Winter in Cyprus makes a mixed impression on the tourists: cold sea, much less people because the season is over — it seems like the life on the island is at a standstill. But there are two occasions in winter that change everything: Christmas in December and Carnival Festival in February. So, this time we want to discuss how to get a Christmas fever in Cyprus.
Well, Cyprus isn’t some Austria, so you probably do not expect to feel Christmas spirit up in the air, however Cypriots love this feast just as much as Austrians do. You’d better be prepared that many of Christmas events and locations may not bring you tons of happiness or even disappoint your expectations. But there are still few interesting things on the island I want to tell you about. What to do in Cyprus on Christmas, where to go or better do not go — let this article be your guide. Ho-ho-ho!
Most people in Cyprus are orthodox that did not prevent them from celebrating Christmas on the same day with Catholics and like for them Christmas for Cypriots is a family holiday. So all the rowdy-crowdy stuff is held two or three weeks before it. We would not tell you about all the things that happen on Christmas in Cyprus and focus more on the events that take place annually in this article. Please, note that it’s not always possible to give you a specific date of this or that event because they used to be held on the weekends and not on certain days.
It’s not easy to choose where to go first for Christmas. Let’s see what the big cities can offer us.
There are three main places where you can celebrate Christmas in Limassol: the main street with a long and difficult-to-spell name Anexartisias, Limassol Old Port and Enaerios parking place on the coastline.
All the most interesting events will take place on this street. Everything starts in the evening on the 1 of December when the street becomes a pedestrian zone, which happens in December only. Santa Claus, Agios Vasilis as he is called in Cyprus, solemnly enters the city surrounded by his elves. By the way he will be going around the city sitting in his sleigh and giving presents to children a few days more after that, everything with Christmas songs played on the background. Children’s choir performs at the square. The mayor opens the event under the main Christmas tree in Limassol. On the 1 of December a Christmas workshop starts at the same place where everyone can write a letter to Agios Vasilis, make a Christmas card and take part in another Christmas activities and diys.
Every Sunday in December you can ride a “Choo-choo train” — a tiny train for children and their parents that departs from the Anexartisias Street and rides through the middle of the city. Christmas songs are a must here too. Concerts and performances are held on Gregori Afxentiou Square and continued through December. Traditional street-food is also a part of Christmas mood: roasted chestnuts, tiny Christmas donuts and caramel apples are sold everywhere as well as mulled wine and hot chocolate. If I would compare Christmas food that is sold in Limassol with other cities and places I would say that Anexartisias Street can offer the best choice of the yummy treats.
Limassol Old Port
Limassol Old Port is one of the most scenic places in the city. Looks like Christmas is all year round here due to many streetlights that give it the right atmosphere. At the beginning of December you can find a Christmas village here. Sounds great, huh? Despite it is always very crowded there is no cause to hang out here for a long time. You might actually like the souvenirs that are sold at the stalls if you haven’t had visited Christmas markets in Germany or Austria. Mulled wine, hot chocolate and lots of toys are the best sellers at this time. A carousel and Santa’s house can add some kind of action to your visit. From time to time you can witness a concert or a performance. So you can really feel the presence of a Christmas spirit during your walk through the Limassol Old Port.
Enaerios parking place
You can find a Christmas Luna Park similar to those in Europe here. Every last meter of the small parking place is filled with different attractions, people and loud music. The entrance is free; the attractions of course are not. If you are staying in Limassol make time for at least one visit to this place.
Everything here goes the same way as in Limassol: one place in the old town, one Luna Park and one walking area. The main Christmas tree is blessed during grand opening ceremony, which is held in the old town part on the Eleftheria Square in front of the Town Hall building on the first Saturday of December. The traditional Christmas kit: a stage, a photo zone and market stalls will also be here.
Nicosia Christmas Fairyland village on the edge of town will be waiting for its visitors since mid-November. Cyprus classics: a small market with 5 to 7 stalls, a few attractions and a stage where local stars organize their performances. However the place is always packed. Many local people are not spoiled by a vide range of Christmas activities and would come to any holiday-themed place.
The main transport route of the city helps to lit the flame of Christmas mood inside the hearts of its citizens. The tradition of decorating the whole avenue is quite new. The main part of all Christmas performances will be situated on this street. The avenue is long and beautiful, so the walk here in the December evening will be a pleasure.
Probably it’s not the right town for chasing the Christmas spirit. According to the list of announced performances there will be Christmas markets and activities at every step in Larnaca. The harsh reality is simple and very modest with one exception: Santa Clause will parade around Larnaca town centre accompanied by all sorts of dancers inspiring people with Christmas mood.
Christmas market on Apothiki 79
Not much of a place but in the best tradition of Christmas: small market, a few workshops, a pair of stage performances, a photo zone with Santa are included. Better a small fish than an empty dish.
Traditional Christmas market in Larnaca
Christmas market in a forest! 130 stalls are at your service! Sounds good, right? May be here is the place we’re searching for in our quest for Christmas spirit? Alas! All we can find here is an ordinary small market where Christmas handmade is on the counters side by side with common sweets. The sweets are very few in number by the way. The only amusement you can find here is Santa’s house where he is giving presents. The presents are those cheap made in China stuff. Prepaid. Santa is completely fake. The house is completely ridiculous. But the weirdest thing is that you should pay an entrance fee before you enter the market. Well, it’s 1 Euro but seriously what for? Here is nothing else except the market itself. No concerts, no performances. It’s just a market, moreover a tiny one.
Christmas market on Europa Square
A classic traditional piece of Christmas is situated on a beautiful seafront promenade. Here’s all the same: a pair of stalls with Christmas handmade.
The main Christmas location is Kennedy Square in the old town. All the official celebrations will be held here: the top X-mas tree, Christmas market, concerts and performances.
If you ask me where to go for a Christmas mood I will definitely advise you Limassol among all other cities in Cyprus. Of course everything here is arranged not in a big way but a lot better than anywhere else. The second focus of Christmas attraction is Nicosia. Here are the only two places that matter. So on that point it’s time to end the article, but no! What is a Christmas without a surprise? What do you think about us spilling you a pair of secrets? Which Christmas celebration in Cyprus will provide the most magical memories for years to come?
Secret number one
Usually it is the towns in Europe and USA where all the fun is situated. Cyprus is the opposite; if you want a lovely Christmas here, you should go to the villages. Let me tell you about Christmas in Pissouri village. It’s quite a big village located on the picturesque hills right in the middle between Pafos and Limassol. The population of Pissouri is about 2000 and you know why? Quite all these people come to the main square for celebrating Christmas! The square is very small, so it will be a crowd everywhere you go.
Pissouri also has its own main X-mas tree and under it twigs sits Santa of Pissouri and gives the real Christmas presents. The presents are not like those in Larnaca, cheap plush toys the parents should pay a significantly higher costs for. Merry Santa of Pissouri with the smile on the face gives the presents for free. Of course it’s not Play station you would receive here but presents are nice and cute: mugs with quotes from Pissouri municipality, sweets and so on.
The village is not so big, so almost all the people here know each other, which adds warm and friendly feeling to the whole celebration. People are laughing, chatting, eating treats and surrounding Santa’s seat waiting for the main event.
Late in the evening starts the small theatre performance showing the birth of the Christ. The Magi enter the square heading to the nearest church and find the Christ Child under its staircase. After the Christ Child is found the Magi bring him to the people who are welcoming them with excitement. The locals take the whole acting with a great respect. It’s the final point of the celebration when the crowd gets smaller and people head to their homes one by one.
To speak from my personal experience, Christmas in Pissouri village beats everything Limassol and Nicosia can offer you.
Secret number two
Spend your Christmas in mountains. The most attractive thing you can find here is snow. What is a Christmas without snow? Here’s the reason to come to the Troodos Mountains. If you would google for any activities at this time in Troodos, you probably will find a few mountain hotels offering a private stay and nothing else. It’s strange that this region is not included in all Christmas fever thing but even here you can find something to do. How about the Christmas market in the Kyperounta village? Actually the stalls here up in the mountains sell the same souvenirs and sweets as they do it down there but I remind you about the snow. And the snow changes everything!
Now you know about Christmas in Cyprus everything you need to enjoy this time in full.
And we wish a Merry Christmas to all of you!