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Christmas and New Year: Cypriot Style

The Christmas and New Year period in Cyprus is a special time for Cypriots and visitors alike. Entwined in tradition and religious celebration, it's a time for spending quality time with friends and family. With temperatures around the 20 degree mark, Christmas is celebrated with (literal) warmth and festive cheer. What a wonderful time of the year to escape to Aphrodite's Island with your loved ones to celebrate and soak up the amazing atmosphere.

The festive season starts on the 6th December and lasts until the 6th January. Many Christian Greek Cypriots endure a period of forty days of fasting prior to Christmas, so the subsequent Christmas feast is a hearty affair. On Christmas Eve, loaves of Christopsomo (Christ Bread) are eaten and children visit neighbouring houses to sing Kalanda (Greek carols) and offer good wishes to others.

On Christmas Day, dishes such as stuffed turkey, chicken and roast lamb are eaten and it's a time for family and friends to come together.

New Year's Day has particular significance for Greek Cypriots, as this is the day of Ayios Vasilis (St Basil), the Greek Santa Claus. Children receive their gifts on New Year's Day. In the evening, once the children have gone to bed, a cake called Vasilopitta (Santa's cake) with a coin inside it and a glass of wine are placed by the Christmas tree. Ayios Vasilis drinks the wine, blesses the cake and places presents around the tree. In the morning the cake is cut and the one who finds the coin will have good luck for the coming year.

Travelling to Cyprus with your friends and family for Christmas and New Year is a refreshing change from the chillier North European climate. How wonderful to dine on your Christmas feast on a terrace or balcony with your nearest and dearest, spending time sharing stories and catching up with one another and having the opportunity to explore Cyprus and revel in its culture at such a lovely time of the year!

Tempted? Why not consider one of our apartments and make this year's festive season something really unique. Monarch have added additional flights to their itinerary for the festive period, so there's even more reason to opt for Christmas 2010 Cyprus style!


Useful information for wheelchair users travelling to Larnaca

If you're a wheelchair user, or have a wheelchair user in your travelling party, it's important to ensure that the right facilities are available for your visit to Cyprus. Here's a little information to help....


Please check with your departure destination airport for individual information about accessibility,

The main airports in Cyprus (Larnaca International Airport and Paphos) are accessible for wheelchair users. Washrooms, charging stations for electric wheelchairs at departure gates, ramps for wheelchair users to enter or exit the buses and other assistance services are available. We would urge you to contact these airports directly for more information so that you can discuss any special requirements you may have and make arrangements in advance where appropriate.


Transportation around the island can be arranged if prior notice is given to the transport companies.  Special buses are also available with low gradient ramps, safety belts, etc. Special taxis that can carry wheelchair users are also available. Information about this can be provided by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation offices.

In 2007 the use of the European Blue Badge for parking at designated places for the disabled was approved by the Cyprus Parliament. These are available across the island both on public roads and public parking spaces. The Service for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, a section of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, are responsible for administering this scheme; they can be contacted by telephone on +357 22 400 824 or you can email them at

Out and About

Most towns in Cyprus are fairly accessible with a wheelchair but much work is carried out to improve the infrastructure. However, it's advisable that wheelchair users are accompanied by an able person as some areas are inaccessible.

Official Information

Cyprus Tourist Organisation provides a Guide for Disabled Visitors; the February 2010 version is available here.


Cypriot Wine: Arsnoe62

Arsinoe 62, is a dry white wine produced from specially selected grapes of the indigenous “Xynisteri” variety.The grapes are grown in the Laona region in Paphos, the western part of the Island. The wine is aged in bottle in SODAP’s cellars until it fully develops its unique aroma and characteristic taste.

Arsinoe 62 should be served chilled and it is an excellent accompaniment to fish and light meat, or it can be enjoyed on its own on every occasion.




CATEGORY: Table Wine
REGION: Paphos (Laona region)
VARIETY: Xynisteri
TYPE: White dry
CHARACTERISTICS: A delicate, aromatic, balanced wine, showing excellent fruit aromas and character.
FOOD PAIRING: Perfect with fish dishes and light meat courses, or on its own.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: About 12.5% alcohol by vol.



5 of the Best: This Week's Web Favourites

Five of our favourites about Cyprus and travel we stumbled upon this week:

  • We liked Vagabondish's article '4 Ways to be a Traveler, Not a Tourist'. Swot up before you travel, slow up and savour your experiences whilst there, meet the locals and relish the local culture - sage advice to making the most out of whichever destination you travel to.
  • Monarch demonstrate the pulling power of Larnaca, with holiday bookings to the area up 11% on summer 2009.
  • Ian and Mandy from Aradippou Tales show how gorgeous Cypriot gardens are looking with a lovely shot of Bougainvillea tumbling over the wall of a local residence.
  • Skyscanner's recent survey, as reported in a recent Guardian article, illustrates the cost-effectiveness of holidaying in Cyprus, showing Cyprus to be the cheapest destination overall. Their article takes price comparison a step further by including the prices of other typical purchases such as meals, beer and car hire. Just goes to show that it all adds up!
  • 30 years ago, the Zenobia sank in Larnaca Bay on her maiden voyage. The wreck is now a well-known attraction for divers. See this short but sweet footage from a recent diver:


Vital Statistics!

Interesting survey from Skyscanner with some useful advice about respecting local customs. Common sense really but sadly, so often blazonly ignored.

I am surprised by the Swedish result which just goes to show we should not believe cultural stereotypes!