Cyprus

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Sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, delicious food and nice weather all year round. This is what you will experience during your visit to Cyprus. On the other hand, if you go to cypress, you won’t get, well, any of the above. Confused? Before we begin, let’s clear some things up.

Discover the many reasons to visit Cyprus, from sandy beaches to charming villages, delicious food, warm people and historic sights. #Cyprus

Is it Spelled Cyprus or Cypress?

Some people misspell the name of Cyprus. Keep in mind, you can have a cypress tree in your yard but not a Cyprus.

Do Greeks or Turks Live in Cyprus?

The island is divided into two parts: the official Republic of Cyprus (south), where Greek Cypriots live, and the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, where Turkish Cypriots live. In 1960, Cyprus, a British colony at the time, attained independence. But happiness did not last long.

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In 1974, Greek Cypriots attempted to annex the island to Greece, sparking a conflict in which Greece supported Greek Cypriots and Turkey supported minority Turkish Cypriots. Since then, there has been a very clear border between the two parts of this island, with no signs of progress.

However, you should not be concerned. Just keep in mind that the Republic of Cyprus does not permit entry into the country through the northern part. Also, in the northern part, the official currency is the Turkish lira.

Cyprus is its own country
Cyprus is its own country. Image from Canva

Where is Cyprus?

Actually, if you visit Cyprus, you should be aware that Cypriots will not be overly pleased if you refer to them as Greeks, as Cyprus is a separate country.

Why You Should Visit Cyprus

Although this island can be considered small, it is actually the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily and Sardinia, Italy). With up to 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, it has a climate that is one of the best in Europe. This is fantastic because, let’s face it, who wants to spend their summer vacation in the rain?

Nissin Beach Cyprus
Nissin Beach. Image from Canva

1. Sandy Beaches and Crystal-Clear Water

First, let’s talk about the beaches. Are you familiar with the idyllic Maldives scenes of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and an endless horizon? That is exactly what you will get—and much more—when you visit Cyprus.

Wondering if it’s really that perfect? You’ll be pleased to know that Cyprus is a frequent winner of the Blue Flag. This international recognition takes into account a variety of factors, such as water purity, safety and services, waste management systems and sustainable development education. So, let’s go on a beach adventure.

If you’re looking for a “Maldives-like” setting, Nissi Beach near Ayia Napa is always a great choice. And, at the same time, it’s also perfect for diving and snorkeling in beautiful sea caves. The famous blue umbrellas await you at Fig Tree Bay in Protaras. But if you enjoy water sports, head to Coral Bay.

Do you prefer tranquility and peace? If so, Latchi Beach could be ideal for you. Other beautiful beaches include Lara, Pissouri, Makronissos, Landa, Mackenzie, Konnos Bay and many more. In short, you will find sandy beaches with crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea in the east and more hidden beaches to the west. But now allow me to show you something truly unique.

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Aphrodite's Rock Beach.
Aphrodite’s Rock Beach. Image from Canva

2. Aphrodite’s Beach: Birthplace of the Goddess of Love

Yes, you read that correctly. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born on this beautiful beach. The ancient Greeks believe that the daughter of Zeus emerged from the foam near the largest rock, Petra tou Romiou. With its crystal-clear water and sea cliffs, this is probably Cyprus’s most beautiful beach. There’s no doubt it could be a suitable home for the goddess of beauty, right?

This must-see top attraction is located between Limassol and Paphos and is popular with those looking to walk around, relax and take the perfect photo. But it is also popular with couples looking to exchange wedding vows.

Furthermore, according to legend, swimming three times around Aphrodite’s rock will grant you eternal youth and beauty. However, if you decide to do so, be very careful because the water is deep and cold. Also, the underwater currents near this beach are very strong and whirlpools may occur. To be honest, if you ask me, I don’t think those two or three wrinkles sound that horrible anymore.

Ayia Napa comes alive at night
Ayia Napa comes alive at night. Image from Canva

3. Vibrant Nightlife (As Well As Some Not-So-Wild Solutions)

While Cinderella had to return home before midnight, partygoers in Cyprus are just getting started. Therefore, don’t start too early, because many nightclubs with DJs will keep you up until the morning. This is especially true in the hottest party capital, Ayia Napa, which is one of Europe’s most popular nightlife destinations.

If your inner party animal isn’t so wild, simply choose another option. For example, for a more sophisticated atmosphere, choose Limassol, and for a night of karaoke, head to Paphos. Nicosia, the capital, has a wide variety of nightlife options as well. But if, like me, you’re not interested in late-night parties but you still want to have an enjoyable evening, here’s a suggestion: visit traditional taverns and enjoy food, drink, and live music. Don’t worry; I know exactly what to order from the menu. Keep reading.

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Grilled Halloumi cheese is a staple of Cypriot cuisine
Grilled Halloumi cheese is a staple of Cypriot cuisine. Image from Canva

4. Souvla, Gyros, and Meze: Cypriot Cuisine is a Must-Try

One of the most delicious ways to learn about Cypriot culture is through Cypriot cuisine. However, if you’re reading this on an empty stomach, you might want to skip this paragraph because Cypriot cuisine is hard to resist even when you’re full.

It represents a fusion of Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern flavors. Here’s what it has to offer: spicy loukaniko sausages, souvla (traditionally marinated grilled meat), halloumi cheese (grilled cheese), sheftalia (minced meat), kleftiko (meat baked in the oven with vegetables and herbs), moussaka (with eggplant, potatoes, minced lamb, tomatoes, and bechamel sauce), gyros and a number of other dishes.

Don’t worry if you can’t choose just one; I completely understand. In that case, order a meze with a variety of combinations to satisfy your curiosity as well as your palate. You probably won’t miss the tzatziki and it would be a shame to leave Cyprus without trying a Greek salad. 

Finally, treat yourself to a delicious dessert, such as mahalepi and a glass of local dessert wine, Commandaria. Or, if you don’t like wine, consider the Brandy Sour cocktail (with Cypriot brandy) or the local beers Keo or Leon.

The excellent Cypriot cuisine stems in part from the Cypriots’ love of gastronomy. As a result, the portions are generous, and your dish will be served with that well-known secret ingredient—love. And love, after all, can’t be hidden, can it?

Kykkos Monastery
Kykkos Monastery. Image from Canva

5. Explore Incredible Historical Sites (for a Few Dollars)

Lovers of historical sites, prepare to be amazed. I have to start with Kykkos, Cyprus’s most famous monastery. There was a big fire here in the 19th century that destroyed many things, but not the icon of the Virgin Mary, which is the main draw for tourists.

After that, go to the Paphos Castle at Kato Paphos. For only $2.50, you can explore its journey from a fortress to a prison, then a warehouse, and finally a tourist attraction and a place for events.

Immediately nearby, you will find Nea Paphos and the famous Roman mosaics. The archaeological remains of the ancient city, as well as the Tombs of the Kings, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Although the name might mislead you, kings were never buried here, but the inhabitants of Nea Paphos were.

Also, explore the Fabrica hill, visit the Sanctuary of Aphrodite Paphia, enjoy discovering history in Famagusta, and visit the Agios Neophytos Monestary.

If that isn’t enough, go to the castles of Kolossi and Limassol; visit the historical site of Kourion; and, if you’re a cat person like me, don’t miss the Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats. Visit Troodos as well to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site frescoed churches.

As you can see, this little island—which contains a plethora of historical sites—will truly arouse your inner adventurer. So, put on some comfortable shoes; there’s a lot to see.

Omodos Village Cyprus
Omodos Village. Image from Canva

6. Cyprus Villages: A Delightful Getaway to Gorgeous Calm

Given that Cyprus is a very appealing travel destination with perfect year-round weather, you probably won’t be surprised that this small island can get quite crowded. So I recommend day trips to charming villages with stone houses, cobbled streets, wineries and a laid-back vibe.

The most popular day-trip village destination is Omodos, which is located in the Limassol wine region, so I don’t have to tell you how to relax there. You can also consider villages such as Kakopetria, Lofou, Droushia, Kritou Terra, Kalopanayitos, Pedoulas and many others. Whatever you choose, take the most beautiful thing out of them that day: a relaxed way of life. And, of course, halloumi cheese.

Hiking the Troodos Mountain Range
Hiking the Troodos Mountain Range. Image from Canva

7. Looking for an Active Vacation?

Although many people associate Cyprus with cocktails, blue umbrellas and sunbathing, vacations on this beautiful island can also be quite active. Visit the Troodos Mountain range if visiting archaeological sites and picturesque villages isn’t enough activity for you.

If you are a professional, consider Olimp, Cyprus’s highest peak; if not, choose the Artemis Trail or Caledonia Waterfalls Trail. If Aphrodite is still on your mind, the Akamas Peninsula offers a path dedicated to the goddess of love. Or simply visit Larnaca Salt Lake to see the pink flamingos. Yes, real ones. Whatever you decide, bring comfortable clothing, water and a GPS.

For crystal-clear water activities, there are plenty of options, such as Blue Laguna, which is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. Remember that Cyprus offers a lot of activities throughout the winter as well, and, from January to April, skiing is fantastic. Trails ranked by difficulty, combined with reasonable prices, will entice you to visit Cyprus not only during your summer vacation but also during your winter holidays.

Akamas Peninsula National Park Cyprus
Akamas Peninsula National Park. Image from Canva

8. Unbelievably Beautiful Scenes

Cyprus has it all: mountains and grasslands, wildness and tameness, stone and vegetation. Aside from the beaches, you can find natural beauty in the Troodos National Forest Park, Akamas Peninsula National Park and Lara-Toxeftra Turtle Reserve.

Book a guided day trip tour from Paphos to see the Troodos Mountains and Villages

Once you’re exhausted, take a refreshing swim at the well-known Lara Beach. Or you can start exploring the colorful streets of the old town in Paphos, admire the Venetian Walls of Famagusta, visit the Baths of Aphrodite, and… well, there is no need to go into more details; just go experience it.

Cyprus beaches
Cyprus beaches are just one reason to visit. Image from Canva

9. Cyprus is Reasonably Priced

This beautiful island is not the cheapest place in the world, but it definitely won’t empty your wallet. Prices are comparable to those in other European countries, such as Croatia. Of course, only you and your wallet should decide how much you will spend, but here is an estimate of what you can expect if you visit Cyprus.

If you don’t want your days to be the same, keep in mind that you’ll need to rent a car, which will cost you at least 30 euros per day. You will pay fifteen to thirty dollars for a nice meal at a restaurant; visiting historical sites will cost you only a few dollars, usually less than the three to four dollars will buy you a glass of wine.

Of course, all of this is also available in more expensive versions, so if you can afford it and, for example, fall completely in love with Cypriot cuisine (which you will), feel free to indulge.

Cyprus streets
Cyprus streets. Image from Canva

10. Kindness of the Cypriots and Safety on the Streets

You know those places where you have to constantly keep an eye on your bag to make sure you don’t get robbed? Cyprus is not one of them. Statistics show that this small island is one of the safest places in Europe, and perhaps more importantly for you as a tourist, robberies are the rarest type of offense here. Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be careful, but there’s no reason to worry.

And, finally, the cherry on top: people. Cypriots are very approachable and friendly. They will be happy to talk to you (mostly in perfect British English) about hobbies, the weather, politics, or food (oh, especially food). Locals are not in a hurry; life is quite simple here, and afternoon chit-chats over a cup of coffee are among their favorite activities. Also, Cypriots enjoy cooking and eating, which, to cut a long story short, is exactly the type of environment you require for your vacation, isn’t it?

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