Cyprus is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations. Over 2 million people visit each year, but in case you needed persuading, here are 5 of the top reasons to go:
Cypriot hospitality is legendary. The island is known for being home to some of the world’s friendliest and most hospitable people. You’ll find the locals are always welcoming and happy to help, and you’ll often hear the words ‘Kalosorisate!’ (Welcome!) and ‘Kopiaste!’ (Come and join us!) shouted out. It’s not unlikely that you’ll be invited to drink coffee or play backgammon with some of the older residents. Cypriots take the responsibility of hosting very seriously, so if you’re invited into someone’s home, be prepared to be plied with food and drink! You may even be offered coffee while you’re browsing a shop, and Cypriots believe it’s polite to stay until the coffee gets cold. Be prepared to take your time wherever you go.
It’s not just the people who are warm and friendly. One of the top reasons for visiting Cyprus is the incredible weather. The summer months are warm and dry, and perfect for enjoying the island’s many beaches. Even in winter you’ll find the weather is warm compared to most parts of Europe. For many people this makes Cyprus the ideal holiday destination all year round.
If you prefer slightly cooler temperatures, then spring is the perfect time to visit, when the island is still sunny but not too hot. You’ll also find it a bit quieter at this time, as it will be less crowded with tourists.
Cypriot food is world famous – in particular halloumi cheese, one of the most popular local delicacies. It is made from a mix of goat and cow’s milk, and is delicious grilled. You’ll also find world class mezze, kebabs, olives, hummus and calamari in Cyprus. Make sure you try the island’s freshly caught seafood, and its delicious bread and pastries. You can also buy local beer and wine very cheaply, and of course you have to try Cypriot coffee before you leave. It’s unlike any other coffee you’ve tried before!
History & culture
Cyprus has a unique and fascinating history and culture. The island is divided into the southern Greek side, and the northern Turkish side. It has been part of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and this has given it a rich cultural heritage, which its residents are very proud of.
Poetry and literature is important in Cyprus, and it has been home to many writers – both native and non-native authors have found inspiration here. Lawrence Durell wrote his novel Bitter Lemons of Cyprus, while visiting the island. You can still visit the 200 year old Tree of Idleness in Bellapais, under which he is said to have written.
Cyprus has an incredible array of sandy beaches. From family-friendly zones, to long stretches of deserted shores, there’s something for every taste. Coral Bay is great for families looking for safe swimming areas, and there are also plenty of watersports and family activities available there. If you’re looking for a more secluded beach for a romantic getaway, try Lara Beach, which is quieter and not as over-populated. There’s even the opportunity to see turtles there, if you go on special night-time walks organised by conservation societies.
If it’s romance you’re after, you can also visit the birthplace of love at Aphrodite’s Rock and Beach in Paphos. The legend is that the goddess of love herself once rose from the waters here. For the best experience, drive there to take in the breathtaking scenery, and stay to watch the sunset.
Have you been to Cyprus, what would you recommend to others? Please discuss and share this post with others.