We all want to have a happy life when we retire. And for us Brits, escaping the wet and windy British weather to sunnier climes is a big attraction. That’s why I recommend Cyprus for your retirement – not just because of the fantastic weather here, but because you can have a healthy, happy retirement. Read on to find out how to make the most of it.
1. Develop your social network
Although I didn’t come to Cyprus to retire, I still found that the most important thing to do is to make new friends. It’s very hard leaving your friends behind back home. So building up a new set of friends is very important. It really will help you to settle in to your new retirement life, and it gives you the support you need to make you feel that you’ve made the right choice to retire here. The locals here are very friendly, and there are many British people too who have been through it before you.
2. Make your new house/apartment feel like home
Here’s another tip for a healthy retirement. Retire when your house is completely furnished and ready, not before. It’s much more difficult to move into a brand new house that’s just an empty shell. Gradually build up your furniture pieces and put in your treasured ornaments and photographs, and then move in. You’ll be much happier from the word ‘go’!
3. Find your favourite food products
Cyprus is fantastic for finding your favourite British foods and drinks. You can buy them in all the major supermarkets here. And the supermarkets are modelled on British and European ones too, and you can even find stores like Debenhams and Ikea here. You can now find online distributors to deliver any products you can’t get here as well. You will feel happy, and so you will be healthy too!
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4. Favourite cafes, restaurants, and bars
The great thing about Cyprus is their coffee culture. You will find many locals in the street drinking lovely coffees all year round. And many expats like the British go to the cafes with the locals too. The British often come here and set up their own restaurants and bars, so you can really feel comfortable socialising with other British people, young and old. There’s no excuse for not eating healthily in Cyprus. The Mediterranean diet is fantastic. Eating freshly picked local Cypriot fruit and vegetables is the main attraction for me. The farmers deliver the fruit and vegetables to supermarkets fresh every day, and there are no preservatives or insecticides added – just the pure, local produce. They don’t worry about being the right size and shape – they’re just full of home-grown goodness. And not forgetting the fresh fish, octopus, squid and shellfish as well! And you mustn’t forget the locally produced olive oil and olives of course!
And you don’t have to only have these at home. Cypriot restaurants use their fresh local produce. And now I’ve noticed that products like quinoa and healthy eating options are provided in several restaurants. There are Indian, Chinese, and Middle East restaurants and takeaways too, along with the traditional kebabs and souvla.
There’s no excuse for not eating healthily in Cyprus. The farmers deliver the fruit and vegetables to supermarkets fresh every day, and don’t forget the easy access to fresh fish, octopus, squid and shellfish as well!
5. Hobbies and sports
Whether you are an active person or if you prefer a more leisurely way of life, you will definitely find plenty of choice of hobbies and sports in Cyprus. Cyprus takes a strong interest in encouraging physical exercise for the young and old. You will find activity centres for sports like tennis, all forms of yoga (very popular with retired British people), martial arts, and swimming in every major town here. Then, there are one or two 18-hole golf courses in Paphos and there is a brilliant one in the village of Vikla, very close to Limassol town and popular with the British. I love going here because you pass through wonderful scenery to the village, and your reward is a lovely golf course that has it’s own well-stocked bar for you to have a drink afterwards. They also do lunches there too. You can do water aerobics classes (there are special classes for retired people) in the local swimming pools, and you can also do many water sports like scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing or canoeing on the dams.
And for those of you who prefer a quieter lifestyle, there’s nothing better than taking a good book with you on the beach or to a café for a good read. Others volunteer at charity organisation, and a popular one for retired people is volunteering to walk the many dogs at the dog shelters. This is great because you can enjoy the outdoors and your adopted pet, and still get physical exercise!
6. Enjoy the local culture
I recommend that you try to involve yourself in absorbing the local Cypriot culture, so that you can make your retirement healthy and happy. This sounds hard, but actually the Cypriots make it very easy for you. They are very friendly people and they appreciate you trying to understand their way of life. Don’t worry about them not understanding English – the Cypriots speak English well, probably a throwback from the time when Cyprus was a colony under British control. You can mix with the locals when you do activities and hobbies (this is one way I made Cypriot friends), and they will invite you out for meals for example, when they will explain the culture. I found that by doing this I could feel a lot more settled and happy here.
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7. Learn the language
Last, but not least, I recommend learning languages. The obvious language to learn is Greek, so that you can communicate with the local Cypriots here. But because Cyprus encourages its young people to learn many different languages, you could also try learning other languages too. And you can just learn how to have conversations in Greek if you like, you don’t have to worry about learning grammar, which can be a little daunting. I found that when I knew the language even a little, I was more confident. You can travel to the Greek islands for short breaks too, and don’t forget you are within one hour’s flight to Malta and the Middle East!