Earlier this year, we experienced a staycation with a touch of real luxury, by checking out what the Lake District had to offer in the way of The Gilpin, but if your looking for a trip further afield, then do not despair, as this months travel blog takes us a lot further, to the sunny Island of Cyprus.
Towards the end of 2022, we travelled to Gran Canaria, in order to mop up some late sunshine. Likewise this year, to start the summer a little early, we did the same in May, utilising the flexibility of Jet2 to book a 4 night trip.
An afternoon flight on a Saturday started with the usual trip through Manchester Airport. On this occasion, we had baggage belt troubles, so checking in bags was a little cumbersome, however fast track through security meant that we still got time to relax in the lounge before boarding.
The only lounge we could get in at terminal 2, was the Aspire lounge. I have written lots about lounges in the past, however since travel reopened after Covid, their offerings seems to have dropped somewhat, whilst at the same time their cost has increased. Aspire is undoubtedly the most basic of the lounge, is very small, and whilst entry for 2 cost almost £80 the drinks were also very limited (No sparkling wines at all). Food options are also very lacking, and for once I really thought that it was not value for money.
With many new restaurant options opening at the newly built terminal building, I wonder if that money could now be spent on a relaxing meal with a glass or two of wine and still be less expensive, especially with the more premium lounges now costing around £55 per person!
For the flight itself, whilst I love the flexibility of Jet2, their flights are not the most comfortable. Their seats are designed for quick turnarounds, with no pockets etc to store any belongings. The seats do not recline, and for me this is no issue, in fact it can be great that your not having your iPad almost smashed by the person in front suddenly reclining without warning. The comfort is the biggest issue for me, and it’s not long before I start to get restless.
One positive on Jet2 though, is the ability to prebook food, which gets served fairly shortly after takeoff off, and means you know what to expect, rather than being faced with most choices already sold out onboard.
We arrived into Paphos just after 11pm at night and it took about 30 mins for luggage to start to arrive. Finally we ventured outside to get our transfer, which after the nightmare coach transfer last time, had paid for a taxi upgrade. Much to my surprise, we were added to a long queue of people that were also waiting for taxis, while privately booked firms waited for their guests with name boards. Even those without pre booked taxis, just got into those waiting at the taxi rank, whilst we had to stand for around 30 mins and wait for the next designated car to turn up and transport us.
I have found that pre-booking taxis as part of a holiday upgrade is not always a great choice, and I will be looking at this in more detail soon.
Once we were collected by our driver, we were swiftly transported to our hotel and the driver was friendly and courteous. Our accommodation was located just outside Coral Bay, in an area currently under massive re-construction, called Kissonerga.
With an abundance of luxury villas and new hotels, Vrachia Beach Hotel and Suites sits on a cliff top location and has recently had some renovations of its own.
Whilst being a 3 star hotel, we had upgraded to one of the newly decorated deluxe studio with sea view.
For me these seemed the nicest rooms on the hotel, with stunning, modern decor, ample space and some gorgeous views from the terrace, which was the perfect spot to which enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun go down.
The room was not only nicely decorated and had an upmarket feel, but the facilities were also great. A large kitchen area that was well equipped, including a ‘filtered water’ tap for drinking water!
The bathroom was equally smart, with a huge walk in shower and plenty of space for toiletries.
Location wise, those wanting lots of bars and restaurants on their doorstep could be disappointed, although the reviews on TripAdvisor that stated that there was nothing in walking distance, are also somewhat misleading. By walking along the newly created coastline walkway, you can get to a couple of restaurant within about 15 mins by foot,walking at a casual pace. Along the main road, there are also a few more, again a similar distance away in both directions, so there is still quite a bit of choice, without you needing a taxi.
We did find many of restaurants in this area to be very touristy and catering for Brits, rather than locals. Although I think this is the case with much of Cyprus, unless you travel off the beaten track. One great restaurant that we did find, which served up some tasty Greek dishes, was called Tsiakkas. No more than a 10-15 min casual stroll away from our hotel, you simply exit through the back of the hotel, onto the costal walkway, turn left and follow it around.
The restaurant has mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, but I have to say we found it friendly, service was swift and the food was as traditional as we could find, whilst also being super tasty!!
I for one, would recommend heading out for food, as the evening options in the hotel were limited and the one night we did stay in, it was a little disappointing, however as we didn’t book the hotel with a view to eating there, it definitely would not put me off staying there again, especially as the breakfast, which we do love to enjoy in a hotel, was pretty good.
Walking into Coral Bay itself, takes around an hour, although most visitors probably don’t even consider walking, with regular buses transporting visitors the short distance with ease.
Coral Bay has a host of bars and restaurants to choose from, as well as a beach. With an abundance of ex-pats in this area, you wont find anything too authentic, but it’s still great for a short break in the sunshine.
The same can be said for Paphos itself, which again is a bus ride away, or if you are crazy like us, who walked the 8km in 1hr 45mins to the tomb of the kings.
The archeology site is dotted with a number if tombs, that despite the name, were not built for kings, but for Paphitic aristocrats and are carved out of solid rock, with some dating back to the 4th century. The area is a UNESCO world heritage site and well worth a visit.
Temperatures during out visit in May were adequate for exploring and we even got a day by the pool relaxing in mid twenty’s degrees.
Overall, with its year round weather, Cyprus makes for a really good long weekend break throughout the year, so it’s not just for a longer holiday, and what a great way to stretch out the not so great British summer!
Next up on weekend traveller, we will be checking out The Algarve, Portugal.