March in Cyprus is amazing! It is a time of year when not many tourists visit the island and consequently a lot of places aren’t yet fully open. For example we have been to two beaches this week that did not have the sun beds out, they hadn’t done a beach clean up yet so there was a lot of seaweed, and the outside cafe areas weren’t open as a lot of people (especially those acclimatised) still find it a bit cold for sitting outside. However if you can look past the seaweed, don’t mind eating at the inside cafes/restaurants and are happy to take a towel, mat or picnic blanket to the beach for sitting on then this time of year is actually pretty spectacular.
The wild flowers are all out, covering the ground with an abundance of beautiful yellow flowers that the bees love. The cyclamen are also in bloom adding a delightful violet into the mix. By July the weather will be too hot, thanks to the scorching sun making temperatures soar as high as 50 degrees, and all of these flowers will have died and gone brown along with the beautiful green from all of the grasses that have been able to grow in this ideal climate.
This year it is especially green due to a lot of rainfall over winter and the scenery is quite breathtaking; bright green grass with contrasting dark greens of the mountain trees, brilliant yellows from the wild flowers, and the stunning deep turquoise of the ocean all have a way of adding a certain serenity to the island, especially since it is so quiet with the lack of tourists.
This time of year is also perfect if you are thinking of a walking holiday or a cycling trip. We had lunch at one of the beach restaurants on the way to Kaplica yesterday and it was full of British cyclists taking full advantage of these ideal weather conditions. With the quiet roads stretching right up the Karpaz peninsula I can’t think of a better place to explore by bicycle. Then there are the Mountains and everything they have to offer; St Hilarion, Buffavento, Kantara etc, the perfect place to get to know on foot, taking in all of those amazing views.
Today I decided to go for a pre lunch walk as I have been spending a lot of time in the villa trying to make it look nice, and make sure everything is in working order ready for our guests, so a bit of fresh air, sunshine and exercise was needed.
Dressed in shorts and a strappy top I headed down the hill toward the coast with Niamh in the pushchair. It was like I could feel the vitamin D and the clean salty sea air lifting my spirits and making everything right with the world. It is perfect weather if you want to escape the dreary spring mornings we so often get in the UK, without the high temperatures that Cyprus experiences later on in the year. The temperature is currently a very nice 22 degrees, personally I love the slightly warmer temperatures of July/August as you won’t catch me in the sea or a pool at 22 degrees, but then I am a bit nesh. For me this is just perfect for walking in.
The views as I walked down the winding lane leading up to the villa were absolutely stunning, and I always find I can appreciate them so much more when I am walking instead of driving. I had already decided to head toward the old coastal road, a very narrow battered neglected old road that amounts to merely a dirt track in places, and it only took 10 minutes to get there from the villa.
When I first visited North Cyprus 14 years ago, the coast road was one of the few options to get up to the Far East of the North Coast, known as the ‘pan handle’ (have a look at the shape of the island and this will make sense) although work had already begun on the bypass that now runs that way today.
Although the bypass is a great addition, allowing you to turn what used to be a 3 hour journey into one that is just an hour and a half, I have to say that I love driving the old road. Being mere metres away from the sea at some points, on a single car road, and being able to stop and discover little coves that you wouldn’t otherwise know are there is one of my ideas of heaven.
When I, briefly, lived here 10 years ago we would often just drive up the coast on a weekend and stop for a swim along the way at a completely random spot. In fact the very first time I was treated to this journey (in the boot of a Suzuki Vitara, legs hanging out the back) we found a fantastic little bay, that we climbed down to and spent some time swimming and jumping in from the rocks. I have never been able to find that cove again, which actually just adds to the beauty of it as they are so secluded and unfrequented making it feel like your own private spot, away from everything and everyone else.
Today, sandwiched between Mountain views on my right and the deep blue ocean on my left with not a cloud in the bright blue sky, looking over to the snow topped mountains of South Turkey it was a very calming walk, one I am already looking forward to doing again.