Cyprus, the island of legends that basks year saround in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun boasts of a history dating back 10,000 years. The home of Aphrodite, Cyprus is a modern country with a unique combination of European culture and Asian enchantment. A country of alluring beaches, fragrant mountain peaks, ancient ruins, citrus groves and old stone villages…Cyprus holidays are made of these! Check out information on Cyprus hotels and Cyprus villas so as to plan a comfortable stay. Look for travel tips to Cyprus.
The Cyprus Mystique
Well-preserved Roman and Greek ruins, impressive archeological sites, sun-kissed coastline, world-class beach resorts, old wine-producing villages with winding lanes and terraced vineyards are symbolic of Cyprus. Nestled in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and at the cross junction of three continents, Cyprus also acts as an ideal starting point for the discovery of other exotic locales such as the Greek Islands, Egypt and the Middle East. You can find mini cruises setting off for these places almost every day.
Greek and Turkish are the main languages while English is also widely spoken. French and German are also extensively used within the travel industry. The currency of the Republic is the Cyprus pound, which is divided into 100 cents. Cyprus can offer visitors diverse landscapes, from pine-laden Troodos Mountains and golf courses to sun-kissed beaches and resorts of Ayia Napa. When planning your holiday to Cyprus, you can look at the bigger towns such as Paphos, Larnaka, LAtchi and Lefkosia. The international airports are located at Larnaka and Paphos. You can choose to fly to Cyprus from Turkey or other European countries.
December and January is wintertime in Cyprus, though it may not be really cold. Winter in Cyprus is mild. Cyprus receives rains every few years. It may rain occasionally but sunshine is available in abundance. You can pack light winter clothing when planning your Cyprus holiday. Outdoor activities and excursions can be enjoyed. In fact, this is the best season to visit Cyprus. Enjoy mild daytime temperatures and occasional rain when visiting Cyprus in February. You can find the almond trees in full bloom. Enjoy most outdoor activities in the month of March when weather is moderate. June – August are the warmest months of the summer wherein you need only very lightweight summer clothing. This season is ideal for swimming enthusiasts. Don't forget your sunscreen kit and a wide-brimmed hat when packing for your Cyprus holidays.
A diverse range of accommodation awaits visitors in Cyprus; from cozy agro tourism Cyprus villas to five star hotels, from large and luxurious establishments to small family-run accommodations. Luxurious Cyprus hotels offer contemporary furnishings, swimming pools, air conditioning, tennis courts, sauna and in-house restaurants. Buffet style dining is popular and diners can choose from a range of dishes including ethnic food to international cuisine. Another popular option is the hotel apartment - ideal for budget tourists enjoying longer holidays in Cyprus. Youth Hostels are also open to members of Youth Hostels Association. Non-members are also provided accommodation depending on availability.
But the best of the lot is the independent villa style accommodations which are available for rent. Idyllic Cyprus villas offer a cozy place to relax and enjoy the sunshine, with plenty of amenities close at hand. You can find a range of villas from small ones that can house 4 persons to huge ones that can accommodate a dozen or so. Various villas in Cyprus offer astounding views of the mountain and beaches. Tourists can choose from budget villas, luxury villas, large family villas, romantic villas, villas near the sea, and villas with mountain views or both, villas near the golf course. Most of the villas in Cyprus have their own private pool and garden of olive, orange and lemon groves. Indeed, Cyprus villas are a high-end retreat for those wanting to getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Reservations must be made in advance in order to avoid any inconvenience. The Cyprus hotel guide includes all information about hotels and establishments registered by the Cyprus tourism Organization. The Cyprus Hotel association's office at Larnaka International airport assists all incoming passengers with hotel reservations.
One can get around Cyprus either by bus, taxi or car. There are no trains in Cyprus. Most of the villages and cities are connected by rural buses. Urban buses operate frequently during daytime to most of the tourist spots. Alternatively, visitors can opt for the Tran urban service taxi or the shared taxi, wherein you can share the taxi with 4-8 other passengers. This service provides connection between all major towns of Cyprus and pick up and drop facilities are available to any place you wish. You can travel within the city in the urban taxi.
Guided excursions, both full day and half day are organized by sightseeing tour operators, to almost all the important places of tourist interest. Another convenient option is the self-drive car. Major car rental firms have offices in all the cities as well as at the Larnaka International Airport. Self-drive cars are also known as Z cars because of their registration number which starts with the letter Z. Almost all categories of cars are available, right from 800cc to over 1800 cc cars. Rates vary according to the number of days of rent, type of car, period of the year and extras.
Choirokoitia Neolithic settlement (Larnaka) is around 30 miles south of Kefkosia. This ancient site is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage official list. It represents the whole history of the Neolithic period in Cyprus and divulges information about the spread of the Neolithic culture throughout the region.
Hala Sultan Tekke: About 3 miles west of Larnaka, is the tomb of Umm Haram - a relative of Prophet Mohammed who died at this spot in 649 AD during the first Arab raids. The mosque is an important place of Muslim pilgrimage ranking immediately after the shrines of Mecca, Medina and Al Aqsha in Jerusalem.
Tamassos Royal Tombs (Lefkosia): Tamassos was a rich city in ancient Cyprus renowned for its copper mines. Excavations have highlighted the Royal Tombs and copper workshops associated with Aphrodite-Astarte.
Kolossi Mediaeval Castle (Lemesos): A fine example of military architecture, this castle was originally constructed in the 13th century and subsequently rebuilt in its present form in the 15th century. After the fall of Acre in 1291, it served as the Grand Commandery of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. In the 14th century, it came under the rule of the Knights Templar for a few years.
Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Palaipafos Museum: Located 9 miles east of Pafos, this was one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers of the ancient Greek world. One can also find the ancient remains of the famous sanctuary of Aphrodite dating back to the 12th century BC. The museum contains many interesting finds from the area.
Bird watching: Cyprus is an ornithologist's delight, what with a variety of endemic birds as well as migratory ones. One can spot the Cyprus warbler, pied wheatear, coal tit, crested lark, wood pigeons, kestrel, griffon vultures, coots, ringed plovers, sea gulls and sandpipers.
Camel Park (Larnaka): Visitors, especially kids can enjoy a day at the camel park, learning about the camel, feeding the animals and experiencing camel rides.
Ostrich Wonderland Theme Park: This is one of the biggest ostrich farms in Europe and is located about 25 minutes from Lefkosia. One can spend a day with the big birds learning about them. Kids can also take a look at the ostrich's eggs.
You can also visit the Reptile Park in Pafos, which is home to native snakes and reptiles. All the reptiles are protected by enclosing them in their natural habitats. Don't miss the Avakas Gorge and Lara Bay. Take a trip to the birthplace of Aphrodite in the Polis and Latchi region. Include the gold-plated church at the Kykko Monastery in your Cyprus holiday itinerary.
Shopping in Cyprus
You can immerse yourself in the artistic heritage of Cyprus, which is a reflection of the island's history and traditions that have endured for centuries. An important aspect is that most of the raw materials used in the making of the crafts are native to Cyprus. Lacework, embroidery, pottery, woodwork, jewelry – you can indulge in shopping for such items. You can purchase these items from the Cyprus Handicraft Center in Lefkosia as well as art museums in Lemesos, Larnaka and Pafos. Cypriot lacework is prized for its quality and artistry. Well-known embroidery called Lefkaritika, wherein embroidered lace is worked on off-white linen or cotton is a specialty of Cyprus. You can buy highly decorative table cloths, curtains, doilies, placemats and dresser sets. Attractive pots in all shapes and sizes, terra cotta pieces with white decorations, copperwares, hand-painted gourds, handmade baskets and jewelry with motifs make for attractive gifts.
Partake of Cyprus Meze in small coffee houses or taverns. Sample tasty dips like Tzatziki Dip and Tahini Dip. Enjoy a Greek salad or Souvlaki, Kalamari and Hiromeri. Zivania is the local alcohol that promises to live up to its name of 'fire water'. If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the Galatopoureko, Poureki and Baklava. A Cyprus coffee laced with local brandy is the perfect way to end the meal.
Cyprus, being in the Mediterranean region is blessed with plentiful sunshine throughout the year. It has something to offer every month of the year, whether it is water sports or enjoying the cultural sites. Pack your bags and get ready to be seduced by its sunny weather, sandy beaches, charming villages, vineyard and ancient history.