Cyprus

Cyprus, Aphrodite’s isle strategically located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, has long attracted invaders. Today, whilst the predominant culture is of Greek origin, other occupiers - Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and British have all left their mark. Happily, Cypriots seem to have absorbed the best attributes of each and first-time visitors are constantly amazed at the genuine hospitality, warmth and friendliness with which they are greeted.

For such a small island, Cyprus offers an amazing range of things to see and do. Apart from being one of Europe’s prime beach holiday destinations (the island averages around 300 days of sunshine a year), there are forested mountains, deep gorges and flat fertile plains full of citrus groves and vineyards; intriguing archaeological sites and techno discos; quiet villages with old men playing ‘tavli’ (backgammon) in the square and lively resorts where the evening entertainment lasts until dawn.

The island is dominated by the 2,000-metre high Troodos Mountains, whose pine and oak covered slopes are often swathed in snow during winter. To the north the mountains sweep steeply down to the sea; in contrast, southwards they descend gently towards Lemesos and the coast.

In the far west the main town is Pafos, centred around its pretty harbour lined with restaurants and bars. From here it is easy to explore the spectacular rocky coastline and an enormous range of archaeological sites. Lemesos, on the south coast, is the island’s second city, with a huge choice of resorts stretching along the coast. Larnaka, in the south-east, originally an agricultural centre, has fine museums and a lively market, whilst nearby Agia Napa offers beaches, water sports, restaurants and hotels in abundance. And in the pine-scented air of the mountains are ancient monasteries, peaceful villages and landscapes of outstanding beauty that provide for excellent exploration on foot.

3,000 years ago, Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love is believed to have emerged from the waters of Cyprus making this island a popular romantic destination. With its welcoming, fun loving people, delightful climate, fine food and wines, great entertainment and frequent festivals it’s easy to see why today’s Cyprus attracts visitors from around the world.