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With beautiful beaches, rich history and delicious cuisine, Cyprus is the ideal summer destination for those looking to unwind. But tread carefully: from June to September, the island often sees temperatures soar above the 40°C (104°F) mark. Here’s our survival guide for the sizzling summer climate.
Though temperatures are moderate all year round, Cyprus is as hot as it is humid during summer, a climate that can be difficult to adapt to for tourists and locals alike. Below are some tips and tricks for everyone on the island this season.
The hottest time of day is between 12 midday and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest. Find some shade or head indoors for a while. You definitely don’t want to find yourself cooking in the sun as you’ve fallen asleep on the beach.
Water, water, water. This might seem obvious, but we often forget the importance of staying hydrated. Sun, sea and salt are beloved summer elements, but they are also ones that dehydrate the system, so it’s crucial to nurture our bodies over the hot months. Carry a water bottle with you at all times as a reminder to drink more, especially if you’re indulging in the popular local iced coffee, frappé. Coffee culture is big on the island, but don’t forget that coffee dehydrates the body, so opt for a smoothie from time to time to get a refreshing vitamin kick.
These are essential summer accessories that should be in your bag at all times. Find a sunscreen that suits your skin tone with the correct sun protection (SPF ranges from 10 to 50) and slap it on whenever you leave the house. The sun catches up with you everywhere, whether at the beach or strolling on the street, so protect your skin.
Pro tip: Put yoghurt on your sunburn, as it cools the skin and absorbs the heat. Leave it on until it dries and cracks, then wash it off.
Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, especially if you’re driving. And as you’re out and about, be sure to wear a hat, as leaving your head exposed to the Cypriot sun can lead to sunstroke.
You’ll spot a lot of Cypriot women carrying a Spanish-style fan to cool themselves down; it’s a great way to beat the humidity in the evenings, when not even the slightest breeze blows. These fans are often passed down through generations, but tourists can buy their own at most retail outlets and put this souvenir to good use.
Avoid heavy lunches like meaty dishes or pasta, as they can make you feel drowsy in combination with the sun. Instead, choose a lighter meal, such as a salad or fruit. Lots of cafés and restaurants have upped their salad game by introducing quirky salad recipes that are both filling and refreshing. This way you can save your appetite, and try the local cuisine in the evening when the temperature is lower.
It’s no wonder hot countries have adopted a siesta mentality, as working under the sun in 40°C+ degrees can be exhausting – you really shouldn’t underestimate the affect the blazing heat has on your body. Remember to rest and slow down near midday so as to save energy. We often excitedly pack our holidays with activities, forgetting that relaxation is a big part of a break. The sun can really wear you out, so take that nap and lounge around guilt-free.
Yes, you read that right. Spending a summer in Cyprus may be the only time you’re advised to limit your exercise, as it would be physically draining to train in such high temperatures. Do stay active, but be wise in choosing to do it either very early in the morning (between 6am and 8am) or in the early evening, from around 7.30pm. Temperatures will still be warm but the sun will be sleepy, so these are the best times to get your steps in.
A visit to the mountains might sound counterintuitive when the island is filled with sandy beaches, but if you want to avoid the crowds and seek some shade, the mountains are where it’s at. Bear in mind that the sun may still be strong in open areas, but you can easily cool down in the forest or by a waterfall. The afternoons and evenings certainly have a cooler climate compared to the city or the seaside, so you can enjoy the Cypriot landscape in comfort. With a variety of agro-tourism houses on rent, staying in the mountains offers a wide range of activities, from seeing the island’s flora and fauna on a walking trail to trying the traditional taverns.
There’s nothing worse than sweating in thick clothes in the summer – and we don’t just mean jumpers. A lot of summer clothing is made from thick material that can be suffocating in the Cyprus summer heat. This is why you’ll see breezy dresses emerge over the summer on the island, as wearing something light and loose cools down the body and allows air to flow through. The best materials to wear are silk and linen, but if that isn’t your style, find some breezy cotton outfits.