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A Cyprus island guide – history, romance, castles, a diver’s paradise and white beaches

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A Cyprus getaway captures the imagination. A modern metropolis brimming with culture, beaches, history, natural wonders and lively nightlife, the happy isle of romance is also the birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite and a popular wedding destination. As a stepping stone between three continents, the island is a threshold between the Turkish and Greek culture, and a kaleidoscope of every civilization that has coveted the island, from ancient Greek and Roman rules to the Ottoman Empire.

Margarita & Marianna Lyra

My Destination local expert on

Cyprus

Historic gems

 

With a dramatic history that can be traced back 12,000 years, culture lovers won’t run out of things to discover, from Neolithic settlements to ancient Greek temples and theaters, Byzantine churches and monasteries, tombs, museums and castles or just a glimpse of the simple life of the olden days in remote villages steeped in tradition. History meets romance in Limassol Castle, a must-see in Cyprus. The ancient city kingdom of Kourion and the Tombs of the Kings are other unmissable attractions in the island.

 

Greek Mythology

 

Paphos, the former capital of Cyprus, is not only packed with historical relics but is also famed as the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Immerse yourself in Greek mythology as you visit the rugged rocks of the goddess’ birth shore known as the Aphrodite Rocks; the evocative sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia Village, one-time shrine and scene of pagan festivals for thousands; the Baths of Aphrodite at Polis, supposed source of fertility; and the Fountain of Love.

 

Party capital

 

Get your groove on in Cyprus, one of the hippest destinations for party animals. Ibiza might be the most famous European destination for clubbing holidays, but Agia Napa, in the far eastern end of Cyprus, is fast becoming this Spanish island’s greatest rival. With its varied discos, exclusive musical performances and out-of-this-world nightlife, Agia Napa attracts tourists from near and far, who sit at its sandy beaches, ride the pink elephants, party hard and go back home with some seriously wild stories. Apart from this resort, nightlife in Cyprus caters to every mood and age, from discos to sophisticated nightclubs.

 

Beaches

 

Pack your swimsuit and your sunscreen, and be ready to enjoy some of the best beaches in Europe. From the iconic white sands of Nissi Beach to the golden shore of Coral Bay and the secluded spot of Ladies Mile, Cyprus is a beach lover’s paradise. Check out the village of Kapparis and its picturesque beaches then head to the famous Fig Tree Bay and bathe in the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea or laze on the fine sand while sipping on some cocktails. Escape the hustle and bustle in the tucked-away rustic beach of Pissouri.

 

Exhilarating Activities

 

While Cyprus’ seashore is perfect for water sports, inland the excitement continues along magical trails and beautiful waterfalls. Dive into a magical underwater world in Larnaca and explore one of the most recreational shipwreck sites in the world - Zenobia, along with other treasures for undersea seekers such as the wrecks of HMS Cricket, a British helicopter, the enigmatic ‘Octopus Reef’ and the ‘Sheep Dip’. Cyprus is an up-and-coming destination for water sports. While kite surfing is the most practiced in the island, other water sports such as wakeboarding, kite boarding, skim boarding and wind surfing are growing in popularity.

 

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