The media is rife with disheartening stories of climate change, deteriorating natural wonders and increasingly endangered species – all of our favourite destinations seem to be falling apart before our very eyes. The glaciers atop Mount Kilimanjaro are melting, light pollution is obscuring uniquely clear views of the milky way in Yosemite National Park, and Venice is sinking ever deeper. We need to act quickly to protect these irreplaceable wonders and make large-scale commitments to ensure a sustainable future for us all.
Luckily, the world is beginning to take notice of the urgency of our environmental crisis. The island nation of Cyprus has embarked upon a journey of sustainability and conservation, determined to become leaders in environmentally conscious travel. By ensuring that your holidays are sustainable, you can travel the world, experiencing its unique marvels, without fear that you are contributing to its deterioration. In fact, if planned right, you can come home with the knowledge that you actually helped protect our precious natural world.
Informed by the Cyrpus Tourism Organisation (CTO), we have compiled a list of environmentally conscious activities to take part in, and naturally stunning places to visit whilst on the island…
The crystal-clear, sapphire blue sea that encompasses Cyprus is so pristine that the island has repeatedly been awarded the title of “cleanest bathing waters in Europe”. Snorkelling and diving here promises incredible visibility and even the chance to spot a turtle, now more abundant thanks to the conservation work taking place on the island.
After exploring the natural wonders of the Mediterranean Sea, relax on one of Cyprus’ gorgeous beaches. The island is home to a whopping 57 Blue Flag beaches – “an eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas across the globe that meets its standards” – so you will never struggle to find a stretch of golden, flawless sand to sunbathe on.
If you time your holiday right, between May and August, then you might be able to see a turtle laying its eggs on Lara Bay beach. Both loggerhead and green turtles come to nest here in the soft white sands, watched over diligently by ecologists who are determined to prevent these turtles from becoming extinct.
Make sure to check out some of the donkey sanctuaries dotted around the island to learn about the history of these adorable animals, once central to everyday life in Cyprus. Golden Donkeys Farm prides itself on sustaining the traditions of the islands and still produce donkey milk products from the animals in their care. The farm refers to legendary tales of Cleopatra herself bathing in donkey milk to keep her skin looking youthful and radiant.
Of course, do some research before visiting any conservation projects to make sure they are sustainable and ethical.
Yoga and Yurts
Picture yourself sinking into a deep yoga stretch, the warmth of the setting sun on your face, and the lapping of the waves as your soundtrack – this could be a daily reality on your Cypriot holiday. The CTO recommend Padme Hum’s yoga sessions on the beach, Inner Harmony for classes in a traditional rural village, and Vedanta Yoga, where visitors stay in Mongolian Yurts.
Yurts are becoming increasingly popular among environmentally-conscious visitors. Made from all natural materials, situated beside gently flowing streams and purposely oriented for perfect views of the evening sunsets, Yurts in Cyprus can provide the perfect getaway.
Hiking and Horse-Riding
Trek one of the many trails that criss-cross throughout Cyprus. Dotted along the path are signposts to inform about the flora and fauna surrounding you and, depending on the trail, you are rewarded with spectacular views, gorgeous waterfalls and hidden beaches. The short Caledonia Falls Trail concludes with a waterfall view and the CTO recommend the Troodos Mountain range, which provides hikers with a refreshing escape from the summer heat due to the high altitude.
If you do not fancy the walk yourself, why not see Cyprus from atop a horse? Ride in Cyprus even offer sunset rides – a truly magical experience. And just when you think it cannot get any better, you are given a Brandy Sour and some food once you arrive at the viewpoint!
Whether you are searching for an adrenalin fuelled mountain trail or a slow cycle through a rural landscape, Cyprus has cycling experiences for everyone. There are even routes that take you from winery to winery – maybe take this one slowly! Cyprus is also home to many cycling events such as the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, VW Cyprus Cycling Tour and the Akamas Mountain Bike Challenge.
For the thrill seekers among you, there are plenty of opportunities to rock-climb here. Zephyros Adventure Sports can help you learn the ropes (literally) or, for the experts out there, you can use Rock Climbing in Cyprusto find the best spots to take on yourself.
The Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative, partnered with the Travel Foundation, have established a mandatory sustainability level for all hotels in Cyprus – an incredible achievement paving the way for the rest of the world. For example at E Hotel Spa & Resort, waterfalls and fountains are peppered throughout the resort, “conveying the spirit of wellness, freshness, serenity”, there are recycling and solar power programmes in place, and the hotel grows its own fruits and herbs for use in the kitchen to feed guests. The entire hotel has been re-designed around feng shui philosophy which aims to harmonise people with their environments.
There is so much to do and see in Cyprus, most of which can be done in ways which benefit the surrounding environment and community. From beautiful rural countryside, to sun-soaked beaches, to towns steeped in history, there is something for everyone on this island. You could even time your trip so that you arrive in the midst of the Wine Festival of Cyprus in which the motto is “drink wine, it gives you life!” Or perhaps visit during the Rose Festival which occurs when roses across the island go into full bloom and locals celebrate with music, rose picking and rose-water distilling.
Consider Cyprus for your next trip and make sure to consider sustainability when planning all of your holidays – help us protect the world for future generations.
Originally published on The National Student – http://www.thenationalstudent.com/Top_Destinations_2018/2018-06-18/visit_cyprus_for_the_ultimate_eco_friendly_holiday.html