A Visitor’s Guide To Cyprus
The Republic of Cyprus is often considered a part of Asia or Europe due to its location, and while the southern portion of the island is an independent state that is a part of the European Union the north of the island is controlled by Turkey. Having been conquered by many empires down the centuries, this small island in the Mediterranean has a population that is mainly Greek Cypriot, and became a British territory during the late nineteenth century. This does mean that around eighty per cent of the population do speak English, while Greek and Turkish are also commonly spoken. Historically, the mining of copper on the island was one of the most important sources of income, but today around eighty per cent of the economy comes from tourism and the services sector.
While the US State Department does warn visitors not to enter the UN enforced buffer zone between the Republic of Cyprus and the northern part of the island and to avoid photography in any sensitive areas, it does believe that Cyprus is quite a safe place for people to visit.
Top Attractions To Enjoy In Cyprus
Polis Chrysochous – Like many coastal towns in Cyprus this town boasts several attractive beaches, but its real attraction is its proximity to the Akamas Peninsula and the superb Baths of Aphrodite, where the Greek Goddess bathed and is said to have met her lover Adonis.
Ayia Napa – Known as one of the most popular and raucous destinations in Cyprus for its stunning beaches and vibrant night life, this town has a large water park and the ruins of an old monastery, although most visitors come to combine days on the beach with long nights drinking and dancing.
Hamam Omerye – At the heart of the old city of Nicosia, this fourteenth century building has been used as a public bath and spa for centuries, and visitors can still enjoy some of the treatments that have been popular down the centuries.
The Troodos Mountains – While the coastline attracts most of the visitors to the country, the beautiful interior includes this lovely range of mountains with several attractive historic churches including the Kykkos Monastery, while there is also snowboarding and skiing in the winter
Cape Greco – Situated in the south east of the island near the town of Ayia Napa, this beautiful protected nature park extends out into the Mediterranean, and a short walk to the top of the cliff offers some spectacular views in each direction.
Paphos – Located on the south west coast, this is a particularly popular destination with a charming old town that has several Greek and Roman ruins, while it also has some beautiful beaches and a lovely marina area.
Larnaca – This popular city on the south coast has had a long history and boasts a castle that was built to protect the port in the fourteenth century, along with the ninth century Church of St Lazarus and a popular and modern center with an attractive boardwalk on the seafront.
Choirokoitia – This neolithic archaeological site is believed to have developed around 2,700 years ago and was protected from attack by thick walls, and today visitors can see dwellings that have been reconstructed along with the ruins of several other homes on the site.
The Church Of Ayios Ilias – In the town of Portaras, visitors can climb over three hundred steps to reach the church, which is a beautiful small building with lovely religious frescoes offering great views over the surrounding area, particularly in spring when the flowers are in bloom.
Limassol – This lovely historic city on the south coast of Cyprus offers a great combination of historic sites, modern city center and attractive beaches and seafront areas, with the medieval castle being a particular highlight.
The Best Places To Stay In Cyprus
Oracle Exclusive Resort – This luxurious and stylish hotel gives visitors attractive and spacious rooms with pleasant bathrooms, along with access to a beautiful swimming pool with a lovely spa, sauna and modern fitness center.
Agapinor Hotel – Offering good value rooms in a central location in Paphos, this hotel gives visitors clean and comfortable rooms within walking distance of the beach and the town center, along with an outdoor pool, bar and hotel library.
Cleopatra Hotel – A stylish, beautifully designed hotel that lies at the heart of the city, guests can enjoy spacious and modern rooms with large comfortable beds and luxurious bathrooms, and a lovely outdoor pool and dining area.
Delphi Hotel – A good choice for those who are heading to Nicosia on a budget, guests can enjoy simple city center accommodation with a balcony area and comfortable beds, while its location provides visitors with easy access to the sights of the city.
Nestor Hotel – Guests staying at this hotel can enjoy a great location that is just a short distance from the town center and the beach, along with comfortable rooms and leisure facilities such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, jacuzzi and a sauna.
Senator Hotel Apartments – This is a great option for those looking for simple and affordable accommodation, and offers guests an outdoor pool, sauna and a games room, while being within easy reach of the main night life area and the beach.
Amorgos Boutique Hotel – Guests at this centrally located hotel can enjoy easy access to the beach and the main sights of Larnaca, while the stylish and sumptuously decorated interior provides a great place to stay.
Frangiorgio Hotel Apartments – Offering a stylish and modern place to stay in the heart of the town, guests have pleasant spacious rooms with attractive bathrooms, along with easy access to the beach and the town’s sights.
Having been an important trading island that has been influenced by several different empires over the centuries, Cypriot cuisine is an interesting blend of European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. As an island lying in the waters of the Mediterranean, it is no surprise that seafood is a popular feature of the local cuisine, with octopus being a common dish, either served in a stew with red wine and vegetables or deep fried in calamari rings. Mezedes is a common Cypriot meal, where several small dishes offering a variety of foods are prepared and then shared among a family or a group of diners, with bread, olives and meatballs being common dishes.
Currency And Visa
The Euro was adopted as the local currency back in 2008, and has helped to make this island more of an integrated part of Europe. Visitors from the United States will usually have to exchange their dollars at a rate of around 1.37 US Dollars per Euro. Cyprus is also part of the Schengen Agreement area, meaning that visitors will not need to arrange a visa unless they are planning to stay in these European countries for over ninety days.
Cyprus is a country that is particularly popular among sun lovers because of its warm climate, and this article looks at an award winning spa in the country and how to get a great tan.