Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and it combines year-round sunshine with beautiful beaches and historical curiosities. The capital, Nicosia, lies in the centre of the island and is the last divided capital in Europe. An invasion by Turkish forces saw Cyprus split from north to south with the dividing line running right through the capital. The four other major cities are spread out around the four corners of Cyprus.
Limassol – Located in the south Limassol is the second city of Cyprus, even though it is now larger than Nicosia having expanded rapidly over the last few years. This seaside city has a vibrant port and you can see huge ships along the coastline when walking along the promenade. Limassol is also home to the majority of business orientated four and five star hotels on the island including the Four Seasons. At the end of August it hosts the Limassol wine festival.
Ayia Napa – In the east of Cyprus a holiday resort sprung up around a fabulous ancient monastery. Ayia Napa experienced a huge boom at the beginning of 1990s with the UK garage music scene really taking off there and tourists coming for cheap vacations. Although Ayia Napa is not the premier party destination that it once was the night clubs still thrive. During the day you can enjoy amazing white sandy beaches and some of clearest waters in the Med.
Paphos – Paphos is in the south west of Cyprus and this is the greenest and most fertile part of the island. Aphrodite’s rock and baths are stunning tourist attractions as legend has it that the Greek goddess of love was born here. You can also follow in her footsteps around the breathtaking Akamas Peninsula which is a protected natural area where cliffs overlook sweeping bays below. In the town of Paphos you will find many bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs and hotels.
Kyrenia – Northern Cyprus has the most charming medieval port town you could ever wish to see. The failure of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to be internationally recognised prevented it from cashing in on tourism to the same extent as in southern Cyprus, but there are still some opulent hotels and a lot of casinos. In fact international world poker championships take place here, contributing to Kyrenia’s illicit allure. The impressive Kyrenia Castle overlooks this bay on the northern coast of Northern Cyprus.
Other places worth seeing in Cyprus include Varosha, Larnaca and the Troodos Mountains.
Varosha is a spooky city in the Famagusta district of Cyprus (north of Ayia Napa across the divide) which remains uninhabited. When Turkey invaded they sealed off the city and it has been preserved exactly as it was in the 1970s. The tall building complexes which overlook the beach have been allowed to fall into disrepair and there are still car shops which have 1970s automobiles in the window. No photos are allowed of Varosha but if you get the chance to visit it will stay with you.
The High Troodos are truly a blessing to Cyprus. Covering a large landmass in the centre of the island and nearly 2,000 metres high, they make Cyprus feel bigger than it looks on a map. During the hot summer the Troodos provide cool shade and there are many picturesque villages and ancient monasteries, while during the winter the snow fall provides a small ski / winter sports resorts – Where else can you ski in the morning and be sat on the beach in the afternoon?
While Larnaca is not the prettiest town on the island it has the wonderful Hala Sultan Tekke which holds great religious significance to Muslims. Overlooking the salt lake where flamingos come to feed in the winter, the view from this mosque is picture perfect. Larnaca is also the site of one of the 10 best scuba diving wrecks in the world, the sunken cruise liner called The Zenobia.