There is something magical about Cyprus. It is about amazing colors of the sea, a sense of endlessness of a holiday and of total freedom. There is no need to escape from problems, they disappear on their own accord as if by magic, vanish and dissolve somewhere where the sea gradually merges with the sky. Life is the only thing that is left, with its intrinsic values, recklessness, inspiration and the secret desire of eternal love. Dreams the colour of flamingo also remain...
Limassol stretches for over ten kilometres along a sandy coastline; travel from the Amathus site of Aphrodite’s ancient sanctuary, through the tourist district of beaches, boats, eucalyptus groves and luxurious hotels and into the city centre. In the second largest metropolis on the island, Cypriot culture is celebrated at the famous Easter Carnival and August Wine Festival, whilst the international flavour of Limassol exudes through the variety of restaurants, frequent concerts, the World Rally Championship and public art exhibitions.
Depending on which part of Limassol you visit, the streets are either quaint alleys or wide tree-lined avenues. Both old and new hold many surprises; gourmet restaurants border Limassol Castle in the aptly named Castle Square. This famous fortification in the Old Town houses the Medieval Museum and was the romantic venue for Richard the Lionheart’s marriage to Berengaria of Navarre. Churches such as Ayia Napa and Ayia Marina are examples of fine Orthodox styling and the Municipal Gardens and zoo give a refreshing break.
Discover the extensive site of Kourion west of Limassol where dramas and concerts are played out on the stage of the ancient sea-facing Theatre. Kolossi Castle at Episkopi was styled for the Knights Templar in the 13th Century and was the hub of wine export from Cyprus. The region is still famed for the Commandaria wine named after the Knights’ headquarters and the wine routes are clearly marked through beautiful countryside and friendly villages like Koilani. The artists’ village of Laneia, beaches such as Governor’s Beach and Agios Georgious, and for the whole family, the two nearby Water Parks, are also great escapes.
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus and as the Government seat and cultural centre of the Island it offers theatres, clubs, international sporting events and an excellent variety of restaurants and bars. The Venetian Walls encircle the Old Town with its blend of historic architecture and the ‘Green Line’, which divides the south of the city from the occupied north, is of particular interest. Museums are numerous and galleries feature both Cypriot and international art, with shops from bargain to boutique completing the extensive attributes of this unique city.
From the ‘Green Line’, where buildings still bear the marks of warfare, the streets radiate out to find working Hammam Baths, exposed archaeological sites, the artists quarter and beautiful churches such as Faneromeni and Trypiotis. Walking the Venetian Walls brings you to Famagusta Gate exhibition centre and the colourful shops of Laiki Geitonia. Outside the Walls the city is modern, shops flourish and trendy cafés give the best views for a spot of people-watching.
Take a journey from the low plains of Nicosia to explore the pine-scented Macheras Forest or the awe-inspiring heights of the Troodos Mountains for winter skiing or summer treks. One route will take you through the Tamassos region where you can stop at Agios Irakleidios where the Saint once lived as a hermit, see the ancient ruins of Aphrodite’s Temple at Politico and enjoy the traditional village of Pera. The other road climbs all the way to Kykkos Monastery, giving detours to the Byzantine Churches listed by UNESCO as unique heritage sites.
Paphos is an exquisite town on the west coast full of charm and history. The world famous mosaics within the Archaeological Park and the Tombs of the Kings are just two sites that have qualified the whole town to be included on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The social focus of Paphos is the Harbour where cafés and restaurants offer fresh local fish and an opportunity to relax in the shade of the Medieval Fort. Yachtsmen love Paphos for its westerly winds, romantics swoon at the sunsets and shoppers find gifts galore.
In Kato (lower) Paphos, the Medieval Fort has a roof top view of the whole town and in September, international operatic performances are staged with the Fort as the dramatic backdrop. From here you can now enjoy a stroll under the palms along the newly pedestrianized sea walls or in the adjacent Archaeology Park. On the way to Pano (upper) Paphos, you can visit Chrysopolitissa Church and St Paul’s Pillar before reaching the shopping streets of the exquisite old town.
To the west of Paphos is the lively area of Coral Bay leading to the scenic and peaceful Akamas Peninsular famed for its wild flowers and rare turtle breeding grounds. To the north you will find the excellent fresh fish taverns of Polis town and the beaches of Latchi and Pomos. The most notable Paphos site is Petra tou Romiou to the east, where the goddess Aphrodite is said to have risen from the waves. From this spot you can see one of the three golf courses of the area and the view to the Troodos Mountain range, the wine regions and the glorious Cedar Valley.
With Cyprus’s International Airport on its doorstep, many travellers find Larnaca an attractive stop-off. It was once the ancient city-kingdom of Kition and has historic sites going back to the Mycenaean era; sacred temples, Byzantine churches and the Medieval Fort are all of unique interest. Many visitors are also drawn to the superb sandy beaches, the craft shops, al fresco taverns and above all, the easy-going attitude of the people.
From the Marina and pier you can take boat trips to see the Zenobia wreck, one of the top ten dives in the world. The white sand beach of Phinikoudes and the palm promenade is lined with restaurants and has the 17th century Medieval Fort at the end marking the entrance to the old town. Central to the old quarter is the magnificent Saint Lazarus Church and, for those seeking a moment to relax, we recommend the museums; Pierides with its garden of modern sculpture, the Natural History Museum and the Medieval Museum housed in the Fort.
Just outside Larnaca are the famous Salt Lakes where the pink flamingos settle and the sacred Hala Sultan Tekke mosque casts a dramatic reflection. Further west is an equally important religious site at Stavrovouni Monastery. Beaches are within easy reach: Mackenzie with its young crowd and bars to the west, and Larnaca Bay, home to hotels, excellent water sports and family facilities to the east. The villages of Larnaca district still hold their traditional charm; watch the women of Lefkara create Venetian lace designs or feast at the taverns of Tochni and Ayia Anna, where Cypriot dancers perform balancing tricks and entertain diners for the whole evening.
The Famagusta region in the east of Cyprus is renowned for its clubbing fraternity and party spirit and it’s here that you’ll find the excellent shopping centres which cater for the trendy jet-set in the three main towns of Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Protaras.
The thriving towns of Ayia Napa and Protaras are both on the coast and have the latest clubs and bars, plus the best Blue Flag beaches in Cyprus; the white sand and turquoise water is totally irresistible. Paralimni is slightly inland making up for its lack of beaches with the excellent shopping and restaurant facilities of the municipality’s main town.
Water sports, coastal walks, boat trips and deep sea fishing safaris all create an action-packed holiday and, for full family entertainment, the local Water World park will keep children busy all day.
Most people recognise Ayia Napa for its party spirit and, as evening descends, you will see the streets fill with clubbers out to enjoy one of the many sets played by international DJs. By day, the town takes on a different guise. Visit the peaceful 16th century Monastery in the centre of town or the Thalassa Sea Museum. The trendy bistros and bars serve drinks and meals al fresco till dawn and a stroll to the Harbour restaurants gives you the chance to try local fish dishes. Board a pleasure boat to see the dramatic Palaces and Sea Caves hewn from the coastal cliff face or just relax on the beach; Nissi, Limnara and Krio Nero are excellent for swimming and water sports.
If you want to get sporty, the best in sports and swim wear is sure to turn heads on the beach. If you feel in a party mood, then get down to the groovy club wear shops for the funkiest creations. If you are visiting for a wedding then why not spoil the couple with a gift of beautiful porcelain or the latest in luggage for their honeymoon. And if you are in Ayia Napa for a performance at one of the many year-round festivals, indulge yourself in a stunning new outfit; you’ll be the talk of the town. For leather ware, jewellery, sunglasses and watches the prices are great, the styles are in and summer waits for those who want to shop till they drop - the choice will take your breath away.
The fun-loving and family orientated town of Protaras is one of the most popular holiday destinations on the island. The perfect tan is available at the stunning stretch of white sand beach in Fig Tree Bay whilst themed bars, al fresco restaurants and chic clubs line the main street. They provide film showings, cocktail bars, live entertainment and Karaoke, allowing everyone to join in regardless of age or talent.
The regional town of Paralimni is home to the Municipality offices and focuses on the town square with its three churches, each from a different era. The open-air theatre and relaxing coffee shops also play their part in the life of the square, providing a serene place for a frappe and performances of local entertainment throughout the summer. Paralimni is good for families looking for fun - children love Playland and the modern hotel Spas offer time to unwind and pamper yourself. Also central to Paralimni are the streets of shops open all year round for summer styles and winter warmers.