I visited this idyllic island with my then girlfriend, due to being divorced for 2 years or so. We decided to visit for a break, and it was a great place and the facilities excellent.

Christmas 2009 we did the Thomson all-inclusive staying at the Riu Cypria Resort hotel, which had predominantly German residents.


A last minute All-Inclusive holiday at Christmas with my friend and new partner, Emma. We'd met doing tai chi.

Cyprus has to be one of my favourite places, despite only going the one time. I went Christmas 2009 with my friend Emma and we did the Thomson all-inclusive package, staying in a Riu branded hotel, with predominantly German residents. The weather was warm but not barmy-warm; with the hotel mere steps from the beach - not a great beach, being more rocks than sand, but empty during our stay. Other hotels along the way were closed and it was off-peak, you could tell. The Riu class of hotel left us our usual satisfied. 

posing by the pool

The adventure began as we flew into Cyprus, having to be diverted from Pathos to Larnaca (the other side of the island along the south coast) due to horrendous storms as the plane came in. This meant a coach trip along the coast to the hotel having many implications such as an extra 2-3 hours travel and upon arrival at the hotel, no food!

The interesting and shocking part was in the airport awaiting the coach. The wind rose so badly it blew in some glass doors and made my case rise to horizontal to the floor (which I was luckily holding by the extendable handle or else it might have killed someone!)

our hotel

Anyway, recovering from the shock of experiencing this weird phenomenon, we boarded the bus in cyclonic winds and blistering rain and made the journey along the coast.   Luckily the rest of the time the sun shone.  Our hotel was pretty nice, but as we had stayed in the Riu chain before so we knew what to expect and weren’t disappointed.  Our main tourist companions were German and we struck up friendship with a few of the couples.

As I said, the only problem was the lack of food on arrival. The rest was sorted and was always a self-serve arrangement from buffet selections.

Entertainment was provided during the evening and there was a sort of Christmas atmosphere.

Some guests were staying for new year as well. We were sat next to a couple from the UK in the dining room.

no food on arrival

Pathos wasn’t that far and one time Emma decided she would walk along the beach.  I stayed near the pool and did some “tai chi” on the waters' edge, a.k.a. sunbathing!

We both ventured to town on the local bus-cum-coach. While there we had a good look around and took a few photo shots, had a drink and did quite a bit of "walking".

There was plenty of photo opportunities in and around the town including the ancient site “tomb of the kings” and the cannon in the centre of the town, which was fortified in olden times.

view of the coast
sea side view
pushing the waves
andy hiding in trees
coastal path
hotel pool
the hotel rules
rounded tree
dining  hall
function room
Santa delivering
andy sat waiting
andy in room artistic
free booze and playing cards
winning hand?
pointing to cards

The Hotel facilities were very nice, and the beach was literally right there - a few feet from the back of the hotel.  It was off-peak, reasonable weather in the mid-20's, with a nice breeze and occasional showers.  There were not that many guests and most were staying for christmas and new year - unfortunately not us.  

Access was brilliant, paths and walkways were level and everywhere looked clean and tidy.   The hotel pool looked good although it was hardly used, possibly because it was not hot enough for swimming.


We went on a paid excursion to the north part of the island currently held by the Turkish, and we spent a lot of time at an ancient ruin to see the restorations being made and to walk around the site.

I do remember thinking this would be a killer in the real summer heat, because it was quite hot in the winter heat of 22-26 Celsius!

The area was uneven and difficult to get around.  The paths were okay though, just a lot of ground to cover.

Our coach waited for us to finish.

The island is divided (so-called) illegally and there is an actual border with armed guards.

The island is divided (so-called) illegally and there is an actual border with armed guards. The coach had to go through a check point to get to the ruins and the town where we stopped off. I have ex-“karate students” who live in the north of Cyprus and are frequently in the UK even though their country is not recognised as such.

ancient ruins
ancient ruins
ancient ruins
ancient ruins
ancient ruins
ancient ruin toilets!
ancient ruins
ancient ruins

We were taken around the town of Varosha that was cut off and abandoned in the neutral zone and is now falling down. It is in the north-eastern part of Cyprus. The port and the built up areas, which was the prosperous tourist district (photos below) are now in the occupied part of Cyprus. The UK government do not recommend travel to the north except via the south (as we had done).

The fortifications overlooking the port are worth a look but by then, the heat had taken it’s toll and I was happy just to sit.

enjoying a rest
Varosha port
Varosha port
Varosha fort
cannon balls in Varosha fort
Varosha port
views from Varosha fort
views from Varosha fort
Varosha fort
Varosha fort
photo of andy
Varosha fort
view from Varosha fort
a load of balls
top of town
town church - emma style

Following a Greek military coup in July 1974, Turkish forces invaded, ostensibly to restore constitutional order and to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority. After a brief period of ceasefire, Famagusta was bombarded and Turkish tanks then advanced.

When the Turkish Army gained control of the area during the invasion, they fenced it off and have since refused entry to anyone except Turkish military and United Nations personnel. The people living in Varosha hoped to return to their home when the situation calmed down, but the resort remained closed.

However, the resort was fenced off by the Turkish military and has been a ghost town ever since. A UN resolution of 1984 calls for the handover of Varosha to UN control and prohibits any attempt to resettle it by anyone other than those who were forced out. ... It's a ghost town.

The town of Famagusta and the old walled city are part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the public have access to these areas. ... This area is Verosha, and only the Turkish army have access to the area. I would advise you to visit the area as the walled city is well worth a visit.

famagusta forbidden city
Famagusta forbidden city
Famagusta forbidden city
Famagusta forbidden city
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