Crumbling castles, alluring landscapes and bright blue seas make this sun-soaked region of Cyprus the perfect backdrop for a great holiday video, says Tanya Pearey
As I sweep the camera in front of me, the horseshoe beach of golden sand arcs away to my left and right. The waves of the Med lap at my feet. And the sun warms my shoulders. But the only person I can spot in my viewfinder is my daughter Imogen.
We are at Lara Bay on the north-west coast of Cyprus – an hour’s drive north of Paphos, along bumpy tracks accessible only in a 4×4 vehicle. The bay is a protected spot dubbed ‘Turtle Beach’ by the locals on account of the procession of green and loggerhead turtles that descend upon the sands to lay their eggs.
Problem is – no one seems to have told the turtles! There’s not one in sight. But we’re here in April and the egg-laying season runs from May to August. And the local Turtle Conservation Project has been working hard to protect the endangered sea turtles for 30 years, closing the beaches to the public at night, and building aluminium cages to shield the eggs from predators.
Lara Bay is remote, unspoilt and beautiful – a dramatic place to film – and it’s the first stop on my Surf & Turf 4×4 Safari from Holiday Village Aliathon in Paphos, where we’re staying. The all-day trip explores the rugged Akamas Peninsula by both land and sea.
Next, Latchi Harbour where we board a boat to the Blue Lagoon. This sheltered bay has warm, crystal-clear waters, and we drop anchor for an hour to swim off the back of the boat – another camera opportunity.
From the boat, you can spot the Baths of Aphrodite, the last stop on our tour. Set on top of a hill, this freshwater pool overhung by a fig tree, is where, according to myth, the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, liked to bathe. Legend has it that a dip in the water gives you eternal youth. But you’ll never get to test it, as bathing here is now prohibited.
Back at Aliathon, though, bathing seems compulsory because there are four pools at this village-themed complex, including one that’s a massive 3,000m2, and a mini water park. Plus, we were staying in a swim-up room, with the pool lapping right up to our balcony – cue more movie-making.
The beach is just 150 metres from the resort and there’s lots to do in town – Paphos is the 2017 European Capital of Culture and there’s a wealth of events to celebrate, including open-air cinema, art and music.
Outside the town’s northern walls sits the Tombs of the Kings, a collection of caves and sandstone tombs where local nobility, not royalty, were buried from the 4th century BC.
Just along the coast is Aphrodite’s Rock, which is, well, a large rock off a pebble beach, famed as the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess.
With so much to see and do, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year, this is a movie-maker’s paradise.
Great for spirited adventurers
There’s some great diving to be had off the coast near Paphos, with clear visibility, warm temperatures and minimal underwater currents.
Try the popular Cydive School (cydive.com; 00 357 269 34271) for details of local dive sites. If it’s wrecks you’re after, there are plenty scattered further afield around the island’s coastline, offering some fantastic marine life.
Great for culture vultures
Paphos Castle is a distinctive landmark and UNESCO-listed heritage site sitting at the end of the city’s bustling harbour. Explore inside its ancient stone walls and check out the square in front, which is used for cultural events throughout the year, including opera performances at the annual Paphos Aphrodite Festival every September.
First Choice offers seven-night holidays at the 4Sun Holiday Village Aliathon on an all-inclusive basis from £630pp. Price based on two adults and two children sharing and includes flights from London Gatwick (other regional airports available).
Visit your local Thomson featuring First Choice travel shop, call 0871 200 7799 or go to firstchoice.co.uk. The Surf & Turf 4×4 Safaris run three times a week. Adults (including children 12+) cost 85 euros and children (3-11 years) cost 50 euros.
How to film the perfect holiday video
Create a story with a beginning, middle and end. Start with something like jetting off at the airport or arriving at your destination, followed by a taste of what you did and saw. Then use something to end your story.
It may seem obvious to a natural film-maker, but for those of us who have grown up taking holiday photos we think about framing a static shot but not a moving one. Make sure there’s plenty of action in what you’re filming.
Think outside the box. Cameras are so small, portable and durable these days that you can really have fun with filming from a different (and imaginative) perspective. We buried our GoPro in the sand and swam with it underwater, but do make sure your camera is waterproof before you take it for a dip!
Get people talking. That’s one of the beauties of video – you get to hear the voices of your nearest and dearest.
Get their thoughts about where they are and what they’re doing. It’s a great way to capture the moment with kids, whose voices and views change so much as they grow.
Look at added extras Accessories, such as mounts and selfie sticks, enable you to film hands-free and get everyone in the shot.
Woman’s Weekly travel offer
Discover Northern Cyprus -m8 days from only £849pp.
Departures from October to November 2017 & February to November 2018.
Take our tour with Riviera Travel to see astonishing ruins, romantic old towns and a fascinating culture. Includes return flights, seven nights’ four-star superior accommodation and fully escorted tours with an experienced tour manager.
Call to book or for a free brochure on 01283 742 396 or visit escorted.womansweekly.co.uk