Should I cancel my holiday to Cyprus? What the Paphos wildfires mean for your trip

Villages have been evacuated due to wildfires in southwest Cyprus – here's everything you need to know about travelling to the island right now

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Paphos, Cyprus
Photograph: Shutterstock

Cyprus is a well-established summer holiday destination thanks to its status as Europe’s sunniest island. There are ancient Roman ruins, popular hiking routes and, of course, some knockout beaches. 

However, that climate can mean extreme summer temperatures. This week, Cyprus has been hit with a heatwave – with temperatures soaring to 39C – and that extreme heat has caused wildfires to break out near Paphos. The fires spread through dry grass, trees and low-lying vegetation, threatening homes in the village of Psathi, and several areas have been evacuated.

Understandably, those with a trip booked to Cyprus might be wondering whether it’s safe to travel. So, here is everything you need to know about the wildfires in Cyprus and how it might affect your holiday. 

Where are the wildfires in Cyprus? 

The fires broke out near Polemi, a village near the city of Paphos on the southwest coast of the island. Cyprus has activated the Pyros national plan, and requested aid from Jordan, Israel, Greece and through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism’s rescEU. So far, two firefighting planes have been sent, and five nearby villages (Polemi, Psathi, Choulou, Kourdakas and Lemona) have been evacuated, according to local media.

Many houses and farms were destroyed in the fire, but no casualties have been reported. The electricity grid has sustained damage in the fires, meaning some villages have been left without power, according to the Cyprus Electricity Authority (EAC).

Are airlines still flying to Cyprus? 

Yes. There have been no reports of flight cancellations so far, but check directly with your airline provider to be sure. 

What is the UK Foreign Office saying? 

The UK Foreign Office has not issued any advice against travelling to Cyprus so far, but its section on forest fires and wildfires says: ‘Forest fires and wildfires often occur during the summer months due to dry and hot weather. Wildfires are dangerous and unpredictable. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Put out cigarette ends properly, and do not light barbecues outside of designated areas. If you see a fire, call the emergency services on 112 or 1407. Get more information on wildfires from the Department of Forests website.’

Can I cancel my tip and get a refund? 

Given the UK Foreign Office hasn’t issued advice against all but essential travel to Cyprus, at the moment you won’t be able to cancel your travel plans without any penalties. To see what can be done, it’d be best to contact your accommodation, flight or trip provider directly.  

Where else in Europe has been affected by extreme weather? 

Türkiye has been experiencing extremely high temperatures for this time of year, with the air reaching between eight and 12C higher than seasonal norms which could soar to 39C by Friday, according to euronews. A resort called Olympos in Antalya’s Kumluca has already begun experiencing fires, and there are fears this could spread, particularly around the Aegean sea. 

Meanwhile, Athens closed schools and tourist attractions, including the Acropolis, this week due to extreme temperatures. Temperatures in Greece are expected to reach 43C on Wednesday and Thursday. Elsewhere, Rhodes experienced a 4.8-magnitude earthquake on Wednesday night (June 12).

At the other end of the spectrum, parts of Spain have seen record rainfall and there has been some severe flooding in many parts of Majorca, including Palma Airport, which was shut down on Tuesday afternoon. There have been no major casualties, but footage captured shows puddles inside the terminal buildings and on the roads outside, and several flights were grounded as a result. 

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