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I climb up the ladder and snuggle up in my sleeping bag. For the very first time. We’ve arrived. Arrived at a stunningly beautiful spot with a view of the ocean and some steep cliffs.
And yet we hadn’t even known where we were headed when we started driving in the morning. The plan: Just get in the car and hit the road.
Granted, that’s not really my thing usually. I’m a planning type of gal, and I like to have my days planned out for at least a few days at a time. But here I am buzzing to go on a trip with my boys, just leaning into the trust that we will find a beautiful spot for our first night in our rooftop tent.
We start right off with a little off-road adventure. Headed from Pervolia, we are driving right along the coast all the way to Mazotos, and then find ourselves on a track we’d spotted in a guide for off-road tracks before.
The drive is spectacular and thrilling at the same time. At some point we have to drive through a muddy and half-collapsed section only to realise on the other side that the track had actually been closed to traffic.
It’s raining, and I’m relieved that we will spend most of our time in the car today. We always try and stick to driving along the ocean as much as possible. But as we hit Limassol we decide to surpass the big city via highway.
As we enter a kind of peninsula with a gigantic saline lake, I’m hoping we’ll find a nice spot to camp around here – also, because David is not too keen on spending more time sitting in the car.
But thanks to the rain I’m not very motivated to get out of the car myself, especially since we haven’t even made it to the ocean yet. A British military station prevents us from making it down the road any further. Slightly disappointed, we have to turn around and make our way back.
We take a chance to stop for a break at the next opportunity, which is Kolossi Castle. Yes, it’s a real castle, or let’s say more of a fortress. Nestled right next to it is a little cafe, Theo’s Café, and it even has a little fireplace. What a perfect stop to warm up and get cozy.
The cafe and its owners are super cute, and we enjoy delicious coffee, juice, and potato chips.
As we check out the castle and walk around it afterwards, it starts raining again.
We hop back in the car, and keep driving. All of a sudden we end up at a beach with beautiful and bizarre cliffs. I’m a total sucker for steep cliffs! Even though we take in the view for a little and enjoy it so much, we decide to camp elsewhere. It’s too busy for us considering there’s three restaurants on the beach, and plenty of people running around.
We decide on checking out the top of the cliffs instead, and hope to find a quiet spot there with a beautiful view.
While we’re looking around, we pass a few signs for archeological sites, all quite close to each other. Fascinating – as we had absolutely no idea that there’d be anything like it around here.
After trying out a few gravel roads off the main road, we finally find a beautiful spot for our first night in the rooftop tent. The views of the ocean and cliffs are stunning to say the least.
Timo starts prepping the rooftop tent, and I put some warm clothes on David. Early March is still a season where it’s pretty cold outside in the evenings. Suddenly, dark clouds rise on the horizon, and we quickly eat some of the pasta salad we’d already prepared for dinner before snuggling up in the tent.
Even though the night started with some turmoil due to the storm, I’m sound asleep by 9pm.
The next morning we wake up at our usual hour at 6am. I pull my jeans over my pyjama pants because it’s still so chilly outside. But just a little later, we find ourselves sitting outside in t-shirts enjoying breakfast.
Two cars pass us, smiling and sharing a friendly wave. Wild camping seems to be no problem at all here in Cyprus (especially since we always take more trash out than we actually bring when we are camping).
The weather is fantastic and we decide to check out all of the archeological sites we noticed the day before.
Starting with “The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates” we enter as the only people around. It’s an amazing and well-maintained excavation site. David frolics around, and I take photo after photo.
We also visit an old stadium that you can go see without paying an entrance fee. Timo and David run a lap where sports competitions and horse races were being held back in the day.
Originally, we’d planned to check out another sight but David insists on going to a real playground, so we end up taking a break at the “Leisure Park”, where David gets his opportunity to explore it with all his enthusiasm.
Timo and I are set on having lunch by the ocean and after pleading with David for quite a while, he agrees to get back into the car for a quick 2 minute drive. We go back to the beach that we’d found the night before and visit the Kourion Beach Restaurant. The food is simple, but delicious. And the view is priceless.
David can’t sit still for very long, and so shortly after we are standing on the patio of the restaurant where the waves keep crashing in. Screaming and laughing we keep sneaking up to the water and then escape the waves again as they come back in. Meanwhile, the wind has picked up quite a bit, and I have to put my sweater back on.
After our lunch break, we go see the largest archeological site, the Kourion Amphitheatre, a basilica, historical pools, old residential houses and much more. The site is huge and seeing everything requires quite a bit of walking (not a very typical activity here in Cyprus, I have to say).
But, wow! What a beautiful place. Really marvellous, and I’m impressed with the experience and the wonderful views. Once again, I’m mind-blown that I didn’t know this place even existed, and I find myself sending one WhatsApp note after the other to my parents telling them they have to check out Episkopi when they are visiting the next time.
In the afternoon, we’re completely exhausted from the day and only drive for a little while. Pulling off the main road again just trusting our gut instinct, we land at Paramali Turtle Beach, or in fact a tiny beach right next it. We park the car, open the rooftop tent, and sit at our camping table for a little while.
David had fallen asleep during our drive to the beach and is a little tense as I wake him up again. On top of that it’s pretty chilly and he’s freezing. We just have a quick bite to eat and huddle back into the tent, where David falls asleep instantly.
The night brings calm and starry skies, and the tent keeps us warm for the most part.
We spend the next morning on the little beach, which we have mostly to ourselves. Breakfast time extends well into mid-morning, our eyes peeled on the waves. We play with David, and go wander on the beach for a little while.
At lunchtime we head back home, this time straight on the highway, so it takes us only about an hour and a half till we’re back home.
Only when we get home, we realise how tired we actually are. All the fresh air and the restless night at the beginning of the trip really took it out of us. I have a serious tan on my face – unfortunately, I was wearing my sunglasses the whole time, and so I look a little like a sad-eyed panda now.
But whatever: Our first camping / road trip of the year was an absolute success, and I’m so excited to do it again – just hitting the road with no plan and see where we end up… I’m not worried at all because in Cyprus I know it will be nothing less but amazing!