Why Cyprus should be your next vacation destination

Thanos Hotels cater to every guest: nature lovers, history buffs, families, wine and food connoisseurs, water sports enthusiasts or those just looking for a relaxing sea-view getaway.

THE ANASSA HOTEL is nestled between the mountains and the sea and is arranged like a traditional Cypriot village.  (photo credit: HADASSAH BRENNER)
THE ANASSA HOTEL is nestled between the mountains and the sea and is arranged like a traditional Cypriot village.
(photo credit: HADASSAH BRENNER)
While many European countries have closed their borders to tourists, Cyprus has taken the lead in opening its skies to vaccinated and recovered Israelis, without quarantine. What’s more, the country is merely an hour away (closer for most than Eilat), making it the perfect weekend vacation destination.
Cyprus prides itself on the iconic Greek villages and impressive vineyards scattered across its vast mountain range and descending into the pristine Mediterranean coast and lagoons. For nature lovers, history buffs, families looking for new adventures, wine and food connoisseurs, water sports enthusiasts, or those just looking for a relaxing getaway with an ocean view, Cyprus has it all.
Cyprus vineyard (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).Cyprus vineyard (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
As its close vicinity means Cyprus sees many Israeli visitors, the country has kosher options and religious accommodations for Orthodox Jews as well, making it truly accessible.

City of Paphos
As Greek legend has it, Paphos is the site where Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, first emerged from the sea. The coastal city’s charm and appeal are quite worthy of harboring the goddess’s birthplace.
Paphos is abound with Greek culture, archaeological excavations from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras, sea-side views, and a robust city life. For tourists who wish to take advantage of all Paphos has to offer, Thanos Hotels and Resorts has opened two grand sea-side locations in the city’s center.
Annabelle
This elegant hotel sits along the Paphos Beach promenade, with its terraces and pools opening to a stunning sea view, breath-taking sunsets, billowing palm trees, the harbor, and the Paphos Castle protecting its waters.
Anabelle Hotel in Paphos Cyprus (Photo Credit: Hadassah Brenner).Anabelle Hotel in Paphos Cyprus (Photo Credit: Hadassah Brenner).
Those enchanted by the view can enjoy signature sunset cocktails at the Ouranos rooftop bar, such as the “Toasty Colada” with cooked pineapple juice, Plantation rum, cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg. Guests may then head down to dinner at the tavern-like rustic Mediterraneo Italian restaurant to dine on delicious dishes prepared from the country’s local produce.
Mediterrraneo Italian restaurant (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).Mediterrraneo Italian restaurant (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
Fine dining and candlelit dinners along the poolside promise a delightful culinary experience, with the Amorosa Restaurant awarded the Golden Chef Caps in 2019 for the best restaurants in Cyprus. Farm-to-table fresh breakfast is served at the Fontana.
For guests who keep kosher, pre-ordered meals from the Chabad of Paphos can be served at the Annabelle’s four restaurants (and in all the Thanos hotels), with a varied menu including burgers, entrecôte steak, salmon fillet, schnitzel and kid’s meals. The synagogue is in walking distance for those who wish to pray there and join the Chabad’s Shabbat meals or Torah classes.
Annabelle’s hotel manager, Razvan Bordea, explained that the hotel is working to further accommodate Orthodox visitors and plans to install Shabbat elevators in the near future. He was proud to tell The Jerusalem Post that Annabelle hosted a successful Passover Seder this year.
The hotel has also made accommodations to keep visitors safe from the coronavirus, including outdoor seating, extensive cleaning of hotel rooms, pools, lobbies, restaurants and the spa, onsite PCR tests, and no cancellation fees.
“We are prepared to adapt all the hotels in the chain to the health and well-being of the guests so that we can provide a fun, pampering and worry-free experience,” the owner of Thanos Hotels & Resorts, Thanos Michaelides said.
And indeed, pampering it is! Annabelle’s Ouranos Wellbeing Spa offers state of the art treatments for relaxation and healing at the rooftop retreat. Yoga classes beside the glassy waters of the spa pool and overlooking the sea leave participants mesmerized and entranced. The sound of the ocean waves, singing birds and the instructor’s delicate Brahmari (bee-humming breath) transport practicing yogis and yoginis into a realm of absolute tranquility.
Sea-View yoga at the Annabelle Hotel in Paphos (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner). Sea-View yoga at the Annabelle Hotel in Paphos (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).

For visitors who prefer a more active vacation, water sports in the waterfront village of Latchi take jet-skiing and parasailing to another level. Canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and the like are also available. If that isn’t enough, the hotel has a gym with a personal trainer, tennis, cycling, golf and triathlon training camps run by an exercise physiologist.
Annabelle’s adventures however, extend beyond the hotel itself. It is well worth joining the 4x4 eco-tour of the Akamas Nature Reserve, local wineries, monasteries and Cypriot villages. The tour guide is friendly, humorous and surprisingly knowledgeable of Hebrew expressions, shouting “Tahzeiku hazak” (hold on tight), as the jeep flies across dirt roads and up into the mountains.
Along the route, banana groves and avocado trees flash by in the Paphos region, while vineyards and quaint stone villages dominate wine country in the Troodos Mountains.
The tour stops to marvel at the Paphos sea caves, the EDRO III shipwreck, and an Apollo temple island off the shore of the Akamas Peninsula.

The EDRO III shipwreck (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).The EDRO III shipwreck (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
The next destination is Lara Bay, a stunning sandy beach hollow in the Akamas Nature Reserve, known for the hatching of endangered loggerhead and green turtles between May and August. Feel free to take a dip in the cooling water, but watch your step!
Lara Bay in Cyprus (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).Lara Bay in Cyprus (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
The reserve is home to a variety of other plant and animal species, including 168 bird species, some endemic to the Akamas Peninsula and others passing by on their migratory flight. Olive, almond and carob trees grow in abundance throughout the region.
The jeep then takes a turn for the rolling hills and countryside, climbing past kilometers of roaming farmland and greenery and weaving through the colorful, old stone streets of historic Cypriot villages before returning to the hotel. In April, Polemi Village is even more vibrant, with the celebration of its annual tulip festival.
It is highly recommended to stop for some local coffee, Halloumi cheese, or wine tasting on the route.
Almyra
Don’t be fooled by Almyra’s sophisticated and chic design. The hotel is ideal for families with young children and even small dogs.
Playground, swimming lessons, an exclusive kid’s pool and kid’s clubs cater to the needs of children from four months old to young teens. The club includes pottery lessons, baking, treasure hunts and trips to the Paphos Castle and other local destinations. For parents of infants and toddlers, Almyra’s “Baby Go Lightly” program allows them to order baby products to the hotel in advance.

Almyra staircase (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).Almyra staircase (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
As for pets, Almyra can schedule grooming appointments and the room service has a menu just for dogs. They can also enjoy the hotel’s dog park and join their owners for dinner at the Ouzeri Restaurant.
The whole family is invited to a beautifully renovated pool with musician performances and s’mores bonfires in the fire pit at night.
During the day, hands-on wine and food tastings are a well-loved activity, as well as explorations of ancient ruins in Paphos Archaeological Park. The House of Dionysos, Orpheus, Aion and Theseus tell the story of Greek mythology through the scenes depicted in their mosaic floors.
Other attractions such as the Tombs of the Kings, Christian catacombs from the Middle Ages, and the British built Paphos Lighthouse supply a wide array of historical periods to see in Paphos.
Site-seeing doesn’t just have to be on foot; guests can rent bikes or store their own at the Athlos Bike Hub, where they can check out a map of suggested bike routes throughout the city. Yoga, Pilates, tennis and the gym are other workout alternatives.
After all the activity, it is only fitting to retire to the spa, pools, sauna, and steam room.

Anassa
Situated deep in the countryside on the Akamas Peninsula, the Anassa Hotel is nestled between the mountains and the sea and is arranged like a traditional Cypriot village. Suites with private pools overlooking the Mediterranean are breath-taking to the point that guests will have a difficult time leaving their room.
Anassa private pool in Cyprus (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).Anassa private pool in Cyprus (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
The hotel staff, whether passing by to water the garden grounds, check pool quality, drive guests to the main lobby in golf carts, or help with any other service, are friendly, genuine and professional, always offering up warm smiles and kind greetings.
The Anassa’s private beach lies between mountains, forming a cove of calm water, while yacht trips and water sports in the nearby Blue Lagoon promise pristine turquoise waters and a good swim. On a lucky day, dolphins may even be spotted, leaping through the crystal sea.
Anassa resort (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).Anassa resort (Photo credit: Hadassah Brenner).
Biking the coastal and mountain trails is a must, so the Anassa has a supply of mountain and racing bikes at the ready. For those who prefer a good tennis match or game of golf, the Anassa has that covered as well.
What sets the Anassa apart from the other Thanos hotels is its exquisite Thalassa Spa, designed in the style of a traditional Roman bathhouse. With a practiced staff trained in Thalassotherapy (spa treatments using seawater and marine-based products), scientifically proven anti-aging and healing treatments, and natural cosmetics, the spa’s unparalleled therapies and massages address each guest’s individual needs.
One such treatment uses locally sourced warm olive oil to massage and hydrate the body, followed by a brown sugar and freshly squeezed lemon scrub with a salt water mineral bath to exfoliate the skin.
The healing and relaxation continues with a spiritual shamanic journey to help the inner self. With the aid of a shaman guide, a spiritual circle, incense and the beating of drums, one can dive down into the soul world and find the path to healing and inner peace.
As the sun sets, Anassa’s olive tree terrace glows from the candle-lit lanterns hanging in the branches. The sea and palm trees sway to live harp and piano music, with musicians performing classical melodies like “Stairway to Heaven” at the Helios French-Mediteranean restaurant.
Another three restaurants boast sea-side views, Cyprus specialties, and produce from local sources. Cypriot wine can be sampled in a private wine tasting with Anassa’s Sommelier, who will describe the history of the grapes and wine-making process, which have been part of Cypriot culture for over 6,000 years.
Coronavirus regulations

It is important to note that while flying to Cyprus from Israel requires no quarantine, certain forms must be completed to enter both countries.
Upon entry to Cyprus, Israeli citizens must have this vaccination or recovery certificate from Israel’s Health Ministry, as well as a Cyprus flight pass and an Israel exit form filled out within 24 hours of the flight.
Upon return to Israel, a negative coronavirus test from within 72 hours of the flight (the test can be done at Thanos hotels) and an Israel entry form from within 24 hours of the flight must be presented.
The author was a guest at the Annabelle and Anassa Hotels and toured the Almyra grounds.