I’m not yet retired but having lived in Cyprus for 30 years, I can safely say that this country is a wonderful place to retire and live. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Here are a few things that I’m sure will appeal to those approaching retirement age or just looking for somewhere to spend their later years.
Beaches and Mediterranean climate
Cyprus has its plentiful beautiful beaches, along with the azure blue sea lapping at the edge of the golden sands. Couple that with the fantastic sunshine that averages 350 days per year, and you have a solid reason to move here. It certainly contrasts the colder, darker days that frequent the UK and nearby European countries.
Cyprus is reasonably safeguarded from detrimental climate change effects at the moment due to its sheltered position in the Mediterranean. The peaceful, tranquil Troodos Mountain range provides wonderful relief from the sunny 30-degree summer temperatures with its cooler temperatures and gentle breeze.
The food in Cyprus is delicious. Think kebabs, souvlaki (barbequed meat), halloumi cheese and fresh, vibrant green salads. There are plenty of healthy salad varieties containing foods like pomegranates, sweetcorn, radish, rocket and crispy lettuce leaves, juicy cool cucumbers and delicious tomatoes. These salads are dressed with rich, golden olive oil, made locally, which adds to the homely food dishes.
And then there are the desserts. I have to say Cypriots are skilled in cooking of all kinds, and the desserts (cakes and cream-type puddings) like are lovely and not oversweet. This is a time when family or groups of friends come together to socialise over a glass or two of perfectly chilled Cypriot wine and beer, or as is my current favourite, gin and tonic.
Cyprus has focused a great deal on the tourism market over the years and it has done this very successfully. There is now an extensive array of facilities like international level golf courses, award winning tavernas and international restaurants that will leave you spoilt for choice with their menus in each of the main cities – Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca.
Recently, a lot of money has gone into developing beautiful marinas in the coastal cities of Limassol and Larnaca. They are surrounded by welcoming cafes that nod to the continuance of Cypriot culture and restaurants. These establishments are on the seafront overlooking the brightly coloured yachts and large boats that bob up and down on the calm waters.
Cyprus also makes sure that you don’t feel too homesick – I’m writing this article from one of Limassol’s McDonalds! You’ll also be able to find popular European chain restaurants.
Cypriot events and festivals
There are festivities too, like the annual Limassol carnival that runs parallel to the Brazil carnival in Rio de Janiero and which has been ranked as the 10th best in the world (https://cyprusmail.com).
Cypriots are undeniably creative – there’s always live Cypriot and international singers to see. Plus, ballet and dramas are popular (often held in English) and showcase Cypriots’ natural talents. These shows are staged outdoors in the summer months with cooling refreshments available.
Attracting ‘permanent tourists’
Our new Cyprus government is attempting to attract those of retirement age to live in Cyprus. It’s probably because it now wishes to accommodate more “permanent tourists” – on top of its annual 3 million visitors – and promote Cyprus as a warm and welcoming retirement option. It offers numerous tax benefits, and the newly established GESY healthcare system offers medical services at reduced rates. These are open to local Cypriots and those living here from abroad who establish permanent residency here.
Summer is not the only warm season in Cyprus. My favourite time of year here is spring. As I write, I am looking out at the bright 23°c sun and April blossom on the citrus trees. All the new spring shoots in the gardens are coming through, and as Easter approaches, this newness signals new creations and revitalizations.
You will feel energized at this time of the year, and at the same time, it makes you feel very calm and relaxed. There are some wonderful flowers like freesias and narcissus that bloom in spring and all these plants do wonders for my mental health. The flowers are vibrant in colour and adorn all the local roundabouts. Flowering bushes line the main highway routes, and they are well looked after. These blooms are full of positivity and a sure sign that Easter is coming.
Another point to remember is that Cypriots are very friendly people, and they love showing providing kind hospitality. I can assure you that you won’t feel lonely here in Cyprus. Cyprus offers activities for all ages.
There are plenty of group activities such as regular excursions and trips to the Troodos mountains, for example, where you can make friends with others from abroad and enjoy wine tasting activities followed by lunch or dinner and drinks. You will find that Cypriots too will join these groups and again, you can make Cypriot friends for life! Now, I will say nearly all Cypriots speak very good English, so you should be understood and able to talk with them.
They will invite you to their homes for traditional barbeques and drinks and you can socialise freely with them. Other groups involve trips to the nearby Greek islands or neighbouring countries like Malta and mainland Greece. If you’re more active, there are keep fit, yoga and gardening clubs. I’m positive you’ll find something here that you will enjoy doing in Cyprus.