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 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

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

Live Music in Pissouri Summer 2020

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

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 4 July | Bee Gees: Stayin’ Alive | 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

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

Morrelli Events

Other Ideas For Your Cyprus Holiday

Our Top Ten List

Underwater Activities for All

Underwater Activities for All

Snorkelling

Loggerhead turtle (Photo by David Mark on Pixabay)

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

Breathe fresh air while you walk on the sea bed

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.

Your own personal undersea transport

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.

Website | Facebook Page

First-Time Diving

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.

Scuba divers (Photo by St Louis University Madrid on Flickr)

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.

Wreck Diving

Zenobia listing to port
Zenobia listing in June 1980 prior to her sinking

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.)

Trucks on board sunken Zenobia
Zenobia trucks (Photo by dronepicr on Flickr)

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

Atlantis

Atlantis turtle watching cruise
Atlantis turtle watching cruise

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.

Kingfisher – Paphos | Alkion – Latchi | Mediterranean One – Latchi

Flamingo Facts Quiz

Fabulous pink flamingos

When the salt lakes fill, the flamingos arrive

Huge numbers of greater flamingos can be seen on Larnaca and Akrotiri salt lakes over the winter.

As part of their conservation remit, BirdLife Cyprus observers contribute to the International Waterbird Census by undertaking a count every January. The encouraging news is that the population is on the increase.

Flamingo
Flamingo
Flamingo
Flamingo

Flamingo Quiz

1 Where does the name ‘flamingo’ originate, and what is the connection with their colour?

2 Can you name any species of flamingo?

3 What gives flamingos their distinctive pink colouring?

4 Why would it be dangerous for the newly-hatched babies to be pink?

5 How does the whole colony come to breed at the same time?

6 Why are some birds brighter pink than others?

7 Usually mating for life, how do they attract the attention of a potential partner?

8 What is the life-span of the flamingo? You won’t believe the answer to this one!

Flamingo
Flamingo
Flamingo
Flamingo

You can find the mind-boggling answers to these questions in 8 Amazing Flamingo Facts by Sarah McPherson on Discover Wildlife.

Summer Sky-Watching

Relaxing in a hammock star gazing

One of the pleasures of warm evenings outdoors is lying back on a lounger or relaxing in a hammock and gazing up at the night sky. Because there’s much less light pollution than in more populated locations, and frequent cloudless skies, the viewing is often rewarding. Switch off the garden and pool lights, pour yourself a chilled drink and enjoy sky-watching in comfort…

The constellations, the moon, meteor showers and the International Space Station can all be seen easily with the naked eye, although you may find the villa binoculars enhance the experience.

The Constellations – any time of year

If you’re new to star-gazing, there is a variety of apps which use your smart phone or tablet camera to assist you in identifying the constellations, for example Google Sky Map.

Perseid Meteor Shower – every July and August

Summer sky watching - Perseid meteor shower
Photo: Dominic Alves

The Perseids are one of the brighter meteor showers of the year. Coming from the direction of Perseus, these tiny fragments from the Swift-Tuttle comet provide more than one meteor every minute. The peak dates for spotting these shooting stars is around August 9 to 13, although they can be seen on any dates between July 17 and August 24.

Our tip: Concentrate on one small part of the sky, rather than scanning too wide an area. Spot one and a multitude usually follow!

International Space Station – any time of year

Summer sky watching - International Space Station
Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The International Space Station is most easily seen within a few hours of sunrise or sunset because the sun reflects off the space station providing a good contrast with the darker sky.

The space station looks like an aircraft or a very bright star moving across the sky, although moving in a straight line and 30 times faster.

If you visit NASA’s excellent Spot the Station website, you can find up to date spotting information such as this below to help you decide exactly when and where to look. (For Cyprus viewing you need to choose Nicosia as the location.)

Summer sky watching - International Space Station sighting details
Example ISS sighting information from NASA

Alternatively, if you have an Android phone or tablet, download ISS Detector Satellite Tracker free app which can sound an alarm 5 minutes before the Space Station is due over your location.

Happy sky-watching!

New Cyprus Beaches App

Cyprus Beaches app

Thought you knew the Cyprus coastline? Surely no-one knows it like Andreas Papadopoulos. The detail in this meticulously researched app is fantastic – search for disabled access, public transport, picnic sites, watersports, sunbeds, WiFi. Plus maps, route planner, photographs, tips and a whole lot more.

Free demo version includes Pissouri Bay
Full version €2.29 or £1.99 | For iOS and Android

Alix Norman | Cyprus Mail

“If you’ve lived in Cyprus for more than a year, you know exactly which beaches you prefer. Looking for a pebbly shore, and a quiet day by the sea in Larnaca? Then Oroklini Beach is the place to be. Eastward bound, and in search of sand, snorkeling, and facilities on a Blue-flagged beach? Fig Tree Bay’s a good choice. Or if you’re after total peace and quiet near Limassol, and in possession of a 4×4, then it’s down to Ayios Yiorgos. But here’s the thing: even if you’ve known the island your whole life, there are hundreds of coastal spots still to be discovered. Or, if you’re a tourist, you probably have little notion of just which beach suits your needs. And that’s where the new app, Cyprus Beaches, comes in extremely handy…”

Click to read Alix’s full article …

Preview

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.

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