A Perfect Holiday in Cyprus
The 10,000 years of history of this beautiful island are revealed by UNESCO listed mosaics
Cyprus is an island of diversity and this certainly includes accommodation. Luxurious internationally acclaimed hotels and smaller chic designer ones nestle along the coast. There are traditional stone-built villas with glistening pools and small rural hideaways, whilst scores of spacious apartments lie within easy reach of the beaches and colourful bustle of the coastal towns.
There is definitely a beach for you! Popular sandy beaches with a plethora of water sports and fringed by shady tavernas contrast sharply with the deserted beaches of the island's north coast. There are quiet secluded coves for dreamers and wind-sculptured limestone cliffs with pebbly beaches and crystal clear water. The beaches of the Ayia Napa and Protaras area have powdery white sands and warm shallow waters and are amongst the best in Europe and then there is Lara on the northwest coast, home to the Cyprus marine turtle project where each year volunteers work tirelessly to protect the Greens and Loggerhead turtles.
It is not only the coastline that is varied. Inland there is the Troodos, the island's pine-clad mountainous spine, home to the Moufflon and countless species of birds and flowers including breathtakingly beautiful wild orchids. There are the wide expanses of the central Mesaoria plain and the Kokkinochoria (red soil countryside) where scores of windmills turn silently, irrigating the fertile soil. There are countless villages where time has stood still and traditional crafts of rug making, embroidery, wood carving, tailoring and silverwork continue just as they have for generations. There are the villages of Limassol and Paphos districts where it is fun to wander amongst the vines, visit the wineries and enjoy some tasting too including Commandaria, in medieval times, the most popular wine in Europe!
There is the magnificence of Cedar Valley, the scrubby marquis vegetation of the Akamas peninsula and 22 beautiful reservoirs where anglers patiently sit on the banks with their rods and birdwatchers hold binoculars - eager to catch a glimpse of some of the countless migratory visitors. The island's two salt lakes at Larnaca and Akrotiri are fascinating to see too as in summer they have glistening white crusts of salt whilst in the winter, are water-filled and home to thousands of flamingos and other visiting birds. The coastal walk from Latchi to Cape Arnaoutis reveals lizards, butterflies and small wild cyclamen whilst the area near the Cape Greko lighthouse in the southeast corner is equally rich in wildlife. The hidden world of the Avakas Gorge beckons too, where the silence is broken only by goat bells and the trickling stream.
Exploring the island can be enjoyed by car, bike, horse or on foot - the only trouble is keeping to time as there are plenty of distractions along the way! There are golf courses, gliders, paragliders and green bowling to tempt you as well as horse riding, quad bikes and winter skiing and much more....
The 10,000 years of history of this beautiful island are revealed by UNESCO listed mosaics and the magnificent hilltop sites of Curium and Amathus, the painted Byzantine churches, monasteries and museums. They all tell of invasions and occupations that have coloured the heritage of this land and its people.
Cypriots love food and are warm and hospitable - kopiaste - come share with us. There is fish that has been brought ashore at first light, herb sprinkled meat cooked over charcoal and the traditional Mezé (meaning 'little bites') an array of dishes that are the perfect way to sample the very best of Cyprus! There are luscious fruits including oranges, melons, grapes and pomegranates and in the summer the challenge of eating chilled prickly pear! At church festivals honey-smothered loukamaides served straight from the frying pan are hard to resist. Cyprus wine is the oldest in Europe and much of the countryside is cloaked in vines.
The true magic of Cyprus though, is most tangible as the sun begins to sink in the west brushing the island with the dusky shades of twilight and the accompanying breeze quietly murmurs the name Aphrodite.