Cyprus holidays at Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa are amazing in summer, as John Lewisohn discovered. But Cyprus is also one of Europe’s sunniest-for-longest countries, so don’t miss our October half-term break offer, including UK flights and hours of Cyprus sunshine.
Cyprus holidays come packed with legends
Since ancient times, legions of worshippers have visited Aphrodite’s Rock, between Limassol and Paphos, as according to legend, the Goddess of Love was born here, rising out of ocean foam on to this very Cyprus beach. Although, today’s visitors are more inclined to believe the myth that those who swim three times around Petra tou Romiou – as Aphrodite’s Rock is also known – will be granted eternal beauty, fertility, true love and luck.
Whether you give that a go or not, a visit to Aphrodite’s birthplace is one of many fable-drenched days out in Cyprus. And nearby Kourion, the ancient city perched on a hillside with resplendent views of the Bay of Episkopi, is another one: possibly with a bit more kid-appeal.
Although it’s thought to have been inhabited since the 12th century BC, most of Kourion’s ruins date from around 300BC-200AD, and one of the finest is a 2nd century Roman amphitheatre. Just remember, Cyprus is one of the hottest places in Europe in summer and there’s not much shade here. So if your children are keen to ramble round the ruins, go early in the morning and they can be back and cooling off in one of Parklane’s many pools by lunchtime.
Discover lacemaking traditions and floppy eared goats
The village of Lefkara is another interesting visit in the Limassol area. Quite a hive of industry, it’s where historic Lefkara Lace originates: the delicate art which now has a place on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. Making silver filigree jewellery is another local tradition here, so if you’re looking for original gifts, this is the place. You’ll also find the village in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, at 650m above sea level, so it’s a good spot to escape the heat.
Halloumi is produced in the hills of Lefkara too, and a tour of Loulla’s farm is a fun way to see Cyprus’s famous cheese being made. Although don’t be surprised to find kids most captivated by the farm’s floppy eared goats and less floppy eared sheep. Loulla told us that, during the Turkish occupation of Cyprus in 1974, she had to hide with her family in the countryside and survived by chewing carob pods until they could return to their homes. And if you recognise this hardy lady farmer, it may be because she’s appeared on Channel 4’s Travel Man with Joe Lycett, who also enjoyed fresh halloumi and Cypriot salad here.
Parklane adds luxury to Cyprus holidays this half term
Of course Cyprus holidays aren’t short on options for days out. But frankly it was hard to tear ourselves away from our 5-star beachfront hotel, Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa.
Set just outside Limassol, it’s part of Marriot’s Luxury Collection, and one of the finest hotels in the country. However, a choice of 222 rooms, 34 suites and 18 expansive villas with pools, means there’s something here to suit most budgets. And, as all accommodation is designed by Harrods’ Interiors, and the smallest rooms are still a spacious 42m², even the least expensive stay is luxurious.
The hotel also features several pools, both for families and adults-only, so nobody feels crowded. Plus the limpid Mediterranean is the nearest neighbour, for anyone who prefers a swim in the sea.
A kids club with its very own pirate ship
Younger guests will love Park Kidz, one of the largest kids’ clubs in the Mediterranean and housed in a storybook two level castle. Offering over 3000m² of play space, it includes a pirate ship, as well as an activity pool complete with waterslides. Open daily and fully supervised by multi-lingual staff, the club also provides a fresh-weekly activity programme for 3-12 year olds. Under-threes can enjoy Park Kidz too, as long as parents are there to supervise.
Stay at Parklane during UK summer and autumn half-term holidays, and kids can also join the Football Escapes premier training camp, led by former players like Ledley King, and UEFA licensed coaches. This October half-term, guest coaches include Michael Owen and Joe Cole.
What will you do while your kids are practicing their penalties? We can personally recommend some parent-time at The Kalloni Spa which not only features the only thalassotherapy centre in Cyprus, but also offers a wide range of therapeutic and beauty treatments.
Parklane restaurants are legends in their own right
The hotel restaurants are also superb. Nammos originated as a Mykonos beach club and celebrity haunt back in 2003. And its Parklane incarnation is beautifully decorated, with a fun atmosphere, amazing food and even its own luxury shopping village.
LPM is another well-known brand with restaurants in several major international cities, including London. It’s inspired by the French Riviera, right down to a Picasso themed cocktail menu, and like Nammos the vibe is one of irresistible joie de vivre, accompanied by wonderful Provencal-style food.
If laid-back and poolside is your mood, you’ll be enchanted by al-fresco Il Teatro’s fresh and delicious salads, pasta and pizzas: I have to mention we were seated right next to a lush lemon tree at Il Teatro which was growing lemons the size of grapefruit. And finally, Lanes serves breakfast, à la carte lunch and dinner daily, and it might be the least starry of the hotel restaurants but it still delivers on outstanding food and the variety alone makes it a good choice for families, especially with younger kids.
Spend time in Limassol for Old Town charm and fun evenings
The vibrant city of Limassol is a must-do on Cyprus holidays. Fortunately, it’s just a short drive from the hotel, so makes for an easy family day out, although it’s particularly fun in the evening, if you want to take advantage of Parklane’s babysitting services.
Otherwise, have a stroll along the sea-front, then drop in on the Old Town for shops and a huge choice of restaurants. And make time to admire the historic architecture, there’s even a medieval castle where, so legend has it, Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre in 1191, before crowning her Queen of England.
We ate at the Carob Mill restaurant near the castle and Carob Mill Museum in Limassol. Known as “Black Gold” carob is of huge importance to Cyprus and used in syrups, animal feed, cosmetics, textiles and even paper.
At just under five hours from the UK, Cyprus is a slightly longer than average European flight, particularly with younger kids. However, the warmth of the people and the pleasure of staying beachfront at Parklane makes it seem less of an odyssey. Plus, with average temperatures of 27° in autumn and absolutely no jet lag, it’s an easy and far less expensive alternative to southern hemisphere sun for October half term.
October half-term break from £3,235 per family, including flights
Inspiring Travel is offering an October half-term break* at Parklane, Cyprus from £3,235 per family, for a family of four (2 adults, 2 children) sharing a Superior Inland View room. The holiday includes daily breakfast, return economy flights from London Gatwick and private transfers.
*Valid for travel completed between 21-29 October 2023, price based on 22 October 2023 departure.