With temperatures regularly reaching the mid-20s celsius and summer not ending until November, get your shades on and catch the first flight over to one of the warmest climates in the Mediterranean.
Cyprus is a two in one holiday, where the two cultures of Greece and Turkey come together, with two pedestrian crossings in Nicosia and seven access areas in total linking the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides. It is a unique experience being able to dip between two cultures so effortlessly, with very little travel. Cyprus itself has its own rich history, and the area in which much of this is condensed is in Paphos, one of Cyprus’ richest archaeological spots, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inhabitants in Paphos date back to the Neolithic period, which began in the 10th century BC, and the Ancient Greeks believed this was where Greek Goddess of love Aphrodite landed when she rose from the sea, resulting in Paphos becoming the centre of the cult of Aphrodite. A temple was constructed in her honour, and alongside these remains are that of villas, theatres, tombs and palace, among other sites, and the mosaics of Nea Paphos, which are considered some of the most beautiful in the world. Nicosia, the largest city in Cyprus, is also home to the Cyprus Museum, the largest and oldest museum in the country.
Nicosia, while part of the rich history of Cyprus, is also a hotspot for nightlife, alongside Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and arguably most famous for its party holidays, Ayia Napa, one of the European capitals of clubbing. If you’ve seen programmes like BBC Three’s ’Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents’, you might be (understandably) put off by this type of holiday – and to be honest, we can’t really blame you. Not to worry, there’s plenty more on offer. If you prefer relaxation and recuperation to relentless raving, Ayia Napa is also home to Konnos Bay, a beach hidden behind greenery, boasting turquoise sea and White sand for as far as you can see, an area understandably popular with both locals and tourists for its exceptional beauty.
Nothing beats Cyprus for a good old fashioned beach holiday, and there are far more gorgeous beaches all across the country, including Fig Tree Bay on the east coast, offering a range of water sports and diving tours, traditional Cypriot cuisine, as well as short cruises to nearby countries from the island. Coral Bay in Paphos is a great choice if kids are travelling with you, as the waters are shallow and calm, and for adults tree is plenty availability of water sports, as well as beach bars and restaurants nearby. A beach that is more of a local secret is Serena Bay in Protaras, and with its quirkiness and charm many of the younger and cooler Nicosians frequent the area on weekends.
Last but by no means least; the food. The cuisine in Cyprus is some of the most delicious (in our opinion, anyway), and has been influenced, predictably, by both Greek and Turkish food, as well as Middle Eastern cuisine. Meze is a great way to explore the cuisine of the country as you are able to taste small portions of local food rather than ordering full dishes, with plates including hummus, haloumi, tzatziki, olives, grilled meat and meatballs, to name just a few. The desserts are to die for, and have exotic flavourings like almonds, pistachios and rose water that will tantalise your taste buds. favourites include rice puddings and baklava, a dessert made from filo pastry, honey and nuts, and is delightfully sticky. You won’t be able to get enough of it, much like Cyprus in general.
Will you be rising out of the sea like Aphrodite and onto the beaches of Cyprus this summer?