There are myriad islands in the Mediterranean, but only one does Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love, call home, and that’s Cyprus.
Whatever your pace or special interest, Cyprus is uniquely poised to welcome you. Our beaches are not only beautiful; they are certified as among the cleanest in Europe. And, just a short drive from the crystal clear waters of our coast are the pine-clad Troodos Mountains, where wild moufflons roam and cedars grow, and gem-like churches and monasteries are replete with unmatched Byzantine frescoes and icons. Ten of the finest examples are designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.
Cyprus is a haven for archaeology lovers. From Neolithic settlements more than 10,000 years old, to spectacular Greco-Roman ruins, such as the ancient seaside amphitheater of Kourion, to Crusader fortresses such as Kolossi, the list of treasures is boundless. By no means will you want to miss Pafos, a wellspring of antiquities in the west, including the mysterious Tombs of the Kings…and Roman mosaics that are so colourful, extensive and well-preserved, they are recognized by UNESCO.
Although Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, it is surprisingly compact and easy to explore. In between rugged mountain peaks and the shimmering coast you’ll traverse untrammelled landscapes and rolling hills with vineyards that still produce the world’s oldest named dessert wine, sweet Commandaria. Linger in idyllic villages such as Omodos and Lefkara where the rhythm slows down and there’s always time for another coffee. All across Cyprus, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a distinctive cuisine composed of meze, small plates of everything from flame-grilled, delicately spiced meats to fresh vegetables and amazing cheeses, such as the famous halloumi (the savory sheep’s cheese that grills).
With its rich past as anchor, Cyprus is also a thriving modern nation with a service economy second to none in the whole region, and the Cypriot people, worldly and warm, are only too happy to share it with you. Which means among other things, an attractive range of accommodations, luxurious hotels with both local flavour and the highest international standards, quality tourist villas, agrotourism options and more.
Cyprus’ location, coveted by empires since ancient times, is still ideal today for visiting nearby countries, such as Greece, Israel and Egypt. But with so much history to see and culture to enjoy and cuisine to savor – and with Aphrodite as your guide – you will have more reasons to stay and explore Cyprus than you might think.
Photographs by: Ms. Ioanna Markidou, Assoc. Prof. Despo Fatta-Kassinos, Prof. Stavros Kassinos