Geographically leaning toward the East and culturally leaning toward the west, the island of Cyprus is somewhat of an anomaly. It owes a great deal of its culture to the Ancient Greeks and the modern Europeans, but some of the credit goes to the Turkish as well.
Colourful, cultural, and sun drenched, Cyprus offers visitors a unique perspective on island life. As the third largest of the Mediterranean isles, it has the fortune of living in the shadows of its larger neighbors Sicily and Sardinia, and has developed a vibrant and unique personality unto itself. As the legendary home of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Cyprus has a hefty reputation to live up to, and succeeds.
Where to Stay
As an island with a tourist-driven economy, Cyprus is full of lodging options that range from inexpensive and simple to budget-busting luxury. There are the typical chains hotels and resorts, and there are also quaint, locally-owned places. The lion’s share of lodging is located in Paphos, Ayia Napa, Limassol, and Protaras, which also happen to be the most popular destinations on the island.
The Apollonia Holiday Apartments, located in Paphos, cater to those travelers who are more of the self service variety. Featuring studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments, all fully furnished and outfitted, you will have everything you need to enjoy an extended holiday. The staff treats guests like part of the family, and you will be able to enjoy real Cypriot living at a very reasonable price.
For luxury at an affordable price, Alion Beach Hotel is a winner. Overlooking the beautiful white beaches and harbor of Ayia Napa, this small hotel is big on service and style. It is elegant, comfortable, and modern. It is close to the beach, has a swimming pool on site, and is near several local attractions. Perfect for a romantic weekend.
The Amathus Beach Hotel wins high marks for its service and its style. This elegant hotel boasts a fitness center, modern and comfortable guest rooms, excellent food, and beautiful gardens. Enjoy the gorgeous views and convenient proximity to the gorgeous beaches.
Where to Eat
You will find a good variety of cuisine on Cyprus, with the majority of styles sticking close to Mediterranean flavours.
Cyprus is known for Mezes, a sort of tapas style of cuisine, and places that serve that are all over the island. So yourself a favor, and try it. The Mediterranean diet is healthy, bold, and delicious.
Restaurants specializing in mezes are plentiful. They serve up selections of local olives, cheeses, salads, meats, and marinated mushrooms. Served alongside locally produced wines, you will leave full and happy. Some of the most popular ones (including with the locals) are Seven St. Georges’ Tavern in Paphos, Zanettos Taverna in Lefkosia, and Antonaros Tavern in Limasol.
To get a true taste of authentic Cypriot cuisine, which is a fusion of Eastern and Western flavors, you don’t have to go very far. Stifado (rabbit stew) and Imam can be found on every menu, along with other local flavors such as land snails, lamb, and goat. Try Hondros (Paphos), Kamares Restaurant (Larnaka), or the Kyrenia Beach Restaurant (Lemesos) for authentic Cypriot fare.
What to Do
The beaches of Cyprus are comprised of white sand and turquoise water, and will likely be the focal point of your trip to the island. If you love a little adventure, make sure you go on a diving tour of the shipwrecks and remains around Larnaka and Lemesos.
Sunbathe on the shore or Aphrodite’s Beach, the legendary spot where the goddess rose from the foam of the sea.
Archaeology and history buffs will love the sites of Ancient Amathous, Kourion, Soloi, and Kition. Visit the amazing Hrysopolitissa Basilica, The Temple of Apollo Ylatis, and Salamis, which is home to a restored Roman amphitheater, gymnasium, and plenty of mosaics.
Stroll through the museums that house the many amazing antiquities that have been discovered on the island.
Tour the religious sites of Cyprus, such as the Omeriye Mosque, Grand Mosque, Agia Paraskevi, and the Monastery of Agia Napa.
When to Visit
The weather on Cyprus is typically Mediterranean: the summer are hot and dry and the rest of the year is more comfortable. The best times to visit are late spring and late autumn.