By Paula Manoli-Gray
Whilst summer as a season is collectively the months of June, July and August, in Cyprus the ‘summer season’ in touristic terms is from April to November, thanks to the fantastic weather we have during this extended period, and it has started in earnest!
When you live in a town like Larnaca, the issue of seasonality is not really one that bothers you; after all, the town works all-year-round – and why wouldn’t it?
So, whilst we know that the tourist season doesn’t kick-off until April – May, we get to ‘enjoy’ our town all year-round without much interruption to business operations.
It sounds simple and obvious enough, and so I always wondered why Larnaca is actively promoted as an all-year-round town; one for all seasons, and ‘always open’.
That was until I visited Ayia Napa in March! I knew that this part of the island was much busier during the summer and considerably quieter during the low season, but I had no idea the extent to which the place literally ‘shuts down’ during winter!
My family and I stayed there one night for some work I was doing this March, and soon found that we were staying in probably the only open visitor accommodation!
The town had to be seen to be believed; it was like being on a Hollywood film set, with people working away constantly on different ‘back lots’ (hotels, bars and restaurants), as though they were constructing the set in preparation for a new film (Return of the Summer Town?).
There were only a handful of places open for food and drink – mainly franchised chains that work with locals all-year-round. We had to have a good wander around to find them!
It is not a criticism of Ayia Napa; each town has its unique selling points, which attract a different set of both residents and visitors, and it will now hog the summer limelight with its reopening.
But it was certainly an eye-opener, and made me appreciate how thriving and diverse Larnaca is, despite having an unfair reputation among the bigger towns as being ‘dead’.
Granted, it may not receive the hype and crowds that the resort towns get during the summer months, but this is balanced out by the fact that it is indeed a very popular destination for winter tourists, who find many things to see and do out of season.
As far as I am concerned, Larnaca residents get the best of all worlds!