Cyprus Island - Cyprus Travel Guide

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Discover the island of Cyprus - Known by many as Aphrodite`s Island, Cyprus is the spot where the goddess of love is said to have risen from the sea. The island is packed with UNESCO-listed heritage sites, sandy beaches and diverse landscape, making it an ideal holiday destination for those looking for variety. Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean to the south of Turkey and west of Lebanon. The Republic of Cyprus, as the island is officially known, is partitioned into two main sections with the northern area under Turkish control. Cyprus exhibits great diversity of landscape for a country of its size, with rocky coastline interspersed with large, sandy bays. Further inland the country has large swathes of mountainous landscape full of rugged and pine-covered peaks. In the centre of the country, the Troodos Mountains rise to over six thousand feet and in the winter this area becomes a popular ski resort. The rest of the country is lush and hilly and provides fertile conditions for the islands many food crops, such as olives and grapes.

Apart from the excellent year-round weather and fine landscapes, one of Cyprus`s main draw cards when it comes to attracting visitors is the sheer scale and variety of culture on offer. This is perhaps not surprising for a country whose history stretches back around ten thousand years. The capital, Nicosia, makes a good base from which to explore the island`s fascinating history, with some of the best excursions from here including the Royal Tombs at Tamassos and the Machairas Monastery in the hills to the south. The city itself is an interesting place to visit. It is currently divided by the `Green Line` which separates the Government-controlled south of the island from the Turkish-controlled north. Cultural highlights within Nicosia include the Cyprus Museum, St John`s Cathedral and the charming Folk Art Museum.

Limassol, the island`s second largest city, is another cultural gem and well worth spending at least a day or two. The city is the island`s main port and the centre of Cyprus`s wine production. If your visit coincides with Limassol`s annual wine festival in September do try to pay a visit and enjoy the festivities. A trip to Limassol should also be combined with a visit to Kourion, probably the most spectacularly situated of all Cyprus`s ancient sites. Kourion is now a collection of ancient ruins, including a spectacular amphitheatre and interesting archaeological dig sites.

The best beaches are found in the areas around Ayia Napa and Protaras and here you will discover idyllic coastline where delightfully warm, clear water laps gently at the sand. Water sports enthusiasts also tend to gravitate towards these areas due to the wide variety of activities on offer. Staying in one of the main beach areas is a great idea for those that want to relax and soak up the sun. It is easy to rent a car in Ayia Napa and Protaras so visitors can still explore the diversity of this beautiful country while enjoying a relaxing beach break.

Cyprus is served by two international airports, situated at Larnaca in the southeast of the island and Paphos in the west. Flights from the UK typically take around four to five hours and direct flights are available from several UK airports, including Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester. Tourism is big business in Cyprus so visitors can look forward to a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. All the major cities and beachside resorts contain a good mixture of self-catering apartments, mid-range guest houses and luxury hotels so just search online for something to suit your budget. So whether you are looking for a cultural break in Limassol or a cheap holiday in Protaras, the island of Cyprus is sure to provide a memorable and enjoyable experience for you and your family.



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Cyprus Island - Cyprus Travel Guide

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This article was published on 2010/11/23