Why We Love Cyprus In The Winter

Think Cyprus and you’ll most probably dream up images of endless sandy beaches, cocktails at sunset, raucous parties and package holidays. While much of this is true, it somewhat saddens me that this is all my home country is known for because as a local I know that there’s so much more to this pretty island than sun, sea and sex.

While the island’s glorious weather and scenic beauty are undoubtedly what made it popular with tourists, particularly those who are seeking to escape the atrocious weather of northern Europe, there is so much more to enjoy here. This is why we love Cyprus in the winter – the colder weather means that the beaches are a no-go, forcing visitors and locals alike to explore and enjoy a lesser known side to the country.

Here are some of the reasons why we love Cyprus in the winter:

It’s so much more laid back

As someone who’s over the “let’s get trashed” stage in my life, I couldn’t care less about where the party is at or what a city’s clubbing scene is like. Therefore visiting Cyprus in winter is perfect for me as the vibe is so much more chilled out than in the summer when all the bars are pumping terrible dance music from every street corner and foreigners are getting drunk on cheap, watery cocktails.

Have landscapes like this all to yourself

Have landscapes like this all to yourself

In the winter you’ll find little more than people hanging out in coffee shops huddled over a hot cup of java and enjoying the chilly weather (yes, we look forward to colder weather in Cyprus – not the other way round!). There are also fewer tourists meaning you can enjoy the ‘real’ Cyprus. Locals are even more welcoming than usual, as the pace of life is slower, meaning that there’s more time for human connection and hospitality.

The weather is glorious

It’s taken me to get to my 30s to appreciate the weather in Cyprus during winter, but it really is perfect. In the coastal towns it reaches around 18º during the day, the sky is usually the bluest you’ll ever see it, and the chill in the air is beautifully refreshing.

The sun rarely stops shining even during winter in Cyprus

The sun rarely stops shining even during winter in Cyprus

Maybe living in Dubai for seven years is what has made me love winters more than ever, but I really do love being here during the colder months.

You can go skiing 

Skiing is probably not something that you associate Cyprus with, but believe it or not during the winter the Troodos mountains are a popular destination for those looking for some fun on the pistes. There’s usually enough snowfall from late December to March, and even if you’re not into winter sports, it’s worth spending time in the mountains to enjoy the beautiful landscapes. The whole place turns into a winter wonderland, and what’s more fun than hot chocolates, roasted chestnuts and snowball fights?

You can enjoy a more cultural experience 

With sunbathing and partying off limits, you’re forced to enjoy a side to Cyprus that most people don’t see. During the winter, you can explore the island’s many cultural offerings, from the painted churches of the Troodos mountains, which have attained UNESCO World Heritage status, to the incredibly well-preserved mosaics in Paphos. Yes, you can see these at any time of year, but the comfortable weather makes it a far more enjoyable experience.

Ora village during the winter

Ora village during the winter

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do and that we’re hoping we’ll get round to during this trip is to check into this hotel in the Troodos mountains and spend two to three days there exploring the aforementioned churches. Certainly not the typical Cyprus holiday experience!

Winter comfort food 

There are certain Cypriot foods that taste even better during the winter. Avgolemoni (egg and lemon soup), trachana (goats milk soup), keftethes (meatballs) and makaronia tou fournou (oven baked macaroni) are just a few of my favourite dishes that are oh so much better when it’s cold outside.

The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful

During the summer most of Cyprus takes on a yellow hue; the scorching sun kills anything green, meaning that our mountains all look rather wilted and sad. In the winter, however, grass starts to grow out of the rocks, wild flowers bloom in the unlikeliest of places, and the whole place looks marvellously green and fresh.

Ankit and I last December by Petra tou Romiou

Ankit and I last December by Petra tou Romiou

Festive fun 

If you’re lucky enough to visit in the run up to Christmas, you will get to experience festive fun the Cypriot way! While the main religious festival in the country is Easter, over the last decade or so Christmas has also become a big deal. In Nicosia, ‘Christmas Avenue’ runs from the beginning of December until the 2nd of January, which is the Cypriot version of a Christmas market. Wrap up warm, buy some mulled wine and spend the day looking around the different stalls.

Christmas songs in Limassol last year

Christmas songs in Limassol last year

Festive decorations in Paphos

Festive decorations in Paphos

Have you ever been to Cyprus during the winter? Do you have anything to add?

  • Looks wonderful! Enjoy spending time with your family, merry Christmas! X

    • Andrea

      It really is! I love being home this time of year. Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂

  • Actually, when people mention Cyprus, the first thing I think of is erasers. We used to have erasers printed with world flags, and we used to play games with those erasers as kids. Cyprus eraser was my best eraser, I always win with it LOL!

    • Andrea

      Hahaha! That’s really random 🙂 Where did you buy the eraser from?

      • I don’t even remember where I got the erasers. But yeah, sorry for the randomness 😀

        • Andrea

          No need to apologise 😉

  • It looks amazing, we like to travel during low seasons too because the places are simply more enjoyable for us and less crowded. Have a lovely time with family and enjoy Christmas and the rest of the holidays 🙂

    • Andrea

      Yeah, I prefer places during low season too! Thank you – we hope you’re having a lovely Christmas too! 🙂

  • Agness

    You took such beautiful pictures! They are all so breath-taking! What was your favourite memory from the place? Wishing you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! XxX

    • Andrea

      I have too many memories to mention, Agness 🙂 I lived in Cyprus for seven years and it’s a wonderful place – you should try and visit! Merry Christmas 🙂

  • Renuka Singh

    Wow! Sounds so nice. Although I hate winters, I would love to explore Cyprus in winters. 🙂

    • Andrea

      You definitely should, Renuka! I also hate winters, but I’ve grown to love the ones here 🙂

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  • 18 degrees is great during the winter! Would love to visit Cyprus one day. I’ve been eyeing it for months.
    This reminds me of the surprisingly low temperatures I experienced on Madeira in late September. Island too, full of palms, so I expected warmth, but the piercing cold winds shocked me. It must have been around 10 degrees.

    • Andrea

      Well today it’s 0 degrees, so it can get bloody cold, too 🙂 But yeah, overall winters here are mild, especially in the towns. It’s very typical for this area of the globe – mild on the coast, freezing in the mountains!

  • Dave TheDoorman

    What a lovely page, Andrea and I can associate with every word!
    Having lived in Cyprus for 6 years between the 60s and then again in the early 80s, I am finally bringing my kids to the Island this December into January.
    I can’t wait to show them how lucky & privileged I was to be brought up in such a mesmerisingly beautiful place. I must admit that I won’t be going to Ayia Napa or any of the ruined tourist traps, as the real Cyprus transcends those hell-holes and the people, the villages and the scenery can only be experienced out of the package-holiday areas.
    We can visit all of the amazing archeological sites and as we live in Gibraltar, the possibility that we might actually see snow faling in the Troodos mountains would be a first-time experience for my kids!

    Any special place you might suggest for an Xmas vsit would be welcome, we can hardly wait the long 8-months until we are there on your beautiful Island!

  • Caroline Lima Ferraz

    Hello Andrea.
    My name is Caroline. I’m from Brazil and I’m travelling with my family to Cyprus in January. Can you give me more tips? We’ll be only 2 days!

  • Lina Lazareva

    Hi Andrea, I’m planning on coming to larnaca on Dec.19 2017. will be staying for 2 weeks. I’d love to hear more info, particularly where to stay, cheap transportation, tips on dos and don’ts.
    Thank you in advance.
    P.S.: I hope you get this message before I come.