Dreaming of Retiring to Cyprus

Many years ago my mum took a brave step. Out of the blue she announced she was retiring early and moving from the West Midlands to Cyprus. She now lives a lovely life with her husband with sun, sea views and superb Mediterranean food.

cocktail in Cyprus beach bar

On our first visit we were hooked too - it's a beautiful island and we'd love nothing more than wave goodbye to the M25 gridlock, overcrowded and unreliable trains, British winter and the fast-paced hectic and stressful life we live now.

I adore the ocean and would love to live within walking distance. The sound of the waves soothes my soul and put me in a chair with a view of the sea and I am in my happy place.

We love the Mediterranean food and style of cooking which could even prove beneficial for our health if we limit the number of times we eat our fave dish of battered calamari. Let's face it, fresh fish is so much more appealing if you can see the boat it came off or at least the ocean it came out of rather than seeing glassy eyes staring at you from an inland supermarket counter.

A wander round a Cypriot Garden of Eden store is a joyful experience for a foodie like me. From fresh herbs, fruit and veg to fresh (and still slithering) edible snails, piles of olives and a myriad of other locally produced delights is enough to inspire even a reluctant cook.

We've always found the locals to be friendly and happy to share their idyllic island with ex-pats. My mum takes Greek language lessons but says more often than not the islanders prefer to speak English to her even when she starts off in their mother tongue.

Cyprus has had long standing links with the British and traffic drives on the same side of the road as us and they use the same plugs. Most signs are in English and you can even buy frozen, tinned and packaged food from familiar brands and even supermarket branded goods albeit at a premium. For example, an Iceland pizza costing around £1.50 here might cost nearer £5 over there.

Of course the big draw for us is the weather. Cyprus does have distinct seasons and you can even go skiing in the Troodos mountains in winter. However it's still much milder than Britain and it's equally possible to enjoy al fresco lunches all through the year. Having said that most of the residents head to restaurants with heated indoor spaces to socialise. Some of the more touristy venues close in winter but there are still plenty of lovely tavernas, cafes, bars and restaurants which stay open all year round.

Cyprus sunshine through olive tree branches

It does get very hot in August, up into the 40's sometimes, but most places have air conditioning and most people slow down to cope with the heat. Between  mid-June and the end of August many businesses introduce a siesta break of around three hours between noon-5pm to avoid the hottest hours so if you wonder where all the road workers and builders have gone they will be obeying the official government guidelines and sheltering from the sun.

We dream of relocating to one of the smaller villages near Paphos with facilities like a shop, bus stop and taverna in walking distance.

We've lived in the same house for decades and used this handy calculator to find out what it might be worth now. We were very pleasantly surprised and it gives us a good idea of what we might have to spend on a property abroad.

All we have to do now is decide on the best time to make the move. I'm hoping it's sooner rather than later. There's a chair in a shady spot with a sea view with my name on it!

cyprus flowers

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