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Although Cyprus is a favourite spring and summer holiday destination with virtually guaranteed warmth to enjoy beach activities and soak up the sunshine, there is much to recommend it in the winter months when many other activities are also readily available. Hiking is increasingly popular and there are miles of nature trails all over the island as well as organised walking holidays where one can travel on foot from village to village meeting the locals and savouring the delicious Cypriot rustic cuisine. Not to be missed is a chance to visit the U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage Sites which include Choirokitia, a remarkably well preserved settlement originating from the 4th – 7th Millennia B.C. and also the renowned Byzantine painted churches and monasteries in the Troodos area. The winter months are also ideal to take in the famous mosaics of Kourion and Paphos and to wonder at the mosaic of the Virgin Mary and St. Peter at the entrance to Kikkos Monastery.
This year, Larnaca is leading the way in offering free activities to the town’s hotel guests who stay in the area during the winter months any time up to 31st March 2016. The initiative by the Larnaca Tourist Board has different choices on offer for every day of the week, including Sundays. For those seeking inner peace and tranquillity, the week kicks off on Monday with Rejuvenating Beach Yoga at Phinikoudes Beach, whilst on Tuesdays guest can enjoy a trip to Mazotos Camel Park. It is situated 15 minutes from the airport and one can partake of a camel ride, take a dip in the swimming pools, and feed animals in the petting zoo, and other family friendly activities.
There is a picnicking area as well as a restaurant at the park. A professionally led walking tour of Larnaca town and a wine tasting event by the medieval castle are also included on the list of activities. Events taking place in the surrounding villages include the chance to take part in making the famous Halloumi cheese, bread making, a traditional dance lesson as well as tours of local workshops and craft making. A visit to the famous lace maker’s village of Lefkara is also included in the varied list of complimentary activities where there is something for everyone. The week’s activities end with live music on the seafront promenade, as part of The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (C.T.O.) and the Municipality’s Musical Sundays programme.
Both the Cyprus government and the C.T.O. have pledged to upgrade the tourist offering in Cyprus and develop the off season market to ensure year round tourism. President Anastasiades pre-election promise to build a cable car service to carry tourists to Troodos Square looks promising and various routes are under consideration. The most likely of these would originate at Amiantos village and terminate on Mount Olympus with stopping places and additional services being built along the route. Mixed funding for the project from the Cyprus government, European Union and private enterprise is envisioned and will certainly help in promoting the short ski season in Troodos.
Scources: www.visitcyprus.com, in-cyprus.com, in-cyprus.com/mazotos-camel-park.
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