Shaped like an exotic musical instrument, Cyprus is where they say the personification of love was born. And as a land of mysterious ruins that stretch back past the Bronze Age, and sun-soaked, sea-kissed coasts, it takes a firm pull on the heart strings. This sizeable island in the Eastern Mediterranean is a country of old-fashioned, family-centric values which translate lovingly into a golden formula of welcoming hospitality and excellent Mediterranean cuisine.
On a holiday to Cyprus you’ll enjoy fine culture set against a sunny backdrop of golden beaches, and a mountainous interior dotted with rustic villages, modern resorts, sleepy harbour towns, and classical ruins.
The mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of all things amorous, Cyprus has been an outpost of great empires from the Romans to the Byzantines and the Ottomans. Soak up their legacy in the romantic relics scattered across the hills and bays, such as the Solea Valley’s Byzantine churches. They all add to the rich culture of one of the Mediterranean’s largest and most interesting islands.
If beach-bumming appeals more than ruin-hopping, the coastal resorts have you covered, with plenty of water sports, seafront restaurants and lively nightclubs. In the likes of Paphos, catch some rays on boat trips and guided tours, or pedalos and banana rides, then hit the tavernas for a glass of Cypriot wine and a mezze plate.
The south coast alone offers spots ranging from the European summer party hot spot of Ayia Napa to laidback Larnaca, with its whitewashed houses and seafront promenade. The capital Nicosia (Lefkosia) is well worth a day trip for the vibrant street life and museums contained within its ancient Venetian Walls. It’s typical of this generous island with its 650 kilometres of coastline, two mountain ranges, centuries of history and 325 days of sun a year.
Need to know
* Average time from London Gatwick to Larnaca
Check out this video from the Cyprus Tourist Board and you'll be able to imagine yourself exploring Cyprus' sun-kissed shores