An island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is situated south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and east of Greece. Its capital is Nicosia. When visiting Cyprus, tourists should be aware that it has a subtropical climate, described as Mediterranean and semi-arid with very mild winters and warm to hot summers.
What to see & do
As a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is home to many interesting archaeological remains that date back to 10th millennium BC through the Roman Empire, including the Neolithic village of Khirokitia, as well as the oldest water wells in the world. These wonders are scattered throughout the island so wherever one may go in Cyprus, there will be something worth exploring. The country also boasts of its beautiful coastline, with unspoilt beaches waiting for holiday-makers in western Cyprus, especially in Coral Bay, Limassol, and Paphos.
Intriguingly called the ‘divided capital,’ Nicosia has a rich history waiting to be discovered. Preserved Venetian walls surround the city, with bars and restaurants within it. The ‘green line’ can also be found in the city, which serves as the dividing line between the Greek Government of Cyprus-controlled area in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus-administered area in the north, cutting through the centre of Nicosia.
The Troodos Mountains in the centre of the island is the largest mountain range in Cyprus with its highest peak, Mount Olympus, standing at 1,952 metres. Mountain resorts located here offer beautiful trail walks and ski slopes. Monasteries and churches rest on mountain peaks, while on the hill slopes are quaint little villages.
While in Cyprus, complete the experience by trying out its specialty cuisines. The Cypriot meze is served in almost all restaurants. It is an appetizer similar to Spanish tapas that come in a meat or fish variety, nsometimes a mix of both. The halloumi is a Cypriot cheese made from a mix of cow’s and sheep’s milk, best served grilled. Taramosalata is also a staple, made from taramas mixed with bread crumbs or mashed potatoes.
How to get around within Cyprus
Available modes of transport within Cyprus are by road, sea, and air. When driving, travellers should be aware that Cyprus is one of the only four European Union countries (with Ireland, Malta, and the United Kingdom) in which vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road. Motorways in Cyprus include A1 that runs between Nicosia and Limassol, A2 that connects A1 near Pera Chorio with A3 by Larnaca, A3 that runs between Larnaca to Agia Napa, A5 that connects A1 near Kofinou with A3 by Larnaca, A6 that runs between Paphos and Limassol, and A9 that runs between Nicosia and Astromeritis.
There are no railways in Cyprus; but the bus network is comprehensive, with several operators plying different routes: Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca, Ammochostos, and intercity routes. There are also airport shuttle services from Larnaca and Paphos going to Nicosia and Limassol. Taxis in Cyprus run every half hour from 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., stopping services at exactly 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.
Cyprus is served by a number of heliports and three international airports: Larnaca International Airport, Paphos International Airport, and Ercan International Airport. By water travel, the main harbours in Cyprus are Limassol and Larnaca, serving cargo, passengers, and cruise ships.
How to get there
The country’s main airport is Larnaca International Airport, served by several air carriers including Cyprus’ national airline Cyprus Airways. Cyprus Airways flies to and from most major European cities and many Eastern European countries, as well as Middle Eastern capitals. For flights coming from Turkey, passengers will land in Ercan International Airport, operating in the Turkish Cypriot administered area. Some travellers going to western Cyprus also land in Paphos International Airport.
Images by Flickr\Andrew_D_Hurley
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