Clever Holiday Money-Saving Tips

EU holidays post-Brexit savings

Save on Card Charges

Secure card payments portal

Choose a bank card that is free from non-sterling transaction charges or ATM cash withdrawal fees. You can find regularly-updated advice on this at consumer advice websites, such as MoneySavingExpert.com.

Always pay in the local currency to obtain the bank exchange rate – which is often much closer to the interbank rate – instead of the one set by the retailer.

Use debit cards for ATM cash withdrawals, rather than credit cards to avoid interest charges. And try to use bank ATMs, rather than the yellow-and-blue stand-alone ones which charge a fee.

Airport Transfers

Taxi

For a stay in Pissouri Bay, you can holiday comfortably without a hire car. If that is your preferred option, (particularly if your flight is to Paphos airport), we recommend pre-booking a local taxi for a friendly meet-and-greet service at the airport. See our Travel Info page for more.

If you are hiring a car, airport pick-up and drop-off is the simplest option. Buying a stand-alone car hire excess waiver policy online before your holiday is normally much cheaper than the options that the rental company offer at the desk. Check out the choices at Money Maxim.

Mobile Roaming

Post-Brexit, the larger UK mobile networks – with the exception of O2 – have reintroduced roaming charges, unless you buy a European roaming package. Virtual providers such as Asda, GiffGaff, ID, Lebara, Lycamobile, Spusu and Tesco are currently offering various roam-like-home options to allow you to use your normal allowances abroad. (Check conditions – limitations may apply.)

You can easily get by without mobile roaming, using the secure villa WiFi for apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp for calling or messaging. It’s a good idea to download maps for offline use, and – if you need out-and-about internet access – hop on a free public WiFi hotspot – widely available in shops, restaurants and bars.

Health Insurance

EHIC

Make sure you have an up-to-date health insurance card. This used to be the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). EHICs remain valid until date expiry.

The replacement for UK residents is now a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). It’s free to apply for yours via the form on the NHS website, taking around 15 working days. Although no substitute for travel insurance – which provides a far higher level of cover – it is a useful backup allowing minimal cost access to reciprocal healthcare at Cyprus state hospitals.

Avdimou Stone Circles

Stone Circles Avdimou Pavel Muntyan 5

Lovingly created over a period of years (2015-2022) this unique artwork by Paphos-based animator Pavel Muntyan is a great spot for meditation and scenic views. These fabulous stone circles can be found on the clifftops above Avdimou beach. Located a short walk westwards along the cliff path next to Melanda Beach Restaurant, Pavel assembled the circular spiral labyrinths by bringing in over 15 tonnes of stones. One maze contains carefully selected red stones, another comprises blue-green ones, and the largest is created from beach pebbles. There is also a standing stone circle and beautiful natural planting. With the backdrop of the coastal cliffs and the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, the whole effect, especially on a typical Cyprus sunny day, is stunning.

Route from Ampeli Villa to Avdimou stone circles
Coastal path walk between Ampeli Villa and Avdimou Beach, showing location of stone circles en route

This map shows the cliff path route from the Ampeli Villa or from Melanda Beach restaurant. Another option is to drive part-way making a shorter walk along the coastal path, starting from the parking spot at the end of Kyriakou Matsi on the clifftop above Pissouri Bay.

Avdimou Beach

Avdimou beach is to the east of Pissouri. From Pissouri Bay, it can be reached either by a short drive or for the more energetic, a 3-mile scenic walk from Ampeli Villa along the clifftop path. Here visitors will find a picturesque quiet beach, safe swimming in a gently shelving bay and two good Cypriot restaurants.

Road route to Melanda Beach Restaurant
Road route to Avdimou Beach – follow the signs to Melanda Beach Restaurant
Over the top to Melanda Beach Restaurant

Melanda Beach Restaurant

Melanda Beach Restaurant is a popular restaurant specialising in the freshest of local fish and seafood.

Kyrenia Beach Taverna

Kyrenia Beach Taverna (cash only) is reputed to offer the best stifado on the island (slow-cooked tender beef in red wine).

What Lies Beneath

Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa

Diving or Snorkelling?

Cyprus is well-known as a great Mediterranean SCUBA diving location, with coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, teeming marine life, an assortment of shipwrecks, plus an underwater museum. There are dive centres in all the resorts catering for everyone from beginners to intermediate and advanced divers.

But equipped with only a mask and snorkel, you too can explore these underwater delights. And there’s no need to venture far… Our very own Pissouri Bay has plenty of treasures beneath the surface. You don’t even need to be a great swimmer. There is plenty of marine life in the shallow waters only a few metres from the beach.

Loggerhead Turtle
Loggerhead Turtle

Majestic Turtles

Turtles are very much our number one favourite. Every year mature female loggerheads return to their ‘home’ beach to lay their eggs overnight. These turtles grow to an enormous size. They can be as much as a metre long. Hatchlings, in contrast, are typically a miniscule and vulnerable 5 cm.

Flamboyant Wrasses

The wrasse family stands out as being a particularly colourful and attractive species. Males and females of the same varieties have similar, but distinctively different, patterns of blue, green orange and yellow. We have seen beautiful male and female ornate wrasses close to the beach at the western end of Pissouri Bay.

Silvery Sea Bream

The predominant coastal fish species tends to be the sea bream. A silvery, sandy, almost translucent colour with a range of black markings, they tend to swim in groups. Look out for zebra-striped, two-banded, vertical-striped, lateral-striped, black, white and saddled versions.

Striped or Red Mullet
Colour-Changing
Striped (Red) Mullet

The Striped Mullet – A Marine Chameleon

With its whiskery barbels, the striped mullet (also known as the red mullet) is perhaps not the most appealing looking of species, but if you spot one snuffling along the sea bed, try not to let it escape your gaze, because they have an interesting hidden talent. While they swim, to avoid detection by predators, the mullet may exhibit amazing chameleon-like colour-changing. They can disguise themselves quite dramatically – gaining or losing stripes, altering colours and patterns – all to blend with their surroundings.

Marine Life Guides

Below are some of the creatures you are likely to encounter when snorkelling or diving around Cyprus. In the villa handbook we have added a new page of ‘Bay Marine Life’ based on our personal underwater exploration. For guest reference, there is also a comprehensive laminated dive log card, to help identify 80 species found in Mediterranean waters.

MUSAN: Museum of Underwater Sculpture, Ayia Napa

Created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor in 2021, this innovative underwater museum features 93 tree and figure sculptures within 200 metres of the Ayia Napa shore. At depths of between 8 and 10 metres, the forest is designed to be easily explored by both divers and snorkellers.

Further details: MUSAN

Welcoming 2023 Guests

The well-equipped kitchen where everything is close to hand

Home-From-Home

One of the joys of staying in a holiday villa rather than a hotel, is the complete freedom it gives you. A villa really is a home-from-home, because you have the whole place to yourselves – there’s no sharing with strangers. You can rise and retire whenever you like, dine in or out as you prefer, there are no queues anywhere, and never any worries about finding a vacant lounger by the pool.

As Ampeli Villa is a well-loved and much-visited holiday home, our stays are not only a time for maintenance and updates, but also exploration to find new ideas to share with our guests – places to see, restaurants to visit and activities to experience in the local area. We share these regularly via the website, particularly on Our Cyprus Guide blog.

Stepladders Out!

At this time of the year Cyprus comes to life. Out come the stepladders, drills and pots of paint, as everyone beavers away sprucing up their surroundings after the winter rains. And at Ampeli Villa we have been busy bees getting ready for our summer visitors too…

Villa Changes

New: easyJet Onboard WiFi

easyjet onboard flight map
2 easyJet onboard menu

A new feature for 2023 is ‘easyJet onboard’ closed-loop WiFi. Once logged on, you can browse the food and drink menu, check out the duty free shopping options, play games, and – our favourite – access the flight map to track your journey in real time.


How To Connect

1 easyJet onboard QR

This feature is available once the aircraft has reached an altitude of 10,000 feet. With your device in flight mode, search the WiFi networks for easyJet onboard and once connected, either type onboard.easyjet.com into your browser, or scan the QR code shown on the card in front of you.

easyJet Onboard Games

3 easyJet onboard games
4 easyJet onboard sudoku

A choice of six entertaining games helps pass the time. As a sudoku addict, I was very happy with their simple, yet absorbing version.

The Flight Map – “Are We Nearly There Yet?”

A fascinating rolling slideshow of interactive views showing the live flight progress, with stats in alternating metric and imperial measurements. You can also drag and drop to see different perspectives. The perfect answer to the perennial question “Are we nearly there yet?”

WiFi Questions

The closed-loop WiFi is an internal onboard system with no access to the Internet. Access is free, with no data charges.

Pissouri Hot Summer Nights 2023

Pissouri amphitheatre

Just off Pissouri Square, the village built this magnificent modern amphitheatre as their ‘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.

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.

Amphitheatre Live Tribute Concerts

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.

Kendall Events

Morrelli Events

Other Ideas For Your Cyprus Holiday

Our Top Ten List

Pissouri Cyprus Night Returns

Pissouri Cyprus Night 2022
Cyprus Night in Pissouri Square

At long last, a favourite of holiday visitors and local residents, one of our Cyprus Top Ten list, is returning to the heart of the village. Organised by O’Vrakas and Symposio restaurants in Pissouri Square, the much-missed evening of dinner accompanied by a family-friendly show of traditional music and dancing, plus spectacular glass-balancing feats is back for the peak 2022 season.

More village highlights, while you are visiting Pissouri – a typical Cypriot village.

For extra activities that we are happy to personally recommend, see Our Top Ten List.

Pissouri Summer 2022 Concerts

Pissouri amphitheatre

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

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.

Kendall Events

Morrelli Events

Other Ideas For Your Cyprus Holiday

Our Top Ten List

Optimism For Cyprus Holidays in 2022

Optimism For Cyprus Holidays in 2022

Long lazy sunny days, aquamarine tranquil seas, water park fun, great food, and a warm traditional Cypriot welcome await visitors to Cyprus this season. The wait has been long, but now you can start looking forward to planning your summer 2022 getaway.

Ryanair and easyJet

Popular choices from the UK are easyJet or Ryanair for a variety of reasons… Their comfortable green-friendly modern fleets, websites and apps, straightforward booking processes, competitive fares, flight options and schedules.

With regional departures, many visitors will find a good selection of Cyprus departure options close to home.

See our Travel Info page for more information about flight options from different UK regions and European airports.

Cape Aspro and Pissouri Bay just before the turn for PFO

A familiar view?

Regular visitors to Pissouri will be familiar with this view on arrival as their plane follows the coastline from Paphos before looping inland over Pissouri village to return for the westerly approach to the airport runway. With Cyprus’ low motorway traffic, you can be confident about arriving at Ampeli Villa a mere 20 minutes after leaving PFO.

Supporting the travel sector

Over the past two seasons the travel industry has taken a massive financial hit due to international restrictions on travel, along with constantly changing rules over traffic-light categorisations of countries, PCR tests, flight passes, passenger locator forms, vaccine passports, quarantine, etc., etc. Many consumers cancelled their plans due to the uncertainty, even when restrictions were lifted. EasyJet has reported billion pound losses in both 2020 and 2021. They have allowed customers to make late booking changes, and adapted their processes to enable this to be done online, rather than by phone, as previously.

Booking new flights

As the airlines review their costs, they are inevitably looking at ways of recouping their losses. If you are booking new flights now, rather than rescheduling a previous booking, we suggest comparing airlines and looking beyond the headline fare, because the extras add up more quickly than they used to.

EasyJet, for example, have reduced the size of included hand baggage. It now has to be small enough to fit under the seat in front, rather than in the overhead bins. Their extras are now similar to Ryanair’s.

Jet 2 is worth considering, due to their more generous baggage allowances.

The Hungarian airline Wizz Air – flying to Larnaca airport – offers competitive fares. This is a good option if you plan to hire a car, rather than take a taxi transfer.

Sunny Cyprus this summer?

At the time of writing (March 2022) the forthcoming season is looking increasingly positive. The UK Government has just removed restrictions for returning travellers, meaning there is no longer the need to complete a passenger locator form, book any tests or worry about the risk of having to undergo a post-holiday quarantine. The combination of Covid vaccinations, widespread natural immunity, improved medical knowledge, effective anti-viral therapies and the emergence of the milder Omicron Coronavirus variant have been game changers.

At long last we can all look forward with confidence to a holiday in the sun! 😎

To ask a question, or for more information about booking, plus our weekly rates, Enquire and Book.


Welcome to Cyprus 2021

UK vaccine rollout

With so much uncertainty around international travel since the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s refreshing to have a clear message from the Cyprus Government. Recognising the undoubted success of the UK’s vaccination rollout, Cyprus has set out its stall early in an effort to encourage British tourists to visit the island.

UK visitors can normally count on a warm Cypriot welcome, but after last year’s disastrous holiday season, expect to receive an even warmer reception in summer 2021.

Vaccinated Brits

As far as Cyprus is concerned, British visitors will be welcome from May 1st 2021.

The UK Government, however, has stated that the earliest date that travel can resume will not be until May 17th.

Cyprus promises no additional entry requirements for UK travellers who have received their second dose of an approved vaccine at least a week prior to arrival. For those who have only had their first jab, or not been vaccinated – as last year – a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure will be required.

Authorities are currently working on a ‘vaccination passport’ system to verify vaccination status.

What makes Cyprus a Covid safe destination?

Throughout the pandemic, the Cyprus Government has received plaudits for their early adoption of strict control measures.

As an island nation, it was relatively straightforward to limit 2020 visitors according to departure country. These were categorised as red, amber and green according to their infection rates, with differing requirements for each. Arrival rules were reviewed every two weeks throughout the summer.

Local lockdowns required prior permission via text message to leave home for a limited range of reasons and time period, along with night time curfews and travel restrictions. Social distancing, capacity limits for shops and restaurants, mask wearing, sanitiser, quarantine, and other Covid protocols were compulsory – with no exceptions. Compliance was ensured via a combination of draconian fines and high visibility policing.

And despite tourism being a major income earner for the island, this was sacrificed, rather than risk residents’ safety. Tourism revenue dropped by a massive 85% last season, as travel from the UK was only allowed from August 1st, and even then only on the proviso that visitors presented a negative PCR test certificate. Random arriving flights were also selected for mass testing, to ensure that these measures were effective.

As a result of these strict protocols, Cyprus is able to claim a good record on controlling the virus. By Thursday, there had been just 36,004 infections and 232 deaths since the pandemic started. At the time of writing, Cyprus is vaccinating their age 69+ residents, while the UK is vaccinating age 56+. Visitors should also find it reassuring that the Cypriot authorities have introduced widespread testing, with almost all local residents obliged to take a rapid antigen test once a week – the European Union leader in spot tests per person.

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