Cyprus - The Magical Island of Aphrodite

by Maritravel

Best visited in autumn, Cyprus is perfect for history buffs, hedonists and people who want to swim in wine dark seas still warm from the summer sun and engage with friendly locals.

Although I think autumn is best, normal summer pastimes are still available - like people watching from a table at a pavement cafe, swimming or water-skiing, sun-bathing on beach or around pool, and wandering around local markets.

If you have a passion for history, the cooler weather allows for pleasanter visits to the sites and ruins with which Cyprus is endowed: baths where Aphrodite and her nymphs cavorted, Neolithic burial chambers, Islamic shrines, catacombs of early Christians and Byzantine churches with fading frescoes.

Flower-drenched patios and bars in Lemoses (Limassol)
Flower-drenched patios and bars in Lemoses (Limassol)
Mari Nicholson

Cyprus. Why Go There in Autumn


Cyprus has three hundred and forty sunny days per year.  Of course you can ski from Mount Olympus in the morning then swim in the sea in the afternoon in winter and you can walk through carpets of poppies and cornflowers in the spring and bask in sizzling temperatures in the summer. But it is when the summer temperatures have dropped to more tolerable degrees that the island takes on a more relaxed mantle.  

 In peaceful villages the only sound in the autumn afternoons is the slap of counters as old men play backgammon in the inky-dark bars or sit in village squares sipping strong black coffee and gossiping with friends.  Energetic football games start up between towns, and old bicycles come out to be dusted down and put to use.  There’s time for visitors and locals alike to stop and look at the autumn croci, anemones and lilies that are brightening up the fields; there’s time to stop and smell the air, redolent with the scents of herbs, fruits and honey, and there’s time to take in all those activities that were impossible in the heat of summer.

The flowers that covered the hillsides and acted as a magnet for the bees during the  summer, the pink oleander, the yellow broom, the jasmine and lilies may have gone, but the exquisite honey that is a result of the bees hard work is on sale at virtually every house and café in the mountains. 

Street stall with fruit and freshly squeezed drinks
Street stall with fruit and freshly s...
Mari Nicholson
Clear waters round the Island of Cyprus
Clear waters round the Island of Cyprus
Mari Nicholson

Activities on the Island of Cyprus

Horse-riding, hiking, cycling and mountain biking on any one of forty-eight well-signposted Trails are just some of the outdoor pursuits that can be enjoyed in the cooler weather.   The impressive Troodos mountain range that stretches across the centre of Cyprus and reaches up to 1952 metres at Chionistra has been popular with local Cypriots for decades with mountain trails especially chosen to pass through areas of rich natural vegation and cultural interest.

Apart from the interesting flora and fauna in the Troodos there are superb Byzantine churches hidden in corners and perched on peaks (nine of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List).  Platres, one of the prettiest villages in the Troodos makes a good starting point for excursions into the interior and is an ideal spot in which to spend a holiday.

There are unspoilt areas in other parts of the Island too, the Akamas peninsula for instance, a wilderness of incomparable beauty situated at the westernmost point of Cyprus.  Over 600 plant species and 168 bird species are found in this vast wilderness which is fast becoming the favourite hiking spot with late season visitors.  Or Kavo Gredo National Park which is so near the beaches of Agía Napa that you can sunbathe, swim and hike on the same day.


Mountain Village
Mountain Village
Mari Nicholson
Lace Umbrellas for Sale in Cypriot Village
Lace Umbrellas for Sale in Cypriot Village
Mari Nicholson

Villages of Cyprus

The mountain villages are famed for their friendliness and beauty, one of the prettiest being  Kakopetria, which it sits overlooking thousands of apple trees in the Solea Valley at a height of 670 metres half way up the northern slopes of Mount Olympus.  You come across it quite suddenly after a long ride, or drive, (a 4WD is to be recommended for many of these roads).  Many of the old wooden houses have been restored by local craftsmen and their ornate verandahs filled with lemon geraniums and perfumed roses add to the charm of the deserted lanes.  Although a holiday resort, the political graffiti in the main square points to local participation in its café life as do the village women who shelter from the sun under vine trellises.


Lemesos Castle - Reconstruction Stones
Lemesos Castle - Reconstruction Stones
Mari Nicholson
Mountain Mosastery, Kykko, famed for its Mosaics
Mountain Mosastery, Kykko, famed for ...
Mari Nicholson

Myths & Magic Cyprus

In Cedar Valley is an area of 200,000 trees that supposedly provide shelter for the shy moufflan - a breed of wild sheep found only in Cyprus.   I say supposedly with good reason, for after many days spent searching for the elusive animal I came to the conclusion that this is the Cypriot Yeti, - one that had escaped from a legend perhaps.  But I did eventually find a moufflon in a special enclosure at the Stavros Tis Psokas park in the heart of the Pafos Pine forest but if there was a flock of his friends elsewhere he couldn’t tell me.  

The legendary birthplace of the Goddess Aprhodite is a golden yellow rock that juts into the sea on the road between Lemossos and Pafos.  Four thousand years on from her tempestuous birth from the foamy ocean lovers still swim round the rock to ensure that their love lasts forever.  Legend also has it  that if you are in the autumn of your years and you swim round the rock three times, your youthful looks will be restored to you.

I can’t think of better reasons to visit Cyprus, the Island of Love - especially in autumn.

Aphroditie's Rock, Near Limassol
Aphroditie's Rock, Near Limassol
Mari Nicholson
Updated: 07/31/2013, Maritravel
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maritravel on 11/04/2015

Thank you. Cyprus will always be one of my favourite places but I love the Greek Islands as well, especially Crete.

CarleyClagg on 11/03/2015

What a beautiful place! Your pictures are lovely. Great travel article!

maritravel on 05/19/2015

I had thought to visit it again this year but have changed my mind and am now off to Crete instead. I haven't been to Crete for 15 years but not expecting too many changes as it's one of those places that is so rooted in itself that it can't change. It' a beautiful place but this time I'm doing some research on the awful battles there during World War II.
You'll get to Cyprus one day, I'm sure. Like Crete, it's unchangable.

Mira on 05/12/2015

I enjoyed this. Never been to Cyprus. Would like to go one day

Maritravel on 02/10/2015

Thanks Jan, comments make me want to get out the pen and paper again - oh, and go travelling of course.

janisleofwight on 02/10/2015

Another travel article that really makes me want to be there. Such beautiful photographs and eloquent writing

Maritravel on 09/08/2014

Thank you Othellos for your comment. I don't often include current events in travel articles as it's hard to avoid a political stance when one does. When I feel I must make a comment on a place I've visited, I write a different sort of article which can be definitely filed under Politics. Let's hear from you about the current situation in Cyprus. As a native you can add a lot more than a visitor for a few weeks can do.

Maritravel on 08/19/2013

Thank YOU, Marciag. I envy you your island home and hope the current crisis soon passes.

marciag on 08/19/2013

As a fellow Cypriot living in Cyprus for the last 18 years, I salute you :)

Maritravel on 08/08/2013

I'm hoping to return in October next. I was in Famagusta many years ago (before the current dividing line) in November and the weather was still glorious.

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