Cyprus

One of the great advantages of Cyprus as a holiday destination is its size. As a relatively small island with an excellent road system, you can pretty much get to anywhere on the island within a day. Cyprus offers breath-taking views and scenery wherever you stay on the island and it has a huge and wonderful variety of landmarks, attractions and activities to take in.

Most tourists head to the south of the island arriving via Larnaca airport to the east or Paphos airport to the west. The narrow coastal strip to the south hosts the main towns of Larnaca (Λάρνακα), Limassol (Λεμεσός) and Paphos (Πάφος), each with its own historic old town, promenade and popular beaches.

Beyond these towns to the north, the land begins to rise towards the island’s main mountain range, the Troodos (Τρόοδος) Mountain, which is dotted with small villages, churches and secluded monasteries. To the west of the mountain range is a plateau covered in vineyards, the great wilderness of the Tilliria (Τιλλιρία) forest and the stark empty beauty of the Akamas (Ακάμας) Peninsula. North of the Troodos (within the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus) stand the more impressive but shorter mountains of the Kyrenia Range with its highest peak Pentadaktylos (Πενταδάκτυλος). Beyond this range you will find the narrow northern coastal strip on which the beautiful town of Kyrenia (Κερύνεια) stands. To the east of Kyrenia is the broad and largely flat Mesaorian Plain (Μεσαορία) on which the island’s capital, Nicosia (Λευκωσία) stands. Further east is the abandoned port city of Famagusta (Αμμόχωστος) and thereafter the long, tapering Karpass (Καρπασία) Peninsula home to wild donkeys, far-flung villages and the monastery of Apostolos Andreas (Απόστολος Ανδρέας).

For a traditional sun, sea and sand holiday, you have an extensive choice of beautiful beaches and resorts at Protaras (Πρωταράς) and Agia Napa (Αγία Νάπα) to the east, Larnaca and Limassol to the south and Paphos to the west with its famous Coral Bay. To the north, the coast either side of Kyrenia and north of Famagusta offers more of the same. For quiet picturesque hotels with more character, try the north coast around Polis and the Akamas Peninsula, or traditional homes converted to guest houses in the villages around the Troodos Mountains

For a taste of Cyprus’s newly developed restaurant scene head to the gastronomic capital of the island, Limassol. Nicosia also boasts several cool cafés and the best shopping on the island. To the north the town of Kyrenia provides relaxing harbour-side restaurants. Wine lovers are particularly well-catered for by the Cypriots in the form of a wine museum and annual wine festival in Limassol as well as six well-signposted wine routes in the Paphos and Limassol districts.

Cyprus has a very rich history and virtually every district has its Roman (or earlier) ruin, a Byzantine church, a Crusader castle and grand British colonial architecture. Standout sights include the ancient cities of Kourion (Κούριον) and Salamis (Σαλαμίς), prehistoric villages at Tenta (Τέντα) and Khirokitia (Χοιροκοιτία), crusader castles at Kolossi (Κολόσσι) and Limassol to the south and St Hilarion (Κάστρο Αγίου Ιλαρίωνα, Buffavento (Κάστρο του Μπάφαβεντο) and Kantara (Καντάρα) to the north, monasteries like Kykkos (Ιερά Μονή Κύκκου) and Machairas (Μαχαιράς) and the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage painted churches of the Troodos Mountains.

For lovers of nature and the great outdoors, Cyprus offers a number of stimulating opportunities. The Troodos and Kyrenia mountains offer superb hiking trails, cycling routes and climbing opportunities. Cliffs and deep coastal waters around the island provide many opportunities for land-to- sea diving for the adrenaline junkies. For a more relaxed approach to nature, the beaches at Lara Bay to the west and Algadi to the northeast are great for turtle watching. Golfers can enjoy the fine golf courses in Paphos and Kyrenia.

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