Travel With Cooky’s Escape Tips

Cyprus- an escape from the Covid blues. Travel With Cooky’s escape tips.

“Travel is always a good idea”. Well, it seems like 2020 hadn’t heard this quote before and threw a huge spanner in the works. There has never been a period of time where people have so desperately NEEDED to get away and travel to escape everyday life. Yet, ironically, this is exactly what the citizens of earth are unable to do right now. I was one of the lucky ones and managed to escape abroad just for a small period of time to escape the covid-blues. My destination was the wonderful Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Traveling In Troubled Times

Already having had travel plans dashed by Covid-19, I was desperate to escape and get back to travelling. However, this would be no ordinary travel trip. The UK has not been exactly low in covid-19 cases, so there were already implications to travel. The UK was classed as a category B country, which meant that a covid test and medical certificate was needed to be obtained up to 72 hours before travel. This is known as a PCR test swab which also comes with a medical certificate to travel.

This may be something that could play a big part in future travel for us all. This PCR test had to be done by a private medical professional within 72 hours of travel and obviously had to come back as negative. Oh and at a cost of £185/$240 per test… it wasn’t cheap! This could, however, become something of the norm going forward in these troubled times.

Another requirement during these unsettled times is the acquisition of a ‘Cyprus Flight Pass’. This is proof of your PCR test and uploading of your medical certificate to the government website.

The New Norm

Having travelled to over 50 countries, airports are quite a familiar setting for me. Although, this was a different scenario altogether. I have never seen an airport as empty as London Stansted that day. Next on the agenda… everybody’s essential travel item, face masks!

These are now compulsory from the moment you walk into an airport, and can only be taken off while seated and eating and drinking. This also applies while on the flight. So my top tip, eat and drink frequently if you want to break down the mask-wearing during the flight.

I do believe that face masks will still remain a part of our lives for a long time to come. However, if it’s a requirement to travel, I’m sure many of us won’t have a problem, as long as we can get away.

So, where is your next destination once the world opens its doors? My personal recommendations…

Cyprus

The Mediterranean island is an absolute paradise. Really has something to offer for everyone. 

by Travel With Cooky

From skiing in the Troodos mountains in the morning to sunbathing adjacent to crystal clear waters in the afternoon (season dependant). Why not then top the day off by sipping cocktails as you watch the incredible sunset over the Mediterranean sea. Cyprus really is the island that just keeps giving.

The island is split from the Turkish occupied North and the Greek Cypriot south and is the only country in the world that has a capital city shared between two countries, Nicosia. My recent trip took me to the south-west coast to the beautiful Paphos and Akamas Peninsula. An area of extreme natural beauty, ancient archaeological world heritage sites and some of the best sunsets in the world. I am going to share with you three absolute must-do activities while visiting this wonderful place.

Visit The Blue Lagoon

It’s not hard to see how this incredible area of natural beauty got its name. But it is not only the destination that makes this trip. The journey to the famous crystal blue waters is a 5 km off-road drive on the edge of the cliff face. Cyprus is one of the cheapest places in Europe to rent a car, so if you want some free adrenaline thrown into your trip, I recommend hiring an FWD and taking in the incredibly scenic drive. Alternatively, you can access the lagoon via boat/yacht, but you will miss the exhilarating offroad drive and cliffside views.

The drive isn’t for the faint-hearted. We took a group tour on a 4×4 Safari in which we had an incredible driver and tour guide with over 25 years of experience.

…This is something you really would miss out on by taking the smoother ocean path.

Arriving at the lagoon and overlooking the rugged landscape and impeccably clear water was something of a dream. In October the water was absolutely perfect and it isn’t unusual to still have swimmers into the month of November.

The lagoon is around a 30-40 minute drive from Paphos across the beautiful Cypriot coastline. This is an absolute must while you are visiting the Akamas area.

Cliff jump into the clear blue and explores the surrounding caves as the Mediterranean sun glistens off the tranquil waters.

by Travel With Cooky

Walk the Avakas Gorge

Second on the list, but definitely not second best, is the magnificent Avakas Gorge. Nestled in the wilderness of the Akamas Peninsula this dramatic canyon is a favourite amongst hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The beautiful rock formations are home to a unique variety of fauna and flora. The gorge trail is just over 5 miles/8km long and does require some areas where you must ‘proceed at own risk’.

At the beginning of the trail is a free parking area with toilet facilities. Access to this however is once again across dirt roads, so I recommend a vehicle with some bite to it. Regular tour groups do come to visit the area but only walk a small proportion of the gorge. If you really wish to beat the crowds, hike the entire trail, but be prepared. We were pre-warned and reminded by ample signage that there is a risk of falling rocks so you must be vigilant. Also, never hike anywhere without informing someone of your plans. Mobile phone/cell service is minimal at the best of times and should not be relied on in case of emergency.

Sturdy footwear, ample food and water and a first aid kit are highly recommended. Waterproof footwear would be a bonus as you WILL get wet.

by Travel With Cooky

Visit Archaeological World Heritage Sites

Cyprus is shrouded in history and ancient mythology. It is easy to get lost in stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and lap up the tales left in the landscapes. While visiting the Akamas Peninsula a trip to one of the archaeological world heritage site is an absolute must.

UNESCO Paphos Archaeological Park

Located slap bang in the centre of Paphos is the UNESCO ‘Paphos Archaeological Park’. This is a small city and should not be taken lightly. Again, good footwear is recommended and bring your own water, as the ‘city’ is spread over quite some distance.

Ancient temples, rock-cut tombs, amphitheatres and elaborate mosaic floors all reflect the sophisticated ancient societies of Paphos from yesteryear.

With a history dating back more than a staggering 8,000 years, the whole area is an absolute treasure trove for visitors, history buffs and art lovers alike. Sheltered areas are few and far between, apart from dipping into ancient Roman Villas, so be sure to take adequate sunscreen and a hat. The Mediterranean sun is not one to be messed with for extended periods of time.

A trip to the ancient city would not be complete without downloading the ‘PafosUNESCO’ app. This is a treasure trove of information where you can take your own guided tour with full commentary on everything you are to see.

From the stories behind the mosaics to the informative commentary running you through its past Neolithic, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras. This video taken from this very app outlines just what this awe-inspiring destination has to offer.

Entrance to the park is just 4.50 Euros for adults with discounts for concessions also available.

…Another UNESCO World Heritage site on Paphos doorstep is the Tomb Of The Kings.

Just two kilometres north of Paphos harbour is the large necropolis calved out of a solid rock. The underground tombs actually date back as far as the 4th century BC. The area is in great condition considering its vast history and well worth a wander around. The ruins are in exceptional condition and would be a crime to not take advantage of the area only closed Christmas day, New Years Day and Easter Sunday. What’s more, at only 2.50 Euros entry fee, it would be insane to let the opportunity slip.

Take a trip to ‘Cyprus Sunset Point’ to take advantage of moments you will never forget.

by Travel With Cooky

Bonus Tip

As I mentioned earlier, the sunsets here are literally out of this world. Situated approximately 3 km from Paphos central, is the beautiful Saint Nicholas church, in which the ‘Cyprus Sunset Point’ lays.

The church, small in structure, has the interior of a decor that would not be out of place in some of the worlds finest cathedrals. The combination of these two makes it all worth a trip. Situated just off the beach and overlooking the Mediterranean sea, it is little wonder why it is a hot spot as a wedding venue.

Travel With Cooky

Hello, my name is Ryan and I am the founder and creator of the “Travel With Cooky” travel blog. I have travelled to over 50 counties so far and thrive to inspire others to get out and see the world as I do. My aspirations are to get people out and see the world and proving this can be achieved on any budget!

I have a full-time job and do everything around my normal life. My goals are to travel as much of the world as possible and help others by revealing tips, hacks and reviews on the places I see during my travels.

You can follow Travel With Cooky’s journey on Instagram – @TravelWithCooky, Facebook – TravelWithCooky

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