With a change in temperature on the cards, ELENI PHILIPPOU looks at what to do in the cool of the autumn air
As the sweltering embrace of summer slowly loosens its grip on the island, a new season begins – autumn. It may not feel like it yet but cooler temperatures will arrive, perfect for enjoying the country’s best sites and happenings – sans heaps of holiday-makers!
Although the summer is the busiest season on the island, both in terms of travel and events, it is not the only one that has a lot to offer. Following a recovery from the summer madness, by November life and the cultural world resume. This autumn, there is an abundance of activities to enjoy, as the island plans on extending its charm beyond the summer months.
With the early mornings and afternoons finally cooler, autumn is the perfect time to go on hikes. Over 50 designated walking trails can be found around the island taking hikers to stunning natural landscapes. Some are by the coastline, like the Cape Greco loop, while others are inland such as the Avakas Gorge trail and the Madari circular hike – two popular choices. If you don’t want to head out alone, plenty of hiking groups organise guided hikes during this season.
“The weather is perfect right now,” says sports fan Stefanos, “not too hot or cold, making it ideal for exploring landscapes, from the Troodos mountains to the coastline. I love hiking in the refreshing air this time of the year.”
Besides the festivals that celebrate local culture, the autumn months also feature plenty of artistic festivals. Currently on until November 24 is the Larnaca Biennale with a wide series of parallel events every week and three ongoing exhibitions as is the 1st Limassol Photography Festival which runs until November 12. The Limassol International Book Fair is approaching soon, and from November 17 to 19 will host a plethora of events. Thirty speakers from Cyprus, Greece and Europe are part of its conference and over 80 are taking part in its exhibition. Four stages will host readings, presentations and talks while a series of workshops takes place.
Similarly, there is a wide choice of handicraft workshops to try out this season which will take you on a mini tour of Cyprus. Many of them are free as they fall within the tourism ministry’s Heartland of Legends project. Some of those coming up include a Traditional Olive Harvest workshop in Lythrodontas, traditional chair weaving in Foini and silkworm cocoon creations in Avdimou. The workshops will conclude at the end of this month as the Christmas villages prepare to open their doors on November 25.
Pop-up art markets
Arts and crafts markets are entering their season. Soon, pop-up bazaars and Christmas markets are all we will hear, read and think about. Plenty are coming up all over the island throughout November and December. These start today with an outdoor fair by The Women of Lania (10am-5pm) in the beautiful Lania village with homemade delicacies, crafts and second-hand clothes and in Pano Kivides, the Autumn Kivides Market is taking place until 5pm with over 70 art stalls. Next weekend, the Misfit Sundays and Friends flea market will be on in Engomi, filling Misfit Union with music, art and groovy vibes.
Night trips to the mountains, away from city lights, offer a glimpse into another world. To catch November’s full moon in all its glory, mark your calendar for Monday 27 and for a closer look of planets and stars, The Cyprus Planetarium has events planned every weekend this month, especially for children. Every Saturday, children can experience Spacecrafts & Cartoon Dome Shows under the Planetarium dome. Guided by an instructor, young visitors can learn about space and create their own artwork.
Swimming in the sea
As for me, a favourite activity in Cyprus in autumn is to go to the sea for a refreshing dip without melting under the sun or fighting for a spot in the sand. During the sunny days, which are the majority, driving to a nearby beach for a quick swim is a blessing. Even if the autumn I dream of, the sweater weather and hot cocoa around the fireplace, is yet to come. And I’m not the only one to enjoy this in-between season.
“Autumn is by far my favourite season in Cyprus,” says fan Kalia, “it borrows a few elements from summer and a few from winter. You can go swimming on the warmer days without bumping into large crowds. You can stroll in parks and the city’s streets without overheating and in the rainy days of autumn I like to sip hot tea and curl up with a good book. Plus, everyone’s back from their holidays now so you have more company to go out or plan a village excursion.”