing other, smaller animals, the use of a swimming pool, and a restaurant.

Nicosia

"The island has in its midst a fair city called Nicosia, which is the capital of the kingdom, well walled, with its fine gates, which are three, to wit the gate of Pafos, of Famagusta, and Kerynia. That of Famagusta, is the most beautiful, and in my judgment the city of Barcelona has none to match it"~ P. Joan Lopez, 1770

During the Venetian expansion eastward in the 1500's, Nicosia (Lefkosia) was fortified with imposing stone walls and massive gates. The famous Famagusta Gate still stands today, proudly protecting the still ancient town within from the modern city. Through the Gate lies Laiki Geitonia, an old section which has been lovingly restored. Wind your way through narrow stone streets where crimson flowers cascade from window pots and the aroma of traditional baking wafts through open doorways. Explore jewellery and handicraft shops, dine in charming tavernas, marvel at churches centuries old.

Those engrossed in history and art will make their way directly to the Cyprus Museum, which holds the island's priceless treasures from the first stirrings of the Neolithic Age through the Roman period. At the Byzantine Museum, encounter a dazzling collection of early Cristian icons from the Mediterranean's Golden Age. The State Collection of Contemporary Art takes a newer perspective, focusing on Cyprus' modern artists, some of whom have gained note on the international market.

Come full circle in time and visit the Cyprus Handicraft Center workshops, where traditional arts are practiced today much the same way they were in ages past. Relax and enjoy a splendid Cypriot meal, enhanced by one of the island's famous wines.

Later, the night life beckons near Famagusta Gate, giving expression to the Cypriots' legendary spirit of celebration.

On the outskirts of the capital city, Nicosia, visit the National Forest Park, also known as Athalassa Park, which actually has two major parts and several entrances. One part offers a lake with ducks, the other a wooded picnic and play area. To get to the lake, go to the Aglantzia area of Nicosia and ask locals to direct you to the lake entrance. You could also find St George's Church, which is on the same road as one of the park's marked entrances. Another entrance can be found from the highway as you leave Nicosia, towards Latsia. The park has over twenty kilometers of track, amidst 500 different kinds of trees, herbs and shrubs. While the park is open through the daytime all year round, summer visitors are advised to go early morning or late afternoon, to avoid high temperatures.

Shopping is one of the highlights of any city, and Nicosia is no exception. There are two notable areas. Markarios Avenue is lined with cafes and shops, as is its parallel - and more upscale - Stasikratous Street. Within walking distance is Eleftheria Square, which is the top of Ledra Street, a mostly pedestrian area, where little ones can drop your hand while you stroll in the old city. About midway down Ledra Street, at the corner of Arsinois Street, look for the tallest building, the Shakolas or Woolworth Tower. Take the elevator to the eleventh floor observatory to view the city with a 360 degree panoramic view. For toy shopping, try Mavros, on Ledra Street, or Jumbo, in City Plaza on Makarios Avenue. Please note that shops close from 1pm until 4 pm.

A fascinating collection of Cypriot treasures can be found in the Cyprus Museum. The leaflet from the ticket counter guides guests through fourteen rooms of artefacts that date from 8000 BC to the end of antiquity. Plan to spend at least one hour there. Point the children towards the lion statues, silver coins found in a vase, the early Cypriot alphabet, helmets, and an awesome collection of statues, some smiling.

The Mountains

About an hour's scenic drive from Nicosia or Limassol, are Troodos and Prodromos Mountains, which peak at 2,000 metres above sea level, two historic hotels nearby are the Jubilee Hotel and the Forest Park Hotel in Platres. You may want to carry a couple of empty bottles with you, because along the way, you can stop and fill them with some of that healthy mountain water. The village of Kakopetria boasts a lovely restaurant and hotel, the Old Mill, where a trout lunch is highly recommended. In Vouni village, the Donkey Sanctuary is an animal lover's paradise, a place where unwanted and old donkeys can be cared for.

East of Limassol, Governor's Beach and Ayios Theodoros offer relatively unspoiled stretches of coastline, Governor's Beach is sandy, while Ayios Theodoros is rocky, but the pleasant ten minute drive from the highway down to the sea is naturally splendid.

Once in Ayios Theodoros, and wearing plastic sandals, older children and adults can enjoy a search to find the most unusual stone, before lunch at a fish taverna. Limassol boasts a beautiful promenade along the sea, where, on a windy day, you could fly a kite (available in most kiosks). One of the cultural centres of the island is the refurbished Rialto Theatre, originally opened in 1933, and beautifully renovated in 1999. The theatre offers both Cypriot and international theatre, dance and music. In Paphos, ancient mosaics of mythological gods can be viewed at the House of Dionysos, the House of Theseus and the House of Aion. These works of art were actually floors of the homes of noble families who lived here between the third and fifth centuries AD. For an up close look at colourful marine life, check out the Aquarium, next to Theoskepasti Church, in town. About 15 kilometres north of Paphos, along the coastal road to Ayios Georgios, George's Snake Farm is an impressed stop for reptile fanciers.

Being at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, this island has attracted people to its welcoming shores for thousands of years. With so many places to see, and its tradition of warm hospitality, no matter where the family roams here, children should find their visit to Cyprus an awesome experience.

National Parks Of Cyprus

Troodos National Forest Park, with an area of 9,307 ha; was declared as such in 1992, while four areas within the N.F.P. (with a total area of 220 ha) were declared as Nature Reserves. Troodos National Forest Park hosts not only the largest number of plants compared to any other area of Cyprus but also the largest number of endemic plants. Moreover, it has been designated as one of the 13 "Plant Diversity Hot Spots" in the Mediterranean.

Cavo Greko, in the south-east part of the island, is a National Forest Park and occupies an area of 390 ha.

Athalassa National Forest Park with an area of 840 ha, with manmade vegetation, is situated near Lefkosia (Nicosia) town, and offers many recreational facilities.

Paedagogical Academy National Forest Park with an area of 45 ha, with manmade vegetation, is situated near Lefkosia (Nicosia) town, and offers many recreational facilities.

Polemidia National Forest Park, near the town of Lemesos (Limassol), occupies an area of 125 ha and offers recreational facilities.

Rizoelia National Forest Park, near the town of Larnaka, covers an area of 97 ha and it is under development concerning recreational facilities.

Tripylos Natural Reserve, with an area of 823 ha, including the famous Cedar Valley is the first declared Nature Reserve.

Akamas peninsula, the north-westernmost tip of Cyprus, has been managed up to now as a National Forest Park. In the areas of Akamas, Lara-Toxeftra is a Marine Reserve.

In the near future several other forest areas will be declared either as Nature Reserves or as National Forest Parks. Such areas are Platis Valley, Mavroi Kremnoi, Madari, Larnaka and Akrotiri Salt Lakes etc.

Camping

The camping sites in Cyprus are licensed by the Cyprus Tourism Organization. Facilities available in camping sites include: showers, toilets, washing facilities, mini-market, and usually a snack - bar or restaurant.

The opening period for each camping site is indicative and customers are advised to confirm whether the sites are open by contacting either the camping sites or any Cyprus Tourism Organization office in Cyprus or abroad.

Picnic Sites

The Picnic Sites are all equipped with car parking, toilets, piped drinking water, tables and benches, barbecue facilities and children's play area.

As they grow in popularity the various sites are maintained, improved and enlarged every year by the Forestry Department, in co-operation with the Cyprus Tourism Organization. To assist in keeping them at their most attractive, and to ensure that the level of service is maintained, visitors are asked to respect the environment and co-operate with the Forestry Department's regulations.

Fires should not be lit anywhere except in the areas provided for barbecues and grills.

Make sure that any fires still burning in the barbecue areas are properly extinguished before leaving.

Children should not be allowed to play with matches in the forest.

Portable barbecues or grills should not be used anywhere except in the areas provided.

Never throw lighted matches or cigarette ends into the forest.

If you see a fire in or near the forest put it out if you can. If you cannot, inform the Forestry Department or Police immediately. There is no charge for telephone calls advising of a fire.

Please do not cut branches from trees or carve names into tree trunks.

Please respect the wishes of others for peace and quiet, and try not to disturb them with loud noise and music.

Don't throw away litter in the forest or in the picnic sites. Litter bins are provided at all sites.

Please take care not to damage the sites or facilities in any way.

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