Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
Nicola Atkinson, manager at our Ipswich travel agents, spent four nights on the beautiful island of Cyprus. Here is what her adventures entailed…
Operator/Host: Mosaic Holidays
(Hotel names/Ship name): Pia Bella Hotel, Salamis Bay Hotel
Airline: Pegasus Airlines
Duration: 4 nights
We all met at London Stansted and before finding Darren Panto and Simon from Mosaic Holidays for our forthcoming trip to Northern Cyprus. After a smooth check-in, we got to experience the Stansted Airport lounge which was very comfortable and the complimentary drinks, sandwiches and cakes certainly helped us to relax further. The standard of food varied depending on what you had.
Pegasus Airlines is renowned for never having delays and they were definitely true to that fact as we departed precisely on schedule. The seats were very spacious and comfortable and they offered a very good in-flight service; you could pre-order meals if required when you made the booking.
Regulations state that any plane wishing to land at the Turkish Republic airport of Ercan needs to first touch down at a Turkish airport en route, so we had to touch down in Izmir for about 50 minutes. This was fine as we just stayed on board, but it does make it quite a long journey, though. On arrival in Ercan, we were met by our ground handler who would be looking after us for the next few days.
Our transfer to the Pia Bella, one of the most popular hotels on the island, took around half an hour and when we arrived it was full of charm with an intimate and friendly feel, close to the town centre. The Pia Bella is within walking distance of Kyrenia and the harbour. It has 148 rooms and suites and two outdoor swimming pools.
The next day we visited the Savoy Ottoman Palace, which was of a very high standard and located in the heart of Kyrenia. It is unique in Cyprus and has 111 deluxe guestrooms and 17 suites.
We then had some more time to explore the harbour town of Kyrenia a bit more and decided to visit the castle and museum, before heading to lunch at the Bellapais Monastery Village. Bellapais is a very beautiful part of Northern Cyprus and the abbey that we got the chance to look round is perfect for weddings and honeymoons.
In the evening we had dinner at the harbourside, which was very tranquil and had a good choice of restaurants.
The following day, we visited the Merit Crystal Cove, but due to adverse weather conditions we did not get to see too much of it. The setting, however, was fantastic as the very spacious rooms overlooked the sea and there was the option to have a great spa treatment and visit the casino.
We continued on to Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, and were going to experience crossing the border but, unfortunately, the storms and heavy rain soon put pay to this.
After our very short visit to Nicosia, we took a look around the Oscar Resort Hotel which has a selection of rooms, villas and studios. They have great children’s facilities which include a main pool and children’s pools with wave pool. It was definitely the perfect resort for families.
Dinner was taken at the Cratos Premium Hotel along with their tourism minister and promotion manager. The Cratos is a newly built, 5* hotel with 410 Rooms and is only 5km from the town centre. A fantastic choice for adults and those who want to indulge themselves while they are away.
On our last full day in Cyprus, we went to Kyrenia Golf Course and had a look around the hotel. With just 48 rooms, this fantastic resort looked perfect for those who love to spend their time on the golf course, but there was also an excellent spa for anyone that doesn’t. Naturally, we couldn’t resist a trip around the 18-hole course in the golf buggies that were provided and luckily the rain stayed away for this.
Later that day we travelled to Famagusta and had lunch and a tour of the city. We learnt all about the area as well as the ‘ghost town’ which is situated and the ghost town just along the beach. The only people allowed in are from the United Nations and it is fenced off to the public with guards patrolling twenty-four hours a day. Afterwards, we spent the afternoon shopping.
For our final night, we checked into the Salamis Bay Hotel. This 4* accommodation has 394 large and very comfortable rooms, some of which had recently been renovated, and is only a thirty-minute drive from Ercan Airport. The excellent facilities included a Turkish bath, health & beauty centre, gym and tennis courts. In the evening we had dinner at a local restaurant as, sadly, the hotel could not accommodate us.
On our last morning Cyprus the sun decided to come out just as we had to leave. We travelled the 30 minutes to the airport, before again leaving on time and touching down in Izmir along the way. After this experience, I would recommend flying into Larnaca and taking a 90-minute transfer across the border between North & South Cyprus. However, there have recently been talks about removing the stipulation about landing at a Turkish airport during flights in and out of Ercan.
I would like to thank Louise & Steve for this opportunity and Darren from Mosaic Holidays for making it such a great experience.
Must see? The eerie ‘ghost town’ at Famagusta
Must do? Visit the abbey at Bella Pais
Must try? Some local halloumi cheese
Places like Cyprus and the Greek islands receive great weather pretty much all year round and so they are perfect destinations for some winter sun. If you would like to plan a holiday similar to Nicola’s trip, visit one of our stores today.