Follow in the wake of an Olympian - Sailing getaways in Cyprus
For a nation whose history and identity is so bound up with the sea it seems only right that Cyprus’ first Olympic medal should have gone to a sailor: 22 year-old Pavlos Kontides, who took silver in the men’s Laser class at the London Games this summer. With two marinas, almost a dozen sailing schools and a coastline peppered with dream-like hidden coves, secluded beaches and ancient ports it’s not surprising that Cyprus is a favourite destination for Brits looking to enjoy sun-soaked holidays bobbing on the Cypriot Med or to take advantage of the island’s fantastic watersports.
Steady westerly winds, calm waters and a year-round temperate climate make Cyprus the ideal European destination set sail. Unmissable places to explore include Governor’s Beach, which is known for its white rocks and fishing, Aplostra Beach (also known as Ladies’ Mile Beach), an undeveloped stretch of coastline good for nature-spotters, and Curium Beach, famed for its scenic views.
Sea-farers of any experience can take advantage of the rich opportunities Cyprus has to offer. For those keen to man their own tiller, Cyprus currently boasts eight sailing clubs – registered under the Cyprus Sailing Federation – which can loan out skiffs for a day or two’s sailing, or yachts for a week’s getaway. For those who are eager to put their feet up and let someone else do the navigating, yacht charter is available through specialist companies with a range of packages and tours to suit any requirement.
Cyprus already boasts an established year-round yachting community based at Larnaka’s 450-berth marina, but in October a major new addition to the island’s nautical offering will officially open for business. Capable of accommodating yachts measuring up to 115 metres, The Limassol Marina (limassolmarina.com) is set to become one of the Med’s most prestigious developments. The area features exclusive waterfront villas as well as 6,000 square metres of restaurants, shops, cafes, high-end boutiques, a spa and cultural centre. In addition to these exciting developments the marina will also be home to a yacht club, cultural centre and marine training school.
But of course it’s not only about the sailing. The island is also a top destination for other watersports such as waterskiing, windsurfing and fishing. A beach dedicated just to kitesurfing (now an Olympic sport), donated by the local community, has recently opened near the ancient port of Kiti (near Larnaka) and boasts the island’s only kitesurfing school. And with crystal clear warm Mediterranean waters, Cyprus is a major draw for scuba divers who come to explore the island’s famed cave and wreck dives, including that of the colossal Zenobia (sunk 1980), voted one of The Times’ best wreck dive sites in the world. Like the Limassol Marina, Cypriot diving will soon be even better with four new vessels being sunk around the island over the next year to add to the colourful variety of marine life.
For more information, log on to visitcyprus.com.