Category Archives: Travel

Cypriot welcome is second to none

Larnaca has so much to offer

By Bill McCarthy

Resorts like Paphos and the playgrounds of Ayia Napa and Protaras make Cyprus lastingly popular for British tourists. But lesser known, but no less attractive is Larnaca, an ancient capital of the island.

It offers so much, with a rich culture stretching back 10,000 years, superb beaches bathed in sunshine and inland, the brooding vista of the Troodos mountains with their picturesque villages.

Cyprus attracts millions of tourists and is a real gem of a holiday destination in the Mediterranean.

The hospitality of the people is also legendary.

That Cypriot hospitality became a reality for us with a special Easter invitation.

Celebrating Orthodox Easter in Cyprus is quite something as Easter is perhaps a more important celebration than even Christmas. A celebration of religion, food and amazing hospitality.

Our arrival on the island was in between Easter in the UK and the Orthodox celebrations which took place a week later. That’s when we received that surprise invitation.

Having used a restaurant/bar on a few occasions, out of the blue the owner Yanis invited to join his family for an Easter Sunday barbecue.

A lamb roasting on a spit and a proper celebration of Greek food and drink followed. Not only did he pick us up, he dropped us back as well. How’s that for hospitality?

That was a highlight during a stay of just over a week in Cyprus.

We stayed just five miles outside the town, at two fine hotels which share a private beach.

Both are only a 20-minute drive from the airport to the five-star Golden Bay Hotel and the Lordos Beach Hotel, a slightly smaller four-star luxury hotel, offering similar facilities, but on a slightly smaller basis.

Both offer excellent facilities, luxurious surroundings and fine dining. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed with state of the art bathrooms and tea and coffee making facilities. We stayed at Golden Bay for three nights before moving just 50 yards down the road to the Lordos Beach Hotel for a further five nights.

Facilities at both hotels include a gym, indoor pool, spa area and jacuzzis, while wi-fi is free throughout. 

Rooms vary from the cheapest, but still well-appointed Comfort, through to the spacious suites with large private balconies with a jacuzzi.

At the top end, Golden Bay offers the Presidential Suite, with two bedrooms, sea views, open-air hot tub and a separate relaxation/entertainment area.

Both hotels are fully air-conditioned with 24-hour reception and check-out service, a TV/reading room, and conference facilities, while the Golden Bay even has its own chapel.

There is also a kids’ club and playground on the Lordos site.

Both boast multiple pools and any number of free sunbeds around the pool and on the beach which is just yards from the hotel. There are also beach bars.

There are various water sports available, including jet ski, glass-bottom boat and, if you have the nerve, the inflatable flying sofa. Taking a dip is not trial in the warm waters of the Med, even in late April.

We stayed on a B&B basis with an excellent breakfast choice of food to suit all nationalities. Snacks can be bought at the hotel throughout the day with fine dining available in the evening.  Staff are polite and helpful both hotels offer a touch of elegance.

Eating there are many fine restaurants in Larnaca itself, just a 15-minute drive away, while there are shops, bars and restaurants opposite the hotel.

If you just fancy the local cuisine or just a drink, just across the road is Isabellas, where the owner Yanis offers a warm Cypriot welcome. There’s also a chance he will invite you back to his home for a barbie, as he did with us.

The town of Larnaca has a swish beachfront and plush marina. The recently redeveloped seafront promenade development features dozens of bars, restaurants and blue flag beaches. Just about a mile up the coast is the chic McKenzie Beach, with its rows of bars and nightspots and spectacular sandy beaches.

We had previously visited in March and while it was mostly sunny, there was often a chill in the air. No such thing in late April, maybe in the very early hours, but the temperature hit 30degC on one occasion.

The location means it might be wise to hire a car, although local bus services are frequent and cheap.

Cyprus is a big island and there are many car hire options. We went with the  Anemayia car and bike rental firm in Larnaca which offers friendly service and a choice of vehicles at very competitive prices. They will pick you up and drop you to the airport and offer free delivery to all locations in Larnaca City.

One excursion was to the picturesque villages of Lefkara, which specialises in lacemaking. The local women can be seen sitting in the streets demonstrating their art.

Other options are visiting the spectacular Troodos mountains, or a visit to Nicosia, now the only divided city in Europe after the island split into two parts following the Turkish takeover of the north in 1974.

Also worth visiting is the medieval fort, built by the Ottomans and used as a prison by the British and the spectacular ninth century St Lazarus Church, right in the heart of the town, which houses the tomb of the saint.

The opening message on the Larnaka tourism website says: They ALWAYS come back. You can see why.

  • Bill stayed at the popular Golden Bay Beach Hotel ( & The Lordos Beach Hotel ( on the outskirts of charming Larnaca 
  • Prices start for the Golden BayHotel start at £133 B&B for a Comfort double or twin room in mid-July
  • Prices start for the Lordos Beach Hotel at Prices start at £129 B&B for a double or twin room with side sea view in mid-July
  • To rent a car, try Anemayia ( Prices start at around £20 per day. 
  • For more information, visit 

Easter but not as we know it

Spring on the beaches of Larnaca

A week later, but an amazing Greek celebration

Greek Easter this year is the week after English Easter and to celebration this wonderful event in charming Cyprus (22 -24 April), hotels in and around Larnaka and local establishments serving food, are offering visitors and locals something extra. Sample the festivities as the local Cypriots celebrate the end of fasting and the Resurrection of Christ.

Attend evening mass at any one of the famous churches in Larnaka where the priest passes the candle of eternal life from person to person. The most impressive of all is Saint Lazarus, a stunning stone built Byzantine church with its domed architecture and ornate icons. Next to the church is the Byzantine Museum, which exhibits important religious icons, artefacts and relics.

The historic St Lazarus Church in Larnaca and below Cypriot Easter treats

It is considered good luck to arrive home with your candle still alight and then to trace soot in the shape of a cross above the door.  Afterwards, visitors return to a restaurant and if staying at a hotel,  the traditional Easter meal of ‘Magiritsa Soup’ (chef’s soup), accompanied by hard boiled eggs which have been dyed bright red, flaounes (a cheese with raisin pasty) and tsourekia (sweet milk bread also adorned with the brightly coloured boiled egg) is served.

It is also a Cypriot tradition to signify the breaking of fasting for family members to hold a dyed red egg in their hand and attempt to crack one against that of another member of the family.  The owner of the last unbroken egg is declared the winner!  

Cypriot chefs and cooks conjure up a memorable traditional Easter dishes served on Easter Sunday (April 24) followed by more specialities on Easter Monday! The island can also be enjoyed for its customs and wonderfully warm temperatures, on average 24 C.

A seven- night break in April to experience Greek Easter but not as we know it, has prices staring from £779 per adult for two sharing a room on bed and breakfast at the 5-star Golden Bay Beach Hotel, including return flights from Gatwick to Larnaka ( departing 21 April 2022, returning 28 April 2022), transfers and accommodation.

This luxury hotel has elegant gardens punctuated by tall palm trees bordering a long stretch of sandy beach, offering a range of stylish rooms and 4 restaurants with a great selection of Cypriot specialities! For reservations contact AITO specialist, luxury tour operator Planet Holidays on 01438 841 270 or visit For more general information on Larnaka  and district contact Larnaka Tourism at or for general information on Cyprus, visit Cyprus Tourism Organisation

Enjoy undiscovered Lanzarote this year

AS we slowly come out of the pandemic, millions of Britons will be thinking of taking their first holiday abroad in possibly three years. There are many favourites, but the Canary Islands offers a number of fascinating alternatives. Not least the island of Lanzarote. Here we highlight 10 charming places that don’t appear in the guidebooks to Lanzarote 

Observe life. Dwell on the details. Choose alternative routes. Sound good to you? Today we present a route that you won’t find in the tourist reviews of Lanzarote and that you simply must try.

If your wanderlust leads you to hanker for a local experience, you’ve come to the right place.

Simón Bolivar Park

Strolling under the flamboyant flame trees that guard Simon Bolivar Park is one of the sweetest pleasures of the interior of Arrecife. The red flowers and the refreshing shade of these trees create a canopy for the walker.

The sculpture that pays homage to Liberator of America was inaugurated in 1982 and placed in the heart of this park in the neighbourhood of La Vega. Bolivar had Canarian ancestors, connected to Garachico and the island of Lanzarote.

A school, a high school, a bookshop, a gym and a good number of bars and bakeries with their Iberian mini-rolls, sandwiches and sweet potato doughnuts make this a place packed with domestic life – the perfect place to stop to rest and watch local life go by.

The erratic blocks of Tao 

Known as Las Peñas de Tao, this is one of the places of greatest geological interest in the Lanzarote Geopark.

It is difficult to imagine, but the reality is that these large blocks of rock that stand out among the badlands like small mountains (some reach 30 metres in height) are fragments from the destruction of one side of the La Corona volcano.

These huge rocks were blown several kilometres in that eruption 25,000 years ago. Looking at them is like looking at a fossil, a testimony of the island’s essence.

The Tinajo sundial 

Long before smartwatches and pocket watches, tower clocks and sundials were in use on Lanzarote and in the rest of the world.

At the top of the Church of San Roque, in Tinajo, is the second oldest sundial in the Canary Islands. Small, white and made of Canary Island pine wood, it was made by a sailor from La Vegueta in the 19th century and has a commanding inscription engraved on the back: “Sr. Cura: consérvese” (Father Priest: keep well). 

Take a stroll around the Plaza de San Roque and start walking along the Avenida de Los Volcanes. A two-kilometre walk past shops selling local products (fruit, cheese, craft beer, fish) awaits us. We picked up a sandwich of pata (roast pork) and goat cheese that we enjoyed placidly in front of the Mirador de Guiguan, contemplating the terraces etched on the land by the farmers of Tinajo.

The golden light of Montaña Tesa 

At least once in your life you just have to enjoy a sunset in a valley of La Geria.

Today, why not follow secondary roads to reach Masdache via Güime and Montaña Blanca?

At the crossroads, turn left, leaving Bodegas Vega de Yuco behind you, until you come to an old farmhouse that still has its foundations and the channels that carry the water from its rainwater cistern.

Olive trees, peach trees, fig trees, vines, hollyhocks, gorse, prickly pears, fennel, lichen… The path is dotted with life. If you stop a moment to silence your footsteps crunching on the volcanic lapilli, you will hear the trill of the multitude of birds that inhabit this natural space.

Paseo costero: de Puerto Naos a Las Caletas

Leave Marina Lanzarote and pass the Fishing School, one of the best nautical centres in Europe. In operation since 1942, the functional concrete building was designed by the architects Laorga and Zanón.

Next door is the Nao brewery, with its award-winning craft brews, and several bars in front of the Monument to the Martyrs of the Sea and the beautiful sloop María del Rosario, a coastal vessel from the early 20th century.

The bar of the fishermen’s guild of San Ginés marks the beginning of a number of small bars where you can enjoy platters of freshly caught fish. A mural designed by local artist Santiago Alemán and painted on a wall of an old factory pays homage to the essential role played by women in the history of this city.

On this walk full of saltpetre and history you will see the Naos salt mines, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo-Castillo de San José, the native plants of Punta Chica, a house full of jolateros (small rowing boats made from recycled drums). If you follow the Paseo de los Mármoles and the Avenida de las Caletas, you will come to the ship Telamón, a Greek lumber tanker that has been semi-sunken in these waters since 1981.

In search of traditional architecture

Casa Ajei de San Bartolomé is a beautiful example of 18th century rural architecture, with Mediterranean and American influences. It stands out for its grand stone staircase that connects with the sobrado (upper floor) and its balcony made of Canary Island pine wood.

On the outskirts of the village, the Mayor Guerra mansion was built in 1770 on a hill overlooking the harbour of Arrecife. The coat of arms at the entrance is made of white marble. We were captivated by the main door, decorated with quatrefoils, and the large round balcony framed by a carved stone arch.

In front of the hermitage of San Juan, in Haría, you can see a restored house with beautiful circular sgraffito vesica piscis (Latin for bladder of a fish) or mandorlas, sacred symbols since at least the time of Pythagoras.

The conclusion of these walks? That it takes a lifetime to discover the treasures that Lanzarote holds around every corner.

Sometimes it’s good to wander around aimlessly, ask the locals and let yourself be surprised.

For more information visit

Exploring the history of Egypt

Destination back on tourist map as travel restrictions eased

Following Egyptair re-starting its direct flight from Heathrow to Luxor in November last year, a wealth of new attractions opening and the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb Egypt is back on the tourist map for 2022.

Philip Breckner from Discover Egypt said they have seen a surge in enquiries and bookings so far this year. He said, “Pent up demand for holidays since the pandemic and the fact Egypt represents excellent value is inspiring people to tick this destination off their bucket list in 2022. Above all there are no Covid related entry requirements other than being double vaccinated. 

“There is so much going in Egypt with new openings and anniversary celebrations, along with the chance to visit some of the world’s most fascinating antiquities that make Egypt hard to beat as a holiday destination.”

LATE DEAL: 07 February 2022 on board a luxurious Dahabiya

The newly-introduced and well-appointed Jaz Yakouta

Internationally recognised for its wealth of historic attractions and outstanding leisure facilities, Egypt is a world-class tourist destination, attracting everyone from culture-seekers to sunworshippers to party lovers too. Enjoy a seven nights 5-star luxury Nile cruise, including scheduled flights from Heathrow, transfers, accommodation on full board and 10 guided excursions with an Egyptologist on board a Dahabiya, a traditional Egyptian sailing boat with specialist Discover Egypt. The newly introduced and well-appointed Jaz Yakouta features six spacious cabins and is ideal for a celebration such as a special birthday or wedding anniversary with friends and family. Prices for a 7-night cruise start from £1,988 per person, saving 15 per cent on the listed price of £2,347 per person. This special offer is available for the 07 February 2022 departure. Discover Egypt offers pre or post cruise stays in Cairo, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna and Soma Bay for those that want to explore Egypt further. For more information and to book contact Discover Egypt on 020 7407 2111 or

Mr Breckner outlines why Egypt should be on people’s travel list this year:

New openings – the long-awaited opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum – a state-of-the-art complex based outside of Cairo is due in November 2022.  The museum will be the largest archaeological museum in the world with more than 100,000 artefacts, including King Tut’s entire treasure collection displayed for the first time.

In Luxor holidaymakers will also get the chance to visit the Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes, a 3,000-year-old ancient road which is lined with around 700 sphinxes that have been excavated and connect Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. This opened at the end of 2021 and the 1.7-mile road is now one of the world’s largest ancient sites.

The National Museum of Egyptian Culture, the NMEC, also opened on 03 April 2021. A joint venture between Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with UNESCO.  The main feature is the Royal Mummies, which were recently transferred from the Egyptian Museum

Hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb – Howard Carter led the team of archaeologists that found Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Holidaymakers can visit the house where Howard Carter lived which also features a replica of King Tut’s tomb. Discover Egypt can offer this as a stand-alone half day excursion for those staying in Luxor, including a visit to the Valley of the Kings and Queens in the West Bank of Luxor with an Egyptologist, for £77 per person.

Classic Nile cruises and city stays – Discover Egypt offer a wide selection of Nile cruises for 2022 that include visiting many of Egypt’s famous attractions, which can also be combined with city stays in Cairo and Luxor for the chance to visit some of these new attractions. 

The lead in price for a 7-night Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan is from £1,245 per person on the five-star MS Tulip, which includes flights, full board cruise and 10 guided excursions. A 14-night holiday including a 7-night cruise and 7-nights in Luxor starts from £1,525 per person. All flights are direct from Heathrow. 

The Ultimate long cruise is back too for 2022 which cruises the length of Egypt and is the ideal way to see the best of Egypt’s sites along the Nile from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan. Prices for an 11-night cruise start from £3,185 per person.

Celebrate on the Nile in style

New for 2022 is the chance to book a Nile cruise on a traditional Egyptian sailing boat called a Dahabiya. The well-appointed Jaz Yakouta features six spacious cabins and is ideal for a celebration such as a special birthday or wedding anniversary with friends and family. Prices for a 7-night cruise start from £2,437 per person. 

Discover Egypt offers pre or post cruise stays in Cairo, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna and Soma Bay for those that want to explore further, including visiting several of the world’s top diving sites. 

For more information and to book contact Discover Egypt on 020 7407 2111 or

New hotels on Larnaka horizon

A host of new hotels are on the horizon for the Larnaka region of Cyprus – including resort hotels, boutique establishments and even lodgings in historic, listed buildings, expanding the choice of accommodation available to visitors.

At present, there are 25 applications approved or under consideration across the city centre and beyond, whilst several units already under construction will soon be opening their doors to welcome their first visitors.

In particular, the Voroklini-Pyla coastal area (also known as Larnaka-Dekeleia Road) is seeing a luxury resort boom along its strip, starting with the 2022 season openings of the Radisson Beach Resort Larnaca and the Solaar Boutique Hotel.

The 5-star Radisson Beach Resort Larnaca will have a 404-bed capacity and rooms with private pools, a spa, four food and beverage outlets and event venues.

The Solaar Boutique Hotel & Spa (where the former Michael’s hotel stood) will have a 114-bed capacity, three private villas, luxury spa, rooftop restaurant and conference room with sea views.

Another three deluxe establishments along the same strip are in the approval process pipeline; a four-star hotel with apartments on the site of the former Beau Rivage Hotel; an adjacent five-star complex, and a further luxury hotel east of Golden Bay Beach Hotel. The addition of further high-star hotels along this particular area of the coastal road will also tie in with the area’s upgrading and further new development following the removal of the oil refinery tanks.

The beauty of accommodation in Larnaka region has always been its diversity, and with the increase in hotel units continuing to provide a balanced mixture of grand resorts for luxury laid-back relaxation, and quirky city establishments for the traveller who likes to explore, visitors are sure to find somewhere that is perfect for their ideal holiday!

For more information visit

Teeing up the best of the west of Scotland

The iconic lighthouse on Turnberry Golf Course, which is open to the public

The west coast of Scotland has many famous sons, and no, we’re not talking about Donald Trump and his offspring. Yes, Trump does own the famous Turnberry golf course, but this part of the world, Ayrshire, with its rugged coastline and secluded beach is famous for other Scotsmen and women.

King of Scots Robert I, better known as Robert the Bruce, was born at Turnberry Castle, he defeated the English during the first war of Scottish independence, while poet Robert Burns, also known as the National Bard and the Bard of Ayrshire, is also a native as is Alexander Fleming, who credited with discovering penicillin. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also hails from Ayrshire.

So there’s quite a history to the area and it attracts tourists looking for peace and quiet away from the madding crowd. Or, golfers looking for some of the finest courses in the world.

Our visit took us to a mobile home site halfway between the small village of Turnberry and the town of Girvan, just a stone’s throw from the sea. The views from the site, operated by Park Holidays are spectacular with the iconic Ailsa Craig dominating the view. Described as a huge volcanic plug of rock, it sits in the Firth of Clyde, 12 miles from the mainland.

It is famous for its  “blue hone” microgranite, quarried to make curling stones that feature in the Winter Olympics.

It was also a feature during coverage of previous Open golf championships, with cameras taking lingering shots of its brooding presence in the distance.

The site itself features a number of carvan styles and we were lucky enough to bag a bit of a bargain, with one of the lower grade ‘Bronze’ grade caravans costing us just £230 for the week.

An added bonus was that we were automatically upgraded to a range-topping eight-berth when we arrived.

Facilities are decent enough, with laundry, waste disposal, play areas, small shop and bar/restaurant available.

The Firth of Clyde waves lap onto the beach at Girvan, the ninth hole at Turnberry, St George’s Square in Glasgow an autumn sunset from the campsite and the brooding Ailsa Craig in the distance

The bar looks out over Ailsa Craig and hosts evening entertainment depending on what stage of the season you are there. It was still going reasonably well in late September.

There is plenty to see and do within the immediate area, particularly if you are a fan of ancient buildings with castles.

Further afield, Glasgow is less than 50 miles away and can be reached by rail if you have had enough of driving. It’s a beautiful city and well worth a visit, with Glasgow Central one of the most iconic railway stations in the UK.

More locally, there are golf courses everywhere with Turnberry just a couple of miles away, while other Open courses like Troon and Prestwick are just up the coastline.

The most picturesque of course is Turnberry with the iconic lighthouse, built by the family of the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, in the middle of the course and Ailsa Craig in the distance. Public footpaths allow people to wander up the lighthouse and the runways which were used during the Second World War are still part of the course, although now unused.

Just next to the lighthouse, are the still visible ruins of Turnberry Castle, home of Robert the Bruce who defeated the English in battle. It is located between the 9th and 10th holes of the Championship Ailsa course.

Slightly further afield is Culzean Castle and Country Park is the perfect place for a family day out, while if you fancy a wee dram, a specialist whisky shop is nearby.

Turnberry itself offers some small beaches with rolling sand dunes and its flora, fauna and wildlife in general give the designation of Site of Special Scientifc Interest (SSSI), so well worth bringing our binoculars along. While Ailsa Craig still dominates here, further in the distance are the Isle of Arran.

While the site shop is small, carrying necessities, there is a boutique farm shop just down the road and for a more substantial shop in the small town of Girvan is about three miles away.

It’s a picturesque little town with a small harbour and a long promenade with access to beaches.

It hosts a large supermarket and the railway station for that trip to Glasgow.

We had postponed a foreign holiday and, given the huge rise in staycations during the pandemic, we were lucky to find somewhere as picturesque and relaxing. A first holiday in Scotland, definitely not the last 


Park Holidays UK, a major group of 40-plus parks in England and Scotland. Due to the popularity of holiday home ownership, there are currently no plans to provide any letting facilities in 2022. However, says the company, it’s likely that some holiday home owners will wish to make their accommodation available for sub-letting next year – and by the end of December, details will be known and published on the company’s website (

Voyage of discovery on a Nile river cruise

A beautiful twilight scene on the Nile at Aswan

October half term, November and December Nile cruises from £1,295 

Holidaymakers looking for some hot autumn sunshine can now book a seven-night Nile cruise departing from Luxor after Egypt was removed from the Government’s red travel list last month. 

Specialist tour operator, Discover Egypt has availability for departures on 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 November on board the five-star MS Tulip for £1,295 per person, plus limited availability for the October half term from 25 October for £1,495 per person. Weekly departures in December also cover the festive period. 

The five star luxury river cruiser MS Tulip

The price includes return flights from Heathrow to Luxor, transfers in Egypt, full board cruise and 10 guided excursions to see some of the top ancient sites along the Nile.

These include the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, the Temple of Horus at Edfu, and the Ptolemic Temple at Kom Ombo.

The cruise also stops at Aswan for the chance to visit the High Dam, the Old Granite Quarries, the Unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Philae on Agilika Island. 

The five-star MS Tulip was added to Discover Egypt’s programme in 2018 after being totally refurbished and features 50 guest cabins and a chic interior, with a large sun deck, swimming pool, sauna and small fitness suite, plus a deck bar, lounge bar and main restaurant. 

Top from left, clockwise, a spectacular Luxor at night, the temple at Abu Simbel, the Temple of Hapshepsut, the Horus at Edfu and the mask of the boy king Tutenkhamun

Most standard cabins have a panoramic opening window with balcony rail and the upper deck terrace suites have private sit-on balconies to enjoy the views. There are also two single cabins that can be booked without a single supplement. 

Discover Egypt also offers pre or post cruise stays in Cairo, Luxor, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, El Gouna and Soma Bay for those that want to explore more of this fascinating country. 

Temperatures in Egypt are around 33 deg C in October and 28 deg C in November, making it a great time to visit with hot days and balmy evenings. 

For more information and to book contact Discover Egypt on 020 7407 2111 or


Chance to hit the beach

Larnaka upgrades top tourist spots

As travel restrictions are gradually lifted, tourists visiting Cyprus are promised a treat when they visit beaches at a favourite spot for visitors, according to the Larnaka Tourist Board.

Summertime in Larnaka region is synonymous with lying on a beach or swimming in the sparkling sea, and according to the tourist board, the new upgrades and improvements made on several popular organised coasts will really enhance your beach time.

Larnaka City 

Beachgoers can ‘surf on the sand’ with free WIFI services available on the beaches of Finikoudes (the famous palm-tree beach parallel to the town centre), and at tranquil Kastella (located behind the ice-cream parlours that bridge Finikoudes with Mckenzie beach). The action is part of the EU-wide ‘WiFi4EU’ initiative. 

Larnaka Region 

Voroklini: Voroklini’s coastline has been beautified with the planting of palm trees, whilst a shade has been installed at the children’s sand playground. On Yiannades (Gold Fish beach), sunbathers will soon be able to borrow books from the new, wooden boat-shaped library to read as they lounge. The Community Council has also placed 240 new sunbeds and 120 new umbrellas on the beach.

Larnaka Kitesurfing Beach (Softades): The island’s only dedicated kitesurfing beach has had new greenery planted. Famous for having the most optimum weather conditions for the sport, the beach again played host to the ‘King of the Kite’ kitesurfing championships organised by Kahuna Surfhouse (August 5-8).

Upgrades are continually made on organised coasts of Larnaka region as part of the annual ‘Enriching and Greening Larnaka’s Beaches’ initiative that aims not only to maintain Larnaka region beaches in pristine condition, but also to offer added facilities and leisure options for all the family. 

It is also important to note that it was recently announced that Cyprus has once again come first across Europe for having the cleanest bathing waters – an honour that the island consistently holds for its sparkling seawaters.

This handy map of Larnaka region’s coastline will also help you find your perfect spot.

Buses go green with hydrogen

Sutton Coldfield residents will soon be travelling on a greener form of transport when a fleet of hydrogen powered buses take to the road in the autumn.

Birmingham City Council has unveiled the first of its 20 new hydrogen buses, which are set to be in operation later this year.  They have been purchased as part of the council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot, which looks to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel.

Hailed as another solution to tackling the city’s poor air quality and a key step towards achieving the council’s net zero carbon target.

Speaking in Centenary Square where the first bus was unveiled to colleagues today, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: “Fuel cell buses offer a practical solution for cities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality. 

“The delivery of the first bus is great news for our city and the rest of the region. It means that we can now work with our partners at National Express to start testing the buses, training drivers and adding livery design before rolling the buses out for the public in Autumn this year. 

“This is a significant step towards our net zero carbon target and will provide Birmingham with a leading role in informing debate on supportive policies for zero emission public transport at a local and national level.”

The buses, which are made by Wrightbus and are the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double deckers. They will be operated in Birmingham by National Express – the first in England (outside of London).

It’s intended that Birmingham’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot will be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and re-fuelling infrastructure development.

It has been funded through OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles), GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership), Birmingham City Council and JIVE project funding from the FCH JU (European Funding from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under grant agreement No 735582.

The FCH JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.

The council have also collaborated with ITM, who will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.

Dreams of escape to Lanzarote

Sunshine virtually guaranteed all year round

The latest wave of Covid-19 has put a bit of a damper on thoughts of flying abroad for that dream holiday, but the Canary Islands is almost unique in being an all-year-round destination and good weather all but guaranteed.

A favourite is Lanzarote. It  is the Canary archipelago’s south-easternmost island. Although it covers no more than 800 square kilometres, it offers strikingly diverse landscapes. The legacy of the volcanic eruptions that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries is a spectacular scene of singular form and beauty. Next to unexpected landscapes made up of volcanic caves, lakes of lava and craters, lie beaches of golden sand and transparent waters.

What is more, the spectacular natural heritage has been jealously guarded by the people of Lanzarote; and not in vain, since the island was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993. Furthermore, in 2015, it became the first destination in the world to receive Biosphere Responsible Tourismcertification.

In Lanzarote you will find everything from the liveliest tourist towns, with their top  hotel facilitiesand recreational areas, to unparalleled landscapes, spots showing no trace of human presence, and solitary islets for the enjoyment of silence.

The Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, (Timanfaya National Park), a lovely succession of volcanic landscapes, is one of the island’s greatest tourist attractions, together with the Art, Culture and Tourism Centres created by the local artist César Manrique. The original cultivation systems of the farmers of Lanzarote, who learned how to overcome the island’s sterility and encourage the lava to exuberance, are another focus of attraction to visitors.

The benign climate, with its average annual temperature of 22º C, is also worthy of mention, since it makes Lanzarote the perfect destination for the practice of all kinds of outdoor sports.