Top 10 Things to See and Do
1. Cyprus’ spectacular coastline is what tends to draw visitors magnetically back to its shores time and again. With an abundance of white sand stretches sloping into the sapphire Mediterranean sea all around the island, there is a beach to suit every taste, from those situated in buzzing resorts to the quiet coves on the Western peninsula.
2. Discover the best Cypriot wines and locally brewed larger with a tour of the modern brewery and winery in Limossol. The tour shows the beer and wine vats, cellars and bottling plant accompanied by an engaging talk on the wine-making process, before concluding with an eagerly anticipated tasting session.
3. The Byzantine art museum is located within the complex of the Makrarios Cultural Foundation, and boasts the islands largest collections of icons related to Cyprus. The museums fascinating collections include manuscripts, wood carvings, ecclesiastical works of metallurgy, embroideries and old printed books and frescoes.
4. Pay a visit to the ever-popular Omeriye Hammam, a luxurious 16th-century spa and wellness centre where you can relax and unwind with a Turkish bath, a massage or a range of rejuvenating treatments. If you don’t fancy the full bath experience, tours are also available on Mondays.
5. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in an ethereally beautiful, desert-like setting, the Tombs of the Kings are a series of well-preserved underground tombs and chambers dating back to the 3rd Century BC, when they were used by the residents of Nea Pafos during the Helelnistic and Roman periods. Spread over a wide area, the tombs make for a fascinating glimpse into an ancient and mysterious culture.
6. The country’s most impressive archaeological site and the islands most important pre-Christian city, a visit to Salamis is well worth setting aside a day for. Admire the fully restored Roman amphitheatre, intriguing mosaics and gymnasium complete with marble baths, and bring your swimsuits to unwind afterwards on the serene beach located next to the site.
7. The crystalline turquoise waters that encircle Cyprus are a divers paradise, boasting excellent visibility, colourful marine life and a number of fascinating ship wrecks (including one of the top 10 wrecks in the world, the MS Zenobia, which lies just off the coast near Lanaca). A number of excellent diving companies operate across the island, many of them offering PADI and BSAC courses as well as a variety of dives, lessons and packages.
8. From wind surfing to water skiing, sailing to kicking up spray on a jet ski, the azure waters of Cyprus lend themselves to a diverse range of different water sports. Rentals and lessons are widely available in the resorts, and instructors are friendly and professional.
9. Set out to explore the quaint and charming villages of Cyprus, where the pace of life is altogether more sedate than that of the resorts and towns, and often very little has changed for generations. Wander down the narrow lanes admiring the varied architecture and the stalls of the friendly village craftspeople.
10. Cypriot cuisine is a vibrant blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, and the best way to experience it is by tucking into a traditional Meze. Beginning with a bowl of village salad and a selection of dips and sliced bread before moving on to seasonal vegetables, Kalamari and fresh fish, oven-baked specialities and sizzling meat straight from the charcoal, the feast concludes with a bowl of chilled fruit, and will likely leave you feeling full for days!
Culture in Cyprus
The culture of Cyprus is distinctly divided between the two disparate cultures of Greek and Turkish Cypriots; both groups strongly maintain their own culture, linked to the cultures of Greece and Turkey, and there is little cultural exchange between the two. Greek Cypriots identify as Christian while the Turkish population of the island is predominantly Sunni Muslim. The Greek culture has existed on the island since antiquity, while the Turkish culture arrived on the island in 1570, with the invasion of the Ottoman Empire.