Cyprus City Guide
A troubled and turbulent country for much of its history, Cyprus is moving into a new era of peace and prosperity. The third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus was connected with the ancient country of Greece for much of the past; it was conquered and held by the Ottoman Empire until annexed by the United Kingdom following World War 1. In 1960, the country was given free rule and the nation of Cyprus was born, with governance being shared between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Internal conflicts between the two parties required aid by the United Nations, but since the admission of Cyprus to the European Union in 2004, peace has been growing and prosperity taking root.
The northeast third of the island was declared Turkish in 1983, though now formally belongs to the Republic of Cyprus as recognized by the UN. The Greek Cypriots oversee the southwest portion of the island, with the UN maintaining a border between the two; fortunately open hostilities between the two factions have been absent for many years. Trade and travel between the two sides of Cyprus is easy, with a short checkpoint to make sure your visa is in order. It is possible to visit two distinct cultures, with two capitals in one day, all set on a beautiful jewel of the Mediterranean.
How to get there and get around
Most western visitors coming from Europe or North America will want to fly into the Greek side of the island. Cyprus’ main airport is Larnaca International on the outskirts of the city.
There are direct flight connections from many major European cities, so catching a convenient flight is not an issue. There are occasional ferries from Greece to Cyprus, and regular ferry service from Turkey to the northern ports of Cyprus.
The United States recommends that its citizens enter from the Greek side ports for ferries and by flight, and check with the State Department for any travel advisories before booking a trip.
The Greek side of Cyprus offers a comprehensive set of bus routes that connect the major cities and many smaller towns. An efficient and economical means of travel, this is popular with tourists. It is also possible to rent a car, or hire a taxi for your trip.
If you are planning on staying near the coast in one of the larger cities, bicycle rentals are available, and cycling the coast roads is a very popular way to see and access the sights.
What to do
Cyprus, which was first mentioned in Assyrian writings from the 700’s AD, is rich in ancient archeological sites. Make sure to stop by the Choirokoitia Neolithic Settlement, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or visit the ancient Apollo Temple, located close to the ancient city of Kourion.
While in Kourion, also make a point of viewing the amphitheater and early Basilica. See the Venetian Walls that surround Nicosia built by the Franks in the 14th century, and later enhanced by the Venetians. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site to see is the Kato Paphos archeological park, full of mosaics and monuments.
If touring ancient cities and temples doesn’t consume your whole holiday you can delight in the natural wonders of Cyprus. From sandy beaches, boating, snorkeling, fishing, golfing, climbing, and more, there is plenty on Cyprus to keep you fit, busy and entertained.
The towns are full of markets and boutiques, with plenty of indulgent shopping. Or take the kids to either of the two zoos, an amusement park, or for horseback or camel rides.
What to eat
Cyprus is rich in a variety of foods due to the influence of the multiple cultures that have called the island home over the millennia. The traditional Mediterranean diet of seafood, cheeses, seasonal fruits and vegetables, olive oil, bread and herbs, is available throughout the island, but you can also find restaurants and cafes that specialize in Greek or Arabic food with smoky spices and grilled lamb or perhaps you simply crave a dish of old fashioned fish and chips, harking back to the time of the British control of the island; that is easily found as well.
Ordering a meze is a good way to acquaint yourself with the flavors of the island; it is a feast of small dishes, plate after plate of tantalizing flavors and textures. Order one with a friend and prepare to spend the evening enjoying an unforgettable meal.
Where to stay
Cyprus has a wide variety of places to stay. Choose your accommodations based on budget and desired location; Cyprus has something for everyone. Will it be a luxury hotel, quaint bed and breakfast or a private apartment rental? Let World Escape help you find your perfect vacation rental!
There are few places as serene as Cyprus. Picture a summer day lying on dazzlingly white sand, while tiny turtles crawl down to the turquoise waters lapping the beach. Your beautiful seafront villa is just a short stroll away. When you feel tanned, enough you can retreat to your bedroom for an afternoon nap or watch a film on the flat screen in your living room.
With a Cyprus holiday rental, you get a lot more comfort, space and value for your money, as well as a chance to mix and mingle with locals. Imagine sipping the strong, aromatic coffee at a local cafe or treating yourself to a dinner with a sumptuous selection of traditionally prepared meze and drinks. You cannot swap that experience for a dull dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Cyprus short term accommodation
Get the best by renting your own Cyprus holiday apartment. Our collection of unique holiday homes on the island caters to all lifestyles and budgets. There are spacious apartments with multiple bedrooms, child-friendly facilities and modern conveniences for a comfortable family holiday by the sea or for a fun-packed vacation with all of your friends.
How about a romantic escape? Cyprus, the birthplace of the goddess of love Aphrodite, is one of the most romantic spots in the Mediterranean. At your own vacation apartment, you can indulge in a pampering retreat and enjoy your honeymoon or anniversary away from noisy hotel guests and nosy staff.
A small island with big attractions
This small island truly packs a punch and its rich, colourful culture and nature deserve to be experienced to the fullest. You can go scuba diving into the blue sea or hike serene trails in the pristine mountains, where packs of moufflons, a rare species of wild sheep, graze peacefully.
You can also see remnants from different civilizations. The ancient Salamis ruins have been as well preserved as the Roman mosaics of Pafos, while the elaborately painted medieval Christian churches and monasteries neighbor serene mosques like the Hala Sultan Teke.
Leave the impersonal, tiny hotel rooms and overpriced services in the past. Treat yourself to the best accommodation a holiday can offer with your own home away from home in Cyprus and explore the island at leisure.