From secluded bays, to lively resorts, from sandy beaches to rocky coves, you are bound to find the right one for you. You can snorkel, dive, play watersports, windsurf or sail, or just relax in the guaranteed sunshine. Waterparks and bungee jumping provide fun for the more extreme minded.
With a wealth of beaches to choose from, you're bound to find one that suits your taste. From the quiet backwaters of the western peninsula, to the lively resorts in the east, the island has something for everyone.
The eastern coast is famous for its fine white sandy beaches with shallow turquoise waters. Deep water bays with rocky outcrops are perfect for snorkelling or diving. The long finely packed grey sand of the southern coast lend themselves to long winter walks or jogging, while the secluded coves of the western coast beckon when you want to be alone.
There's more to Cyprus than sea and sand. In the Troodos mountains you can discover cool resorts and picturesque villages, Byzantine monasteries and churches perched on rocky peaks or hiding away in fragrant valleys.
Dozens of vineyards dot the foothills of the range producing some the finest wines you could care to taste. The climate here is ideal for producing grapes and wines have been made here since ancient times. Commandaria, the oldest named wine in the world, was enjoyed by Richard the Lionheart, who married his bride Berengaria in Lemesos. You will find a warm welcome in the small tavernas in any of the hundreds of villages on the island.
Cities & Regions
Situated in the centre of the island Lefkosia (Nicosia) the capital of the island is a busy modern commercial and business centre. Situated roughly in the centre of the island, it is the seat of government. The city centre is its old quarter, a jumble of narrow streets with sandstone buildings with overhanging balconies and inner courtyards. Mosques and palm trees give it an oriental atmosphere, while a beautifully restored pedestrian precinct, Laiki Yeitonia, has craft shops, cafes and tavernas. The Cyprus Museum houses the best collection of archaeological artefacts on the island, including a first century AD Roman statuette of Aphrodite of Soli and the original mosaic of Leda and the Swan, while the Leventis museum depicts the history of the town.
The island's second largest city has the island's main port, the centre of the wine industry and a bustling holiday resort. It spreads out between two ancient city-kingdoms, Amathous to the east and Kourion with its Greco-Roman theatre to the west, two of the most spectacular archaeological sites in Cyprus. The Medieval Castle in the old part of town was, according to tradition, the site of the royal wedding in the Middle Ages between Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria of Navarre, and now houses the Cyprus Medieval Museum.
Larnaka is built over the ancient city kingdom of Kition, a rich sea port and major centre of the copper trade in antiquity and later a Phoenician stronghold. Its remains can be seen today in its cyclopean walls made of giant blocks of stone and a complex of 12th century BC Mycenaean Greek temples. Larnaka was the second home of St. Lazarus, who lived here after his resurrection and later became its first Bishop. The impressive 10th century Church of St Lazarus in the centre of the town was built over the saint's tomb and is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus. In the environs of the town, dramatically perched on the peak of a hilltop, sits solitary Stavrovouni, one of the oldest monasteries in Cyprus, while further along lies the neolithic settlement of Khoirokoitia, with its reconstructed round huts and a World Heritage site.
Pafos was the capital of Cyprus for 600 years in ancient times and its archaeological legacy is such that UNESCO has put the whole town on its World Cultural Heritage List. It was the centre of the cult of Aphrodite with numerous temples such as her sanctuary at Kouklia built in her name and the area known as Petra tou Romiou believed to have been where the goddess rose from the waves. The intricate floor mosaics in villas dating back to the Roman period depicting scenes from Greek mythology are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Equally impressive are the underground Tombs of the Kings carved out of solid rock and decorated with Doric pillars.
The museum at Maa-Paleokastro near Coral Bay has an interesting collection of artefacts from the period of Mycenean Greek colonisation of Cyprus.
The monastery of Agios Neofytos has wonderfully colourful frescoes painted on the walls in a cave that a hermit carved out of the mountains.
Chrysorrogiatissa monastery is also worth visiting for its fine icons and a taste of the locally produced vintage wine from its own winery.
Rising to almost 2,000 metres above sea level, the Troodos peaks provide panoramic views, a refreshing break from the heat in summer and a place to go snow skiing in winter. Picturesque villages with cobbled streets and folk architecture nestle on terraced slopes amid vineyards and orchards of almond, hazelnut and cherry trees, where visitors can stop off next to a burbling mountain stream and try one of the preserved fruit desserts served as a typical island welcome, or dine on the locally produced fresh water rainbow trout, a speciality of the region.
The Akamas peninsula is an area of natural wilderness with dramatic coastlines and sandy coves. A preserved national park, it is a place where one can truly appreciate the beautiful unspoilt scenery, walking the many nature trails, taking a boat trip along the coast to swim off secluded beaches or just observing the varied plant and animal life.
This area is a must-visit for birdwatchers to spot the endemic Cyprus warbler and wheatear. The island is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa and in the spring flocks of storks and demoiselle cranes ride thermals over the sea, hoopoes, larks and wagtails fly in, while in the autumn huge numbers of raptors sail by. Rare endemic plants, such as the Cyprus orchid, tulip and crocus, grow here and in the spring wild anemones can be seen, making it a botanist's paradise.
The sandy beaches of the Akamas are important breeding grounds for the green and loggerhead turtles, whose numbers have greatly been increased thanks to a successful conservation project at Lara.
Source: Press and Information Office (PIO)