Cyprus is a family-friendly destination with excellent food to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters and a broad range of attractions that appeal to adults and children alike, as well as superb beaches. Visiting as a family does require some planning, but no more than for any other European country.

Best Regions for Kids

  • Pafos & the West

Pafos overflows with watery activities: boat rides, fishing trips, snorkelling and a water park. Or there’s the spine-tingling trip to the Tomb of the Kings.

  • Lemesos & the South

The city beaches offer shallow waters and plenty of activities, while horse riding, a water park and an expansive sports centre all keep the adrenalin up.

  • Larnaka & the East

Older kids will really enjoy the underwater activities, plus sandy beaches, sea caves, camel rides and a fascinating museum on, you guessed it, the sea.

  • Kyrenia (Girne) & the North

Fairy-tale castles, deserted beaches, nature strolls and the hulking Kyrenia shipwreck in the town’s main museum should blow their little socks off.

  • Famagusta (Gazimağusa) & the Karpas Peninsula

Famagusta’s medieval walled city captures the imagination. On the peninsula, stride out on endless beaches, enjoy a cycling trip, visit an eco village and see turtles in the wild.

Cyprus for Kids

Cyprus is definitely a family-friendly destination. The culture revolves around the (extended) family and children are adored. Stripped back to basics, beaches, castles, ancient sights and virtual year-round sunshine are pretty good raw ingredients. Add to this water sports, museums, parks, boat rides and loads of ice cream, and it becomes serious spoil-them-rotten time. Note that the majority of theme parks and human-made entertainment for children is in the Republic.

Always make a point of asking staff at tourist offices for a list of family activities, including traditional fiestas, plus suggestions on hotels that cater for children.

Beaches

Overall, beaches in the main resorts have shallow waters, bucket-and-spade-worthy pebbles and sand, various activities (pedalos, boat rides, volleyball or similar), plus family-friendly restaurants and ice-cream vendors within tottering distance of the sand.

Restaurants & Mealtimes

Children are generally made very welcome at restaurants here. On the downside, few have nappy-changing facilities, although this is changing, albeit at a glacial pace. Most restaurants have a children’s menu, and as Cypriot food is rarely spicy, kids tend to like it anyway. One challenge can be adapting to the later eating hours. However, it’s generally easy to zip into the nearest kebab (or similar) fast-food place, and patisseries often sell savoury snacks and sweeter treats.

Children’s Highlights

Activities

  • Cydive, Ktima Beginner bubble-maker scuba-diving courses for children aged eight years or older.
  • Zephyros Adventure Sports, Pafos A wide range of organised activities for older kids, ranging from kayaking to trekking.
  • George's Ranch, Pafos Horse riding for children along the nearby beach.

Theme Parks & Wildlife

  • Extreme Park (Nicosia) An enormous playground encompassing everything from trampolines to obstacle courses.
  • Parko Paliasto (Agia Napa) A traditional funfair with plenty of head-spinning rides.
  • Lemesos Zoo A recently renovated small zoo with a large aviary.
  • Pafos Zoo A superb zoo and bird park.
  • Mazotos Camel Park (Mazotos, Larnaka) Ride on camels, then freshen up in the swimming pool

Water Parks

  • Water World, Agia Napa It’s big, it’s splashy and it’s been the recipient of a tidal wave of international awards.
  • Fasouri Watermania, Fasouri, Lemesos Options range from paddling pools for tots to kamikaze slides for teens.
  • Aphrodite Waterpark, Pafos Great for all ages with plenty of slides as well as shallow pools.

Museums & History

  • Natural History Museum (Larnaka) Great for kids, with a good playground and peacocks, pelicans and macaws, plus the all-time favourites – creepy crawlies.
  • Grivas Museum & Monument (Pafos) Kids will love the central ship exhibit.
  • Kyrenia Castle (Kyrenia) The Shipwreck Museum is sure to enthrall kids of all ages.

Fairy-Tale Castles

  • St Hilarion Castle (Northern Coast) Walt Disney apparently drew inspiration from this castle for his Snow White; it’s that sort of place.
  • Buffavento Castle (Northern Coast) Older kids should enjoy the hilly hike to this lofty castle, with its corners to explore and sensational views.
  • Kantara Castle (Karpas Peninsula) This castle has a real magical appeal with turrets, towers and lookouts.

Planning

  • July and August can be very busy with tourists and hotels in the main tourist resorts.
  • Late spring is a good time to travel with young children as the weather is still warm enough for beach days, without being too hot, and attractions are not too crowded – until the Easter holidays, that is.
  • Apartment hotels which have their own kitchenettes are great euro-economising options for families for kids.
  • Crayons and paper are rarely given out in restaurants – bring your own.
  • Always ask the local tourist office for the nearest children's playground.
  • Cypriots adore kids. Expect your children to be kissed, offered sweets, have their cheeks pinched and their hair ruffled at least once a day!