One of our favoured holiday destinations, Cyprus is a firm family favourite. Set in the sparkling Mediterranean with miles of golden sands the resorts of the island are fun filled although some are decidedly more grown up than others, however if you step outside the resorts you are left with a beautiful island filled with hidden treasures, tiny fishing villages seeped in tradition, beautiful secluded beaches and hillsides covered in citrus groves – once you find the true heart of Cyprus it is easy to understand why it is known as ‘The Island of Aphrodite’.
The choice of accommodation that you have will very much depend on the type of holiday that you are booking; most package holidays are restricted to the coastal resorts where the accommodation varies hugely, there are however some excellent resort hotels such as the relaxing Amathus Beach Hotel in Limassol and the elegant Annabelle in Paphos, these luxury hotels have beautiful locations and excellent amenities.
The independent traveller has a wealth of accommodation to choose from, whether they choose to stay in the resorts or inland away from the bustling towns, for a taste of rural Cyprus the Paradisos Hills Hotel just outside Lysos is set in the hills with barely another building in sight, although the hotel is comfortable with a good solid feel the real attraction is the magnificent unspoilt views across the island.
Cypriot food is as warm and as sunny as the people who cook it, emphasis is always on fresh locally produce eaten in season and the influences from the Mediterranean and Greece are unmistakeable; the flavours of local herbs and spices add vibrancy to the cuisine. The best way to sample all that Cyprus has to offer is to order the local meze selection – lots of small dishes, all regional and all delicious.
Ta Perix in Paphos is said to serve the best meze on the island, the options are displayed on a sheet that you tick to show your choices, although the menu changes to reflect seasonal produce some staples remain such as the excellent spicy cheese dip; eating meze is a must and this restaurant is the one to choose. Cyprus is also well known for its seafood and Larnaca has some excellent fish restaurants, Zephyros on Piyale Pasa is highly recommended for the best of the days catch
Mount Olympus is the best known of all the natural attractions of Cyprus and no holiday is complete without a trip to the Troodos Mountains to see this most famous of peaks, the drive up into the mountains is absolutely stunning; see some of the best views of the island as you pass through the ancient villages with the scent of pine trees in the air – Kykkos Monastery is along the route and is well worth stopping for to see its amazing traditional mosaic work and sense of calm.
Although Cyprus has some of the best sunshine and beaches in the world there is far more to entice you to this beautiful island, it is also a haven for sport lovers from around the world; Paphos has three excellent Golf courses that will appeal to any enthusiast, and those that want to explore the beauty of the island can either hike or hire one of the many available bicycles. The beach resorts have a huge range of water activities from gentle sailing trips to diving trips around the many shipwrecks that surround the islands shores.
Cyprus is a popular year round destination, although Mediterranean in climate the close proximity to Asia and Africa gives it a heat that lasts throughout the year, the summers can be hot and humid although the Mediterranean breeze helps to avoid an overbearing heat, winters are cooler and often have rainfall however even December still manages a respectable 5-6 hours of sunshine a day.
Cyprus always has something happening, whether it is a sporting, music or cultural event or even one of the many religious festivals that are so favoured by the Greek Orthodox Church there is certain to be some thing different to entertain you during your visit – the one thing that is certain is that this island does love a good party.