Cyprus

Cyprus is a Eurasian island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, located south of Turkey. Being the third-largest island in the Mediterranean Basin, it offers diverse countryside and a long coastline with excellent beaches. Apart from the beautiful landscapes and great popularity of the island as a tourist destination, Cyprus is also known for its complicated political status. The southern part is included in the Republic of Cyprus, while the northern portion is governed by a self-proclaimed state which is only recognised by Turkey.

Northern Cyprus covers the area of the Kyrenia district and partly the Famagusta district. Southern Cyprus encloses the other parts of the Famagusta, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos districts, whereas Nicosia, the capital, is divided between these two states. Also, the country's population is highly differentiated, with Turks inhabiting the northern strip and Greeks dominating in the south.

Countries neighbouring Cyprus include Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt, and in terms of culture and politics Cyprus is closest to Europe. Its strategic location at the crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe has made it an important trade centre which was susceptible to various influences. Cyprus is considered a transcontinental island, and influences from its Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, Turkish and British heritage can be seen in various places around the island.

Cyprus has nice summer resorts and wonderful beaches. The top destination on the coast is Ayia Napa, where apart from the powder sand beaches and azure water you can count on crazy nightlife with a great number of bars and clubs. Among the other most popular destinations are Paphos, Limassol, Polis, Protaras, Larnaca or Pissouri, but there are also large areas of wild nature which are worth exploring, as well. Besides, there are many interesting archaeological sites on the island, including sights from the Stone Age as well as some remnants of Roman and Greek heritage. To learn more about these fascinating attractions, you should visit Salamis, with its ancient gymnasium and theatre, or Paphos which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a palace hiding unique mosaics. Paphos is also a place where the legendary goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, was born, emerging from the sea, and that’s why the town hosts an Aphrodite Festival each September.

Lovers of active holidays will be happy to visit the Troodos Mountains, towering up to 3,000 m. They offer nice walking trails and also modern ski resorts. In the Kyrenia Mountains, situated in northern Cyprus, there’s another interesting sight: Saint Hilarion Castle, formerly a monastery, later turned into a fortified castle. The next worth-visiting castle is located near Limassol. Known as Kolossi Castle, it was built in the 15th Century by Knights Hospitaliers.

Nicosia, also referred to as Lefkosia, is a real pearl of Cyprus, with a number of tourist sights and attractions. It’s surrounded by Venetian walls dating back to the 16th Century. The Palace of the Archbishop and Gothic St. John’s Cathedral with its beautiful frescoes are among the best-known landmarks of old Nicosia. Another place to visit is Hamam Omeyre, an unusual spa and relaxation centre housed in a 14th-century building. The city is crossed by the so-called Green Line, a buffer zone between the northern and southern part of the country. With its wide range of museums, staying in the Cypriot capital is a fascinating experience.

The main airport of Cyprus is located close to Larnaca and serviced by many carriers, which makes it easy to get there from major European cities. No matter whether you’re interested in history and culture and want to spend your holidays sightseeing or prefer to relax on the beach, Cyprus is the right choice for your next trip abroad!