An attractive Balkanic riot of cultures, with a tumultuous history and a rich Greek heritage, a stone-throw away from southern Turkey and the extreme eastern point of the European shore of the Mediterranean yet the connection between Europe and the Middle East, Cyprus or the Island of Aphrodite as it is often called, is a country where the sun shines almost all year round and boasts an impressive number of white to grayish sandy beaches lined by 3* to 5* hotel resorts and beach bars. Yet, there’s a lot more to Cyprus than first meets the eye. Here are 5 reasons why the island of Aphrodite is a top holiday destination.
Statistics rank Cyprus as the fourth most sought-after holiday destination worldwide for these reasons...
The moment you enter someone’s kitchen, you get a piece of their heart, some say and it’s true. After all, would food be so delicious if we didn’t put a bit of love in it? And, how many times don’t you hear yourself say “I love” this or that dish. Well, if you do come to Cyprus this summer, you will understand why in a jiffy.
Tastefully blending together what the Greek and the Turkish cuisine have, a traditional Cypriot dish will tickle your taste buds in a way that will set off your stream of consciousness in the Proustian sense. You can enjoy the so-called ‘meze’ all over the island. This is a selection of small dishes served to accompany the traditional, anise-flavoured ouzo or fruity zivania (both quite strongly alcoholic and spirit warmups).
Cyprus is also renowned for its fish and seafood mixes, which add oodles of taste to your dish and shower you with health benefits. Last but not least, the olives are omnipresent and in all sorts and varieties, from green and fleshy to black and oily, not to mention the olive oil so craved for in other parts of the world loads the racks of every supermarket here and quite generously used in cooking.
Saving the best for last, the Cypriot halloumi goat cheese is famous across Europe and especially in Mediterranean cuisine. Because of its high melting point, it allows easy grilling and frying. Imagine grilled halloumi with a generous piece of souvlakia (grilled meat and veggies on a stick) and sheftalia (lamb-and-pork sausages), seafood and salad... Mouth-watering?
As you may have figured what a meze looks or tastes like, we move on to the wine. Cyprus is famous again for its wineries, boasting a rich heritage that goes back to ancient Greek – Roman times. From sweet, semi-dry, white, rose or red, the island will provide for every taste. After all the Caesar knew what he was after in these parts of Asia Minor in 31 B.C.
Given its privileged position in the heart of the Mediterranean, you can easily get to the legendary cradle of Aphrodite either by air from Greece or Turkey, or by sea. There are plenty of ways to set foot on the island. You can book flights to Paphos, Larnaca (via Greece) or Nicosia (via Turkey) or if you adore sailing, you will find a cruise to Limassol more than appealing. Cyprus is a travel gem and a postcard of the Eastern Mediterranean.
From the sandy beaches to the limey-green hills and forest strewn mountains up North, Cyprus boasts a variety of landscapes that will stick in your memory. If you want to see pink flamingos in the flesh, then the salt lakes in Larnaca, Limassol and Akrotiri should be top of your must-see list. The Caledonia Falls up in Troodos Mountains and the sea caves on the shore of Ayia Napa are worth exploring. There’s always a story behind each place and a secret meaning in each name, almost every time going back to ancient times.
Sense of Community
As warm as the sun, the people of Cyprus are probably one of the main reasons why the island of Aphrodite is a top holiday destination for so many, and the number of tourists from all over the world is on the rise. From the minute you get here till the moment you leave, you will be amazed by how helpful and friendly people really are, especially if you’re new to the place and can’t find your way around. You may even get a lift to wherever you want to go if you’re lost and run into a local wanting to be helpful. This may seem a bit awkward to a westerner used to a more ‘chill-out’ and ‘orderly’ kind of approach, with tourist information offices almost every street corner. Well, people, not in Cyprus (although you do have tourist information offices, but not at every street corner). Cypriots have a strong sense of community and sometimes are so eager to ‘adopt’ you as one of theirs that it’s impossible not to melt you down.
Beach Time Every Time
With the sun high in the sky all year round, you can laze on the beach almost year round. From the quiet beach of Pissouri Bay to the groovy atmosphere of Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa, Cyprus boasts a mind-blowing mix of white, fine sand with shingle and pebble beach (Lady’s Mile in Limassol) to suit all needs and wants.
Diving and Snorkling Spots
If you’re a watersport lover, you need to know this. Cyprus has plenty to offer when it comes to scuba diving and snorkelling. As you plunge down, the crystal-clear blue water of the Mediterranean Sea unravels a mysterious underwater world, unknown to many and worth a dive to explore. The shipwreck of Zenobia in Larnaca is one such amazing site lying on the Mediterranean seabed. Don’t thing that your trip down will be without adventure, not at all, as you will have the chance to meet and greet an octopus or two, or visit an underwater cave. The water temperature is 25 degrees on average and salinity of 38ppt, the highest in Europe.
Need more convincing to book your trip?