An island of contrasts, Cyprus is a holiday destination that doesn’t do anything by halves. From Larnaca and Limassol to Paphos and Protaras, Cyprus is beautifully diverse, but each area has a few things in common; outstanding beaches, warm hospitality and a rich, fascinating culture. Pure paradise lies in wait, perfect for those who want to master the art of relaxation, discover delectable cuisine or explore the island’s scenery on foot, below the surface or even on two wheels. No matter what your favourite holiday pastime, you’re positive to find it here so keep on reading to discover why Cyprus should be your next getaway.
Cyprus offers world class diving with its balmy sea temperatures, aquarium clear waters and rich aquatic flora and fauna, plus multiple wreck dives. You can earn your PADI qualifications here if you’re a complete beginner, but for more experienced divers those shipwreck dives tempt. The Zenobia, which floundered in 1980, is today one of the world’s top wreck dives, where along with the 172m-long ship you can swim amongst giant tuna and barracuda. The 1970s wreck the Vera K, just off Paphos, is more suited to the less experienced diver – there are really are options for everyone in Cyprus.
Hiking is one of the main draws to Cyprus with over 150 dedicated hiking trails. Pack your walking shoes even if you are staying in a resort as there are great coastal routes to stretch your legs on. The Akamas Peninsula is where you can follow marked trails dedicated to Aphrodite and venture out to remote beaches. Head inland and the tougher terrain of the Troodos Mountains awaits with a network of trails. Here you trek through thick, ancient forests where your lungs fill with clean, fresh air as you work off the mezze you’ve been enjoying in the resorts. On Mount Olympus itself there is also a network of hiking trails.
Cyprus is an island that could have been sculpted for exploring on two wheels, with winding mountain roads and quiet trails that lead you deep into the unspoilt wilderness of oases like the Akamas Peninsula. Both road cycling and mountain biking are popular these days on the island with hire available too. So good is the cycling that riders come here from all over the world (including professional cycling teams) to train and compete in events such as the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. You can just enjoy breezing through life affirming pine forests and the rugged scenery of the hulking Troodos Mountains.
Cyprus has been cultivating wine for centuries and today its superb wines are seriously underrated. The great news is that they are readily available and very good value too. Thirsty yet? If your interest in wine extends beyond the bottom of your glass why not head inland and visit some of the vineyards that cling to the foothills of the Troodos Mountains? There are a number of wineries sprinkled around the famed wine town of Omodos. If you’re a real connoisseur you can learn even more at the Cyprus Wine Museum. Cheers!
You could come to Cyprus and just spend a week sunbathing on a lovely beach, or indeed a fortnight on a different lovely beach every day! Some of the most appealing white sands lie sprinkled around the justifiably popular resort of Ayia Napa. Even cities like Limassol and Larnaca have beaches so you get the best of both worlds. Some of the island’s best beaches lie out west of Paphos, a resort that also has its own slew of family-friendly stretches of sand. Here, remote Lara Beach offers pristine sands with no development, with the major bonus of the chance to witness turtles nesting in the wild.
Cyprus is a deeply cultural island awash with history. You can explore this in Paphos for example, a resort that has also recently been European City of Culture and which is home to UNESCO World Heritage listed Roman mosaics. Then there are further historic sites such as grand Kourion, Neolithic Choirokitia and the evocative Tombs of the Kings. In the evening, the island’s cultural life bursts alive with theatrical performances and live music. A quintessentially Cypriot experience is catching a cultural performance at one of the island’s striking historic monuments.
7. Mountains and Villages
The Troodos Mountains are the striking oasis that is home to the highest peak on the island – mighty Mount Olympus, which soars 2,000m above the Mediterranean. Look out for it welcoming you as you fly in. Dramatic trails sweep around Mount Olympus with plenty of shade provided by the bountiful trees, essential as it can get very hot en route. In winter, snow is more of an issue than sun and there is even skiing as snow is a regular occurrence. As you tumble down through the verdant forests you chance upon cute little houses in the stone villages. The well-signposted Caledonia Trail leads from Troodos village through the woodland to the island’s highest waterfall.
What could be more romantic than getting married on the island of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love? Her trace is sprinkled like confetti across this island nation at places like Aphrodite’s Rock and Aphrodite’s Baths. And love really is in the air with spectacular sunsets and sunrises, plus hotels that really know how to pull out all the stops for honeymooners. Handily, Olympic Holidays can arrange Anglican or Catholic church weddings, or you can even say your vows at your hotel or out at sea on a yacht. Civil services are possible too. We can arrange everything from buttonholes and poses, right through to spectacular wedding cakes and a ribbon for your fancy chauffeur driven car.
Cypriot cuisine is superb and is a highlight of any visit to this sun-drenched Mediterranean island. Local produce abounds, from a rich bounty of fresh fish and shellfish, through to tasty local lamb. Don’t miss a traditional mezze, a multi-course feast that often goes on until you just cannot eat any more delicious food. Cypriot cheese is superb too with halloumi a star. Local dishes of note include kleftiko, a hearty treat of succulent slow cooked lamb alive with spices.
Have we convinced you yet? There are endless reasons why Cyprus is the perfect holiday location for every kind of traveller, and why visitors return time and time again. Foodies, lovers of adventure and those seeking their fix of sun, sea and sand will be in their element and Olympic Holidays is on hand to ensure that your accommodation will be the icing on the cake. From stellar all-inclusive resorts to welcoming family-run apartments, your dream Cyprus escape is certain to be one you'll remember forever.