So, you’re interested in visiting the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus but you don’t want the typical beach holiday – no, you want an action-packed, pedal-powered quest across this gorgeous isle, stopping to discover all of its best kept secrets along the way. Well, we don’t blame you, and so we’ve put together an easy guide to planning the ultimate Cyprus road trip on two wheels.
All you need to provide is yourself, the bike and the energy to hit the road – we’ve taken care of all the rest.
The first thing you’ll need to consider is when you’re going to visit. Unsurprisingly, summer is the busiest time of year in Cyprus, when tourists flock to the beaches, restaurants and nightclubs – it is also the hottest, with temperatures climbing up to 40°C and beyond. So, summer is probably not the best time to attempt a gruelling cross-country cycling challenge. You would be best to aim for either the springtime or the autumn, when temperatures are cooler, crowds are reduced and everybody is in a better mood. You could even visit during the winter months, as temperatures will not dip too far below 10°C; however, this would be a different journey, requiring more equipment and different clothing in order to keep you warm and healthy on your trip.
The next thing to think about is precisely which route you will take. A great place to start and end is Paphos, as it is the capital of its district and therefore has great amenities, good transport links and that little bit of luxury you might be craving after several hundred miles of cycling. Travelling in an anticlockwise direction, you’re set up to pass through waypoints like Limassol, Ayia Napa, Nicosia and Troodos. This last place is the region of Mount Olympus, which is a landmark that you’ll certainly want to include in your trip one way or another. You may want to tweak this loose outline in order to include the destinations that you’re particularly interested in, but it’s a good starting point that hits all the big names, although it does miss out the large forest to the north of the island.
Whilst we can’t do any of the physical training for you, we can certainly give you some ideas of how to keep your mind both active and healthy during your trip, as well as suggest how to carve out space to relax and be calm. If you’re planning on wild camping, then you’ll need some accessible and absorbing activities to keep you busy during the evenings sat in your tent. Taking a smartphone with you opens up a whole world of possibilities in this respect; you can top up your Greek phrases, take your brain for a spin or two on the roulette wheel, or listen to a podcast about lifestyle, sports or business, all with just a mobile internet connection. Alternatively, stick with a good paperback book or simply lay back and enjoy the vista of stars that will open up above you once the sun goes down.
Speaking of accommodation, we would heartily recommend that you invest in a lightweight hiking tent and spend at least a couple of nights out in the open. This way, you’ll have an unique experience of Cyprus, its wildlife and its landscape. It’s a truly magical way to add a touch of the intrepid to your journey and beats any hotel bed hands down. We would absolutely condone booking yourself in to a comfortable room with complimentary breakfast once you make it to your final destination though – you’ll have deserved it by that point!
One of the most important aspects in any trip abroad is the food – and this is doubly important when you’re burning hundreds of calories a day cycling. Luckily, Cyprus is home to some of the most mouth-watering dishes on the planet, using fresh ingredients and a delicate balance of flavours. Be sure to sample a meze or two to get you started before diving into a creamy, warm moussaka, both filling and delicious. It’s bound to give you enough energy to get through those next miles. You should also try the traditional koupepia, rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves, and, of course, a genuine Cypriot kebab or two. If you’ve got room afterwards (which we’re sure you will have), then try ekmek kadayif, a popular dessert reminiscent of bread pudding which will fill any outstanding nooks and crannies, or treat yourself to some sweet, sweet baklava.
Whilst this is just a start to your planning process, hopefully it has inspired you to take the next steps in making your Cyprus cycling dream a reality. It is a wonderful country to visit and one that you’ll find yourself wanting to return to again and again – bike or no bike!