The beautiful, sunny island of Cyprus is located in the north-eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, at the crossroads of three major continents, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Known as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, Cyprus boasts a lush tapestry of nature, culture and history. From the length of its endless coastline to the impressive heights of the Troodos Mountains, visitors and residents alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to experiencing all that Cyprus’ idyllic atmosphere has to offer.
Sunny days per year
Blue Flag beaches
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Flamingos flock to the Larnaca Salt Lake each year
Cyprus Fun Facts:
- Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea
- Cyprus is home to the legendary Commandaria wine, a sweet dessert wine with a history dating it back at least 5,000 years. King Richard the Lionheart once declared it ‘the wine of kings and the king of wines.’
- The curly-horned Cyprus Mouflon, a type of wild sheep, is native only to the mountain regions of Cyprus, and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
- Cyprus boasts one of Europe’s lowest crime rates, and is currently ranked as the 5th safest country in the world.
- According to local legend, Ancient Greek goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite, was born from the waves on the island of Cyprus.
- The diverse topography of Cyprus offers both beaches and mountains, with the highest peak, Mount Olympus, rising 1952 metres above sea level.
With 64 Blue Flag awards and a seemingly endless coastline, there is certainly no shortage of beaches to choose from in Cyprus. What is particularly unique is that each coast is diverse in its offering, meaning that visitors can choose from a wide variety of beach types.
The western peninsula is known for its quiet backwaters, featuring rugged secluded coves, while the eastern coastline is famous for its fine white sand, shallow turquoise waters and lively resorts. For sports enthusiasts, the long stretches of densely packed grey sand of the southern coast are great for year-long jogs.
The Troodos Mountain range, located in the centre of the island, is the largest in Cyprus, stretching across almost its entire western side. It is home to mountain resorts, Byzantine monasteries and churches, as well as picturesque villages nestled along its slopes. Its peak, Mount Olympus, hosts four ski slopes which are frequented by snow enthusiasts each winter. During the rest of the year, Troodos is ideal for seeking out cultural gems, hiking in the fresh air, or simply escaping the heat of the urban areas.
Cyprus is an island steeped in thousands of years of history. Its strategic position meant that it had been conquered and colonized numerous times throughout its 10,000 year history, with many ancient civilizations leaving their mark behind. In fact, the oldest known settlements in Cyprus date back to the Neolithic period, while its name, ‘Cyprus,’ is derived from the ancient Greek word for copper, a precious commodity of the ancient world that was mined and traded in Cyprus as early as 2500 BC. Since then, civilizations such as the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Franks, and the British all passed through Cyprus, before it finally gained its independence in 1960.
Cypriots are strong proponents of the Mediterranean diet, and the island’s cuisine is considered to be very healthy, featuring lots of olive oil and fresh, natural ingredients. Though similar to Greek cuisine, there are a number of variations, as well as certain distinctly Cypriot foods.
Perhaps most famous is the traditional halloumi cheese, a semi-hard cheese made from goats’ and sheep’s milk, which tastes delicious grilled, barbecued or fried. In most traditional Cypriot taverns, this cheese forms part of a ‘meze,’ a mouth-watering medley of dishes featuring traditional local foods, including a variety of fish and meats.