7 off-the-beaten-track beaches in Cyprus
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Think Cyprus* and you immediately dream of endless sunny days chilling out on the island's necklace of popular beaches.
These superb stretches of sand fringing this Mediterranean island nation can become a little too popular around the big resorts of Paphos and Ayia Napa. Head off the beaten track, though, and idyllic beaches await.
1. Lara Beach
- Best for: discovering your inner Robinson Crusoe
You will need a 4x4 vehicle or a very understanding car hire company if you want to enjoy this dreamy western Cypriot charmer. Some people consider Coral Bay unspoiled but push further on to where the tarmac ends and the real fun begins.
It is a spectacular drive with hills on one flank and the Mediterranean glistening back on the other as you head deeper and deeper into the middle of nowhere.
There is virtually nothing out here, so just park up and enjoy the sands. Whisper it, but the locals reckon it is a great place for a cheeky wee swim in your birthday suit. If you are really lucky at Lara you may even have a green or loggerhead turtle for company.
2. Porto Latchi
- Best for: seafood lovers craving a dip before a freshly caught feast
The western resort town of Polis may no longer be the secret it once was when the hippy community drifted to its blissful sands to enjoy epic sunsets, but just along the coast, Porto Latchi is still a wee gem.
Yes, development is creeping along the coast, but there is still a good section of beach on either side of the harbour itself with the rugged backdrop of the mountains of the Akamas Peninsula dramatically framing the scene.
The fishing fleet is very much still an active one, though there are as many yachts these days as there are brightly coloured traditional fishing boats. There are few facilities on the beach itself, but a sprinkling of seafood restaurants line the port.
You will need to have worked up quite a hunger on the sands if you want to tackle one of their epic multi-course seafood mezzes.
3. Porto Pomos
- Best for: peace and quiet
We stay west now, this time north of Polis, though, for Porto Pomos. It feels very end of the road in these wild parts, and there are few facilities as such, but you do get to really escape the crowds on this beach.
Forget hotels and restaurants in this relaxed corner of Cyprus. The water is so clear that you won't need a snorkel mask to see the bright, little fish swimming all around you as you pad into the water on the soft sand. It may be black sand, but the beaches around here are postcard pretty nonetheless.
4. Governor's Beach, Limassol
- Best for: city slickers after an exclusive dip
Ok, so Limassol is a proper city, and everyone knows about the massive string of sand that lines its hotel and restaurant dotted coastline. But there is a way of getting away from the throng.
Governor's Beach requires a drive or cycle along a track to get to, but the effort is worth it. We like that as well as a main strip with a variety of seafood restaurants, there's a chain of little black sand coves to enjoy, which are backed up by startling white rocks and the milky blue Mediterranean.
5. Sirena Bay
- Best for: an escape from the crowds of Protaras
Protaras may be a popular resort we hear you cry, but this local beach is that bit off the flip-flop beaten track, so it does not attract the same crowds.
So, veer off the main road and slip down to this bijou gem. Pull out a picnic and enjoy it chilling out at one of the wooden tables that line this tree-shrouded oasis. A beach bar is on hand too if you fancy an ice cold Keo or a glass of seriously underrated Cypriot wine.
6. Mansoura Beach
- Best for: nosy beach goers wanting to peep into North Cyprus
Since tensions have eased in recent years between Cyprus proper and the northern flank of the island occupied by Turkey, you can head closer to many of the border areas.
The drive out to this remote stretch of sand affords grandstand views across the border to the epic Kyrenia Mountains. There is little to do when you finally get here bar slip off your shoes, take a dip in the crystal clear waters and then enjoy a boat fresh seafood feast afterwards.
7. Akamas Peninsula
- Best for: staying quiet about - ssshhh!
We are only sharing this one with you as the fact you have read this far down the list means you are seriously seeking a Robinson Crusoe-style experience, and will really appreciate it.
Head beyond Lara Beach in your 4x4, and you venture into the totally undeveloped wildscape of the Akamas Peninsula. There are a number of gorgeous beaches and coves dotted around this coast, so just keep going until you find the one for you.
The chances are it will be just you and the odd turtle. After a day on this remote peninsula, you can meander back to reality having enjoyed getting off-the-beaten-track to savour a beach you will probably never even know the name of.
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