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.
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!
You can find the mind-boggling answers to these questions in 8 Amazing Flamingo Facts by Sarah McPherson on Discover Wildlife.
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…”
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 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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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
Each year Cyprus Open Studios gets bigger and better… Artists, sculptors, potters, painters, glass workers and jewellers dotted around the island open up their studios on selected October weekends. This gives visitors the perfect opportunity to combine exploring the area with meeting the artists, viewing demonstrations, buying ready-made pieces, or commissioning bespoke artwork. At some locations you can even get in touch with your artistic side by taking part in creative workshops.
Below we have selected a sample of artists working in a variety of media. To see the full range, check out the map in combination with the catalogue.
Follow Wine Route 3 through beautiful vineyard-clad hillsides and traditional friendly Cypriot villages. The route passes two small traditional wineries: Lagria and Nelion.
Visit the studio of Yorgos Papadopoulos, a glass artist in Kedares producing works ranging from large sculptural pieces to silver and glass pendant jewellery.
Open 7/8 October and 21/22 October.
While visiting this north-west corner of the island, you could also visit the Baths of Aphrodite, where the goddess reputedly met with her lover, Adonis.
In Polis you will find:
Trisha Payne enjoys painting landscapes, seascapes and villages in oils on canvases – large and miniature. She also paints designs roof tiles and makes and paints her own clay plaques.
Linda Gardener makes mosaics from glass, stones, ceramic and found objects. She is inspired by the animals and nature of Cyprus. She paints and draws and uses mosaic-making as an extension of this. She will demonstrate different methods of making mosaics using a variety of materials.
Both open every weekend in October.
In and Around Paphos
There’s plenty to see and do around this main town, particularly this year as the town has the honour of being named European Capital of Culture, celebrated as ‘Pafos2017’.
We recommend heading for the harbour as a first port of call, and maybe a visit to the adjacent World Heritage Archaeological Site with fantastic well-preserved Greco Roman antiquities.
The Paphos district has a variety of artists, including:
Karen Betts who sculpts in limestone and also cement/fibreglass/resin mixes, often studies of the female form. She also paints in an abstract style using fusions of water- and oil-based materials.
Julie Hart has been a figurative/portrait painter in oils for a number of years, and since moving to Cyprus in 2014, has developed an interest in Greek Mythology which she uses as inspiration for her oil and beeswax paintings, as well as her ceramic sculptures.
Both open 7/8 October, 21/22 October and 28/29 October.
Near Pissouri, this interesting village was once a main carob-grower and is famous for ‘Pastelli’, a traditional sweet made from carob syrup. The village is also home to Oleastro, a museum dedicated to explaining the production of Olive Oil.
Gabi Boehm is a textile artist specialising in felting and dyeing. She prefers to work with natural fibres and dyes and loves creating interesting surfaces and textures.
Do you like to try something new on holiday? If so a visit to Sparti Park in the pine-clad Troodos Mountains could be for you. With activities suitable for ages from 3 to adult, this is something the whole family can enjoy together.
Zip Wire Family Fun
Since opening in 2015, this zip-wire experience has been continually enhanced and developed. Adding to the original four lines offering different levels of difficulty appropriate for different ages, two zip-wires have been introduced for the youngest visitors (3-5 years), together with archery, crossbow and a free-fall jump platform.
Altogether a great way to enjoy an adrenaline-rush escape in the cool mountain forests, creating a holiday memories to treasure.
Information For Visitors
The first rope adventure forest park in Cyprus, named Sparti after the Spartans from Greece who specialised in physical training and fitness through obstacle courses and military training.
With Europe’s highest proportion of Blue Flag awards for the 12th year running, Cyprus is celebrating its best ever year. This year’s total of 63 beaches and 1 marina (Limassol) also beats last year’s 57.
And we are proud to report that Pissouri is enjoying its 21st consecutive award.