Love Afternoon Tea? Try the Elysium, Paphos

Afternoon Tea at the Elysium, Paphos

Not only is this a wonderful afternoon tea, but it’s only €13.00 per person!

We love getting 5-star reviews. We also love giving them.

Here’s our latest posted to Google Maps and Facebook:

★★★★★ Afternoon Tea at the Elysium Hotel, Paphos…

Beautifully presented and delicious afternoon tea in lovely surroundings.
Great service and excellent value.
Highly recommended.

Lose Yourself in a Good Book

Roman steps - perfect reading spot

Is your precious annual holiday the chance to lose yourself in a good book?

If so, we have a small library with a selection of reading material to suit a variety of tastes including autobiographies, thrillers, detective novels, chick lit, light reads, local travel guides, and comedy books.

So whether you prefer to read lying down on one of our comfy loungers or stretched out in the villa hammock; or alternatively sitting up keeping an eye on proceedings from a balcony seat, or chilling half-in and half-out of the pool at the Roman steps; you should be able to find a comfortable spot to relax and immerse yourself in the book of your choice.

The-Sunrise-Victoria-Hislop
The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

As usual with Victoria, this is a meticulously researched novel woven around the human side of the tragic events of 1974. Set in Famagusta and Varosha which were favourite celebrity hangouts in their heyday (much like the South of France today). In those heady times the popular beach resort was regularly visited by all the glitterati of the time, including film stars such as Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Beginning prior to the invasion, when Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots lived happily side-by-side in mixed communities, despite some political tensions, it shows how dramatically lives were changed by the Turkish invasion of the island.

Guests will find hardback and paperback copies of Victoria’s excellent book in the villa library.

Abandoned-Cyprus-Airways-Trident-Nicosia-Airport
Abandoned Cyprus Airways Trident at Nicosia Airport

Crossing the Green Line

Even today Cyprus remains a divided island, with a ‘buffer zone’ patrolled by the United Nations and the world’s only remaining divided city: Nicosia.

You can visit Northern Cyprus via the crossing point in the capital’s Ledra Street. Take passports and be careful not to take photographs near the border. We do not advise driving over as your rental insurance will not be valid.

Another option is to take an organised tour, such as The Original Red Bus Tour from the eastern resorts which offers a full day guided tour to the Venetian walled city of Famagusta and the ghost resort of Varosha. It’s shocking to stand on the beautiful beach and see the dilapidation of the once thriving high-rise hotels behind the barbed wire. If you’re happy to make an early start, you can drive to Protaras and pick up the bus there.

Gordon-Honeycombe-newscaster
The Edge of Heaven by Gordon Honeycombe

The well-known former ITN newscaster was a regular Pissouri visitor in the 1970s, choosing the area as the location for his fifth novel.

Those who remember him from his serious news days, may be surprised to find that parts of the novel are rather racy!

More about Gordon

Although out of print, we have managed to track down a paperback copy of Gordon’s book for the villa library. Please treat it gently.

Plastic-Bag-Trees-Valerie-Day
Plastic Bag Trees by Valerie Day

Valerie is an ex-pat who has settled in Pissouri. She has written a light-hearted anecdotal holiday read about her experiences along the way.

We missed our chance to get a print copy for the villa library, but it is currently available in eBook format.

Kindle download

50-Things-to-do-in-Cyprus-Chris-Alden
50 Things to Do in Cyprus on a Sunny Day by Chris Alden

As a former Cyprus resident, with an insight into the culture through his Cypriot family, Chris’ travel guide offers a wealth of suggestions and tips.

Although we have a print copy in villa library, you may be interested in buying the eBook version for yourself as it includes regularly-updated web links.

eBook link

The Best Cyprus Season?

Your perfect holiday

With the warmest climate of all the Mediterranean EU countries, Cyprus is an attractive year-round destination offering something different throughout the seasons. The best Cyprus season? That really depends what you look for in your perfect holiday… Whether your passion is experiencing natural beauty, exploring culture and history, lazy relaxation at the beach, action-packed days filled with sporting activities; or a combination of all of the above, we aim to help you decide the perfect time for your visit.

Winter (November – February)

Cyprus ski lift

Yes – you can snow ski in Cyprus! With an elevation of 1952 metres, head for Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains where there’s a choice of four ski slopes: Aphrodite: 150 m (nursery) | Hera: 350 m (nursery) | Hermes: 150 m (intermediate) | Zeus: 500 m (advanced)

But what everyone wants in a winter break is some sun… At lower levels, pick a sheltered spot on a typical sunny winter’s day, and you’ll find it warm enough to top up your tan.

For water-based activities remember to pack your wet suit. At all times of the year you can find wind-surfing, kite-surfing and paddle-boarding in the coastal resorts.

Planning your excursions to avoid rain showers, this is a good time of year for winter nature walks and scenic drives, particularly along the coast and around the salt lakes. It’s also the season to spot the Greater Flamingo at Akrotiri, Larnaca and Oroklini lakes. Look out for a black one among the pink… it is believed to be a mutation and may be a unique specimen in the wild.

On showery days, why not head for one of the island’s indoor museums? Or explore Nicosia – the world’s only remaining divided capital – centring your exploration around Ledra Street where there is a crossing point to Northern Cyprus. The backstreets of Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca old towns are also worth a wander – with their historic architecture, traditional shops and café culture.

[We do not do winter lets, but you should be able to get a good off-season hotel deal.]

Spring (March – May)

This is arguably the most colourful Cyprus season… lush green fields, carpets of flowers including the most delicate of wild and rare orchids, along with an abundance of yellow mimosa. It’s also capers picking season… (Did you know they are flower buds?) On hillside terraces and valley floors you can watch the vibrant lime-coloured growth emerging from the woody grape vines, just as there’s pastel blossom on the many fruit and nut trees. Spring is the ideal time for countryside nature walks and driving tours.

Paphos Zoo meerkat

Different regions have local specialities… Cyprus tulips are grown around the village of Polemi near Paphos, and roses around Agros for making into rose water. Polemi Tulip Festival takes place in March, and Agros Rose Festival at the eastern Troodos village in May.

It’s also the season when nearly 400 species of migrating birds arrive en route from over-wintering in Africa to their breeding grounds in Europe.

And with warmer temperatures, longer days, and less rain than in winter, thoughts naturally turn to outdoor activities. These range from ancient World Heritage historical sites with Greco-Roman remains such as Kourion amphitheatre and Paphos archaeological site to family-friendly attractions such as Paphos Zoo and Sparti Rope Park in Platres forest.

Paragliding at Kourion

For an adrenaline fix you could learn a new sport on during your Cyprus holiday… maybe try out paragliding with a tandem flight, and if you’re bitten by the bug, progress to elementary and club pilot courses with Cyprus Fly Adventures.

Cultural events for Cypriots focus around Orthodox Easter. In the supermarkets and bakeries you will see special traditional Easter treats for sale, often with tasting samples to try. You can even buy ready-dyed red eggs for the Easter egg-cracking game (which is played like conkers on Orthodox Easter Sunday). And visitors are welcome to visit the local churches to see the flower decorations. In towns and villages around the island Cypriots get together for a pre-Lent picnic, an Easter communal meal and family events. For Pissouri residents this includes games, competitions, music and dancing in Pissouri Square, plus the annual married vs singles football match. If you get the chance, we recommend heading to Paphos harbour for the Kataklysmos celebrations (Festival of the Flood/Pentecost) where the water-based family fun includes our favourite – the greasy pole challenge – the aim being to run along the pole and grab the flag at the end.

While children happily venture into pools and sea in April, adults usually prefer the swimming temperature from May. Days are sunny and comfortably warm, and on hotter days you’ll welcome a cooling breeze. Remember to bring a few warmer clothes for after sunset.

Summer (June – August)

At the height of summer, it’s hot hot hot! Take a few tips from the Cypriots – rise early, enjoy a long siesta in the hottest part of the day, find shade where you can, wear a hat, drink plenty of water, and do everything at a slower pace. In the local vernacular: “Siga, siga!” (“Slowly, slowly!”)

Fasouri Watermania wet bubble

Active holidaymakers can enjoy refreshing water-based activities – either in a pool or at the seaside – paddling, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, diving, surfing, water-skiing, kite-surfing, not forgetting the family favourite – visits to water parks. When you’re ready for a break from the beach, you can escape the heat by heading inland to the cool of the Troodos Mountain pine forest where there are walking trails alongside babbling trout streams, icy pools and cool waterfalls, plus Sparti Rope Park for forest-based family zip-wire fun.

Scuba diving

A favourite peak season adventure for beginners is to sample a PADI discover scuba diving taster. Qualified divers can progress through more advanced courses, with wreck dives and night dives available. Other ideas for an active holiday include trying out kite surfing, wind surfing, stand up paddle boarding or jet propelled flyboarding.

But if your holiday preference is to switch off and just chill out, you can relax either poolside or at one of the many Blue Flag beaches.

Hot summer evenings outdoors are one of the delights of this time of year… whether you’re having a barbecue in the garden, dining at your favourite restaurant, having a sunset drink with friends, star-gazing, or going out to an open-air show. Catering for a range of tastes, you can visit Kourion ancient odeon for a Shakespeare Festival in June, or a Greek Drama Festival in July. And at amphitheatres around south-west Cyprus, including Pissouri, there is a popular summer programme of live musical performances, mostly by ‘tribute acts’ from the UK.

July and August are also the peak months for turtle nest hatchings, with the eastern end of Pissouri beach hosting returning females. Normally taking place overnight, maybe once a season a lucky few get to witness a host of tiny baby turtles on their precarious journey from land to sea.

If you have a turtle enthusiast in the family, do consider taking a turtle cruise on board Atlantis from Paphos. George is brilliant at finding turtles, knowledgeable and interesting. His 2-hour sunset cruise is a worthwhile and memorable holiday experience.

Autumn (September – October)

Cyprus Night in Pissouri Square

Those who can holiday whenever they like may regard this as the perfect Cyprus season… The temperature is climbing down from the summer highs, with such a gradual cooling of the sea that swimming remains comfortable into November. The full programme of events and activities continues, beaches and restaurants buzz, it’s reliably hot and sunny, with the added bonus of lower humidity than the peak months.

It’s also still warm enough after sunset to enjoy al-fresco evening activities such as open-air concerts at the amphitheatres, scanning the sky for constellations and shooting stars, and outdoor dining in restaurants and tavernas.

In the rural villages you can join in with traditional festivals of thanksgiving for the harvest. Pissouri, surrounded by vineyards, celebrates a seasonal Grapes Festival where tables are set up in the village square for a huge community dinner. The nearby village of Anogyra, specialising in a jelly-like sweet made from carobs, holds a Pastelli Festival. Although traditionally for local inhabitants, visitors are welcome. There may also be stalls selling locally produced specialities, with the opportunity to try before you buy – always a good notion!

In the larger towns there are autumn festivals too… Along the Molos seafront there’s a week-long Limassol Wine Festival with food and wine tasting, music, dancing, games and entertainments. Alternatively there’s the September Paphos Aphrodite Opera Festival, in front of the castle at the harbour.

Akamas Gorge balancing rock

Birdwatchers can again enjoy spotting opportunities, with a seasonal influx of many species returning to over-winter in Africa and The Middle East.

It’s also the ideal time to get out and about on foot, before late-season rains begin to make some walks muddy and difficult – a good example being a trek along the Akamas Gorge with its spectacular and scary balancing rock.

Magical Summer Concerts at Pissouri Amphitheatre

Pissouri amphitheatre tribute acts 2018

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 tunes, 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: 2018 Season

26 January | Phil Collins and The Songs of Genesis: Andrew James | Platea Tavern
Phil Collins 26 January 2018

Andrew James has been a performing since 1994, starting his tribute to Phil Collins at the end of 2006.

His repertoire includes:

In The Air Tonight | Don’t Lose My Number | Another Day In Paradise | I Can’t Dance! | Invisible Touch | Turn It On Again | Mama | Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel) | All I Need Is A Miracle (Mike And The Mechanics) | Dance Into The Light | Wear My Hat | Can’t Hurry Love | Two Hearts | Sussudio | Easy Lover | Against All Odds | Groovy Kind Of Love | Both Side Of The Story | Abacab | No Son Of Mine

“The best Phil Collins tribute I’ve ever seen. Vocals, image and mannerisms spot on!! Plus a high energy show guaranteed to get everyone singing along. Highly recommended!!”

Jax Walker on Facebook

24 February | Rod Stewart Tribute: Pete (Chick) Henstock | Platea Tavern
Rod Stewart

A Cyprus regular, Pete (nickname Chick) Henstock performs his singing tribute to Rod Stewart in venues around the area. His wife Angie will be performing later in the season with her Bootleg Blondie show.

From Rod’s extensive catalogue of hits:

I Don’t Want To Talk About It | Maggie May | Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? | The First Cut Is The Deepest | Hot Legs | Some Guys Have All The Luck | You’re In My Heart | Tonight’s The Night | Have I Told You Lately? | Sailing | This Old Heart Of Mine | Handbags And Gladrags | You Wear It Well

9 – 14 March | 70s Glam Rock Tribute Show: Rob Cairns | Cyprus Tour
70s Glam Rock

After winning stars in their eyes as Marc Bolan, Rob Cairns has been fine-tuning this unique show over the last 10 years.

Highlights:

T Rex: I Love To Boogie | Get It On | Ride A White Swan | Metal Guru

David Bowie: The Jean Genie | Life On Mars | Heroes | Let’s Dance | Ziggy Stardust | All the Young Dudes

Cockney Rebel: Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) 

Sweet: Ballroom Blitz | Wig Wam Bam | Blockbuster

Rod Stewart: Maggie May | The First Cut | Stay With Me

Roxy Music: Virginia Plain | Love Is The Drug

10 March | Neil Diamond Tribute: Johnny Dee | Platea Tavern
Neil Diamond 10 March 2018

Johnny Dee can be heard on Radio Cambridgeshire most days, and will be touring Cyprus with his Neil Diamond Tribute Evening in March.

Listen out for:

Sweet Caroline | Cracklin’ Rosie | Song Sung Blue | Love On The Rocks | Forever In Blue Jeans | Beautiful Noise | If You Go Away | America | Cherry Cherry

31 March | Whitney Houston: Micki | Platea Tavern
Whitney Houston 31 March 2018

Micki as Whitney‘s tribute to the Queen of the night features Whitney’s classic hits:

I Wanna Dance With Somebody | How Will I know | Run To You | The Greatest Love Of All – and of course the timeless smash hit – I Will Always Love You.

15 April | The Johnny Cash Show: Stu Edwards | Platea Tavern
Johnny Cash 15 April 2018

Stu Edwards‘ set typically includes these hits of the man in black:

Cry Cry Cry | Help Me Make it Through The Night | Ring Of Fire | Tennessee Flat Top Box | Boy Named Sue | Orange Blossom Special | Cocaine Blues | Jackson | I Walk The Line | Ghost Riders in The Sky

Feel free to click for a pre-show listen on his website.

21 April | Barry White: A-Kay | Platea Tavern
Barry White 21 April 2018

Re-live some of the greatest and memorable songs from A-Kay as Dr Love:

Never Going To Give You Up | You See The Trouble With Me | My First, My Last, My Everything | Let The Music Play | In Ecstasy | When You Lay Next To Me | Practise What You Preach | I’ll Do Anything You Want Me To | Just The Way You Are | Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love

10 May | Little Eagles | Skyy Bar, Episkopi
Little Eagles 10-15 May 2018

With their show Eagles Songbook, the duo Little Eagle perform these classic hits:

Lyin’ Eyes | Best Of My Love | Take It Easy | Life In The Fast Lane | Get Over It | How Long | Hotel California

“What a concert tonight. Little Eagle were superb at the Melbourne Assembly Rooms. Not just a concert and tribute to one of the greatest bands ever… but a fabulous show from start to the final finish – after 4 well deserved encores. Great music, harmonies, guitar playing and such a rapport with our capacity audience.”

Andy Heafield: Melbourne Assembly Rooms

9 June | George Michael Tribute: Andrew Browning | Pissouri Amphitheatre
George-Michael 9 June 2018

Andrew Browning presents a faithful and accurate recreation of the magic of George Michael. A winning finalist in ‘Stars In Their Eyes’, Andrew’s performance contains all the hits from his early days in Wham through to his hugely popular solo career. He has appeared on numerous television programmes with his tribute, having been invited personally to appear in the official music video “As” alongside both George Michael and Mary J. Blige.

So many classics for Andrew to choose:

Wake Me Up | Careless Whisper | Last Christmas | Freedom | Jesus To A Child | Faith | Praying For Time | Amazing | I Knew You Were Waiting | Outside | Don’t Let The Sun Go Down | Fastlove | They Won’t Go When I Go | A Different Corner

13 – 20 June | The Brit Invasion Band: 60s Music | Cyprus Tour
The Brit Invasion Band 13-20 June 2018

The Brit Invasion are a professional five piece band showcasing a wide repertoire of classic British Mod/Pop/Rock music from the 1960s to present day.

“A journey through time of British music”.

Playlist favs:

Tainted Love | Lazy Sunday | Gimme Some Lovin’ | Town Called Malice | Itchycoo Park | Stay With Me | Hi Ho Silver Lining

“Absolutely fantastic band – such a great choice of songs in the set list plus you can really see they have a passion for the music and are having fun. Definitely recommend.”

Amy Barrett on Facebook

23 June | Simon and Garfunkel Tribute: Mike and Danny | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Simon-Garfunkel 23 June 2018

Mike and Danny magically capture the vocal harmonies and legendary guitar melodies that are so unique to Simon & Garfunkel.

Memorable songs:

The Sound of Silence | Bridge Over Troubled Water | Mrs Robinson | Homeward Bound | The Boxer | Cecilia | Bookends | Scarborough Fair

30 June | Bob Marley: The Reggae Matic Band | Pissouri Amphitheatre
The Reggaematik Band - Pissouri 30 June 2018

Reggae Matic was formed a year ago by keyboard player Kamar Bromfield. An experienced reggae and soul musician, he has worked with Dawn Penn, Aswad and the late Gregory Isaac.

Typical set list:

No Woman No Cry | One Love | Get Up, Stand Up | Sun Is Shining | Buffalo Soldier | 3 Little Birds | I Shot the Sheriff | Jamming | Red Red Wine | Can’t Help Falling in Love | Could You Be Loved

10 July – The Police Academy – Pissouri Amphitheatre
The Police Academy 10 July 2018

The Police Academy recreate and reproduce a high energy Police experience that allows audiences to enjoy and immerse themselves in some of the best known songs ever written.

“All killer, no filler” set highlights:

Roxanne | Message In A Bottle | Every Breath You Take | King Of Pain | Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic | Walking On The Moon | De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da | King of Pain | The Bed’s Too Big Without You

“Saw you yesterday at Cobo. Brilliant. Loved it.”

Paula Fleming on Facebook 

12 – 22 July | Jersey Boys: Big Guys Don’t Cry | Cyprus Tour
Big Guys Dont Cry

Big Guys Don’t Cry will be back with Jersey Boys based on the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Hits include:

Who Loves You | Walk Like a Man | Oh What a Night | Big Girls Don’t Cry | Let’s Hang On

You guys were brilliant. Thank you for a lovely evening!”

Fiona Moore on Facebook (posting about the 2017 Pissouri show)

20 July | The Story Of The Beach Boys: Beach Boyz | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Beach-Boys-Good-Vibrations 20 July

In The Story Of The Beach Boys lead vocalist Tommy Read will lead you through the history of America’s biggest pop band The Beach Boys. Learn how the group began, how their songs were constructed and about the private lives of boys themselves interspersed with hit after hit.

During the party, tribute act Beach Boyz will perform hits like:

Good Vibrations | I Get Around | God Only Knows | California Girls | Kokomo | Surfin’ USA | Then I Kissed Her | Fun Fun Fun | Don’t Worry Baby | Sloop John B | Wouldn’t It Be Nice

“WOW just WOW these guys are as close to the real thing as you will ever hear, top musicians and the harmonies and falsetto by the lead singer is on point.”

Warren Luis on Facebook

31 Aug | Dire Straits Tribute: Money For Nothing | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Dire-Straits 31 August 2018

Money for Nothing was formed in 2000 as a tribute to Dire Straits. Fronting the band is the brilliant guitarist and Mark Knopfler sound-alike Aled Williams.

Memorable numbers include:

Sultans Of Swing | Brothers In Arms | Walk Of Life | Money For Nothing | Romeo And Juliet | Private Investigations | So Far Away

“Make no mistake, they are good, very good”

The Observer

13 – 18 September | Bootleg Blondie | Cyprus Tour
Blondie Sept 2018

Married to Pete (Chick) Henstock whose Rod Stewart gig is listed above, Angie Henstock performs her own occasional set as Bootleg Blondie.

Expect renditions of:

Heart Of Glass | Call Me | Rapture | One Way Or Another | Atomic | Hangin’ On The Telephone | Sunday Girl | Picture This | Denis | Union City Blue

28 Sept | Complete Madness | Pissouri Amphitheatre
Complete-Madness 29 Sept 2018

Complete Madness are now in their 25th year. A quick look at their website shows a pretty full programme of gigs for the next two years. And their Facebook page has plenty of testimonials from happy followers, some who have seen them several times over.

The big favs:

Our House | It Must Be Love | Baggy Trousers | House Of Fun | My Girl | Night Boat To Cairo | One Step Beyond |Driving In My Car | Embarrasment | Cardiac Arrest

“Can’t wait for more of this great group next year.”

Debbie Turner on Facebook

? September | Boy Band Legends | Cyprus Tour
Boy Band Legends
? | AC DC Tribute: Thunderstruck | Cyprus Tour
AC DC
? | Diana Ross and the Supremes Tribute | ?

I will update missing dates, show details, pictures and venues when the promoters announce them.

Promoters

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 2018

Kendall Events

Morrelli Events

 


Other Ideas For Your Cyprus Holiday

Our Top Ten List

Tips on Avoiding Holiday Villa Scammers

Rip Off Britain Holidays presenters

Rip Off Britain – Holidays

The latest episode of this BBC consumer advice programme has some timely advice to help you avoid the pitfalls of falling victim to scammers when booking a holiday villa online.

There are two scenarios to look out for… either the villa doesn’t exist (because holiday villa scammers have stolen photos and details of another property), or you are not making a reservation with the real owner (because it’s incredibly easy for scammers to create their own advert by copying and pasting a genuine one, substituting their contact details). These problems can arise whether you are booking through a well-known listing site or a regional one, regardless of any ‘book with confidence guarantees’ they may offer.

Advice Featured in the Programme:

1) Check the website registration… how long has it been in existence?
2) Make sure you have a landline phone number… and not just email.
3) Be suspicious if there is too much availability in peak season.
4) If it’s a bargain, it’s probably too good to be true.

To Which We Would Add:

5) Can you pay by card? Holiday villa scammers prefer bank transfers.
6) Search for the property on other sites. Check whether the owner information is consistent. Search for the property name. R-click on images > Search Google for image. Also look for particular phrases used in the description.
7) Is the owner active on social media? This is a great indicator that they are genuine, as holiday villa scammers are highly unlikely to go this far. In particular look for regular posts, good local knowledge, and guest feedback.

Book directly
Why Book Directly?

It’s a very good sign if the owner has their own website, as it shows they’re prepared to invest time and effort in creating one. It’s even better if the website has plenty of regularly-updated local information. And an A* goes to owners who’ve also embraced social media.

You may not be aware, but there have been major changes in the villa rental market since the advent of airbnb, and takeovers of UK listing sites such as Owners Direct and Holiday Lettings by US giants HomeAway and Expedia/TripAdvisor. Online Travel Agents require in-house communication to allow them to take an increasingly hefty commission under the guise of payment protection. They are also keen on instant booking which doesn’t give owners a chance to check that their property is a good fit for potential guests. You can read more of the frustrations about Owners Direct on the TrustPilot review site.

In an attempt to retake control, owners are rebelling in droves, setting up their own websites, listing on smaller sites, and taking to social media. By avoiding the large listing sites and booking directly, owners can offer better rates, as they’re not paying for a listing, or losing income via commission and for payment processing.

Finding an Owner’s Website

Even if you start your search on a listing site, resist the temptation to press the ‘instant book’ button when you find a property you like. It’s worth spending a little time searching to see if you can book directly. Start with the villa name and location, try image and text searches (as described above) and look under the owner’s name. And don’t be afraid to use the contact details to ask questions about the property and area.

See our FAQs page for more advice about how to be confident that you are booking directly with the genuine property owner.

Happy hunting!

Programme: Rip Off Britain – Holidays (series 6, episode 5) – currently on BBC iPlayer

Flamingo Fans – Head For The Salt Lakes

Why do flamingos sleep on one leg

Once again these fine creatures have arrived in Cyprus for their winter migration. Making themselves at home in Cyprus’ wetlands, they arrive at Larnaca, Oroklini and Akrotiri salt lakes within days of the water level rising. When you see them in their characteristic heads-down pose they are filter-feeding on brine shrimps and blue-green algae using their rough tongues in their upside-down beaks. And it’s their shrimp-heavy diet that gives adult flamingos their distinctive pink plumage.

Video by George Konstantinou from Cyprus Wildlife Tours

Eco-Friendly Viewing… Please Don’t Do This

Wading towards flamingos

To keep the flamingos returning year after year, it’s vital that nothing scares these vulnerable birds away by getting too close. Lessons have been learned, and a recent photography competition will not be repeated. Now the advice to photographers is to stay back and use long lenses. While the birds have over a period of years adapted to the hustle and bustle of Larnaca airport, the temptation to get better shots is encouraging ever-closer drone flying. And visitors are asked not to enter the water near the birds.

The safe way to see these marvellous creatures is to visit the viewing galleries at Oroklini Lake or Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre. Both are equipped with binoculars and telescopes to allow you to get a close-up view from a comfortable distance.

Oroklini Lake

Oroklini Lake

A 38 hectare wetland nature reserve ideal for bird-watching between Ayia Napa and Larnaca. Open year-round (although the lake dries up in summer), with free entry.

Facilities include visitor parking, observation platforms, information kiosk, identification boards, bird hide.

Visitor tips:
Flamingos normally November to February | There are no toilets on site | Website | Visitor Brochure

Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre


260 bird species have been recorded on the Akrotiri peninsula, of which 200 are migratory – using the area as a staging post. The area’s beaches are one of the few nesting sites on island for endangered Green and Loggerhead turtles. Dozens of nests are identified every year and are protected until hatching. Mammals recorded in the area include seals, dolphins and bats.

Visitor Tips:
Open year-round, with a permanent lake, free entry | Monday – Friday 08:00 – 17:00 | Sundays 10:00 – 17:00 | Website

Girl in lake photo: Cyprus Mail

EasyJet’s Late Summer Flights Released Today

Arriving over Pissouri

We still have a choice of dates in October if you’re looking to holiday next year in sunny Cyprus. For easyJet flights at the best price we recommend booking today. I’m on standby to respond quickly to enquiries. 😎 🇨🇾

Our photo shows an easyJet Airbus A320 turning over Pissouri on its flight path to Paphos. Tip: to see a great aerial view of Pissouri choose seats on the right-hand side of the plane.

Looking to Take Home a Taste of Cyprus?

Brandy Sour recipe

You will find plenty of souvenirs offering a taste of Cyprus, whether it’s a treat for yourself, or a gift for someone at home. If you have a sweet tooth, or a penchant for an alcoholic tipple, here are our top tips about what to pack for the homeward journey…

Brandy Sour
For Brandy Sour: Cyprus Brandy and Lemon Cordial

Produced by double-distilling the local Xynisteri white wine in oak barrels, Cypriot brandy is the alcoholic element of the traditional Cyprus cocktail known as Brandy Sour. For an authentic recipe, you also need to take home local lemon cordial as it’s just not the same made with other brands.

Devised in the 1930s heyday of the Forest Park Hotel in Platres, Troodos, this tall golden cocktail allowed the Muslim King of Egypt to indulge in a tipple whilst entertaining local dignitaries. By creating a drink resembling iced tea, Stelios, head barman, enabled King Farouk to enjoy his reception without anyone uncovering his secret!

As time passed, the recipe spread to drinking establishments and restaurants throughout the island, becoming a firm favourite with both locals and visitors. Today it is regarded as THE Cyprus cocktail.

Filfar orange liqueur
Filfar | Orange Liquer

The recipe for Filfar was developed by Takis Philippou as he worked for the British Army in Famagusta during the 1940s. His cookhouse role involved preserving local fruit in jams and marmalades. Having seen his grandmother make an orange liqueur using an ancient recipe from the monks at Kantara, he started experimenting with quantities and ingredients, using his army friends as tasters. Demand quickly grew, and before long he was making the drink commercially.

After losing everything in the Turkish invasion in 1974, Takis gave up his business. Fortunately Filfar production was revived in 1991 when Demos Aristidou, another Cypriot drinks maker, persuaded an Takis to sell his precious recipe. Still a closely guarded secret, up to 20 oranges of two varieties and three different herbs are used to make each bottle. Production is seasonal – beginning in early December with the orange harvest in Fasouri near Limassol – and continuing for four months – with much of the process still completed by hand.

Count yourself an honoured guest if a hospitable taverna owner serves a freebie at the end of dinner.

Zivania Cypriot firewater
Zivania

This 45% proof firewater is also produced from Xynisteri dry white wine. The high alcohol content, and ready availability has led to a variety of medicinal uses, including treating wounds, massage, a cold and toothache remedy, or as a winter warmer.

Dating back to Venetian rule of the 14th century, this fiery concoction is still made in the traditional way. Grape pomace (remains such as pulp, peel, stalks and seeds) is mixed with high-quality dry wines, which are then distilled and matured. Usually drunk as an aperitif, Zivania is best served ice-cold straight from the freezer.

για μας ! | gia mas ! | cheers !

Spoon sweets
Glyka | Spoon Sweets

Fruit such as apricots, oranges, lemons and cherries, but also vegetables or nuts in syrup traditionally served on a spoon at the end of a typical Cypriot blow-out meal. Perfect for when you haven’t got room for a full dessert, but you just fancy a little sweet with your post-dinner drink. Our fav is walnuts which are picked green and soft and preserved whole.

Visitors are welcome at the Katerina Cyprus Sweets factory in Doros village – a 15-minute drive inland towards Troodos from Limassol.

Loukoumia Cyprus Delight
Loukoumia | Cyprus Delight

Soft, jelly-like sweets made with sugar, cornstarch and flavouring, plus sometimes nuts, finished with a dusting of icing sugar. The main traditional flavours are rose, lemon, mastic and bergamot, with chocolate as a more modern addition.

The island’s main factory is Aphrodite Delights at Geroskipou in Paphos where visitors can taste samples before buying, and watch the production process. For more information, check out these Trip Advisor reviews.

Soutzoukos
Soutzoukos | Grape Roll

A chewy sweet made from boiled grape juice in the wine villages of Troodos and Paphos. Almonds are threaded onto long strings, dipped into the hot juice and flour paste mixture, then hung to dry. The dipping process is repeated several times until the desired thickness is reached, then the soutzouko is dried over the period of a week and stored. Cut into slices, it is a treat served at traditional festivals and celebrations such as Christmas and New Year.

Pastelaki nut brittle
Pastelaki | Nut Brittle

Making use of locally grown nuts such as almonds and peanuts, along with a topping of sesame seeds, this is an early Cypriot version of a cereal bar. The traditional recipe uses another native ingredient – carob honey – to bind the nuts together.

καλή όρεξη ! | kalí órexi ! | bon appetit !

Refreshing Changes in Pissouri

Pissouri Council works 2017

With new faces at Pissouri Council, there have been a multitude of impressive changes in 2017…

Yes, Cyprus Night is Back!

Chief among these is the long-awaited return of the fantastic community Cyprus Night to the village square on 28 July after an absence of 6 years.

While Kritos and Haris have done an excellent job of keeping indoor versions of the event going in their restaurants, when it takes over the whole square, having so many more visitors and locals involved gives a very different vibe. We are optimistic that the new dynamic village council will find a way to overcome administrative difficulties over the licence next season to enable it to return for longer. It used to run from May to October – which would be just perfect.

What is it?

Attracting residents and visitors from far and wide, it’s a lively and friendly community celebration including energetic traditional dancing in national costume, accompanied by the bouzouki. An English commentary explains the dances, with the evening’s highlight being a spectacular glass-balancing display.

To be at the heart of the action, book a table at Platea or O’Vrakas in Pissouri Square for their Friday meze. If you are more of a people-watcher, then dine at one of the other myriad of eateries around the village and follow the music to the square afterwards.

Pissouri in Bloom Competition

The Bunch of Grapes

We’ve always loved their shady courtyard garden (and of course their delicious fare)!

Another great new idea for encouraging local businesses to make their contribution to the village scene. And congratulations to the deserving winner… The Bunch of Grapes.

Seafront Enhancements

If you’ve only ever seen Pissouri Bay in summer, you may be surprised to learn that during winter storms the sea comes right up the beach. And the power of the waves is immense… they are strong enough to carry away the beach umbrella poles (which, by the way, are substantial structures made from scaffold poles embedded in concrete). So most years the beach changing rooms, concrete path and boat ramp take a battering and need some sort of repair.

In addition to these annual works, this year Pissouri Council have opted to plant new palm trees along the seafront near Agamemnon Beach Café. A good idea for not only improving the view, but adding some natural shade.

Marina aka Fishing Shelter?

Once again there’s speculation about a marina in the bay… this time at the Monte Beach end, rather than Black Rock as proposed previously. Whether this is pure fantasy, or realistic prospect remains to be seen. There’s certainly more ready-made infrastructure at the Columbia Resort end of the beach, and we’re relieved not to be having an access road through Vineland.

Petros - Greek theatre at amphitheatre
Petros - boxing night
Pissouri Amphitheatre

This magnificent millennium project has been opened up to a wider range of entertainments in addition to the popular and excellent tribute band evenings and displays of traditional dance.

This year it was the venue for a Boxing Night and a Greek Drama production.

Behind The Scenes

Less exciting, but nonetheless welcome are works such as new safety rails and drains on Apostolou Andrea and resurfacing on twisty Kiladon Street between the bay and village.

And we look forward to the water supply improvements which we hear are ‘in the pipeline‘!

A big thanks to all at Pissouri Council.

Village enhancement photos by Petros Foutas.