Small but perfectly formed, Cyprus has got the best of both worlds. From the party-hard and hectic streets of Ayia Napa to the laid-back café culture of Nicosia, not forgetting its plethora of world-class beaches; Cyprus is loved by clubbers and cosmopolitan sun seekers alike. However you prefer to pace your Mediterranean escape, Cyprus effortlessly falls into step.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean.
Most of the play Othello was set in Cyprus.
Cyprus is home to over 20 species of orchid.
King Richard the Lionheart was married at Limassol.
Cyprus is one of Europe’s most southerly ski resorts.
There are only four golf courses.
What to see
The warm waters and year-round sunshine of Paphos means it’s popular year-round with sunseekers. Beyond the beach, Paphos is also home to a lively nightlife scene and attractions including Paphos Forest, fascinating Greek relics, Roman mosaics and the nearby Troodos Mountains.
Limassol is one of Cyprus’s most popular destinations and dynamic cities. It’s home to a well-preserved old town, long stretches of sandy beaches and a maze of characterful streets filled with boutiques, bars and restaurants.
Ayia Napa needs little introduction. Famed as one of the Mediterranean’s most tireless party resorts thanks to its year-round sun, chic beaches and abundance of nightclubs. During high summer the streets are filled with late-night revellers, while families and couples can enjoy a quieter time during autumn.
Larnaca is a bustling cruise ship stop-off located on the eastern Mediterranean. It’s contemporary and cosmopolitan bay is lined with swaying palm trees, while the old Turkish quarter is good for historical sites including several worth-a-visit churches and museums.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
Baths of Aphrodite
Legend has it that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, bathed in this pretty grotto and freshwater pool near Polis.
Combine your beach holiday with a historical trip to one of Cyprus’s numerous castles, including the rock-perched Saint Hilarion in northern Cyprus and Kolossi Castle in Limassol.
Take a trip to the archaeological site at Kouklia to see the ancient ruins of the Palaia Pafos and the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite.
The ancient city of Kourion is delicately nestled on a hillside near Episkopi. It boasts extensive ruins including a spectacular Graeco-Roman theatre, numerous mosaics and the nearby ruins of a Roman forum. Kourion is also a popular paragliding site.
Head to the harbour in Paphos to gaze at its beautiful stone-walled medieval fort. Climb up to the top platform and you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the marina.
When to go
Weather and Seasons: Cyprus enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate with sunshine for most of the year. The hottest months are June, July and August, when temperatures can soar up to the high 30s. Winter tends to be fairly mild, with light snowfall creating good skiing conditions in the Troodos Mountains.
Important Dates and Festivals: Cyprus hosts major festivals to celebrate the name-days of saints, and are typically extravagant affairs. Monasteries and churches hold special services and there are usually street festivals and processions followed by great feasts in most towns, cities and villages. Whitsun also sees the feast of Kataklysmos, which is enjoyed throughout Cyprus, although Larnaca is host to the most enthusiast celebrations.
Getting there / around
Flights:It takes around 4 hours 30 minutes to reach Paphos from London.
Bus: An excellent bus service operates in Nicosia and Limassol, with smaller, less frequent services offered in smaller towns and villages.
Taxi: Shared taxis run every 30 minutes between major cities and are a cost-effective way to do slightly more luxurious long-distance travel
Car: Hiring a car is one of the best ways to tour the island, but be sure to book in advance during peak season.
7-night stays: Explore the west coast of Cyprus by car, starting at the stunning national park of the Akamas, touring north along the coast to the traditional Paphos mountains.
14-night stays: Hire a car and head to the northwest of Cyprus, to the foothills of the Paphos mountains. Follow the coast down to Governors Beach, located between Limassol and Larnaca, before reaching the Troodos mountains. An excellent route for seclusion seekers.
Prepare to feast on a wide variety of fish and meatmezze, often served with taramosalata, a delicious cod roe-based dip flavoured with parsley, onion, lemon juice and olive oil. Halloumi is perhaps the greatest Cypriot culinary contribution, and is delicious when grilled and served in pitta. Other dishes to try include dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with meat and rice), stifado (a beef or hare stew with wine, vinegar, onion and spices) and flame-grilled kebabs.
Summer-party resort, Ayia Napa is, perhaps the most famous of all European clubbing destinations. It’s home to hundreds of discos and bars, however for dedicated visitors the town’s first club, Black & White, remains the pick of the bunch. Quieter bars and tavernas line the harbour in Larnaca, while there are some slightly livelier spots to be found along the harbour in Kyrenia.
Greek and Turkish.
Three-month visa-free stays are available to EU citizens.
No particular vaccinations are recommended.
Safety, FO travel advice
FO travel advice: Generally safe.
Useful Telephone NumbersCypriot country representatives can be found
in the UK at13 St James's Square, London, SW1Y 4LBM. Tel: 0207 321 4100.
and in the US at 2211 R Str. North West, Washington, D.C. 20008. Tel: 202 462 5772.
There is a tourist board
in the UK at17 Hanover Street, London, W1S 1YP UK . Tel: 0207 569 8802.
For more information visit: www.cyprusembassy.net and www.visitcyprus.org.
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