London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Another beautiful day here! This has been the motto of Cyprus with kids and was the same on our adventurous holidays Cyprus road trip few yeas ago. Columbia Beach Resort in Cyprus is your perfect family luxurious base – our friends rolled graciously in from scenic breakfasts to swimming, gourmet lunches to sailing, tennis and cultural treats to more culinary delights over dinner. And we fill in the adventures with our cultural highlights ! Our best things to do in Cyprus for kids and explorers? Check out our 10 Must Do’s & See’s.
1. Splash and stay at Columbia Beach Resort, which caters extensively for fabulous Cyprus family holidays – child and parent luxury in equal measures. A Small Luxury Hotel of the World in close proximity to Paphos airport, Columbia appeals for traditional Cypriot architectural charm and breath taking views. But upon arriving, our friends realised that it wasn’t just a “pretty thing:” the service is impeccable, the children activities are varied and engaging – but no, it is not a creche and as an adult, I felt that I could still enjoy tranquil luxury – the food is delicious and its beauty is stunning and all around! In many ways, Columbia Beach Resort is similar in setting to Daios Cove in Crete. It is overlooking and has direct access to a tranquil bay. It feels smaller – there is no funicular or golf buggy needed – and it offers more open spaces ranging from two large pools to a quiet sun bathing area on a green lawn. There are more restaurant options to tennis courts and a football pitch, as well as the spa and gym de rigueur.
2. Sailing, kayaking and paddling on Columbia’s gorgeous blue flag beach. Two weeks fly by in a flash whilst splashing, swimming and enjoying the Mediterranean beach life. Our friends 8 year old son sailed for the first time on a small catamaran; he loved it and went several times after that! He also enjoyed kayaking quite a few times plus lots of other options including paddle boarding and diving course in Pissouri Bay. The Resort also organised a day on a boat for our friends, from Paphos Harbour, which included a barbeque lunch and several stops for swimming and snorkelling.
3. Indulge into Cyprus cuisine. After all of these strenuous activities, the meals were obviously a highlight! Columbia Beach Resort has three restaurants – and a few more casual dining / bar options – all as delicious as the other. Cape Aspro stands out for its fish selection (the sushi gets 5 stars!) and the stunning views over the bay, favourite view from the entire resort. Apollo Tavern draws a stronger inspiration from the traditional Cypriot cuisine and is set towards the top of the hill in the centre of the resort, meaning that impatient children can roll down the grass hill 200 times, whilst their parents finish off their meal! The Bacchus Italian restaurant is the more formal out of the three options – and a reservation is recommended during the peak season, especially as it is not open every day – and in terms of objective gastronomic quality, it is the top option offered by the hotel and can rival some of the best Italian restaurants from London.
4. Explore authentic villages in the hills– 15min drive away from Columbia there’s Pissouri village. Our friends also tested dinners in the tiny bay village, a 200 meter walk from the hotel, which has a few low key, traditional tavernas, and we enjoyed those meals too. One Friday evening, Pissouri Village, in the hills, and a 15 minute taxi from the hotel, from the traditional Cypriot evening in the village square. The restaurants on the square itself propose mostly buffet dinners, so our friends went around the corner to a more secluded restaurant, appropriately called Hide-Away – a lovely authentic local experience!
5. Find your own Botticelli angles between gorgeous rock formations at Aphrodita’s beach. Another short 15 minutes drive from Columbia at Petra tou Romou, there’s the striking rock formation said to have been thrown there by the Byzantine hero, Digenis Akritas. Bring your swimsuits as surely the kids will want to wade in the water and play with the smooth polished pebbles on the beach.
6. Have your own performance at Kourion, the noteworthy archaeological site with a theatre at its centre originally built in the 2nd century B.C. It’s been recently restored and we found it super charming and fun for great acoustics. And less than 30 minutes drive from Columbia!
7. Grown up time, award winning spa and kids enjoying peers company. Our friends kids rated Columbia’s kids club as the best one they have been to so far. The activity schedule is extremely varied and well thought out ranging from cooking, to water sports, art, and many other exciting options.
Columbia Beach Resort’s indoor space is calm and cool and also offers a good library of books in English for different age ranges. The staff are very engaging and caring. Club etiquette upon entering is: 1. Hug, 2. High-five, 3. Fist bump, 4. Handshake. Top marks!
8. Lara beach and turtles hatching. Special area of conservation spared of commercial development, this has great flora and biologic diversity, including turtle hatching! That’s 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Columbia and makes a very special daytrip!
9. Pony riding in the hills – our friends didn’t have enough time to take their kids but they remember it as one of the highlights from their own childhood holidays! On the to do list for the next time!
10. Seacaves around Agia Napa caves starting with Cape Greco national forest park – a bit further but worth exploring for sure! Impressive rock bridges, hidden caves and tunnels, perfect for little and grown up explorers! Some sea caves extend for up to 80 metres underground and are only partially submerged, so can be explored on foot at low tide! Crystal clear waters in here and the legend says the caves were once used by pirates to store their treasures whilst the bridges and rock formations perfect spots for to hide out! By foot, quad bikes or jeep!
And with so many fabulous things to do Cyprus for kids and explorers, no wonder one will be back to London with a big smile and a great tan ! Time flies by but when you have holidays like this, it can also feel like it’s standing still by the beach or pool for a brief moment!