Cyprus Travel Guide
The island of Cyprus, languishing in the eastern Mediterranean actually comprises two countries - the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognised only by Turkey) and the southern Republic of Cyprus. The landscape tends to vary between craggy coastlines, sandy beaches, rocky hills and lush forest-covered mountains. There are two major mountain ranges on the island - the Kyrenian Mountains in North Cyprus and the Troodos Massif in the centre. The Troodos Mountains are a popular destination for skiers in the winter and tower to a height of almost 1950m (6400ft). Platres and Kakopetria in particular are fast becoming very popular for skiing on Mount Olympus. Running between these two mountain ranges is what is known as the ‘panhandle’ - the extremely fertile Messaoria Plain. The island is practically dedicated to tourism, with a number of popular beach resorts scattered around it's 800km of coastline.
The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia, sitting at the very heart of the Messaoria Plain. Regarded as the cultural centre of the island, Nicosia contains the island's oldest university, several excellent museums including the Cyprus Museum and the Folk Art Museum, quaint old shops and an exciting nightlife scene born of the dynamic student and arts community. There is some beautiful architecture, namely the old and new Arch-Episcopal Palaces, St John's Cathedral and the intricate Byzantine churches plus Roman mosaics and remote monasteries. Other important towns are Limassol, the island's main port and the heart of Cyprus’ wine industry and historical Paphos. Limassol, Cyprus’ second largest town has a wine festival held in September and with completely free food and wine on offer, it is perfect if you fancy a freebie wine and dine session. Paphos, on the other hand is crammed with cultural and archaeological sights for the culture vultures such as the Villa of Theseus and the House of Dionysus - a magnificent Roman villa with exquisite mosaics.
Alternatively, there are a number of beach-orientated resorts the most famous of which is Ayia Napa, the Cypriot counterpart of Ibiza packed with trendy bars and clubs. There is also Protaras - a more serene yet modern resort boasting the best beaches in Cyprus, including the famous sands at Fig Tree Bay. With bustling covered markets, friendly open-air cafes and 9000yrs worth of culture, there is plenty to see and do on this hot and dry Mediterranean island.
Write your own travel review >>
Cyprus top highlights