Stepped in history, mythology, full of Bronze Age and Phoenician tombs, Neolithic dwellings, Roman mosaics, Byzantine churches, and hilltop castles, Cyprus is a delight for all history and culture buffs. Cyprus is also the birthplace of the Greek God Aphrodite. It has one of the richest histories in the continent. But the island offers much more. Cyprus has a dramatic landscape, some of the best beaches of Europe, small and interesting islets, the turquoise blue Mediterranean Sea, vineyard-dotted mountains, colorful cities, and ancient medieval villages.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and Sardinia. It may seem small on a global scale, but you will find the island surprisingly big on arrival. There is a lot to see and do here. Many tourists, of course, come to Cyprus for a relaxing vacation and to get a tan. The island receives 300 days of sunshine a year.
Stroll through the cities, see the preserved architectural legacy from the Venetian and Ottoman times, or enjoy the nature of the island. Laze on the beach if you prefer a relaxing vacation. Many beaches also have water sports activities. Hire a boat for a trip around the island. Visit the sea caves. There is snorkeling and diving too. Don’t forget to visit the villages. You can see traditional houses, lifestyle of the locals, and also many beautiful churches. There is skiing too in the Troodos Mountains in the winter.
10 Interesting Facts About Cyprus
- Cyprus has 160 beaches. 57 of them are Blue Flag beaches.
- The entire town of Paphos on the west coast is a UNESCO world heritage site.
- Nicosia is the world’s only divided capital.
- Nightlife in Ayia Napa is considered to be as good as Ibiza.
- Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, love, and passion was born in Cyprus.
- There are 20 rare species of orchids and 371 species of migratory birds.
- Cyprus is one of the oldest wine making regions in the world. Its wine making history goes back more than 5000 years.
- Cyprus is also credited for making the world’s oldest perfume. It goes back to more than 4,000 years.
- Cyprus is an island, but the locals do not fish.
- The island gets 300 days of sunshine in a year.
Top Reasons for Visiting Cyprus
The Beaches – From crescent-shaped bays, small hidden coves, to large beaches, Cyprus has it all. Most of the beaches are sandy and clean. The water is crystal clear. Cyprus has a long coastline with more than a hundred-mile beach area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. You will get family-friendly beaches with lounging and also secluded spots for privacy. Many beaches also have water sports. Nissi Beach, Lara Beach, Coral Bay, and the Fig Tree Beach are the most famous.
Cyprus has 160 beaches, including 57 Blue Flag beaches, awarded for water quality and cleanliness.
Cultural Diversity – 78% of the residents are Greeks, while 18% are Turks. Cyprus is steeped in history and a land of cultural diversity. Nicosia is the world’s only divided capital. South of Nicosia, you will find mostly Greeks, while the northern regions are inhabited by the Turkish people. So in Cyprus, you will feel like visiting two countries. There are many festivals that celebrate music, dance, food, and wine. The Limassol Carnival is held 50 days before Lent. Larnaca hosts the Classical Music Festival in April. The Limassol Wine Festival is held in the summer while the Jazz Festival is celebrated in the winter.
The historical city of Paphos in the western coast won the “European City of Culture” award for 2017.
History, Archeology, and Ancient Sites – The history of Cyprus goes back more than 10,000 years to the Neolithic and Byzantine periods. You will find ancient historical sites almost throughout the island. See the Greek ruins of Amathus and Korion near the city of Limassol, the old Turkish mosques. You can even see Venetian walls in Nicosia. Many consider them to a great example of the perfect Renaissance city. Visit the Paphos Archaeological Park to see Roman mosaics, Odeon, Colosseum, and more. Just north is the Tombs of the Kings.
Food – The food of Cyprus is famous around the world, especially halloumi cheese, which is made from local goat and cow milk and is grilled. Try mezze, the most popular starter meal of the locals. It contains a variety of meat, fish, and vegetables. You will also find calamari, olives, kebabs, and hummus in the traditional tavernas. Try the charcoal grilled pork and chicken souvla and the spicy Loukaniko sausages.
Adventure – There are many marinas from where you can hire a boat for a trip on the blue Mediterranean Sea. You can go snorkeling and diving too. There are many shipwrecks very close to the coast. You have the chance to see turtles, squid, lobster, sea cucumbers, cuttlefish, damselfish, rays, octopus, and even sharks. Above the ground, there is go-karting, windsurfing, paragliding, and a trip to the sea caves to explore the tunnels where pirates used to hide their treasures. There is hiking in the Avakas Gorge and Akamas Peninsula. During the winter, there is skiing in the Troodos Mountains as well.
Nightlife – The city of Ayia Napa in the south-eastern coast of Cyprus has a buzzing nightlife that attracts many young people. Many compare Ayia Napa’s nightlife to that of Ibiza in Spain. There are 12 clubs and 80 bars with loud music, parties, dancing, and international DJs. Most of the nightclubs and open between June and August. During the summer, the city’s main square turns into an open-air party zone.
Sunny Weather – More than a million British people visit Cyprus every year. The island is also very popular with Russians. Why? Because of its sunny weather. Cyprus receives about 300 days of sunshine a year. There is little rain so you won’t be left stranded in your villa room if you have plans for the day.
Best Time to Visit
There is really no bad time to visit Cyprus. The island has a warm, Mediterranean climate with a long, hot summer and mild, wet winter. The summer is perfect to enjoy the island’s many beaches. You will get warm weather even in the winter compared to many areas of Europe. Spring is good if you prefer it slightly cooler. Cyprus will still be sunny, but not too hot this time of the year. It will also be a bit quieter as there will be fewer tourists. May and June are the driest months of the year.
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5 Best Beaches in Cyprus
Cyprus has beaches for everyone. There are both busy, family-friendly beaches where you will find cafes, shops, restaurants, sunbeds, and watersports. You will also find secluded spots and hidden bays where you may be all alone if you want to enjoy your moment of privacy. Here are the 5 top beaches on the island.
- Nissi Beach – It is very close to the city of Ayia Napa. Swimming is popular because of the clean water and mild waves. Many sunbeds and umbrellas are available for rent. Many restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, and villas all around. The party sometimes spills over into the beach from the city’s main square where most of the nightclubs and bars are located. The water sports center is located just off the beach on a small islet. You can walk across easily.
- Fig Tree Bay – Named after a famous Fig Tree right on the beach. The tree is more than 100 years old. It has often been ranked among the best beaches of Europe. Like Nissi, here also you will find a small islet that you can easily reach on foot during low tide. The water is calm and perfect for swimming. There are lifeguards on the beach and many sunbeds with umbrellas. Go to the Fig Tree Bay Peninsula if you want privacy.
- Coral Bay – In the west coast of Cyprus in the Peyia neighborhood. This is a sandy beach unlike many others in the west that have pebbles. It is popular for swimming, boating, and diving. The bay is between two headlands. The northern headland has an archeological site and museum. There are many attractions around the beach like amusements parks and go-karting.
- Mackenzie Beach – Mackenzie beach is in Larnaca very close to the international airport. Sandy beach lined with many restaurants and cafes. There is a Salt Lake very close to the beach where you can see flamingoes. Events like art fairs, concerts, and late-night parties are held on the seafront stage. The beach extends right up to Kastella, which is also very popular. The shipwreck of MS Zenobia is very close.
- Lara Beach – Head to the Lara Beach or the smaller Lara Bay in the west. They are both remote areas with very few restaurants and cafes all around. There is a camping site, though. Lara Beach is a protected site as loggerhead turtles come here to lay their eggs during the summer months. There are hiking trails if you want to explore nature. You can also visit the nearby Avakas Gorge.
Shopping in Cyprus
There are impressive modern malls in Larnaca, Limassol, and Paphos. You will also find many street markets selling a variety of things. The best buys in Cyprus include basketwork, handmade lace, pottery, woven curtains, silverware, silk, and leather goods. Lefkara lace, which is also called aslefkaritika, is famous.
Buy this variety of lace work if you want to take home Cypriot handmade workmanship. Intricately patterned, it is used for tablemats and tablecloths. You will see women working in small village workshops at Lefkara at the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. The lace gets its name from the name of the village.
Lefkara is also famous for making silverwork. Their silver forks and spoons are highly rated. The Omodos village in the Troodos also make very good lace. Cyprus is also widely regarded for its jewelry. The tradition of jewelry making goes back to the Mycenaean Greek times.
Commandaria is one of the world’s oldest wines. It is made in the villages north of Limassol. You can also buy Zivania liqueur and locally made brandy.
Rent a Villa in Cyprus
Cyprus has some of the best villas in the Mediterranean. You will find villas with a private pool in the large cities, up in the hills, golf estates, and also in the beachfront. We have handpicked the luxury villas you will find in our website based on location, amenities, luxuries, and the quality of service. You will enjoy complete privacy in a luxury villa for rent on the island. Stay with your group for an unforgettable holiday.
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