Pictures of the floating world

Cyprus with kids: 6 fantastic things to do

Planning a family trip to somewhere warm? Check best activities to do in Cyprus with kids!

By Anna Purpurpurpur

Planning a trip to Cyprus with kids? Well done, it’s a great country for a family visit – check my list to get inspired!

1. Explore Pafos Zoo

The Pafos Zoo, which lies a bit far away from Paphos city near Coral Bay, would probably be your spot number one.

I must admit that I didn’t expect much from it, but in reality, it has a very vast amount of animals: zebras, rhinos, tigers, lions, an elephant, penguins, parrots and other birds of all sorts, many species of monkeys, cattle, and many more.

I was surprised to see some animals just walking freely, returning to cages when they wanted, like lemurs and birds. Ensure you attend the bird show with macaws, owls and chickens (one of the owls starred in Harry Potter movies!).

We also had a very special encounter with an elephant girl who was saved from Bangladesh as a baby and arrived in Cyprus in very poor condition, but now she’s a healthy, cheerful 13yo elephant who enjoys human company and – can you imagine, every morning before the zoo opens she has 90 min walk around its territory on her own just strolling wherever she wants?

2. Visit Golden Donkey farm

I’m sure your kids love animals, and in Cyprus, you have a chance to show them farm life first-hand in a fun way! We visited the Golden Donkey farm located between Larnaca and Limassol.

It’s a lovely farm with not only donkeys — you can feed them with carob beans if you visit early (the amount of food given by visitors is limited to avoid overfeeding the animals), and kids can even have a short ride around the farm wearing a helmet – but also turkey, chicken, ducks, sheep, horses etc.

There are a couple of tiny museums to learn about farm life and a small cafe with local products and even donkey milk – it was my first time trying it. I must admit it was delicious, very sweet and not smelly of a donkey at all! There’s also a shop with skincare made from donkey milk and other local produce such as olive oil or carob. 

3. Check the archaeological sites

Cyprus provides immense opportunities to introduce your kids to neolithic and antique history. Let me mention just a few spots you might like!

First, you can see the ruins of the ancient city of Amathus not far away from Limassol, a royal city inhabited since the 11th century BC with many sanctuaries to explore. Sadly, it was left devastated after Arab raids in the 7th century.

Secondly, head to Paphos to explore its large archaeological site, including Kato (Lower) Paphos archaeological park with fantastic floor mosaics and the Tombs of the Kings, the necropolis with many tombs dating to the 4thc century BC.

Finally, the Kourion archaeological site is an undoubted must-see with the landmarks left from the Hellenistic, Roman and Christian periods to explore: expect to see mosaics, an amphitheatre and the remnants of temples and baths!

4. Hop on the castles

Castles always attract kids because they give their imagination a strong fairytale feeling! So, why not visit the different castles around Cyprus? I’d suggest you pop into the ones in Kolossi, Larnaka, Limassol and Paphos!

Limassol castle, just a few minutes from the seaside, is a mediaeval castle rebuilt in 1590 by the Ottomans. It’s a beautiful fortification with an impressive basement and halls with mediaeval objects, and you can also climb up to the very top of it! By the way, this is the site where King Richard Lion Heart wed his fiancee Berengaria of Navarre in 1191, so it has a good piece of history to tell the kids, too. 

Medieval Kolossi Castle is another castle with a sugarcane mill and a tiny garden you might want to add to your list. The original castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century. It served as a military stronghold of the Knights of St. John (the current castle is a rebuilt version of the older building dating back to the 15th century). For a short time, it was controlled by the Templiers. Still, it was returned to the control of the Hospitaliers. Finally, the castle was destroyed after the Ottoman invasion of Cyprus.

Also, you can head to Larnaca, the third largest city in the country, located on the southern coast. The 12th-century Larnaca castle is located right on the seashore because this fortification carried a defensive role for the whole area. It was also used as an artillery station and a prison, and now it’s a museum open to the public.

Finally, you can also visit a small castle in Paphos, which was built by Byzantines to defend the harbour. The history of it wasn’t smooth as it was dismounted. It was rebuilt a few times and served as a fort, a warehouse, a prison and now a museum with great panoramic views from the top. In 1222, it was demolished by an earthquake. Then Lusignans restored it in the 13th century. Then, Venetians demolished it again in 1570, with Ottomans rebuilding it again after capturing the island.

5. Watch flamingos in their natural habitat

Yes, you read it correct: you can see live flamingoes bathing in the salt lakes in Cyprus because those gorgeous birds stay here from Nov till March.

There are two main salt lakes you can visit: Larnaca salt lake that is actually three interconnected lakes and large Limassol Salt Lake, or Akrotiri Salt Lake. Larnaca salt lake is just a few minutes away by car from the Larnaka airport – and probably you’ll see it from your plane when you arrive in the country! Akrotiri Salt Lake is technically located on British territory but you can go there without any customs.

6. Count cats of Holy monastery of Nicolas of the Cats

This is probably the most unusual monastery I’ve ever been to: Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats! As you can tell, there are many cats living on its territory and it became a more alluring reason to come here than the monastery itself Of course, those cats are technically stray so be cautious while cuddling them (and maybe search to ticks just in case afterwards) however nothing stops you from feeding them!

Originally the monastery was founded in 325 and the cats were brought here to fight shakes under the guidance of Saint Helena. Later on, the monastery was rebuilt many times and after decades of neglect nuns started living here in 1983, and the love for cats thrived – and you can even buy them food in a special vending machine (strong Asian vibes out there!).

You might also like:

Guide to Cyprus p.1
Classic Athens
Guide to Athens

Hope you liked my blog,
Yours,
Anna xxx

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