Cyprus SunsetCyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and has been a popular tourist destination for many years.
Currently Cyprus attracts approximately 2.4 million tourists a year. You can understand why when you visit the island. It's all year round good weather, turquoise seas, sandy beaches and beautiful scenery are just some of the reasons why Cyprus has always been - and continues to be - so popular, not to mention the wealth of history and culture which dates back to ancient times.
Introduction to Cyprus
Cyprus was once a British Colony but became an independent republic in 1960 and joined the commonwealth in 1961. However English is still widely spoken and is considered to be Cyprus' second language.
Today the island is separated by the Republic of Cyprus (Greek side) in the South and the Turkish occupied area in the North. Visitors to Cyprus can cross the border to the Turkish side but visas may be required.
The Republic of Cyprus became an EU member state on 01 May 2004 and adopted the Euro on 01 January 2008. Cyprus has a strong economy and is holding out relatively well in the current global economic crisis.
Paphos and Surrounding Area
Paphos (also spelt Pafos) is a popular tourist town and region of Cyprus and as such has its own international airport. Paphos manages to encapsulate both history and culture with entertainment and leisure.
Paphos town is full of history and has been settled since the Neolithic period. Cultural attractions in Paphos include; the Tomb of the Kings, Roman Mosaics, the Acropolis and Odeon (a complex of ancient buildings) and the underground Catacombs of Agia Solomoni.
Paphos Harbor is also well worth a visit. Along the harbor you will find fantastic restaurants offering a variety of food including local produce and fresh fish from the sea. There are also a number of shops, bars and cafes to enjoy. At the end of the harbor you will find a Turkish Fort which was built in the sixteenth century on the site of a medieval castle. The fort is open daily to visitors. Boat trips and boat hire are available from the harbor including a trip on a glass bottomed boat to see a ship wreck out at sea.
Near and around Paphos you will find many interesting and traditional Villages. Peyia is a popular village due to its lively character and its proximity to both Coral Bay and the Akamas Peninsula. Another interesting village to visit is Anarita, a small and picturesque village in a superb location close to both the international airport and the sea, with the Troodos Mountains behind it and 2 major golf courses (Aphrodite Hills and Secret Valley) just a 5 minute drive away.
There is a large variety of accommodation available in and around Paphos from hotels to self catering apartments and houses. Akamas Peninsula
Beaches and Coastlines
There are some wonderful beaches, coastlines and resorts in Cyprus.
For those looking for peace and tranquility there are many secluded and beautiful beaches. Nature lovers can visit Lara Bay. Although difficult to get to, a four wheel drive or a boat trip will be required, it is well a worth a visit. The sandy beach looks untouched and has been left to nature. It is one of the few remaining beaches used by nesting loggerhead and green turtles and as such it is also referred to as Turtle Beach.
For those looking for something more lively, than a trip to Ayia Napa may be appreciated. There are hundreds of night clubs and bars as well as the beautiful EU blue flag beaches which host daily beach activities.
Or for something in between it's worth visiting the beach resort Coral Bay. The beach has soft warm sand and the sea is calm and clear. There are many water sports and activities available from pedaloes to water skiing. Near to the beach you will find family friendly bars and restaurants.
The Troodos Mountains
The Troodos Mountains are quite a contrast to the lovely beaches and the Mediterranean Sea but they are just as fantastic.
The Troodos mountain range is located in the center of Cyprus with the highest peak being Mount Olympus at 1952 meters.
There is much to do and see in the Troodos mountains including scenic walks, mountain bike tracks, stunning views, traditional villages, picnic spots and a variety of birds and wild life.
Although Cyprus is often called the 'sunshine island' Mount Olympus does have a ski resort which opens for a couple of months a year in the winter. It has been possible for visitors to Cyprus to sunbathe on the beach in the morning and then go for a ski in the mountains in the afternoon!
Tombs of the KingThe Culture
Cyprus has a rich and colorful history which has been heavily influenced by Greek Mythology. In fact Cyprus is referred to by some as Aphrodite's Island. Aphrodite, the Goddess of love, is said to have been born on the island of Cyprus and sightseers can visit Aphrodite's Birthplace (where she is said to have emerged from the sea), the Baths of Aphrodite (a natural pool grotto said to be where Aphrodite bathed and met her lover Adonis) and the Sanctuary of Aphrodite (ancient Greek temple ruins).
Cyprus has so much history and culture to enjoy. There are many important ancient and archaeological sites as well as museums and galleries. These include a Roman amphitheater, Roman mosaics, the Tomb of the Kings (UNESCO world heritage listed monument), Byzantine churches, Maa-Palaeokastro Settlement, plus much more.
Ruins by the SeaThings to do in Cyprus
Of course as well as all of the above you have many other attractions from Championship Golf Courses including the famous Aphrodite Hills to water and aqua Parks.
Cyprus is renowned for its beautiful countryside and visitors can enjoy the 79 square kilometers of the Akamas Peninsula by foot, bike, jeep safari or four by four vehicles. The peninsula stretches from Peyia Village to the small town of Polis and there are many breathtaking sights including gorges, trails and stunning sea views.
Whatever you're into, be it night life, sun loving or nature, there really is something for everyone on the beautiful island of Cyprus.
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