Team Travels: Corie’s Surprise Trip to Cyprus!

This year I’m turning 30, and as part of that, my lovely mam and dad decided to treat me and my boyfriend Micky to a surprise holiday to celebrate!

Read all about everything we got up to in picturesque Paphos, from road trips to the other side of the island to an amazing cruise and beach bar paradise!

A surprise escape

All I knew is we were going away somewhere for one week, but had no idea where – my mam said I would have to wait and find out at the airport!

I packed my case (they’d told me I’d need swimming gear and sun cream, so I was hopeful of somewhere sunny!) and we headed to the airport, where I was greeted outside Newcastle International by my mam, dad, and two younger brothers, and passed an envelope.

I opened it to reveal a card wishing me a happy 30th birthday, with a ‘scratch to reveal’ section on the front. After already bursting out into tears at my mam’s thoughtfulness, I scratched away and discovered we were heading to…Cyprus

I was over the moon – Cyprus has always held a special place in my families’ hearts – my mam and dad were married there in 1998 and we’ve enjoyed so many amazing family holidays there over the years. It was the perfect place to make more memories together celebrating my birthday!

Most of our Cyprus family holidays in the past had been in the lively resort of Ayia Napa, but this time we were heading to pretty Paphos instead. I’d not been to that side of the island in about 20 years, so I was excited to see everything going on!

Arriving into Paphos, I was greeted at arrivals by a man with a card saying ‘Happy Birthday Corie!’ – another lovely surprise! He whisked us off to our private transfer (or what I thought was our transfer) but which turned out to be our transport to pick up our own hire cars for the duration of our holiday! 

We had two cars between the six of us, and my family led the way to our undisclosed location, with me and my boyfriend Micky following behind. 

After just a ten minute drive, we finally came to a stop – outside a beautiful villa! We’d had a couple of villa holidays in the past and had loved them, so I was so excited to see what this one was like.

It was night-time, but I could see the villa had large grounds with adorning trees and colourful flowers leading to its entrance. We followed the little stone path up and around the back of the villa to see a huge pool! 

We wasted no time getting changed into our swimming gear and jumped straight into the pool for a night-time dip. That’s the great thing about having your own villa – you can go in the pool whenever you like!

The next morning, the villa looked even more beautiful – gorgeous green grounds, plenty of inside space (with lovely ice-cold air con!) and its own BBQ area, which we couldn’t wait to put to use. 

The villa was situated in the gorgeous area of Chlorakas, just 20 minutes from the airport and only ten minutes from Paphos harbour and 15 minutes from Coral Bay. 

This lovely resort is perfectly situated to enjoy everything Paphos has to offer, but you don’t even need to leave the area if you don’t want to – bars, shops, and restaurants are all within walking distance, and the sea is so close too, with gorgeous little coves such as St George Beach serving as the perfect place for a swim. 

Halloumi Heaven and Beach Bar Bliss

The food we ate on this holiday was without a doubt some of the best I’ve ever had! Add that to colourful cocktails and seriously scenic sunsets and you’ll soon agree that this part of Paphos is a no brainer!

If you’re staying in Paphos, the sunset spots in and around Chlorakas are definitely worth heading to. We visited some of the best bars and restaurants in the area that act as the perfect place to watch the sun go down.

Just 10 minutes’ walk from our villa, and along a gorgeous coastal path, was Baracas Lounge, a spectacular eatery located on a cliff.  This beach bar and restaurant is perfectly situated, looking directly out to the most amazing views of the Mediterranean sea.  

The food and drinks here are second-to-none, with menu items ranging from delicious fresh Cypriot salads to big burgers and chicken dishes teamed with tzatziki. I went for the garlic chicken – and the flavours didn’t disappoint! 

Right beside Baracas is what’s known as the Giant Chair of Paphos – you guessed it, a giant chair in front of the sea! It’s a great, fun photo opportunity, and we love the sunset snap we got there.

Sea You Beach Bar in nearby Kissonerga is a must. Perched right on the seafront, this bar and restaurant has a real boho feel to it, with tables set amongst the palm trees and hanging seashells and rocks used as decor. The views looking out to the sea and beach are utterly stunning, and the cocktail menu is just as delightful too!

Another top spot is the Sea Caves Lounge Bar in nearby Peyia. Perched on a hillside cove overlooking the sea, the tables here are looking directly at the spectacular sea caves that have formed over thousands of years. If you visit during the day, you can make your way down and swim inside them!

We visited on an evening just in time for the sunset, and it really was a beautiful sight. This boujee bar does a delicious raspberry daiquiri as well as creamy pina coladas, and serves food if you’re hungry, too. It’s got a real romantic vibe to it, with its love heart hot seat making the most perfect photo opportunity. Insta-worthy-pic: tick!

Another place to watch the sun go down happens to be right next door, at Sentiero. This beautifully decorated bar is gorgeous by day, and by night. The sun was just setting as we arrived, and it wasn’t long before the whole garden area lit up with pretty lights illuminating all the canopy’s above. The mango daiquiri here was amazing, as was the chicken souvlaki! 

We also visited a local cafe for breakfast – and what a hearty breakfast it was! A full English with a Cypriot addition – halloumi, of course! I have to say – I think I’ll be making it a regular part of my full English breakkie back home. Swished down with a glass of orange juice and an iced-latte, and I was set up for the day!

Another place we visited for top notch food was a place called Pepperoni Pizza. This place serves up enormous wood-fired pizzas with the freshest ingredients, and the slices were absolutely huge! We demolished a picante pizza, full of fresh garlic, chilli, pepperoni and spicy chicken. No leftovers for us!

Our favourite evening meal of the whole holiday though, had to be at Poppadum, Chlorakas’ Indian restaurant. From the garlic and cheese naans to our special madras mains, the flavours here were insane. Everything was so tasty, we had to go back again another night for more! 

The quality of beachside bars and restaurants we visited on this holiday was amazing – I’ve never been to so many scenic spots for food and drinks, with everything we ate tasting so unbelievably tasty and fresh!

Island road trippin’

One of the main reasons my mam hired cars for us was so that we could have a day out driving to the other side of the island – to lively Ayia Napa. This is where many of our previous Cyprus holidays have taken place, and I was excited to show Micky a place that almost felt like a home away from home.

The scenic two-hour drive went by in a breeze, and we arrived at our first port of call – Water World Ayia Napa!

This wonderful waterpark is arguably the best on the island, with an array of adrenaline-pumping slides on offer, an enormous wave pool and my favourite – the lazy river!

We spent a good few hours here, zooming down rides like Drop to Atlantis and floating around they lazy river on our rubber rings. And we had to get some delicious fruit-filled crepes from the Creperie, of course!

Afterwards, we headed into the centre of Ayia Napa to grab some lunch and enjoy a walk around the historic town centre. My mam and dad were married in the monastery which lies in the centre of the main square, so we had a lovely stroll in the (blazing hot) sunshine remembering their lovely day.  

We were all feeling pretty hot, which meant it was time to head back up the strip towards Nissi Beach, where we could hopefully cool down in the sea!

Nissi Beach is one of my favourite beaches ever – it’s warm, turquoise waters always look so inviting, and the sea is really shallow for a while, so you can swim far out before it gets remotely deep. 

Plus, there’s always a really jubilant atmosphere here – everyone’s happy, there’s chilled music playing in the distance, and the drinks from the boujee beach bars nearby are flowing. What more could you want? We enjoyed a crisp, ice-cold Kopparberg in the shade, taking in our surroundings and enjoying every sip. It was delightful!

After a refreshing swim in the sea we dried off and hopped back in the cars, enjoying a gorgeous sunset from the road on the way back. It was a brilliant day out! 

On any holiday to Cyprus I’d really recommend hiring a car to fully explore all the island has to offer. You’ll take in gorgeous views as you make your way around the island, and it makes getting about so much easier. Limassol is also a lovely place to visit if you get the chance, and is the southernmost city in all of Europe! 

Paphos Cruise

If you’re planning a holiday in Paphos yourself, if there’s one thing I recommend you do it’d be the Ocean Vision Half Day Cruise!

The boat is the largest luxury coastal cruiser in Europe, and is definitely the most sophisticated harbour cruise I’ve ever been on. The sun beds out on the main deck are comfortable and classy, and there’s also a lower deck level for you to look at aquarium views.

The best thing about it though, is the drinks and entertainment! We were greeted onboard by a brilliant sax player, and then introduced to the boat’s talented resident singer. She really got everyone in the cruising mood! 

The price of your ticket includes all your food and drinks for the day – a freshly cooked buffet lunch (which was absolutely delicious) and a wide variety of soft and alcoholic beverages. My drinks of choice were tequila sunrises and iced lattes with Baileys! 

We sailed out of Paphos harbour at 11am and along down the coast past beautiful beaches, spotting shipwrecks, and finally coming to a stop in a beautiful azure patch of the Mediterranean sea. 

As someone who loves the sea and making a splash, I was so excited to try out one of the boat’s best features – the giant inflatable slide landing into the sea! It was brilliant fun speeding down it and splashing into the water below.

After a lovely refreshing dip in the sea, we climbed back onboard and enjoyed our freshly cooked BBQ lunch. After that, it was time to set sail back towards the harbour, but not without an hour or so of a proper party!

With everyone having full bellies and the drinks free flowing, the boat’s party vibe was really upped a notch, with everyone out on the main deck singing and dancing as the wind blew in our hair. It was such a good atmosphere – we didn’t want to get off the boat!

Paphos Harbour

We hopped off our mini cruise at about 3pm and wanted to enjoy a few more cocktails in the sun, and what better place than pretty Paphos harbour!

There’s some lovely bars and restaurants lining up along the water’s edge, and we took a seat in one partly in shade, partly in sun, with a gorgeous view of Paphos castle. 

The strawberry daiquiri I had here was the best of the whole holiday, and we sat enjoying our surroundings for another hour or so in the sunshine. It’s a lovely spot to do a bit of people watching, and it’s worth a stroll along to the castle to see it up close. There’s plenty of little shops to pop in around here too!

Night out on the town

We were keen to carry on the good vibes of the day, so after popping back to the villa for a quick cool down in the pool and a shower to freshen up, we decided to head back into the harbour area for night time drinks!

There’s a bus that takes just 10 minutes to get from Chlorakas to Paphos harbour, so we hopped on that to save paying a taxi fare.

The main bar street in Paphos is a bustling area full of music and lights, with plenty of drinks offers attempting to lure you in! 

We headed into a big and bright venue called Flairs first, making the most of the two-for-one cocktails and having a boogie to the loud and varied tunes.

Opposite was a karaoke bar – Boogies Karaoke Club! We couldn’t resist having a sing along, so we headed in and geared each other up for our performances. Me and Micky nailed a Lady Gaga number, with my mam opting for a bit of Madonna, and even my dad got up to do an Oasis song! 

It was a great place for a proper night out!

Chilled Pool Days

Especially after a lively night, the best thing about having your own villa as a group is the undisturbed pool days and chill time you can enjoy! There’s no randomers nearby, no fight for sunbeds – it’s all your own private space to enjoy quality time together.

We had loads of fun playing volleyball in the pool together, and inventing different ball games to keep us entertained. We had great laughs bombing in the pool together, and when we weren’t splashing about we’d be relaxing on our sunbeds reading magazines and books, or playing cards together. 

We’d done a shop at a supermarket on our first day, so we were all stocked up with our favourite drinks and snacks – plenty of ice creams and ice lollies to keep cool, of course.  And we enjoyed lovely al fresco meals outside too, using the barbeque to cook up tasty skewers of chicken and lashings of grilled halloumi. 

Wonderful watersports

There’s plenty of fun to be had on the beaches of Paphos – from flying couches to the classic banana boat, and even parasailing high up the sky, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to adrenaline-fuelled activities.

My brother Kian and I opted to go on a jet-ski together on our last day, and we had a blast (even if we did end up in the sea!)

Nearby attractions

When we’ve been to Paphos in the past we’ve visited fascinating local attractions like the Tombs of the Kings and the Adonis Baths! 

Both are well worth a visit – the history at the site of the Tombs of the Kings is just fascinating, and Adonis Baths is literally like a gorgeous hidden oasis where you can bathe in trickling waterfalls! 

Family holiday happiness

Our villa holiday was the perfect relaxing retreat and the entire week really was an amazing family holiday in Paphos. I thought I’d always say I love the east side of Cyprus the most (Nissi beach will always have my heart) but I have to say, Paphos and the west of Cyprus is a sublime holiday destination. I can’t wait to be back – for the food and cocktails alone!

Turning 30 isn’t so bad when you’re surprised with an amazing holiday like this – thank you, mam and dad!