If you and your family like to get out into nature on your annual holidays, one place that comes highly recommended is Cyprus. This gorgeous island in the Mediterranean is bursting at the seams with abundant flora and fauna, and the best news is that it’s all extremely accessible. Exploring the astounding biodiversity of the island nation provides a truly memorable getaway for adventurous families.
Welcome to Cyprus!
One of the most popular places to make a holiday base is Protaras, in the east of the island. This delightful coastal town offers stunning beaches for the kids, a bit of history for the parents and proximity to numerous fabulous sites where you can get up close and personal with the wonderful wildlife of Cyprus.
You’ll no doubt find your own favourites, but here are a few that are tried and true, to start you off.
The Ocean Aquarium
A base in Protaras gives you doorstep access to the magnificent Ocean Aquarium, which is one of the island’s most popular attractions. The children will love exploring this place, with lots to see and do to fill at least a couple of hours. As well as being able to encounter a host of colourful and exotic fish species (more than 1,000!), outside in the grounds you can explore the 12,500m2 tropical gardens and meet some equally colourful birdlife.
Top Tip: If you really want to impress the kids, become a part of the Aquarium’s unique Animal Adoption Program!
Talk to the Turtles
Who doesn’t love turtles? With the Marine Turtle Conservation Project, you and your kids will be able to visit several sites to see what’s being done in the important work to ensure the conservation of the green and loggerhead turtles in their natural habitat in Cyprus. The sites are run by volunteers and it’s a real treat to listen to their stories and allow them to share their passion for these wonderful creatures. Five sites are open to the public around the island, but you’ll have to book as they are quite popular with visitors. It makes for not only a really fun day out, but also a valuable education in conservation for youngsters – but don’t tell them that!
A Walk in the Park
Ah, but not just any old park! The lush Rizoelia National Forest Park is home to an impressive 184 diverse plant species, and it’s a truly relaxing place to bring the children for a leisurely hike through the pines and cypresses. The cool environs of the National Park also provide a home for various animal species, including hares, reptiles and a host of birds. It’s up to you just how long you want to spend here, but it’s not hard to while away an entire day exploring the hiking paths, playgrounds and lookout points.
Set on the picturesque southern coast of the island, Limassol Zoo is not huge but it certainly packs a punch – especially with the kids. With a big range of animals from all over the world, the unusual household at Limassol includes guinea pigs, meerkats, chickens, deer and a vast array of avian species. The highly child-friendly nature of the zoo means kids can get up close to a host of animals at ‘playtime’, and if you stay until later in the day you’ll get to experience a stunning sunset over the beach to top it all off. Bring your camera!
And Plenty More…
These certainly aren’t the only ways to get up close and personal to Cyprus’s wildlife, and other places that deserve mention include the following.
- Troodos National Forest Park: There are loads of hiking trails and a chance for possible sightings of the famous Bonelli’s eagle.
- Kavo Gkreko National Forest Park: This park is home to huge numbers of birds, butterflies, reptiles and mammals (take a picnic!).
- Pafos Zoo: You can go round the world in half a day, with the animals including tigers, lions, giraffes and even the endangered Cyprus mouflon.
Where to Stay
Coralli Spa Resort: Set in a truly amazing central location, the Coralli Spa Resort offers fabulous family accommodation with facilities including a spa and fitness centre, two pools, free Wi-Fi and spacious, comfortable studios and apartments. Walking distance to the beach, bars and restaurants.
Villa Dionysus: Just 800 metres from beautiful Fig Tree Beach, the lovely Villa Dionysus has everything you need for a family home away from home. With a well-equipped kitchen, a barbeque, pool, bicycle rental service and air-conditioned comfort, you’ll want for nothing in this excellent property.
How to Get There
Getting to Protaras with the family couldn’t be easier! From the UK it takes around 4.5 hours in the air to get to Larnaca Airport. You can catch a direct flight with numerous airlines, including British Airways who often offer some great deals.
Once you’ve landed, I’ve always found the best way to ensure a hassle free journey from Larnaca Airport to Protaras is on a pre-booked transfer with Shuttle Direct. It means you’ll have a friendly driver waiting for you when you land and there’s no messing around with kids, luggage and public transport.
- UK to LCA Flight Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
- LCA to Protaras Distance: 47 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 1 hour
About Shuttle Direct
Wherever you need to get to and from, at Shuttle Direct we’re proud to be the most trusted name in the business. Simply make an easy online booking for a shared or private transfer of your choice before you leave home, and one of our friendly professional drivers will be there to meet you. Start your holiday the right way!