One thing 2020 has shown us is the vital importance of making sure you have good travel insurance. Not only in case anything goes awry during your time away, but also to cover any unforeseen eventualities that might arise between booking and travel – such as the dreaded Covid-19 – it’s crucial to take out your travel insurance at the time you book your holiday. Putting off arranging your travel insurance until just before your trip, or risking travelling without any insurance could be costly mistakes.
If you take several holidays or business trips abroad within a year, it may be worthwhile exploring annual insurance options, rather than relying on a number of separate single-trip policies. Not only could this save time and hassle, but it could save money too.
Cover to look out for:
Medical expenses – including private hospital stays, private medical treatment, and in an extreme emergency – getting you back home (medical repatriation) – while a good European travel policy will give £1 million worth of cover, for travel to the USA you need £2 million medical insurance
Cancellation and curtailment – in case you need to cancel your holiday entirely, or to return home early – look for £2000 minimum cover
Missed departure or delays – due to unforeseen circumstances such as a car breakdown or accident en route to the airport – aim for at least £500 cover
Lost, stolen or damaged luggage– ideally over £1500 cover
Valuables and currency– whatever you need for valuables cover, plus maybe £500 for money equivalents (such as pre-paid tickets) and £300 for cash
Personal liability cover – in case you accidentally injure a third party, or damage property – a good policy will offer £2 million cover
Scheduled airline failure – in case your airline goes out of business – £1500 plus
Loss of passport – towards the additional expenses involved in replacing a lost or stolen passport – perhaps £250
Packaged bank accounts
When – thanks to a birthday – the cost of our annual policy suddenly leapt up, we were very glad to learn about the benefits of packaged bank accounts which include travel insurance within the monthly account fee. If you fit the income criteria and can make use of the perks these accounts offer, they can offer fantastic value.
But which to choose? We searched trusted information sources online for an unbiased assessment and advice. MoneySavingExpert.com recommends checking out the Co-op Everyday Extra account (£15 per month) for couples and older travellers as it provides worldwide family travel insurance up to age 80, plus smartphone insurance and RAC breakdown cover. They also suggest considering the Halifax Ultimate Reward account (£17 per month) for worldwide family travel insurance (including winter sports), smartphone insurance, home emergency cover and AA breakdown cover. Which.co.uk highlights the First Direct First Directory account (£15 per month) offering a similar package.
Another account to consider is the Nationwide FlexPlus account (£13 per month) chosen by both MoneySavingExpert and Which as their best buy.
Like the others, it offers comprehensive worldwide family travel cover (including winter sports), plus smartphone insurance, along with UK and European breakdown cover – this time with Britannia Rescue. MSE calculates the value of the total package as £500 for an annual fee of £156. Also as it can be a joint account, a couple can both benefit. And flexible additional cover can be added if you need it… For example if you are over 70, have existing medical conditions, want to add hazardous activities, or to make trips over their standard 31 days.
At the time of writing Nationwide has (hopefully temporarily) closed their Recommend-a-Friend scheme where anyone opening a FlexPlus account using a referral from an existing customer earns each party a £100 bonus. If you are considering opening an account for the insurance package, do check first whether this has been reinstated and get in touch if you would like to know our referral code.
Holidays in Cyprus conjure up images of turquoise seas and pretty beaches. Swimming, snorkelling, diving and sailing are features of a typical stay on the island. But head inland towards the cool of the Troodos Mountains and you will discover a different world entirely.
One village in particular has been transformed in recent years – after local man John Papadouris returned to his native homeland. Having lived in the UK and Dubai for many years, he was shocked and disappointed to find the mountain village of Kalopanayiotis in serious decline. Fortunately his business experience and civil engineering background, combined with vision and enthusiasm proved the perfect recipe for rejuvenating the village.
Across the river, opposite the vehicle bridge is the monastery of St John Lampadistis which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The walls and ceilings are filled with stunning frescoes dating back to the Byzantine era. There is also a Byzantine museum on the site.
Following the river upstream leads to a Venetian bridge and the sulphur springs. There is a choice of well-marked nature trails from the village centre, ranging from gentle strolls to energetic hikes.
Cross the wooden footbridge and walk back past the hotel’s orchards. A magnificent funicular railway lifts you up to the hotel level of the village for €1.
Get to know what Cyprus was like, and the beauty of the mountains… There is so much more to see and do and learn about the mountain village life in Cyprus.
Scenic drive to Kalopanayiotis
“Siga siga” – as they say in Cyprus – “slowly slowly”
Take your time with the scenic drive to the mountains. The route takes you firstly through gently rolling hills clad with grapevines. You pass several wineries which offer visitor tours, if you wish to pause. Another good stopping off point is the beautiful historic town of Omodos with its traditional stone buildings and vibrant floral displays. As you approach the mountains, the roads twist and turn, with spectacular views in every direction. There are a number of view points to allow you to stretch your legs and appreciate the vistas. The air is cooler and fresher amid the shady pine forested slopes.
The Casale Panayiotis hotel occupies 7 tastefully and sympathetically restored village houses and offers 41 guest rooms, together with a spa. Their Byzantino Restaurant, Byzantino Café or Pantheon casual dining are open to both hotel residents and village visitors.
We can recommend the wonderful views and delicious lunch menu at the Pantheon. Kalí órexi!
The horrendous Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with the travel industry this season. With strict measures taken early, the Cyprus government has kept the island very safe for residents and visitors. UK tourists have only been allowed in since 1 August, and only then with a negative test. Because their stats are so low, the UK has an ‘air bridge’ arrangement with Cyprus meaning there is no need to quarantine on arrival back from holiday.
Snap Up a Last-Minute Break
All the uncertainty has led to the unusual situation where we currently have some last-minute availability for September and October. We are exceptionally lucky that Pissouri is a resort with many returning visitors. Because of this we have many repeat guests who book for the following season as soon as they return from their holiday.
Currently easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, WizzAir and BA are flying from the UK to Cyprus. Check out their websites because there are some incredible flight bargains on offer for the remainder of the 2020 season.
This is an open letter to all guests who have a booking with us for summer 2020 regarding the covid 19 coronavirus crisis.
Under normal circumstances we pride ourselves about keeping information on this website updated, but as you will appreciate, this rapidly-changing situation is impossible to predict. We are very much hoping that the current lockdowns around the globe will control the spread of this virulent pandemic, and that medical advances will enable us to return to ‘normal living’ sooner rather than later.
In common with many holiday destinations, Cyprus relies heavily on its tourism industry. Renowned for traditional Cypriot hospitality, no doubt when it is finally deemed safe for travel to the island to resume, visitors will receive an even more hearty and warm welcome than usual.
Having moved our own visits to Pissouri Bay twice due to newly-introduced travel restrictions, we are keen to get out there to prepare the villa for the season which we would normally be doing now (March). Time will tell whether we will be able to do this as currently planned (now rescheduled for May). We are trying to ignore the harbingers of doom and gloom, and to look at this optimistically.
New For 2020
We were actually very excited about the forthcoming season. Firstly we have a lovely new manager – Lisa – who provides a meet-and-greet service which is something we haven’t offered before. As always we have made some improvements to our facilities – this time we have a larger TV ready to ship and new indoor dining chairs on order. We hope that you will have the chance to experience them!
While we have every intention of honouring our existing bookings this season, unfortunately at this stage we cannot make any guarantees.
We know how important your holiday is, and appreciate that pre-planning is a key element of this. If at all possible, please could we ask you to delay making any changes to your booking until two months before departure as this is when your final balance is due. At this stage if we should need to cancel your stay – due to continuing circumstances beyond our control – the following options will be available:
Alter Your Dates of Stay
If you would prefer to reschedule your stay, we could apply your booking deposit to alternative available dates in the next 12 months.
You should be entitled to a cancellation refund via your travel insurance. We have already provided formal payment receipts and correspondence as confirmation, and our booking terms can be printed off from the guest-only password-protected booking page of the website. Should you require us to forward anything again, or any further documentation for your insurance company, just let us know.
The latest UK government travel advice for Cyprus can be seen on the FCO website. Cyprus is one of the UK’s air-bridge partners, where there is no 14-day quarantine on return to the UK.
Because the Cyprus government introduced an early and strict lockdown, their Covid-19 figures are remarkably low. It is one of the safest holiday destinations.
A Cyprus Flight Pass needs to be presented for each passenger before boarding in the UK. This can be obtained via Cyprus Flight Pass. The Cyprus government has categorised departure countries on the basis of Covid-19 status. The UK is currently unlisted, meaning it is in category C. Entry from category C countries is not allowed, except in special circumstances. This is reviewed every Monday, with a variety of reliable sources including The Cyprus Mail reporting that providing our figures continue to reduce, the UK will be granted category B status on 1 August.
The other requirement for visitors from category B countries is a negative PCR swab test result taken within 72 hours of flying. As this is not currently available in the UK, Cyprus has set up swab testing at Larnaca and Paphos airports for a subsidised €60 fee. Self-isolation is then required until the results of your test (normally 24 h).
Temperatures of incoming passengers are also being taken at the airports on arrival.
Bars, restaurants and shops are open, with social distancing and careful cleaning protocols. Previous visitors to Pissouri Bay will be aware that the beach is never crowded in a way that you see at other destinations.
On a Personal Note
The health, safety and well-being of our guests are of paramount importance above every other consideration.
We hope that you think we are acting fairly in these extremely challenging circumstances. This will be a difficult season for us, as it will for many of our Pissouri friends.
We know your long-anticipated precious holiday is a vital chance to recharge your batteries. We will only cancel if the ongoing coronavirus situation forces us to.
Please bear in mind, too, from our perspective that if we have to cancel any bookings, our small business will take a considerable loss – as we will still need to pay our manager, pool man, gardeners, utilities, mortgage, common expenses and taxes.
A visit to Pissouri amphitheatre for one of the summer ‘tribute act’ shows is one of our favs. There’s something magical and special about a live musical performance, and when it includes so many familiar numbers, you’re on to a winner.
Just off Pissouri Square, the magnificent modern amphitheatre was built as the village’s ‘millennium project’. With a sea-view backdrop from the tiered stone steps, shows begin in daylight and continue through sunset, finishing under floodlights. A great community get-together, the atmosphere is lively and relaxed – with chat, banter, singing and dancing. Everyone takes cushions to sit on (a must for comfort!), plus cool boxes with drinks and snacks.
Pissouri Tribute-Act Concerts
Sunday 29 March | Dolly Parton: Dani Graham | Platea Tavern
Tuesday 31 March | Elvis Presley: Mark Summers | Vineleaf Tavern
Sunday 19 April | Roy Orbison: Iain Sparks | Platea Tavern
Monday May 4 | Johnny Cash: Stu Edwards | Vineleaf Tavern
Saturday June 6 | ELO Again | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Saturday June 13 | Soul Kinda Wonderful | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Saturday 20 June | The ABBA Reunion Show | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Saturday 11 July | West Coast Eagles | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Sunday 26 July | The Vox Beatles | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Sunday 6 September | Dire Straits: Money For Nothing | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Thursday 17 September | Fleetwood Bac | Pissouri Amphitheatre
By visiting the Cyprus tour promoters’ websites and Facebook pages, you can find further information on dates, venues, tickets, prices, etc. If there’s a concert you’d like to catch during your holiday, do book up early (you can do it online) to be sure of your tickets, as popular events can sell out.
Cyprus visitors with a food allergy or intolerance need have no worries. Supermarkets and restaurants throughout the island are geared up to cater for all kinds of special diets.
As required by EU law introduced in 2014, restaurateurs are required to conduct a comprehensive audit of every ingredient within their dishes, which must then be displayed on menus to inform customers about any potential allergens, including nuts, milk, celery, gluten, soya and wheat.
The photographs on this page were all taken in the Papantoniou supermarket in Pissouri. Hopefully they show what a great range of free-from goods they carry.
Vegetarian and Vegan Choices
Vegetarian options have long been widely available, particularly as in the Cypriot culture there is an extended period of fasting every spring during Greek Orthodox Lent when meat is not eaten. In recent years it has become increasingly common to see a selection of vegan dishes offered.
We particularly recommend O’Vrakas in Pissouri village if you are looking for a good vegan-friendly restaurant.
‘Free-From’ Foods in Supermarkets
Pissouri’s main supermarket – Papantoniou – has a large section of ‘Free From’ foods. If you require a gluten-free diet, you will find loaves, different types of pasta, bread and cake mixes, along with a variety of sweet treats such as biscuits, cakes and cookies. They also sell a huge range of dairy-free milk including almond, soya, coconut, hazelnut, oat and rice milks.
Thanks to satellite telemetry, scientists and conservationists are able to accurately track turtle movements through the oceans. While most sea turtles migrate between foraging and nesting grounds, in some cases seasonal migrations can cover the most incredible distances. Here is one such remarkable journey…
Fishing industry support for by-catch turtles
When a 43 kilogram male loggerhead turtle was accidentally caught in trawling nets off the Famagusta coast earlier this year, local fishermen freed him from their nets and contacted the Society for the Protection of Turtles.
Under a joint research and conservation project with Bird Life Cyprus, such by-catch turtles are named, health checked, vital statistics noted, and finally satellite trackers are carefully attached to their shells before they are returned to the security of the Mediterranean waters.
Satellite tracking of this season’s rescued turtles
Thus ‘Pambos’ (pictured above) – as his rescuers named him – weighing a substantial 43 kilograms, with a shell length of 71 cm was released on 13 March. From the outset his movement pattern was very different from the 13 other by-catch turtles that are currently being monitored. While the other turtles mostly stayed within Famagusta Bay, with the occasional exploration further along the coast, Pambos was quickly heading further afield.
Pambos goes further
Pambos headed past the Ayia Napa peninsula and round to Larnaca Bay, along the south coast to Akrotiri Bay and beyond. He spent some weeks thoroughly exploring Episkopi Bay, and the coast from Pissouri to Paphos.
Having left Cypriot coastal waters, Pambos headed due west across miles of open sea between the Greek islands and north Africa.
And even further…
And this is the astonishing journey to date… well over a thousand miles across the Mediterranean past Sicily to the coastal waters of Tunisia.
Where is Pambos now?
Below is the live satellite map showing the latest updates. Click on any turtle name on the right-hand side to see individual tracks. Or click ‘see all’ to show all the turtle tracks superimposed simultaneously.
The simplest and most accessible way of getting a great view of what lies beneath is to don a mask and learn to breathe through a snorkel.
With so much flora and fauna within the clear warm Mediterranean waters, you should be able to find plenty to see… volcanic rock formations, multi-hued corals, sea anenomes, shoals of darting fish, starfish, shy seahorses, grazing turtles, graceful stingrays,…
Undersea Walking Helmets or Scooters
A unique alternative to Scuba diving that allows you to experience first-hand the colourful world teeming within Cyprus’ crystal clear waters. Fresh air is pumped into your helmet – a totally different experience than breathing through a regulator. As your head stays dry, you can even wear your glasses or contact lenses.
Undersea Cyprus also offer the opportunity to book a ride on a BOB (breathing observation bubble) which is a scooter-like personal mini submarine with built in fresh air helmet. Getting into the bubble does involve a brief moment underwater.
Based at Ayia Triada beach in Paralimni at the eastern end of the island. Morning and afternoon dives daily in season. The complete excursion lasts 2.5 hours – involving a short boat trip to the floating pontoon, then a rotation of escorted 30-minute undersea adventures for small groups in pre-booked time-slots.
Pissouri Bay Divers offer a ‘Discover Scuba Diving‘ course which gives you the experience of using breathing apparatus underwater – either in a pool or the sea. This exciting taster is a great introduction to diving for novices, which could be the start of a big new adventure.
There are plenty of other dive centres offering a variety of courses and activities – both local and around the island.
PADI Open Water Courses
You need to be quite organised to be able to fit a full PADI Scuba Diving qualification into your holiday. That’s not to say it can’t be done, though. The theory course – taking 12-15 hours – is best done online before your stay to maximise your time for the practical.
Pissouri Bay Divers offer an intermediate PADI Open Water qualification enabling you to hire equipment and dive under qualified supervision, or if you can squeeze in 4 open water dives, you could complete the full PADI certification.
Qualified divers can develop their skills and work towards the Advanced PADI Open Water certificate.
Cyprus has 6 shipwrecks which make exciting dive sites…
The first and most well-known was created by the accidental sinking of the Zenobia roll-on roll-off ferry on her maiden voyage in 1980. A computer error causing overfilling of the port ballast tanks has been blamed for tipping the vessel. As the £200 million cargo of 104 articulated lorries and their contents has never been salvaged, there is plenty to view at the site off the coast of Larnaca. (The crew were all successfully rescued.)
Around the wreck you will see groupers, tuna, barracuda, turtles, and stingrays.
The Zenobia is widely regarded as the best wreck-diving site in the Mediterranean, and often voted in the world’s top ten.
In recent years the Cyprus Government has taken the decision to add a further 5 additional artificial reefs at points around the island by sinking redundant vessels. Rest assured these were meticulously cleaned and prepared to ensure that no pollution was created in the process.
The new reefs have the same characteristics as natural reefs – providing space and shelter for reproduction, growth, feeding and refuge for marine organisms. Algae and sponges grow on the surfaces of the sunken wrecks, creating mini ecosystems and habitats.
Locations: Protaras – 1950s fishing vessel Nemesis III – Dec 2013 Limassol – Lady Thetis, a 1950s German vessel – Feb 2014 Limassol – former Soviet fishing trawler Costandis – Feb 2014 Paphos – Laboe, a pre-World War II cruiser – June 2014 Ayia Napa – Kerynia, a navy patrol boat – Feb 2015
Of all the excursions from sea-fishing to wildlife-watching available from Paphos harbour, we recommend Atlantis Turtle-Watching Cruise – that we discovered thanks to our guest Natalie.
Atlantis is equipped with portholes for underwater viewing of fish, turtles, stingrays, and wrecks. Cruises start from the furthest jetty, and the skipper, George, is a genial and knowledgeable host.
Glass Bottomed Boats
You will find a variety of excursions in glass-bottomed boats from harbours around the island. Another great opportunity to view the undersea delights below.
Ever had the situation when you have a yearning for one type of cuisine while your loved ones want something different?
Usually dinner menus have enough options to satisfy everyone, but occasionally you find an establishment that goes even further.
Typical family-run restaurants tend to offer the traditional fare that Cypriots most enjoy. And surely it’s one of the pleasures of travel to sample the local cuisine during your stay.
Cypriot dishes to make your mouth water include the freshest of locally caught fish, Stifado – an intensely tomatoey beef stew, Kleftiko – super-tender slow-cooked lamb, Moussaka, charcoal barbecued kebab skewers or halloumi.
As an appetiser, what beats dipping slices of pittas in tahini, tzatziki and olive tapenade, and a tasty village salad topped with salty feta?
We also recommend seeking out a traditional restaurant away from the tourist traps to sample an authentic Cypriot meze during your stay. As these can consist of more than 20 small dishes, remember to skip breakfast – or ask for a doggy bag if you can’t manage it all!
Other Cuisines Found in Pissouri Bay
For a small resort, there’s an amazing array of restaurants within walking distance…
Our fav haunt is Pissouri Bay Cafe Bar whose fresh Mediterranean menu includes imaginative salads, tasty pasta dishes and risottos, along with curries and a variety of burgers.
Also well worth a visit is Pizza Venetto serving home-made cheesy pizzas and great value family favourites.
When you fancy something a little more spicy, book a table at Saffron whose menu offers contemporary Indian cuisine, including authentic dishes, traditional curries and tandoor specialities.
West to Mandria
Close to Paphos airport, the compact centre of Mandria village has some interesting restaurants. We recommend booking at any of these options to ensure you have a table reserved…
Il Vesuvio is a good quality Italian trattoria and pizzeria where you will find plenty of choice on the menu and indulgent desserts.
Kentroikon has a unique offering with an extensive menu including Cypriot, Mediterranean and – surprise, surprise – Chinese dishes, meaning this restaurant could be the perfect answer to your dining dilemmas. And it’s not a case of jack of all trades, master of none… as you can see from their online reviews, satisfied customers confirm that all the cuisine options are good, making this restaurant well worth a visit.
No visit to the area is complete without dinner at Mandria Fish and Chips. Great service, generous portions, quality ingredients and always perfectly cooked. We love it!
We are constantly on the lookout for ways to tweak and improve your stay at Ampeli Villa, aiming to make it as easy, comfortable and welcoming as we can.
In addition to our regular maintenance, there’s an ever-growing list of ideas for upgrades. This inevitably gets longer after comparing notes with friends and fellow holiday rental owners. Plus we do our best to implement thoughtful suggestions put forward by our lovely guests.
Browsing the gallery, quite a few minor changes are not reflected there… mainly because our visits tend to be working holidays with paint pots, ladders, tools and mess all around. It’s a case of making do with a quick dash round with the camera once we’re back in ‘guest-ready’ mode. Inevitably some shots are missed or spoiled by something in the background. One of these days it would be lovely to have a proper photographer in – another job on the wish list.
Giant Fan Palm
We took the decision to take down our second (and last remaining) gigantic fan palm last November. This key feature of the border behind the pool had simply grown too big for the garden.
It’s incredible how quickly the garden grows in Cyprus. Despite the poor clay soil and extreme heat, most garden plants seem to thrive as long as they are given a good start with regular watering. Once established, trees and shrubs seem to manage quite well in the arid conditions.
The patio pots are a different story… because they need their daily fix of H2O, especially in the hotter months, the garden irrigation system is essential.
Unfortunately the palm tree was casting a large shadow, and dropping messy black seeds in the pool. Plus it was now so tall that it had got beyond the reach of our hard-working gardeners’ ladders when they had to climb up for trimming off the dead leaves.
The removal process was quite a feat… Daniel Petrov and his team at High Access Point did a most impressive and professional job which we captured on this time-lapse video.
The good news is that the pygmy date palms near the pool are looking better than ever, so we hardly miss our tropical giant.
As Cyprus is in an earthquake zone, it is recommended that swimming pools are built with a metal frame and pool liner to give a degree of flexibility that you don’t have with a tiled pool. The downside is that PVC liners do not shrug off greasy sunscreen like tiles do.
To refresh the pool, Border Choice installed a ‘Greek key’ border along the waterline where sunscreen accumulates and bakes on. This adds an extra layer of protection to the liner, improves the look of the pool, and – hopefully – gives a surface that is a little more robust. It’s not a perfect solution, however, which is why it’s still important to use the garden shower for removing sunscreen before swimming.
Super-Quiet Air Conditioners
Although the existing air conditioning was in good working order, we have upgraded to inverter units for the 2019 season. These initially draw AC power, then the DC inverter kicks in to control the speed of the compressor. This should give everyone a more restful sleep because the units run more quietly.
In the living area, the two smaller units were swapped for a larger one, and the two-hour timers removed.
Shiny New Taps
As the local hard water gives the taps a hard life, a change was due. We particularly love the kitchen tap which dispenses drinking water separately.
With recent focus on environmental concerns over single-use plastic, you’ll be pleased to know it’s safe to drink the local tap water, so there’s no need to lug home vast quantities of the plastic-bottled variety. In the villa you will find reusable glass bottles that you can fill up and keep in the fridge.
On our recent pre-season visit I was delighted to find the perfect folder for displaying the new guest handbook pages. Previous visitors can probably tell that designing this document is something I love. There is also an online A-Z version on the password-protected section of this site for booked guests.
The folder came from Jumbo in Kings Avenue Mall, Paphos. A Woolworths-type store offering a wide range of value homeware, (including beach paraphernalia and pool inflatables).
Sunbed Cushion Covers
We are moving on from ‘home made’ lounger towels and trying something slicker. This season’s new covers are microfibre, rather than cotton which should make them more durable and colour-fast. They are much less bulky to launder and store and should be quick drying.
Fingers crossed you like them!
Looking forward to welcoming this season’s guests… Kalosórisma !