Cyprus, Europe’s Eastern Mediterranean isle, lies at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and, in addition to its privileged geographical position, it is a country strong in traditions and rich in culture.
Bask in sunshine all year round and feel the warmth of welcoming people, splash about in the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea under the scorching sun of the Greek summer, marvel at the splendors of nature and its fields carpeted in wild flowers over spring, explore an abundance of ancient sites in perfect temperatures in the autumn and in the mild winter keep fit with a round or two of golf or an invigorating tennis match.
Paphos is located on the southwest coast of the island and is sheltered from the north by the Troodos mountains. It has a temperate climate, one of the healthiest in the Mediterranean. Beautiful countryside, a cosmopolitan resort, historical sights as well as sporting activities, the Paphos region has something for everyone at any time of year.
Paphos, with its pleasant harbor and medieval fort, combines a dynamic holiday resort with spectacular countryside, unspoiled nature and sensational history. The region offers the possibility of enjoying both sea and mountains, as well as getting a taste of the island’s culture with its many archaeological sites.
Feel the romance floating through the air in the place where Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, once roamed. Swim in the sea by the rocks known as Petra tou Romiou, where she was believed to have risen from the waves, make a pilgrimage to her sanctuary at Kouklia, or visit the grotto near Polis where she supposedly bathed.
Whatever you desire - activity, tranquility, good food, fine wine, spas, nature, walking, golf, culture, nature, bird-watching - the Paphos region offers it all.
Take a trip to the mountains to discover an alternate view of the island. Rising to almost 2,000 metres above sea level, the Troodos peaks provide panoramic views of all corners of the island, a cool retreat from the heat of the coast and a popular destination for taking in the healthy mountain air and enjoying nature in all its majesty. Charming villages, some with cobbled streets and preserved folk architecture, nestle on terraced slopes among pines or amid vineyards and orchards.
Wander through the village roads in the Solea Valley, known as the “apple valley” and Marathasa, known as “valley with cherry trees”. Those areas are renowned for their traditional architecture and their Byzantine churches and monasteries. Explore the traditional character of the villages of the picturesque Pitsilia, the interesting churches and the hospitality of their inhabitants and also the Wine Villages (Krasochoria), renowned for their vineyards and wine. A number of small wineries welcome visitors on wine tasting tours.
Burbling mountain streams and nightingale’s songs are often the only sounds to fill in the air in a region that poets have waxed lyrical over. The Troodos mountains are where the painted churches of Cyprus can be found, superb examples of Byzantine art, ten of which have been listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage wonders.
There’s much you can do, from mountain biking to playing tennis, angling in one of the dams, or even skiing in winter. A series of walking trails will take you through areas of exceptional beauty among scented pines, running streams and the occasional waterfall, stopping at a shady picnic site. Some of these form part of the European path E4, an international network of long-distance walking routes crossing the whole of Europe.
The specific climatic conditions created by the high altitudes and the peculiar geological substratum may have contributed to the unique flora found in Troodos with nearly 800 different plant species, 12 of which found nowhere else in the world. Occasionally, if lucky, one may spot a Cyprus mouflon, a kind of wild sheep which roams free in the extensive forests. Birdwatchers may spot the rare and protected eagles or the colourful hoopoe with a pink body, a black and white crest and a call which can be heard from miles around.
Larnaca is where East meets West, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world and a fascinating blend of the many civilizations that shaped its history. This quiet seafront city, situated on the southeastern coast of Cyprus, near the island’s main airport, is a perfect starting point from which to explore Cyprus and its endless possibilities. Villages offering agrotourism, beautiful beaches, sports and recreation options, cultural events, religious tourism and authentic Cyprus taverns are just some of the choices in and around town. Welcome to Larnaca, the gateway to Cyprus.
See the Old Town and enjoy the sun and sea at the seafront. Here, there are many clubs lounges and bars. The ruins of Kition, founded by Noak’s grandchild Khittim, and the 17th-century fort are certainly worth seeing. After Mecca and Medina, the Tekke mosque, built in honour of the prophet Mohammed’s relative is one of the Muslims’ most important destinations for pilgrimages. A most-fascinating site is Choirokoitia, a settlement from the earliest period of the Stone Age.
Lefkosia (Nicosia), the island’s capital, combines both old and new in a busy modern commercial and business centre and a centuries-old culture. The centre of the city comprehends its old quarter surrounded by a Venetian sandstone fortress wall with a moat and heart-shaped bastions.
Mosques and palm trees give an oriental atmosphere to the old city. Wander along narrow streets with overhanging balconies and beautifully restored pedestrian precincts with craft shops, cafes and taverns. Make sure you stop off at St John’s cathedral with its frescoes and the marvelous museum of Byzantine icons. In the evening catch a concert or an exhibition at the Famagusta Gate, one of the three original entrances into the old city, which has now been restored and it is used as a cultural centre.
The new town spreads beyond the walls with a modern European-like centre of high-rise buildings, office blocks, shops and cafes, expanding into suburban residential areas. Lefkosia offers the best in shopping with Stassicratous Street as the destination for an ultimate shopping experience.
Of the city’s main sights, Cyprus Museum houses the best collection of archaeological artifacts 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.
Once sleepy fishing villages, the fabulous beaches of fine white sand of Agia Napa and Protaras, and the coastal area of Paralimni with its hundreds of windmills, nowadays buzz with life.
This area is known collectively as the “Kokkinochoria“, “red soil villages”, because of the rich red earth in which Cyprus’ famous potatoes are grown. Culture lovers can explore the medieval churches found in villages like Sotira or go round the folk art museums displaying rural artifacts in Deryneia and Avgorou. Children will love the Marine Life museum or the new Sea Museum, “Thalassa”, in Agia Napa, which has an amazing replica of a 4th century trading ship which sunk off the coast of Kyrenia. Or you could stop at the tiny estuary known by the locals as “Potamos” and watch the fishing boats haul in their catch in their multicoloured baskets.
Spend the day sun-bathing at the beach, swimming in warm turquoise waters or taking a short cruise along the coast. Some of the best snorkeling and diving spots are at Cape Gkreko, the national forest park, with its secluded coves and rocky outcrops, impressive cliff top views and sea caves.
In the evening dine at one of the many restaurants, especially the local ones in Paralimni, or jive to the latest sounds at one of the numerous nightclubs.
Located in the southern coast of the island, Limassol is geographically the largest city in Cyprus and the second largest in population after Nicosia. Its central position offers easy access to all major cities as well as the Troodos Mountains within a 35 to 45 minute-drive. It is also conveniently situated only 35 minutes away from both Larnaca and Paphos airports.
It is a fascinating area with a diversified character which caters to a variety of tastes and preferences: A sunlover’s heaven with its 16 kilometers of sandy beaches, this cosmopolitan destination also boasts high quality accommodation options, countless activities and a wide array of vibrant events and festivals throughout the year. In the midst of its lively nightlife and entertainment, one can still appreciate the cultural aspect with visits to archaeological sites and colourful wine villages.
Cyprus in more recent times has emerged as one of the leading spa destinations in the Mediterranean area, offering a diverse choice of spas, including Day Spas , Mineral Spring Spas, Thalassotherapy, Wellness and Recuperation. Whether the guest is looking for holistic wellness, boot camp motivation or pure unadulterated pampering, the top class spa facilities satisfy all needs.
Well known events and festivals create a vibrant and colourful atmosphere all over the island. One of the brightest events is the Carnival, taking place in February/March in all towns, or the Flower Festival, that, occurring every May, celebrates the beauty of spring with a floral exhibition boasting the rich variety of Cyprus’ authentic wild flora.
Throughout the year, Music, Dance and Theatre Festivals, operas, ancient drama and modern ballets enrich Cyprus cultural calendar. Athletic events such as Regattas, cycling races, the Cyprus Rally, the international Open Marathon, beach volley tournaments and sporting events with competitions in boxing, karate, triathlon, marathon, shooting, rhythmic gymnastics and cycling are just a few of the annual athletic events that take place in every corner of Cyprus.