Why Holiday In Cyprus?
An enchanting island, steeped in myth and romance. Cyprus has been welcoming visitors for thousands of years – Romans and Greeks have all added to the island's culture. And now, holidays in Cyprus offer superb beaches, secluded villages and cosmopolitan resorts, alongside unique historic attractions.
From lively resorts like Ayia Napa, where you can dance the night away, to traditional Cypriot villages high up in the mountains, you’ll find cobbled streets sharply contrasted with modern beachfront hotels. If you want to simply unwind and relax in the idyllic climate, then experience the friendly tavernas and traditional Cypriot welcome in the village of Latchi or stroll the palm-lined promenade in Larnaca, the oldest town on the island. On the south-west coast, Paphos is the place to explore the island's ancient history. For immaculate soft sand beaches, head east to Nissi Bay.
Boasting glorious highs of 30 (°C) and up to 14 hours of sunshine a day, summer is the best time to hit the beach in Cyprus. The weather is a little more comfortable in the spring and autumn, with average temperatures in the mid-teens to high 20s offering the perfect conditions for exploring the historic attractions. Winter is the wettest time of the year, but the average temperature rarely drops below 13 throughout the season.
If you fancy exploring rural Cyprus then it’s worth hiring a car. Take a leisurely drive to the Troodos Mountains, stopping off at the picturesque villages of Omodos and Lania along the way. Driving is also the best way to explore some of Cyprus’ wine villages and popular archaeological sites, such as the Kourion in Limassol and Mosaics in Paphos.
Resorts in Cyprus
According to myth, when Aphrodite rose from the sea she landed at Paphos. Fast-forward a few thousand years, and the old town is straight-up traditional Cyprus, with cobbled streets and shaded pavement cafés. Downhill, meanwhile, there’s a modern harbour packed with bars and restaurants. But the spirit of Aphrodite lives on in the age-old temples and crumbling ruins that are still here to explore.
The bijou beach here only stretches for around 150 metres, but it’s right in the town centre, so it’s really handy. It’s split into 2 parts – a sandy part and a wooden, decked area behind it – and both have got plenty of sunloungers. There are a couple of beach bars, but most of the stretch is backed by craggy rocks and overlooked by a Medieval castle. The town’s history stretches back to Neolithic times, so there’s a mixed heritage here. A must-see is UNESCO’s Tomb of the Kings – these Egyptian catacombs are carved out of solid rock. There’s also the famous House of Dionysos for spectacular Greek mosaics. And up on the hill, the rugged columns of the Temple of Aphrodite frame sweeping sea views.
Talking of Aphrodite, you can see her old baths at Polis, about 40 minutes away. There’s a really good walking trail that starts from here, too. Alternatively, a 90-minute drive gets you to the village of Khirokhitia. The houses here look like little ceramic pots – they date from the Neolithic period, and were home to the earliest-known civilisation on Cyprus.
Visit the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. Our guide will unveil fascinating stories about the turbulent history of this divided city and take you on a walking tour across the border in northern Cyprus. There will also be plenty of free time in Nicosia. Explore the large selection of shops for some retail therapy or visit the observation tower for panoramic views of the city.
Limassol, a busy port on the south coast of Cyprus, isn’t just the island’s biggest resort, it’s one of the best, too. It can easily match the capital, Nicosia, for cosmopolitan buzz. It can keep the pace with Ayia Napa in the nightlife stakes. And the beach life is on a par with any of the island’s top sandy stretches.
On the east side of Limassol is Dasoudi Beach. It’s a busy Blue Flag stretch of golden sand and pebbles, with tonnes of watersports and eating options. To the west of town, close to the port, is Lady’s Mile Beach, which is where the locals head at weekends. And for something more intimate, a 20-minute drive away is Governor’s Beach, a small limestone cove with velvety black sand.
Around Limassol Castle, where Richard the Lionheart is said to have wed Queen Berengaria, is Limassol’s old town. There are pavement cafés and local restaurants housed in charming 19th-century buildings. To the north is Makarios Avenue, home to some of the most exclusive shops on the island. Hugging the seafront is a 7-kilometre promenade where you’ll find Limassol’s sophisticated nightclubs huddled together at its western end.
Limassol also has tonnes of history and culture. Behind the promenade are the Roman ruins of Amathus, which include a well-preserved amphitheatre. There’s also the outstanding Folk Art Museum housed in a listed townhouse. And Kolossi Castle, a Frankish stronghold where the Knights Templar set up shop in the Middle Ages, is only a 10-minute drive away.
Party nights are Ayia Napa’s calling card, but there’s more to this lively resort on Cyprus’s southeastern tip than foam parties and fishbowls. Between the clubs and karaoke bars, there are cobbled streets, harbourside tavernas and a peaceful Medieval monastery. You’ve also got 14 fantastic beaches to choose from.
Blue Flags flutter everywhere in Ayia Napa – all 14 beaches that spool the 8-kilometre coastline have got one. And each of them comes with its own personality. Makronissos Beach leads the way with watersports, while family-friendly Sandy Beach has gently shelving sand. And although not strictly a beach, the rocks by the harbour are perfect for a bit of peace and quiet. Of course, Ayia Napa goes all out at night. If it’s 2-for-1 drinks, buzzing clubs and foam parties you want, you’ll find it here. But there are also plenty of trendy – and quieter – beach bars for chilled-out cocktails by the sea. And it’s surprisingly well-suited to families, too, with a good line-up of live entertainment and hypnotists.
The capital of Cyprus is just an hour away by car. You can explore the pretty old town within its sandstone Venetian walls, wander around the museums and churches, and browse the fabric shops and jewellers. There are also lots of little cafés where you can stop for a reviving Cypriot coffee. As for shopping, the pedestrianised Laiki Geitonia area is top souvenir territory.
Protaras is a purpose-built resort on the southeastern coast of Cyprus. The reason it’s here is the sandy patchwork of beaches that blankets the rugged coastline – which is a real draw in itself for the scenic walks. It’s a fairly compact place, so you’ll find the lively bars and restaurants right on the main street. And when you want to really let your hair down, the clubs and bars of Ayia Napa are just a 10-minute taxi or bus-ride away.
Beaches on this part of the coast are reckoned to be the island’s best. The resort’s main one, Fig Tree Bay, comes with a raft of watersports and a little island you can swim out to. There are five other quality beaches round here, too, some with Blue Flag status. Green Bay, about 10 minutes away, is more tranquil, and in the same area there’s also Sirena Bay.This one's a real secluded gem - a tiny cove with just a tree-shaded bar and restaurant.
It takes about 40 minutes to get to Varosha, one of the area’s most-visited places. The story here is that back in the Seventies the popular tourist spot turned into a ghost town practically overnight after the Turkish invasion. Eerily, it’s been deserted ever since. Or, for something completely different, a boat trip can take you to the protected nature park area of Cape Greco, which is also fine snorkelling territory.