The Independent Parent: Can we stay near the British Olympic team when they are training in Cyprus this summer?


Q. We understand that the British Olympic team is going to be training in Cyprus before the Games in Athens this summer.

Q. We understand that the British Olympic team is going to be training in Cyprus before the Games in Athens this summer. Do you think there is any chance of staying in or close to the same resort or hotel as some of the athletes? Our two boys (aged 10 and 13) would be thrilled to catch even a glimpse of them and as we have still to organise our summer holiday, we thought we could surprise them.

M Stuart, via email.

A. For any young sports enthusiast, the chance to rub shoulders with Britain's top athletes would be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Many Athenian hotels have already been booked solid for months, but a beach holiday in Cyprus could be the answer. The popular tourist town of Paphos on the south-east coast of Cyprus is set to be the base camp for some of the British team prior to this year's Olympic Games, which begin on 13 August.

Most of the athletes will be in Cyprus between 4 and 12 August, although a few will be based in Barcelona and the South of France. They will, of course, be training in an undisclosed location, but they could well be spotted during the evenings relaxing pool-side at the Coral Beach Hotel (00 357 2662 1711; www.coral.com.cy).

Approximately 14km north along the coast from Paphos Town in Coralia Bay, the Coral Beach Hotel is a convenient 25-minute drive from Paphos airport. This part of south-west Cyprus is littered with Roman archaeological sites as well as beaches, so there is plenty to keep both beach bums and culture vultures busy.

Apart from being located next to its own long stretch of white sand, the resort offers plenty of facilities to keep your children occupied when they are not chasing autographs.

These include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, and watersports such as scuba diving and water skiing. Crucially (for the team at least) the Coral Beach also has a gym, so you could find yourself on the bicycles alongside 2004 cycling hopeful David Millar. There is also a children's club for two- to 11 year-olds.

The team has booked a third of the hotel for the week leading up to the Games, but there is still some availability during July and August.

Sunvil Cyprus (020-8568 4499; www.sunvil.co.uk) offers a package including flights to Paphos from Gatwick, Luton or Stansted, bed and breakfast accommodation for up to five in a duplex studio and a week's car hire. For example, a week departing on Saturday 31 July would cost £981 for adults and £657 for children aged between two and 11.

But you don't have to limit yourselves to the hotel. A short drive from Paphos are Peyia, on a picturesque hill looking out to sea, and Kathikas, in the pine-clad highlands famous for their vineyards.

Heading northwards up the coast, your sons might enjoy a visit to the Lara Turtle Station. This is where green and loggerhead sea turtles lay their eggs between June and September. Visitors are permitted onto the beach during the day to catch a glimpse of the turtles and there are some information boards in the small station, but the gates are often locked at night during laying season.

As I mentioned, Paphos Town has a rich cultural heritage and a large number of archaeological sites. The Byzantine Paphos Castle in Paphos Town, also affords spectacular views out to sea. The headland north-west of the harbour is home to some beautifully preserved Roman floor mosaics, unearthed during excavations of a complex of Roman buildings. The site is open from 8am-7.30pm and admission costs CY£1.50 (£1.70).

For further information contact the Cyprus Tourist Board on 020-7569 8800 or visit www.visitcyprus.org.cy. For more information on the 2004 Olympic Games, visit the website www.athens2004.com and the British Olympic Association's website at www.olympics.org.uk.

Send your family travel questions to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or email crusoe@independent.co.uk

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