From the stunning coastlines with turquoise water and golden sands to picturesque green landscapes with sleepy villages. Its remarkable history, pleasant climate and Mediterranean cuisine, make Cyprus a great holiday. It’s the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, has been fought over throughout its history and even today it is partitioned into a northern Turkish part, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised solely by Turkey, and the rest of Cyprus, which is primarily Greek speaking. Cyprus has so much to offer, from Roman and Greek ruins, medieval castles, Byzantine churches and Turkish mosques. Here are some of the things worth discovering in this south-eastern Mediterranean country.
Visit the Troodos Mountains
You might not believe it, but in the winter Cyprus’ Toodos Mountains can be used to ski down. But when the sun is shining and the weather is fine, it is possible to trek through these impressive peaks. Amid the pine-clad hills you’ll see traditional villages, UNESCO-listed churches, waterfalls and some of the country’s native mouflon sheep. I rented a motorbike and rode around Troodos and it was very, very cool!
Check out Cape Greco
Cape Greco national park features the remains of a Venetian lighthouse, nine hiking trails and various sea caves, one of the main reasons to come here is to catch a sight of the mysterious and legendary Ayia Napa Sea Monster. But, you’d be better off just enjoying everything else.
Visit Petra Tou Romiou (the Rock of Aphrodite)
Near Pissouri village you’ll find a rocky outcrop known as Petra Tou Romiou. But when you hear that this is said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, it becomes a lot more fascinating. Legend has it that if you swim around the rock three times, you’ll find true love.
Discover the Tombs of the Kings
Not to be confused with Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, this is the burial place of about 100 aristocrats from the 3rd century BC. Although some tombs were used as workshops during the Middle Ages, this attraction’s most remarkable trait is that St Paul was tied to one of the pillars for preaching the news of Christianity.
See Flamingos at Salt Lake
If you’ve ever wanted to see flocks of colourful pink flamingos then head over to Salt Lake to the west of Larnaca and see these beautiful creatures. They visit the lake at the beginning of each year. During the summer the lake dries up leaving just salt behind, which is also worth seeing.
The ancient city of Kourion, which dates all the way back to the 2nd century BC has a magnificent Roman theatre, a Christian Basilica, impressive villas and beautifully made mosaic floors. It’s a great place for anyone who appreciates ancient history.
Highlights from Cyprus
- Visit Paphos (with its famed archaeological site, its beautiful old town and cool nightlife)
- Stroll through Nicosia taking in the Cyprus Museum and crossing over the green line into Northern Cyprus with its Turkish influences and take a (steam) bath in historic Omeriye Hamam
- Hike the Troödos Mountains from one pretty little painted Byzantine church to the other
- Walk around sea-side Kyrenia with its Byzantine castle and cobbled streets
- Lie on the beach, or dance till you drop around Agia Napa
- Learn about the ancient Greeks in Kourion
- Cyprus best archaeological site is at Salamis
- Take the scenic route to Aphrodite’s Rock and Beach (Petra tou Romiou) for a swim and sunset view
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April 30, 2016