Agios Nikolaos Chapel in Cyprus

Vegan Travel in Cyprus

Ask fellow vegan travellers if Greece is vegan friendly and you’ll get entirely different responses from one person to the next. For every ‘Oh, it was a breeze because of the Mediterranean diet out there’, there’ll be a ‘it was tough. They didn’t know what veganism is, and it’s meat and cheese with everything!’. Both things are true.

I’ve travelled through Greece fairly extensively, and awareness of veganism varies vastly from one part of the country to another. For that reason, it’s not possible to give an overview of veganism in Greece, rather it needs to be discussed one area at a time. So here is my vegan guide to Cyprus.

As a vegan in Cyprus, I’d recommend focussing your travel plans on one of two places on the island; Limassol and Nicosia. By far and away they are the easiest places to get vegan food, and they offer two of the best experiences of Cyprus, although in contrast to one another.

Vegan food in Limassol

Limassol is where you go for a beautiful beach break, to top up your tan, but also to explore fascinating historical and archaeological sites. There is accommodation here for every budget, from clean and simple self catering apartments to 5* luxury hotels (we’ve packaged a vegan friendly 5* holiday here).

There are two vegan restaurants in the Limassol area that are both worth visiting. Alchemy Concept is the most central, with a ‘clean eating’ concept this place is also great for those who need gluten free grub. Now, the most important thing I need to state here is that just because it’s clean eating, it doesn’t mean they don’t do desserts. They do them by the boat load. This kind of thing matters to me. It should matter to all of us. Desserts are life.

Vegan cakes at Alchemy restaurant Limassol

Clean eating often gets the side-eye from many, including us vegans, but this place does it really well. The food here is delicious, and even though it’s super healthy, many of their dishes feel indulgent.

The other exclusively vegan restaurant that no vegan in Cyprus should miss is Seashells. This restaurant is part of the St Raphael resort <<LINK to holiday>>, and is situated right on the beach, making dining here both an experience as well as conveniently vegan. Only open during the summer, the prices are reasonable despite the luxurious surroundings.

Vegan food at Seashells restaurant Limassol

It’s family friendly, with picnic benches nearby if you just want to grab a wrap and eat in relaxed fashion. Serving up healthy salads, as well as pulled Jackfruit wraps and vegan pancakes, there’s real variety here. There’s a real eco-friendly approach that stretches to the packaging they use, and the recycling facilities available to customers.

Honourable mentions go to the veggie places in the area that offer great vegan options. Hummus Bar in central Limassol serves vegetarian and vegan street food. Inexpensive, but freshly prepared and tasty, it’s ideal for a quick takeaway for lunch. Superfood Organic Bar, a little further out of town, is a small vegetarian cafe that offers buddha style bowls along with soups, wraps and smoothies.

Vegan food in Nicosia

The largest city in Cyprus, you would expect Nicosia to be one of the easiest places to eat vegan on the island. There are certainly plenty of options here, when you fancy a shopping trip and a break from the beach.

Grön Vegan Kitchen is situated inside the Municipal Market of Nicosia and offers a wide variety of Turkish vegan dishes. Whilst the food here is healthy and nutritious, the ethics are definitely all about the animals and a desire to encourage non-vegans to give vegan food a try.

Vegan food at Gron restaurant Nicosia

Honourable mentions to veggie places go to Inga’s Veggie Heaven in the older part of Nicosia is a small, family run restaurant. Offering takeaway and delivery, we recommend taking your time to eat in their comfy courtyard and chatting with the owners over a biscoff cake. Not far from the Cyprus Museum, in Nicosia Municipal Park, you’ll find Evergreen. Serving up vegan sandwiches, moussaka, pizzas and burgers, there’s something for every taste in peaceful surroundings.

Inside the Pantheon

5 things you should know about the Pantheon

If you’re heading off for a short or long break in Rome, then the Pantheon will likely figure among your must see spots in the city.

This ancient temple, while less trumpeted than the Colosseum and the Forum, is one of my favourite buildings as its initial simplicity belies incredible ingenuity and complexities in construction. Conceived by Marcus Agrippa as part of his private complex, it was later completed by Hadrian around 126AD.

It’s thought that the temple is built in recognition of all Gods, as the name comes from the Greek words ‘pan’, meaning all, and ‘theos’, meaning god. Indeed, the temple was originally surrounded by statues of gods; however, some believe that ‘Pantheon’ was just a nickname for the building.

Here are 5 things you should know about the Pantheon in Rome before you go.

1. The Oculus in the ceiling

Ceiling of Pantheon Rome

Within the dome is one of the most distinguishing features of the temple. The large circular hole, or Oculus, is the only source of light within the building asides from the doorway.

An atmospheric experience when it rains, the water pours into the centre of the building; draining away through 22 well hidden holes in the floor.

2. It was a temple, and now it’s a church

View of the Pantheon Rome

First built as a pagan temple dedicated to all Gods, in the year 608 Emperor Phocas gave the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV.

The Pope went on to strip the building of all evidence of paganism, and consecrated it as St Mary and the Martyrs Church. As destructive as this move might seem, it may well have protected the temple from even greater damage, as so many of the disowned buildings of Rome suffered from abandonment and plundering over the years, as their materials were repurposed elsewhere.

3. Raphael is buried here

Italian painter and architect Raffaello Sanzio, better known as Raphael was laid to rest here. The inscription on his marble sarcophagus reads “Here lies the famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die.”

4. The dome ceiling is kind of special

Roof of the Pantheon RomeMeasuring an incredible 142 feet, the dome comprises of concrete mixed with tufa and pumice to keep the large structure as lightweight as possible. Visitors have to imagine it’s past magnificence, as it was once covered in Bronze, and must have looked incredible when reflecting the Italian sunlight.

For more than 1300 years it was regarded as the biggest dome in the world, until an inspired Brunelleschi created the Duomo in Florence.

5. Venus, Cleopatra, and a pearl earring

Exterior of Pantheon RomeOnce containing statues of Venus, Mars, and Julius Caesar, there’s an interesting connection between one of these statues and Cleopatra.

In order to demonstrate her wealth, Cleopatra made a bet with Marc Antony that she could spend 10 million sesterces on one meal. Removing one pearl earring, she dissolved it in wine-vinegar, and drank it – winning the bet. The other earring was said to have adorned the statue of Venus. Whilst the statue is no longer there, the story remains as an amusing insight into a legendary woman.

Best nearby vegan food

Delicious plate of food from EcruWhen we visit, we take the short 15 minute walk from the Pantheon to vegan eaterie ÉcruSpecialising in raw and organic food, the dishes are healthy, beautifully presented, and unpretentious. The prices are pitched more at the higher end, but the standard is high, and definitely somewhere for vegans to visit at least once during your visit to Rome.

It’s centrally located, so if you’re dropping by for lunch, head to the Castel Sant’Angelo after. If you’re heading there in the evening, head off for a gentle walk along the Tiber (I once ended up in an impromptu dance-off to a funk band that had set up on one of the bridges – but that’s another story!).

Experience Rome on one of our Vegan Group Breaks, or book a package holiday to a destination of your choice by calling us on 01392 927701

Beautiful Zakynthos landscape

5 of the best things to do in Zakynthos

With over 6,000 islands in this Mediterranean archipelago to choose from, it’s no wonder that Zakynthos (also known as Zante) is often forgotten when people choose a Greek holiday.

Lying west of mainland Greece, with views of Kefalonia, the island has a rugged coastline, picturesque villages, and some of the best golden beaches in Greece.

Here are Kindred Traveller’s Top 5 things to do and see in Zakynthos.

1. Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Cove)

Navagio BeachAn iconic spot, that you’ll see time and again in images of Greece. Contrary to what you may have been told, this beautiful spot is best seen from above, rather than visiting the beach itself, which can be crowded and offers little respite from the sun. The view of it from the clifftops, however, is simply stunning.

This natural harbour, with its clear blue waters and white sand, is surrounded by 200m cliffs. The beach hit the news in 2018 due to a sudden and unexpected rockfall onto the beach, hence the need for caution in the area; from above and below!

The main focal point of the beach is the wrecked ship that lays there. It may just be a grounded cargo boat, but it certainly takes a good picture.

The beach is only accessible by boat, and you can book boat tours from all over the island. Instead, we’d recommend hiring a car, and heading to the viewing area above it for the best views.

Please take care when viewing from the cliffs. You’ll inevitably see tourists taking an ill-considered route along the edge in an attempt to get the ideal selfie. The area is unstable, and people have died falling from the rocks.

2. Xigia Beach

Xigia Beach ZakynthosIf you’re looking to bathe in sulphur and collagen-laden waters, (and don’t mind smelling of eggs for the trip home), this beach is definitely worth leaving the resort for. Rumoured to have healing properties, the locals claim this helps with arthritis and cellulite . . .

There’s free (but very limited) parking above, and a small canteen for drinks and snacks. Spend the day, or make it a relaxing stop on your drive around the island.

At Kindred Traveller, we offer a visit to Xigia beach amongst our optional excursions.

3. Relaxation & Cocktails at Tsilivi Beach

Cocktails on the beachTsilivi isn’t just home to a long, golden stretch of beach, but it’s also an excellent place for a cocktail. Tsilivi has managed to avoid the rowdier 18-30 crowds that frequent resorts like Laganas, but still has plenty of atmosphere for a great night out.

This is the place to spend the day relaxing on the beach, where food and drinks can be brought to your sun lounger. Then, come the evening, enjoy a meal and late drinks or a dance.

4. Zakynthos (Zante) Town

Zakynthos TownFollowing the earthquake of 1953, much of the island’s oldest buildings, with its Neoclassical architecture, were entirely destroyed. The capital, Zakynthos (Zante) Town, was no exception. Consequently, much of what stands there is relatively new.

There are pedestrianised areas with open squares surrounded by stylish bars here. As the town is also the home to the main harbour, filled with large and expensive yachts, this is also where some of the wealthiest patrons drink.

The town’s main church, Agios Dionysios, is home to the relics of the town’s patron saint, and the original 1708 building was reconstructed in 1954.

For incredible views over the town and out to sea, head just under a mile from town to the village of Bochali. Here you’ll also find the ruins of a Venetian castle, destroyed by invading Turks in 1480 before being restored in 1515, set in a pine tree-lined park.

5. Boat Trips galore

Boat trip in ZakynthosThere are a variety of boat trips you can take around various parts of the island. With full and half day tours taking in Turtle Island and turtle spotting, trips to Navagio Beach, and more.

Our favourite is to the Blue Caves at Cape Skinari on the northern coast, where the sea reflects the deepest blues of the sky, and the surrounding caves are marked purple in colour. It’s a magical trip, which is complemented by a dive off the end of the boat to cool off.

Alternatively, you can hire a boat yourself from various locations, and head to a variety of coves and beaches. Take some snacks and cool drinks, and head out to explore.

Now take me there