Cyprus Travel Guide

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Cyprus is a small country, neighboring Greece, with a surface area of 9,251 square kilometers and a population of 1.2 million.

Being neighbor to Greece, which is a world-renowned travelling destination, Cyprus is said to be the birthplace of a legendary Greek goddess, Aphrodite.

In case that you’re not savvy with Greek mythology, well, let me remind you that Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty, and Cyprus really lives up to Aphrodite’s legacy.

Cyprus is the definition of Mediterranean heritage. Traveling here you’ll be amazed by its marvelous sandy beaches, the classical ruins, old monasteries, terracotta houses, thyme covered mountains and, last but not least, its high-end touristic resorts, which are the main selling point for sun seeking youngsters, not so much in tune with ancient history and Greek mythology.

Since its “inception”, Cyprus was like a gate between two worlds, sitting at the crossroads of Asia and Europe.

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For hundreds if not thousands of years, a succession of empires fought over Cyprus’s mountain fortresses and its sea-ports, strategic points which guaranteed their owners total supremacy over the Mediterranean sea.

Due to its strategical position, Cyprus is a placed filled with ancient history relics and architectural wonders, left behind by all the empire-builders who occupied this little tiny country in their quest for world domination.

While in Cyprus, you’ll be absolutely delighted to see ancient Roman and Greek ruins, strong Venetian city walls, picturesque crusader castles and even minarets and mosques, built and left behind by the Ottoman empire during their invasion.

After the seventies, Cyprus was divided into Greek Cypriot and Turkish states. The north of the country is now isolated, as it belongs to Turkey while the south is Greek, the Greek Republic of Cyprus and that’s what today’s article is all about (the Turkish Cyprus remained isolated, off-tourist radar and it’s not even recognized by the international community).

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After the partition of Cyprus, tourism became an essential part of this tiny country’s GDP, along with the financial businesses, as Cyprus is a fiscal paradise of some sort, together with an overdrive in terms of tourist development.

The best holiday resorts were built on the Greek half of Cyprus, along the southern cost, places like Protaras, Ayia Napa, Paphos and Limassol.

Travel here during the summer months and you’ll be part of the crowd enjoying the country’s whitewashed villas, banana boat rides, lively night clubs and the whole nine yards, which draws hordes of youngsters year after year, living la vida loca.

The inland Cyprus is very different from its coastal areas, which are as modern and trendy as it gets. The old Cyprus is still alive and kicking here, boasting its marvelous villages and UNESCO listed monasteries and churches, together with its serene vineyards and mountain trails.

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The same old world atmosphere is evident in the country’s main city and capital, Nicosia, which is divided between Byzantine churches and Turkish mosques.

What to see, what to do in Cyprus

If you’re into “all natural”-rugged landscapes, pay a visit to the Akamas peninsula, a place filled with virgin forests, as in pine trees and sandy bays, an excellent spot  to escape from today’s savage world and enjoy the silence, to be one with the nature and the wildlife.

Another magic place to visit,  where you’ll be imbibed with ancient history and cultural heritage is Kourion, in Limassol, featuring a spectacular Greek-Roman theater, a marketplace (Agora) and the ruins of a cathedral plus a small castle (a villa), the house of Eustolios and impeccably preserved fifth century floor mosaics’ this is one of the most interesting places on the island from an archaeological point of view.

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Petra tou Romiou or the Rock of Aphrodite is the place where goddess Aphrodite was born and it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit while in Cyprus. Nearby you can pay a visit to the Temple of Aphrodite which sits on the ancient ruins of Palaipafos.

Food and Drink

The Cypriot food is absolutely delicious, just like Greek cuisine, and it’s a melange of Greek and Turkish dish. In the south of the island, you’ll enjoy a pure Mediterranean food, with olives and lemons that can be picked directly from the trees, while in the North, the cuisine is a melange of Asian and Middle Eastern cooking.

Specialties include kleftiko (lamb with herbs, slow cooked) and afelia( pork slow cooked in coriander and red wine), aubergines stuffed with onions and tomato called imam bayildi, dolmades, adana, tava and stifado.

Regional drinks include an excellent and strong black coffee, wines, spirits and beer.

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Visa Requirements

To enter and visit Cyprus you’ll require a valid passport if you’re a non-EU traveler, else an ID card will be enough.

 

 

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