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Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

Oxford, United...
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Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

If you would like to write a report about your holiday in Cyprus please post it here so that it doesn't get lost in the forum.

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Oxford, United...
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1. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

RED BUS TRIP TO FAMAGUSTA FROM PROTARAS

There simply aren't enough superlatives to describe how fabulous this day trip is. It was the highlight of our holiday last week. Dave and Dave were amazing as hosts, tour guides, friends and founts of all knowledge. We learned so much, saw so much (far more than friends in our hotel who did a similar trip with their tour operator at TWICE the price!) and loved every happy minute of it. From the centuries of history and spectacular architecture of Famagusta to the amazing "ghost beach" of Varosha (and yes, we swam up close with turtles in a crystal-clear turquoise sea - a never-to-be-forgotten experience!) this trip was total joy. It was all so easy too: we booked online, paid on the day, and were picked up and dropped off really close to our hotel - all completely hassle-free. We've already recommended the Red Bus to all our friends and family and only have one regret - that we didn't book the Village Tour as well. We will definitely be doing both next year on our return to Cyprus. Thank you Dave and Dave - we have so many happy memories and you made my birthday really, really special.

Birmingham, United...
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2. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

Our trip from Phaphos harbour to latchi by bus all for 5euros each.We caught the 618 bus at 9.30am from the harbour bus station to kavala bus station then the 10am from there to Polis wich takes about an hour but the ride is quite pleasant and the coach has air con.at Polis you catch the bus down to lachi about 3km.If we did it again we would catch earlier bus from harbour because you have to catch the 4.30pm bus from lachi back to Polis to catch the last bus at 5pm back to Paphos there is no ather bus.

We found that we could have done with more time at Latchi if there were later buses.

Imatra, Finland
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3. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

About car rentals in Cyprus; Googling around I only found negative comments about the bigger companies, so just to make it clear, hiring a car on Cyprus doesn't have to be a bad experience!

I can personally recommend Semeli Rentals at Ayia Napa, if you're travelling there.

Located at the western side of the townon the main street, 46 Nissi Avenue, they offer very nice prices and excellent service.

I rented a Suzuki Jimny (soft top SUV) for four days; I got a rate at the levels of the bigger companies (Europcar and other) giving out just their smallest class A cars.

The elderly guy apparently owning the company provided great service and felt like a really honest person.

There were no hidden charges in the rental (get the car with a full tank, return it filled up!), and everything went smoothly.

You may want to check the car you rent upon receiving it though, my Jimny had it's driver's seat rather worn and was tilted to the right from previous, should I say, heavy users; this made driving long distances a tad uncomfortable, but otherwise, nothing bad to say about it!

I too did try to book a car in advance from the Internet, but was actually glad I didn't. There seems to be quite an abundance of the local rentals similar to Semeli in all the Cyprus destinations with cars of all classes available, at least outside the high season!

4. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

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Sandhurst Berks
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5. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

I've just returned from my first and probably only visit to Cyprus. I love the ethos of litter free and the island from what I saw was quite clean with very few messy spots. I would think that during the holiday season even these would be cleaned up.

First the car hire. I really didn't like the idea that you had to buy fuel at inflated prices from Avis and that they also expected you to pay extra for not only for a zero excess (this was expected) but then wanted extra to cover glass and tyres. I think Avis have found a niche in ripping people off. Insurance should be exactly that cover for all eventualities and a choice of excesses to suit your needs although I think on holiday everything should be covered. Not all of the damage was noted on the hire agreement and because it was dark when I arrived I don't think I was expected to check it. However I did and after I went back into the office to bring it to their attention it seemed everyone else wanted to check their vehicles. All said I had a decent car that was cost effective on the generally very good roads.

I stayed in Limassol at the Crowne Plaza and enjoyed it immensely. Very friendly staff and also very helpful. Only a couple of minor niggles with the housekeeping prevented me giving full marks. Considering it was out of season virtually everything was available. Food there was excellent and very reasonably priced which is more than I can say for the eateries nearby. For typical seaside jolly Brit establishments and everything with chips I found to be average at best but all seemed very over-priced. We were recommended a local tavern in Ayios Tychonas and have to say it restored my faith in being able to eat good food at a great price. The Old Port area of Limassol was also not only very over-priced (€4.50 for a hot chocolate is ridiculous) but the quality I encountered was not even average. The bar/restaurant owners were "working the pavements" but without the passion and need to succeed as other owners I saw in Pafos and Larnaka.

I found that in Pafos there was healthy competition to entice customers into restaurants and bars and as a result in did encourage us to try different places and shop around.

In Larnaka I found little competition at one end of the sea front because of the large chain restaurants like TGI, McD, KFC etc The was a place called The Brewery which must survive on bluster. With a pint of mediocre wheat beer at €11.40 I cannot see them lasting that long.

Back in Limassol I think the main thing that would discourage me from returning is SMOKING shopkeepers behind the counter in most that I went into were smoking and it put me off purchasing from them at all. If there are any laws regarding smoking in confined or public spaces there is little or no regard taken by those that choose to smoke. Each to their own but I don't want my products or myself stinking of cigarette smoke.

My prime reason for going to Cyprus was to dive the Zenobia in Larnaka Bay. A world class wreck that would take at least 100 dives to really get to know. I enjoyed crossing this off my bucket list and would be the only thing that would entice me back.

Whilst there 2 new wrecks were scuttled around 600-800mtrs from the Nautical Club /Crowne Plaza in Limassol. It was a good event although a PR fail. The President of Cyprus was invited to the event and the wrecks were prepared and moored for a couple of days prior to the scuttling but someone in their infinite wisdom arranged a dinghy race right in front of it. I watched from the 3rd floor of my hotel and still it was difficult. I think that those at sea level would have totally missed the sinking of the Constandis. All said it means that Limassol now has it's own wreck reef underway and for that I'm very pleased for the dive and tourist industry.

Thank you Cyprus for a great week .... now sort out the smoking!

Liverpool, United...
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6. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

Our Day Trip to Northern Cyprus

My earlier visits to to Cyprus had been many years ago when visiting Northern Cyprus was something that was not even a possibility and I knew nothing about Nicosia other than it was the capital, densely populated, I assumed lots of traffic, shops and businesses with nothing of interest to me.

My trip in March 2014 was planned with the benefit of the internet and its travel pages and many years of experience of exploring the Greek islands and Turkey. Nicosia began to intrigue me when I found out that it was another walled city like Rhodes Town which I had found fascinating. My interest grew and I thought a visit to Northern Cyprus would be an interesting and educational day-trip.

After spending some time looking around the narrow streets and old houses in the south of the city we crossed over the border at Ledra Street, a simple matter of filling in a few details to obtain a stamp and within minutes the familiar shops and high-street names like Debenhams, M&S, Starbucks, KFC and Subway were left far behind as we entered the labyrinth of narrow, winding streets filled with bazaars, coffee houses and kebab shops, old men drinking cay and playing backgammon sitting in the spring sunshine. Scattered between the stalls, lokantas and markets is the fabulous architecture of the old city, the first building we came across was the Büyük Hamam built on the ruins of a 14th century Lusignan church, St George of the Latins and converted into a bath house when the Ottomans arrived in Nicosia in 1571, with its sunken entrance it is a stark contrast to the modern buildings of Ledra Street in the Greek sector. whatson-northcyprus.com/interest/nicosia/nor…

Next we found the recently restored Büyük Han (Great Inn) a caravansarai built to provide accommodation for travellers and merchants from Anatolia and other parts of Cyprus, considered to be one of the finest buildings in Lefkosa (Nicosia) and something I really wanted to see. whatson-northcyprus.com/interest/nicosia/nor…

The nearby Kumarcilar Hani is presently under renovation and not accessible but not far away is the magnificent Selimiye Mosque, originally the Roman Catholic cathedral of Ayia Sofia complete with the two fifty metre high minarets added to the incomplete bell towers by the Ottomans. whatson-northcyprus.com/interest/nicosia/nor…

With much more to see on another day we left the old city and headed for the Kyrenia Gate and our transport to the coast. Having stood empty for a number of years, the Kyrenia Gate was restored in 1994, the gatehouse was previously repaired by the Ottomans who added a square building and dome to the top and used it as a guardhouse, it now houses the main Tourist Information office for the city. Just to the right on the main road are the bus stops (none with information) where we are to catch the dolmus to Kyrenia. We waited longer than we anticipated with many dolmus to different destinations dropping off and picking up then a local man came over and asked if we wanted to go to Kyrenia, when we said yes, he indicated a Girne dolmus which was waiting for us, I should have realised that it's Girne the modern name for Kyrenia which is on the destination board.

So we we're off, heading into the modern city with the shoppers, students and businessmen, cars and vans, picking up passengers en route. We pay our fare 4TL, to an official who gets on to collect it and gradually the passing scenery becoming more rural and then gently rolling greenery as we approach the impressive Kyrenia Mountains, a long, narrow chain which runs 100 miles parallel to the Northern coast. Often referred to as the Five Finger Mountains the name comes from the five finger-like projections of a prominent peak overlooking Kyrenia. To the right we can see the huge flags painted on the hillside, the red Turkish flag and the white "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" flag. Each of these flags is about 450 meters wide and covers an area which is more than 4 football fields. They can be seen from many parts of the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus as well as from planes as they are lit at night. At first there seems no break in the 3,000 foot ridge but gradually a gap appears to our right and the road starts to ascend. The dual carriageway winds through the gap and then drops down quite sharply to the historic port of Kyrenia. The dolmus drops off some passengers in the town then eventually stops at the bus station, the whole journey having taken not much more than half an hour. We head downhill towards the sea, walk through a car park and small park and then down the steps to the harbour.

There has been a settlement at Kyrenia since the 10th century BC, but the harbour today was shaped mostly by the Venetians. The massive castle stands guard over the pretty horseshoe-shaped harbour lined with restaurants and cafes, no doubt a charming place to sit in the Spring if its not blowing a gale from the north! We turn right to look at the boats and explore the area beneath the massive Venetian walls and round the tower to where the waves are crashing in from the open sea. Walking back toward the harbour we pass the entrance gate but decide to leave the castle until later, we walk along the harbour, obtaining a map from the tourist information office, and through the public park then go in search of a coffee and a snack. It is a pleasant town to wander around with small shops and cafes but what surprises us most is the number of big hotels, all with casinos, something we have never seen in Turkey but obviously acceptable here in Northern Cyprus. There is a noticeable lack of pansiyons (small hotels) which can normally be found in small seaside towns such as this.

After our lunch the sun has come out and the wind seems to have dropped a little so we go back to the castle.

Built by the Byzantines in the 7th Century to repel Arab raids it is possible it was originally a Roman fort, this impressive castle is now home to an informative shipwreck museum among its other attractions, all for the princely sum of 12 TL. We start with the dark, narrow tunnel which leads to the chapel of St. George. This small Byzantine church started its existence outside the castle walls but was encompassed into the castle by the Venetians with their huge north west tower. It is possible to walk much of the ramparts from where there are fine views in every direction and we next take advantage of our visit to explore every inch and take photographs from this wonderful vantage point. We then move on to the large central courtyard to enter the east wing which contains tableaux of Neolithic man and his environs, most notably the village of Vrysi which is about 6 miles to the east of Kyrenia. Here there are also re-constructions of tombs with artifacts that have been found locally. Adjacent is the shipwreck museum which houses the 2nd oldest shipwreck in the world, a commercial ship wrecked during a storm in 300 BC and sank with its load just 1 mile off the coast of Kyrenia. (The Uluburun Shipwreck housed in Bodrum Castle, an impressive well-documented 14th century BC shipwreck of the Late Bronze Age period, discovered off the south coast of Turkey is the oldest). bodrum-museum.com/museum/depts/uluburun.htm

Finally before leaving we descend the many steps into the North East tower and the dungeons, all quite an experience. I am sure in the summer this wonderful castle would be full of tourists but in March there were not many to be seen. whatson-northcyprus.com/interest/kyrenia/kyr…

As we pass the harbour we notice it has become much more inviting with the sun coming around and the wind lessening, the tables are being prepared for evening meal as we reluctantly make our way back to the dolmus station. As we walk up the road we see a dolmus which has just left his stand on the other side of the road, but the usual beep of the horn and a nod from me means that he comes around to collect us and we are on our way in this particularly old, army green dolmus which nevertheless attacks the hill and is heading away from the mountains back to Nicosia (Lefkoşa in Turkish). We encounter a bit of traffic as we approach the city centre but its not long before we are back at our starting point at the Kyrenia Gate. We wander back up the main street and into Ataturk Square (Sarayönü) with the famous Venetian Column, a grey granite column which the Venetians brought in 1489 from the temple of Jupiter in the ruins of the Roman city of Salamis, near Famagusta. Not much to look at but it has a lot of history, it was originally crowned with their trademark Lion of St Mark with carvings around the base but the lion was removed by the Ottomans who toppled the column in 1570, the British re-erected it in 1915 and placed a copper globe on the top.

We sit down in the sunshine with a promised glass of Efes, as the sun sets behind the buildings it starts to get cold so we go over to investigate the building on our right, the Law Courts built in 1901 by the British who destroyed the 700 year-old Ottoman administrative headquarters (the Saray) which had previously stood on the site. This building had formerly been a Lusignan and Venetian palace complex with fine apartments, arcaded courtyard and throne hall, all this was levelled to build this British administrative building. We complete our exploration with a visit to the Samanbahçe Quarter but it is going dark now so we head back to the Ledra Street crossing, stopping only for a glass of cay at a lokanta before returning across the border, passing the shops and coffee houses of the pedestrianised Ledra Street in south Nicosia as we made our way back to our car.

A worthwhile experience but so much more to see, I hope to return in the not too distant future.

7. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

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London, United...
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9. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

Day trip to Polis/Latchi/Aphrodite's Bath from Coral Bay

Amazing value on the buses for 5 euro unlimited bus ride for the day. Really enjoyed walking around Polis, very nice area. Had seen amazing photos of the beach at Polis so followed the signs down through the campsite onto the beach. Was so disappointed! A winter 'earthquake' the locals told us had devastated the beach. No glorious sands to be seen now :( However we walked along the boardwalk through to Latchi where there is a pleasant harbour area and we sat at one of the many cafes to enjoy a welcome lunch. The bus from Polis stops here so we boarded once again for the final part of the day to see the Aphrodite Baths. Not having investigated what was there surprised to see just a small waterfall and pool area. There are some walks to do if you have time from here. Others on the same bus told us that a tour with their holiday company wanted 20 euros per person for this trip - outrageous. I would suggest going to see it if you, like us, were experiencing a dull day to use this as your cheap day trip out. On the plus side the journey from Paphos to Polis takes you through some beautiful countryside and for just 5 euros extremely good value.

Istanbul
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10. Re: Please Post Your Trip Reports Here.

Trip report - a week in Cyprus - Paphos and North Cyprus

I flew Onur Air from Istanbul. There are airport buses sitting waiting at Ercan airport, it cost 7TL into Nicosia/Lefkosa. I stayed at a pansiyon near the Buyuk Han that night. Wasn't impressed and would not stay again. The bathroom was horrible and I didn't get any breakfast, but it didn't really matter just for one night. There didn't seem to be any life in Nicosia in the evening, so I was asleep by 11 and up bright and early. I went for a wander. I loved the han although I was too early for a coffee there. Walked for quite a while to find a borek place, then had a tea and the borek at an outdoor cafe next to the Venetian column.

After a few hours I made my way to the Greek side, no problem at all crossing although they did check my luggage (I seemed to be the only person going through with luggage). So much more lively on the Greek side. Walked all the way down the main shopping street and then to the right to get to the bus station. There was a bus just about to leave to Paphos, which was lucky. It took about two hours.

I had already decided to try to make my own way to the apartment I'd booked, rather than pay for a taxi or try to work out the buses. I'd printed off a google map. It was pretty hot and irritating making my own way but I got there in the end.

In Paphos I stayed at the Crystallo Apartments. Loved it, would recommend it. The apartment had everything I needed and was lovely and clean. The opposite to the previous night. I didn't eat in any restaurants during my stay, went to the big supermarket opposite Debenhams and made my own food (sausage sandwiches and baked beans for breakfast, great after living in Turkey where both things are hard and expensive to find).

I had a nice time in Paphos although it was very quiet. The first day I was there was a Sunday and on the Tuesday it was the national day so everything was closed again. One day I rented a bike and cycled all along the seaside path in both directions as far as I could go. I also did some shopping at the big shopping centre and stocked up on things that were cheaper than they are in Turkey. I explored the catacombs, which were right next to the apartments.

I was a bit bored by Tuesday so decided to go back to the Turkish side. It was horrible trying to find the bus station. You'd think it would be simple as I'd managed to come from there two days before but I couldn't find it at all, and everything was closed so there weren't any people around to ask for help. I managed to make the bus with two minutes to spare, what a relief. Thank goodness the buses are comfortable and have air con.

Back on the Turkish side, had a quick glass of wine before venturing to find the bus/dolmus/whatever to Girne. Got there to find I'd missed the last one of the day, which is apparently at 6:30pm (!) I really didn't want to stay in Nicosia again, so asked the dolmus driver of another option of how to get to Girne. He said I could take another dolmus, which goes part of the way, and then find a bus or taxi or something. I decided to give it a go. It cost 2TL and I got off at a big roundabout, 25km from Girne. I'd also met a woman on the bus who was also going to Girne so we stuck together.

There was a small van parked at the bus stop. The lady asked the driver if he was going to Girne, he was and said we could go with him. Great. In we hopped, lady in the front, me in the back with my bags. We dropped the woman at her house, and then the driver said I could come and sit next to him. I didn't really want to but didn't want to be rude so I did. He asked me where I was going in Girne, and I said could he just drop me somewhere near the harbour and I'd find a hotel for the night. He was horrified at this idea and invited me to his house, an offer which I politely declined. I said I'd really like to stay in a hotel. Then he said, ok, but just come to my house to eat something and meet my family and then I can take you to a hotel. I also said no to this, but he was already calling his wife on the speakerphone and told her he's bringing a guest to dinner. Oh no!

So off we went to his house, where his wife presented us with dinner. I ate very little and felt rather awkward, although they were very nice. I remembered I had a big box of Turkish delight from Istanbul that I'd brought to give to my relatives, but instead chose to give to this family. The husband called a friend and asked about hotels - they all concluded on my behalf that hotels were a waste of money and the hotels near the harbour were "not good" (I'm wondering if they're used by prostitutes?) and I was sleeping there. I couldn't really argue with them, as I had no idea where I was. Ha ha. So that's how I ended up sleeping in a child's bedroom surrounded by cuddly toys in North Cyprus. The little boy woke up in the night, came next to me and was sleepily saying "Mummy? Mummy? Who are you?" Hope I didn't scare him too much.

In the morning there was a huge breakfast waiting for me. I got in touch with my relatives, and arranged that we'd meet at the harbour. I loved the look of the castle and harbour area although didn't spend long there. The Turkish lady and her son took me there and we all had a drink, and then went to Bellapais Abbey. Lovely views up there, and then a mediocre (and overpriced) lunch at one of the restaurants right opposite the abbey.

We took the Turkish lady and her son back home and thanked them profusely. It was such a lovely example of Turkish hospitality that this family took me in as a complete stranger and looked after me.

My relatives had a car, which was fantastic, and allowed us to visit loads of places all over North Cyprus that we would never have got to without our own transport.

It was now a longish drive to their home, which was in Bogaz, North of Famagusta. Nice drive through the mountains.

Over the next few days, these were the highlights:

Lovely king prawns at Kiyi restaurant in Iskele

Wandering around the Salamis ruins (lots of nature and wild flowers)

The lovely beach near Famagusta and looking over the "line" to the ghost town.

Wandering around the old town of Famagusta

A whole day trip up to the very tip of North Cyprus. Saw lots of wild donkeys, went to the monastery, saw some fantastic beaches and had a lovely meal at the Oasis http://www.oasishotelkarpas.com which is somewhere I would really like to go back to.

What I liked about North Cyprus:

*unspoiled

*relatively empty

*great prices, especially for alcohol when you compare with Turkey

*lots of nature and ruins that you can wander around

*Fantastic prices for flights to and from Turkey

What I didn't like or was surprised by:

*some horrible looking massive hotel developments

*lots of empty buildings/half finished buildings

*people working there not knowing Turkish - doesn't matter for me as I know English but I was surprised by it :)

I'll definitely be back.

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