Stunning Nature and Making Friends

May 7, 2024

Join me on an exploration of Cyprus, a Mediterranean treasure trove blending ancient history, breath-taking nature, and warm hospitality.
From the coastal charm of Paphos to hidden gems like the shipwreck at Oniro By The Sea, discover the essence of Cyprus.

Όπου γης και πατρίς

I’ve arrived in Cyprus, and I decided to rent a car. It’s the best and most flexible way of getting around on the island. The car I get is small but so was the price. I only paid 25 USD (23 EUR) per day. As I’m starting my time with a drive to the western part of the island, let’s have a look at some facts about Cyprus.


Size and Population

The island is pretty big, about 9,251 square kilometers (3,572 sq miles), which makes it the third largest in the Mediterranean. Around 1.2 million people live here.


Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon. It’s strategically positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.


Most people in Cyprus are Christian, following the Greek Orthodox Church. Turkish Cypriots are mostly Muslim.

Official Languages

The main languages are Greek and Turkish, but almost everyone speaks English, especially in places where tourists go. Kids start learning English early on in school, so most people can chat in English pretty well.

The Flag

The Cyprus flag is simple: it’s white with a copper outline of the island and two green olive branches below. It’s meant to be a symbol of peace between the Greek and Turkish communities here.

Local Food

Cypriot food is a tasty mix of Greek and Middle Eastern flavors. You’ve got to try halloumi cheese, souvlaki, and meze platters. And don’t miss out on moussaka, which has layers of eggplant, meat, and a creamy sauce.

Famous Proverbs

A popular Cypriot saying is “Όπου γης και πατρίς”, which means “Wherever there is land, there is home.” It shows how Cypriots are good at making the best of any situation and feeling at home wherever they are.

Divided Island

Cyprus is unique because it’s actually split into two parts. The northern part of the island is called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but it’s only recognized by Turkey. The southern part where we are in this episode is the Republic of Cyprus, which is part of the European Union.

This division happened back in 1974 following a military coup and a Turkish invasion. Today, a buffer zone called the Green Line, controlled by the United Nations, separates the two sides. Despite this divide, both communities have a lot in common culturally and historically, and there are ongoing efforts to bring about reunification. All of this is something we’ll dive deeper in, in the next episode.


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Explore Paphos

Discover the Rich History and Stunning Scenery of Cyprus’ Coastal Gem

My first stop where I’ll be spending the first two days is Paphos, a fascinating city on the southwestern coast of Cyprus, known for its rich history and stunning natural beauty. It’s a place where you can find ancient ruins right next to modern resorts, making it a unique blend of old and new.

Historically, Paphos is famous as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. You’ll see references to her all over the city, especially at the Aphrodite Rocks, a beautiful seaside spot that’s said to be where she emerged from the sea.

The city is also home to some incredible archaeological sites that have earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Paphos Archaeological Park includes amazing mosaics in the Houses of Dionysus, Theseus, and Aion, well-preserved ruins from ancient times, and even an ancient theater still used today for performances.

Besides the historical sites, Paphos has a lively harbor area with cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can relax and enjoy the view of the sea. It’s also a gateway to exploring the natural wonders of the Akamas Peninsula, known for its hiking trails and wildlife.

Overall, Paphos offers a great mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to Cyprus.

Shipwreck at Oniro By The Sea

Nestled by the rugged coast near Paphos, you’ll find Oniro By the Sea, a picturesque spot where a shipwreck has become part of the local charm. The ship, known as the Edro III, met its fate one stormy night in December 2011. It was heading from Limassol to Rhodes with a cargo of plasterboard when rough seas and mechanical failure led it to drift and finally rest against the rocky shore.

Instead of removing the wreck, locals saw a unique opportunity. The shipwreck not only blended into the scenic backdrop but also started attracting tourists. So, they left it there, turning a maritime mishap into a boon for the area.

Today, the Edro III sits solemnly just a stone’s throw from the shore, its rusty body contrasting with the deep blue of the sea and the wild greenery around. It’s a hauntingly beautiful sight, especially at sunset when the sky turns fiery, and the metal of the ship catches the last rays of the sun. The scene is both a photographer’s dream and a stark reminder of nature’s unpredictability.

The name “Oniro By the Sea” actually refers to a popular bar and restaurant located near the site of the Edro III shipwreck. “Oniro” means “dream” in Greek, which is a fitting name for such a scenic spot that offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and the shipwreck.

Meeting a Fellow Nomad

In Cyprus, I met Cindy Sheahan from Denver, Colorado. She’s also a full-time traveller backpacking through the world, mostly solo. We’re around the same age, and we know each other from the community after we were speakers on the same online conference, “Digital Nomads Beyond 50” during the pandemic. But this is the first time we met in person – when we just happened to be in Cyprus at the same time.

The Caledonian Falls Trail

The Caledonian Falls Trail in Cyprus is a great choice if you like a good uphill hike. Starting from the village of Platres, this 3-kilometer trail will definitely work your legs as it goes up all the way.

As we hike up, we’re surrounded by thick pine forests and the sound of a stream nearby, which makes it feel peaceful even though we’re sweating a bit. The air is fresh and cool, which is really nice, especially as we get higher.

When we reach the top, we found the Caledonian Falls, and it’s such a cool spot. The waterfall is pretty high, and it pours down into a clear pool below. It’s the perfect place to chill for a while, take some photos, and just enjoy being out in nature.

Hiking it with my friend Cindy was fun. Getting to the waterfall felt like a big win after the climb. So, if you’re up for a challenge and want to check out some beautiful spots in Cyprus, you should definitely give this trail a go. It’s tough, but totally worth it.

I’ll be back with more from Cyprus next Tuesday. But I have a lot more before then. On Thursday, I have a conversation with Ric Gazarian, the founder and organizer of Extraordinary Travel Festival that takes place in Bangkok in November 2024. On Friday, you’ll get a Flashback episode from Nepal and on Saturday it’s all about what to see and do if you go to Bangkok. That one is a Vagabond Short that you’ll get both as a podcast and as a YouTube video.

My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.


See the article in The New York Times, where Cindy is interviewed about how to find love abroad.
Blog: “Posts from a Flashpacker”  


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A special thank you to my sponsor, Hotels25.com, who always provide me with the best, most affordable accommodation wherever I am in the world.

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