Cyprus: Off the Beaten Path

Cyprus is famous for its warm Mediterranean waters, sandy beaches, and lively nightlife. However, for those tourists not so keen on fighting other tourists to see Tombs of the Kings, a jaunt off the beaten path to a few hidden Cyprus attractions might be more up your alley.

That’s why we encourage you to shun the crowds (even if it’s just for a few days) to discover the “out of sight” side of Cyprus. It might take a little effort to get to some of these attractions, but it is well worth the experience…

1. Kykkos Monastery

Founded in 1100, Kykkos Monastery is the wealthiest monastery in Cyprus and in the entire Orthodox world. Hidden among the acorn trees that are plentiful to the area, it seems fitting that the monastery protects a priceless silver gilt icon devoted to the Virgin Mary and believed to have special powers that promote life and rainfall. Legend says, even though the monastery was burnt down several times; the icon miraculously prevailed. But if a trip to view the mythical icon isn’t enough to tempt you; the monastery’s massive ecclesiastical library or its impressive church bells might be.  Or you can join pilgrims from all over the world and rent a room on site so you can attend morning mass. However, if you plan to attend, modest dress is a must—which means no bar shoulders or legs.

Kykkos Monastery cyprus

2. Oleastro Olive Park

Cyrpus and olive groves kind of go hand in hand. So realistically, a trip to Oleastro Olive Groves, in Anoyira, is a must. Take the day to explore this traditional Cypriot village, nestled amongst vineyards and perched high up on the coast. Get lost in the ruins and ancient monolith at the monastery of Timiou Stavrou; duck into the village museum to learn about carobs, an evergreen used to make cocoa-like powder, once the island’s largest export; wander the cobblestone streets; check out the restored houses; and sample some wine from a local winery. Just be sure to leave lots of time to explore the Oleastro Olive Park to learn how olive oil is made. The Olive Park is open daily, from 9am to 8pm.

olive park, cyprus

3. Cape Grecois

A trip to the most south-easterly tip of Cyprus is well worth it for nature lovers. Here you’ll find Cape Grecois and gape awe-inspired at its stunning coastline. Covered in patches of scrubland gorse, wild juniper, and carob, you can hike the rocky arches and explore some hidden sea caves along the 365 hectares of pristine beauty. Luckily, as part of Greko National Park, you can easily navigate the tails thanks to the established route maps along the way until you reach the famous Cape Greco lighthouse, built 40 years ago to transmit signals across the Middle East.

Cape Grecois, cyprus coast

4. Avakas Gorge, Akamas Peninsula

If trekking wild Mediterranean wilderness is your sport, the Avakas Gorge, located on Cyprus’ Akamas Peninsula will awe you with its rugged, natural wilderness and botany finds. Like a hidden world of deserted beaches, steep cliffs, citrus plantations, and opening into several spectacular gorges, of which Avakas is the most impressive at about 4.5 kilometers in circumference. You can hike Akamas Gorge most of the year, except for in winter.

Avakas Gorge, cyprus

5. Coastal Walk

At the other end of the island, the six kilometer coastal walk from the Baths of Aphrodite to Cap Arnaoutis is probably the most spectacular. The walk can be enjoyed at your own pace and on the whole is smooth underfoot – a good alternative is to hire a mountain bike. The path leads high above the clear blue sea and numerous tiny bays and it is fun to watch the various fishing boats go by. Don’t get excited about Fontana Amorosa – the Fountain of Love – because in reality it is just a muddy puddle. Continue the walk until it flattens out by the shore and then take the plunge and really enjoy a good swim.

rock of Aphroditi, cyprus

6. Agros Village

Flower lovers will buckle at the knees upon whiff and sight of Argos Village during the gay months of May and early June. At this time, the mountain village is blessed by the mass blooming of thousands of deep pink Damascus roses. You’ll see the village women collecting flower heads for extraction for rose water, which is used in beauty and baking products.  Early each morning, the women begin work, carefully picking thousands of the flower heads before the sun evaporates their precious essential oil. You can even visit the rose water factory to watch the manufacturing process and have your picture taken while lying in a bed of rose petals. How cool is that?

Agros Village cyprus

7. Pano Pyrgos

Pano Pyrgos is a tiny fishing hamlet perched on the Cyprus’ north coastline. It welcomes tourists with its lovely mix of deserted beaches and charcoal-tinged breezes due to the trees that produce it in this area.  In fact, visitors can’t miss the large domed mounds of smoldering wood gently smoldering as women pack lumps of charcoal into stitched bags for selling.

Pano Pyrgos, cyprus

8. Kato Pyrgos

The twin community to Pano Pyrgos, the fishing village of Kato Pyrgos holds much charm of its own accord.  Just follow the narrow, winding road into the lively little village—with its quaint harbor, smattering of family-run hotels, secluded beaches, and delectable seafood restaurants. You might think that time has stood still in Kato Pyrgos, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

Kato Pyrgos cyprus

 

 

The Best Beaches in Cyprus

Cyprus is located in the east Mediterranean Sea, which makes it an ideal vacation destination for beach bums and sun worshippers, particularly because the island is surrounded by man of the world’s most scenic beaches and hidden seaside nooks.

So if you’re looking to spend the day sunning and people watching, or if you prefer a laid back sojourn with the water at your toes and a book in your face, here are our picks for best beaches in Cyprus…

1. Konnos Bay, Cape Greco

If you’re one of those chill beach bums who prefers to walk along a craggy shoreline over crowds playing topless beach volleyball, than Konnos Bay delivers the perfect peaceful beach vibe. Partly secluded by the southeastern rocky coastline, Konnos Bay, boasts Blue Flag standards, meaning it was awarded for its environmental cleanliness. So take advantage of Konnos’ charm and be sure to take time to explore the hidden sea caves.

Konnos Bay, Cape Greco, cyprus

2. Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa

On the other hand, if you’re drawn to bikini gazing and grabbing a cool beverage in between sunscreen applications, Nissi Beach, located in lively Ayia Napa promises a social opportunity like no other. On this see and be seen stretch of 75 meter coastline, you’ll be treated to pubs, cafes, water sport rentals, and even spots for cliff-jumping.

sunset ayia napa, cyprus

3. Escape Beach, Kyrenia

Fun in the sun is taken literally on Escape Beach, located in northern Kyrenia. Here, as live music filters through the air, you can strut your stuff on the outdoor dance floor, play beach volleyball, enjoy a few alcoholic libations at the many bars and cafes, rent a canoe or paddle boat, or go for a dip and dry off in the sun. Luckily, if you do swim, you can do like the locals and use the onsite shower and changing facilities to change into your party clothes for the evening’s festivities.

Escape Beach, Kyrenia, cyprus

4. Coral Bay, Peyia

The horseshoe-shaped beach paradise at Coral Bay beach in Peyia, is surrounded by stunning limestone cliffs, which hug fine white shores and turquoise waters. Really, if you’re looking for the picturesque Mediterranean landscape, you’ll find it at Coral Bay. Plus, the waters are calm and warm—perfect for swimming, water skiing, and even scuba diving, but don’t forget to pop into one of the areas trendy cafes for a bite and a bevie.
Coral Bay, Peyia, cyprus

5. Lara Beach, Akamas Peninsula

If you want a little romantic seclusion or a day all to yourself, then Lara Beach, on Cyprus’ northwest coast, provides the perfect nook or cranny for a little rest and relaxation without a crowd. Mind you, you may have to make a little exception for the resident loggerhead and green turtles that make Lara Beach their breeding and nesting grounds. However, to keep the endangered species’ safe and comfortable, bathing guests are not permitted to bring lounge chairs or put up parasols in the sane. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a blanket and nestle up with your beloved to watch the spectacular sunsets here in your own private paradise.

sunset beach cyprus

6. Latchi Beach, Polis

As far as memorable Mediterranean sunsets—none quite compare to those viewed from the soft sand on Latchi Beach. Located just outside of Polis, Cyprus, Latchi Beach is also home to a collection of the most divine seafood restaurants in Cyprus. So pick a café along the water’s edge and watch the sun disappear into the harbor.

Latchi Beach, cyprus

 

The Best of Cyprus Nightlife

With a lively blend of euro-pop, techno, hip-hop, and traditional Greek music, the nightlife in Cyprus lures international travelers with a diverse range from energetic clubbing to tucked away candlelight dinners.  The nightclubs on the island don’t cater to party-goers of all ages and tastes, and the laid-back atmosphere makes everyone feel welcome.

To get a taste of Cyprus nightlife, get your dancing shoes on and venture into these five lively neighborhoods…

1. Larnaca

What better backdrop for a party than the stylish palm-lined promenade along Larnaca’s beachfront.  Here you’ll find a variety of lively bars, cafés, and tavernas pumping techno and Euro beats into the night sky. And if you’re up for a discos or some live music after dinner, you’ll find it all speckled along this boisterous promenade.

larnaca, cyprus

2. Ayia Napa

Ancient ruins meet modern club paradise in Ayia Napa, in Eastern Cyprus. This city is well known for its party atmosphere and it won’t disappoint any taste. With about 20 nightclubs, plus a collection of lively bars, cafés, pubs, and restaurants with live music, this club district keeps going until 6 am!

Ayia Napa, cyprus sunset

3. Paphos

If you’re looking for more laid-back fun for an evening, Paphos offers a smattering of bars and clubs with a bit more of a Mediterranean flare. Dining is the center of the entertainment at Paphos, where fresh caught seafood is the star of every evening out.

tourist area, Paphos, cyprus

4. Limassol

Limassol’s exciting nightlife might not quite compete with the show-stopper that is Ayia Napa. However,   after a night out in jam-packed bars you may be eager to shun the crowds and find a more refined pub, café, disco, or restaurants for your evening’s entertainment.

Limassol cyprus

5. Nicosia

Cyprus’ capital city boasts the most multi-ethnic night’s entertainment compared to the rest of the island. There is an abundant array of bars, cafés, clubs, pubs, and restaurants all close to the university campus. The cosmopolitan collection of students really determines what bar or club is most popular in Nicosia that year.

Evgeny Shmulev / Shutterstock.com
Evgeny Shmulev / Shutterstock.com

 

Top 10 Must-See Cyprus Attractions

A mysterious blend of Greek, Assyrian, Persian, Roman, and Turkish influence, it’s no wonder Cyprus is rife with so many ancient villages, archaic ruins, and medieval castles for tourists to explore. The past has certainly proven eclectic for this island country, and the historic attractions of Cyprus visually tell the island’s diverse and volatile story.

Here are the top ten historical sites and attractions to see on the island of Cyprus…

1. Kalavasos-Tenta

Kalavasos-Tenta , or just “Tenta” to the locals, this ancient Neolithic settlement dates back to eighth millennium BC. Bring your walking shoes to explore the ruins at Kalavasos-Tenta that include the winding walls that remain of the circular village huts.

Kalavasos-Tenta, cyprus

2. Amathus

Amathus contains the archeological remains of Cyprus’ most ancient settlement on the island. Dating back to 1050BC, Amathus was believed to have begun as a Eteocyprians village that, over time, was home to communities of Greeks, who worshipped the Cult of Aphrodite; Phoenicians;  Persians; Ptolemies; and Romans. Even though Amathus was abandoned in the late seventh century, several well preserved tombs, an acropolis and temple for Aphrodite, an agora, public baths and the remains of a palace (dating back to eighth century BC) can be explored here.

Amathus, cyprus

3. Kolossi Castle

First build as a thirteenth century fortification by the Knights Hospitallers in 1210, Kolossi Castle was restored as a castle in 1454 by Frankish, Louis de Magnac, who’s coat of arms still graces the castle walls.

Kolossi Castle, cyprus

4. Nea Pafos

The archaeological site near Paphos Harbour, Cyprus dates back to fourth century BC.  At one time, this flourishing island capital housed an impressive ancient theatre, the famous Ancient Roman villas that boast the mythical houses of Dionysos, Orpheus, and Theseus, the remains of an agora (public square),and the Byzantine Castle of Forty Columns, or “Saranda Kolones”, which is an impressive granite-column fortification built in seventh century AD.
Saranda Kolones, cyprus

5. Choirokoitia

Choirokoitia, another prehistoric agricultural settlement, dates back to 7000BC and is believed to hold the very first proof of human occupation on Cyprus. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, visitors to Choirokoitia can explore the remains of a few circular huts that still stand on the site.

Choirokoitia

6. Paphos Castle

Constructed as a Frankish fortification in the mid-thirteenth century following the earthquake that destroyed Saranda Kolones (the first fortification site), Paphos Castle was transformed by the Genoese and the Venetians until it was destroyed in anticipation of the Ottoman invasion of 1570. However, the Turkish rebuilt Paphos Castle so luckily visitors can explore the dungeons and battlements of this national monument today.

Paphos Harbour, Cyprus

7. Church of Agios Lazaros

First constructed in the 10th century, the Church of Agios Lazaros has been a church, tomb, and even a mosque. Built originally to house the tomb of Saint Lazarus by the Byzantines, the church and crypt have enjoyed several restorations.

Church of Agios Lazaros, cyprus

8. Kourion

Kourion (or Curium), an archeological site located near Limassol, Cyprus, has ancient Roman and Byzantine roots. The ruins explain a history of the first Neolithic settlement here in 4500-3900 BC, Argive inhabitation during the thirteenth century BC, Persians support during the Cypriot in fifth century BC and betrayal in support of Alexander the Great’s defeat of the Persians in fourth century BC. Today, visitors to Kourion houses the remains of many Roman and Byzantine buildings, monuments, and structures, including an ancient theater that once sat 3,500 spectators, a Roman market with public baths, as well as the impressive House of Achilles with its intricate mosaic floors and gladiatorial stadium, dating back to fourth century AD.

Kourion, cyprus

9. Palaepaphos

Palaepaphos is one of the most revered sites in Cyprus. Once home to the ancient cult of the goddess Aphrodite and her sanctuary, the Mycenaeans established Paliaipafos as the heart of Cyprus religion and culture in 1200 BC. The Romans followed suit, establishing Koinon Kyprion and building the House of Leda here in second century AD with its delicate mosaics depicting the mythical Leda and the Swan. You can also see remains from of a Church of Panagia Katholiki (from 12th to 13th century AD) and the Lusignian Manor House, built as a medieval administrative center of the town.

Palaepaphos, cyprus

10. Tombs of the Kings, Paphos

The Tombs of the Kings, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Paphos, is a well-persevered Hellenistic necropolis with eight tombs. Constructed in third century BC, these tombs were reserved only for royalty, prominent figures, and high ranking officials by the Romans and early Christians. Tourists must wander into the subterranean depths to view the atriums and admire the architecture of the tombs’ columns and porticos.

Tombs of the Kings, cyprus

 

Important Cypriot Phrases to Know

Of the estimated 736,000 population of Cyprus, you’ll hear a mix of Turkish, Greek, and English on the island. Cyprus was, after all, a former British colony from 1878 until 1960, which means many Cypriots also speak English. However, while you can get by with a mix of English and hand gestures (in some instances) you’re willingness to say even a few words in Turkish or Greek will go a long way with the locals and you’ll find you’ll get treated like an honorable xenos (“foreigner  traveler”) rather than just another “ touristas” (or tourist).

Now, let me just say that Greek and Turkish are not easy languages to learn phonetically so even if you just give it your best effort, the locals will appreciate your efforts.

1. Salutations can go a long way—whether it’s the formal “Hello” or “γεια σας” (pronounced ya sas) or more familiar “Hi” or “γεια σου” (pronounced ya soo) in Greek; or “merhaba” (Hello) in Turkish.

How are you

2. When entering a shop or ordering a coffee you will always get extra special attention or sugar if you make an effort to ask “Tee kahnis” or “How are you?”. The same goes for the Turkish side of the island where you would use “Nasuhl-sunuz?”

turkish coffee

3. Of course even if you know some broken Greek or Turkish, you may have to resort back to English to actually get what you came for. So after a few brief pleasantries, you can ask, “Milate anglika” or “Do you speak English?” on the Greek side of the country.

walking tour rome

4. To introduce yourself on the Turkish side of the country say, “ben (insert your name)’im” or “I am (your name)”. To inquire after a stranger’s name say, “Adu-nuz ne?”

businessmen cyprus

5. Using your P’s and Q’s on both sides of the country will earn you some bonus points when it comes to service. So say, “parakalo” (please) and “efkharisto” (thank you) on the Greek side and “lutfen” (please) and “teshek-kur edirim” (thank you) on the Turkish side.

Please and thank you

6. Even though we’ve already established that exact time is relative in Cyprus, you can still ask the time by inquiring, “Ti ora ine?” to Greek speakers.

Asking for the time

7. Interrupting someone, particularly an elder, is never seen as polite, especially on the Turkish side of Cyprus. To smooth an inquiry, start by saying, “affedersiniz” or “pardon me”.

elder cyprus

8. Shopping will be a lot easier if you know how to ask for what an item costs. For instance, asking “Posso kane?” or “How much is this?” if tags are not evident on merchandise.

jewelry makers cyprus market

9. As previously mentioned, a polite exchange with your hotel clerk, waiter, café manager, or cab driver may get you better treatment in a country that is big on formality.

greek cyprus waiter

10. On the Greek side of the country, bid good day by saying, “kaleemeerah!” (good morning), “kaleespeerah!” (good afternoon), and “kaleenihkta!” (Good night). While on the northern Turkish side, you can bid good day with the following—“gunaydun” (good morning), “iyi akshamlar” (good evening), and “iyi gejeler” (good night).

sunset ayia napa, cyprus

 

Tips for Getting Around in Cyprus

As the third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is still small enough for tourists to get around fairly easy. It’s up to you if you choose to drive or take public transit. But many tourists are comfortable with the roads, smooth driving, and signage to maneuver in a rented car or even via motorcycle. Others, who find the roads a bit worse for wear, may opt for the straightforward public transit system.

1. Bus

Bus service on the Southern portion of the island is fairly frequent and reliable. The buses do look a little outdated, but they are generally safe and comfortable. The bus is the cheapest form of public transit from a village to a city and vice versa from Mondays through to Saturdays. There is no bus service on Sunday, but you may be able to book long-distance routes through a private tour operator.

Chris Jenner / Shutterstock.com
Chris Jenner / Shutterstock.com

2. Taxi

Public transport is limited to buses and service taxis (stretch taxis that run on predetermined routes). There is no train network and no domestic air services in either the North or the South. Four-lane motorways link Lefkosia with Lemesos and Larnaka, and this network has now been expanded west to Pafos and east to Agia Napa. In Northern Cyprus, there is only one motorway, which runs between North Nicosia and Famagusta.

Brigida Soriano / Shutterstock.com
Brigida Soriano / Shutterstock.com

3. Rented Car or Motorcycle

Distances across Cyprus are typically pretty short and straightforward so renting a car or motorcycle is another option and you can travel on your own time and get to some of the more out-of-the-way places, such as the Tyllirian Wilderness. On route you will see many petrol stations, rest stops, and picnic areas. Of course, if you do rent a vehicle, always inspect its condition before setting off and make sure it’s insured. If you pick up your car at the airport, don’t be surprised if you find it unlocked with the key under the floor mat. Car theft is almost nonexistent in Cyprus.

driving cyprus

4. Bicycle

If you opt for the healthy mode of transport around the island of Cyprus, you won’t be alone. Many locals choose this cheap, convenient, healthy mode of travelling and commuting as well. However, keep in mind that soaring summer temperatures can make cycling pretty unbearable so spring, fall, and winter are more advisable. Also, for safety, keep cycling to main city roads, but not highways where cycling is not permitted. Even on city roads, cars rarely make room for cyclists.

bicycle cyprus

5. Walking

Cyprus is ideal for a walking holiday. In fact, nature lovers will revel in the ideal temperatures and mild climate that make it comfortable all year long. Summer may be a bit hot, but take it easy and wear sturdy walking shoes for comfort and support.  In most of Cyprus, surrounding major cities, you will find beautiful, scenic countryside that will make your trip to Cyprus one of the healthiest yet!

Kourion's amphiteater. Cyprus

6. Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is never recommended in your own country let alone a foreign country. However, some backpackers still do it even though the risk is small (for violent crime) but the risk high (for injury), particularly in more rural areas of Cyprus between villages and cities.   People who do choose to hitchhike are advised to travel in pairs and to stand in a prominent position at a safe distance from traffic so you don’t get struck by a passing car.

hitchhiking

 

 

Cyprus Social & Cultural Etiquette

Don’t get us wrong; despite the largely Muslim and Christian population, Cyprus remains a very laid-back and friendly country to vacation in for foreigners.

However, Cypriots are also very traditional and formally polite compared to what’s socially acceptable in many other countries. To make sure you fit in with the locals and make friends in your beautiful island surrounds, we’re sharing a few bits of Cypriot cultural and social etiquette to help your trip go smoothly…

1. The Reserved Nature of Cypriots

Due to the Muslim and Greek Orthodox upbringing of Cypriots, you may find residents on the reserved side compared to North American and Europeans. In this largely patriarchal society, men hold positions of power and are considered the heads of their respective family units.

yakinii / Shutterstock.com
yakinii / Shutterstock.com

2. Elders Are Treated with Respect

Unlike many North American and other European countries, Cypriots remain formal and respectful with their elders, and there is an unspoken rule that exists that if you are an elder you deserve unspoken respect from the younger population en mass. For instance, elders are typically addressed formally as Kyrie (Mister) or Kyria (Missus), followed by their first name.

elder cyprus

3. Time is Relative, not Precise

Cypriots are on island time, which means that things might be a little more laid back than you’re used to at home.  It is not uncommon for meetings and appointments to be 30-45 minutes late, while you are almost expected to be an hour late for a social engagement of any kind. So loosen up and ditch the watch on your vacation.

cyprus clock

4. To Deny an Offering Is Considered Offensive

When it comes down to it the people of Cyprus are proud of their hospitality. This means that if you are offered a beverage of a bit of food, it’s considered impolite to deny. In most cases, even if you don’t want it, you should always accept a small sample to appear gracious and not rude to your host.

baklava

5. Friends Greet with Kisses

Among close friends (male-female and female-female, but not male-male) you will see Cypriots greet by kissing on each cheek, a very European style of greeting. Men and acquaintances tend to greet by simply shaking hands. And it is not uncommon to see young female friends walking around holding hands.

girls beach cyprus

6. In-Person Encounters are Preferred

Despite the same cell phones and texting abilities are we have in North America and the rest of Europe, Cypriots prefer face-to-face meetings rather than emails, texts, or phone calls, particularly if you’re taking care of business with a Cypriot. They will always insist on doing business in person as a form of respect. This is also a good way to form business bonds of trust.

businessmen cyprus

7. Confrontation is Upsetting

Public confrontations are largely frowned upon and seen as rude. This includes confrontations of any kind in public—for instance, at a restaurant or with a sales person. It’s inappropriate to raise your voice and become upset while in public.

angry man

8. Fashion Is on the Dressy Side

Cypriots are quite trendy when it comes to fashion and they dress similar to other European nations, in fact, maybe a bit dressier when going out or attending a night event. Even younger Cypriot men wear long pants and dress shirts when going-out; while women dress up but cover bare skin. You would never see a Cypriot male dining out in a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals.

dance club

9. Always Bring your Host a Gift

If you are invited to a Cypriot’s home during your vacation, it is considered polite to bring a host or hostess gift along to show your thanks. Typically, edible gifts—such as sweets or pastries are the most given. But if you opt for flowers, avoid white lilies, as they are reserved as funeral flowers in Cypriot culture.

hostess gift

10. Being Inebriated is Frowned Upon

Binge drinking and become socially drunk and boisterous is not part of Cypriot culture. Those that lose control in public are viewed as embarrassments. Drug use is also not tolerated in Cyprus and police have a zero tolerance policy if tourists are found with illegal drugs.

drunk in public

 

 

The Best Season to Visit to Cyprus

The Mediterranean climate of Cyprus means that the island enjoys hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.  The island is generally kissed by sunshine all year round, however, depending on your penchant for dry and cool; you may prefer to base your visit around the following times of year…

1. Spring in Cyprus

Springtime on the island of Cyprus is mainly dry (without much rain) and rather cool. However, on this side of the world seasons differ slightly from North America, with spring arriving by the first week of February. If you like a comfortable temperature for walking around in the mornings and evenings, while saving the afternoons for lazing by the pool or sunbathing on the beach, spring will be the ideal season for you to visit Cyprus.

cyprus spring

2. Summer in Cyprus

The long, lazy summers of Cyprus hold true to the island mentality—they are long and easy. Stretching from the month of May until the end of October, summers bring clear skies, balmy temperatures, and cool breezes after dark. However, you will need sun protection if you plan to bathe and bask by the sea during the summer months or if you plan to take a tour or a boat ride around the island. The sun is strong and high from early morning to late afternoon.

cyprus summer

3. Autumn in Cyprus

Autumn reaches the island of Cyprus by early October. However, summer can stick around stubbornly until the end of the month and leave so quietly, with only a slight dip in temperature, that most visitors hardly even notice. You might, however, take advantage of fall on the Mediterranean island due to the slight drop in accommodations, when the tourist season is starting to slow down.

cyprus fall sunset

4. Winter in Cyprus

Winter in Cyprus doesn’t at all mean parkas like it does in North America. Instead, winter brings cooler temperatures and rain from the month of December through until the beginning of February. This time of year, tourism is low on the island, which makes it an ideal time to take advantage of the more historical sites (no lineups). Don’t worry, there are still enough sunny, warm days, and the dip in temperature makes walking and exploring comfortable with a light layer. If you prefer cooler climates to warm, balmy temperatures, November and December are ideal. However, keep in mind that you will find many beachside resort hotels closed from New Year’s Day until early April.

cyprus winter

 

 

10 Things to Know Before You Go to Cyprus

With approximately 2 million tourists visiting the island of Cyprus each and every year, do you really need that much convincing? However, aside from the sun-kissed beaches, delectable cuisine, and sunsets to die for, there are some safety, cultural, and historical aspects about the country that will help make your trip run smoother.

Here are 10 things we consider must-know before you visit Cyprus…

1. Cyprus is the Birthplace of Aphrodite

That’s right; Cyprus is the mythical birth place of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and passion. Before she reached goddess status, Aphrodite was a beautiful young girl who was born and lived on the island, near Paphos, the capital city of western Cyprus. Paphos also has some historical treats in store. It’s home to the cliff side Tombs of the Kings (dating back to fourth-century BC), and it also houses many archaeological remains of various villas, palaces, theaters, fortresses, and  the once famous island baths from the roman period.

Aphrodite's rock cyprus

2. Patriarchal Society

Women in particular should keep in mind that the island of Cyprus and its inhabitants are not only very religious—most also worship the Muslim faith, which means men hold most of power positions and political positions in this largely patriarchal society. For example, only males can become religious functionaries (in both Muslim and Christian faiths) and run for political office. Women generally hold jobs of lesser status and are responsible for managing the household. Marriages were still arranged up until the last decade.

man voting cyprus

3. Cyprus Currency

The currency largely in use in the Republic of Cyprus is the Euro. The majority of Cyprus adopted this as their official currency as of January 1, 2008 in lieu of the previously used Cypriot Pound. However, Northern Cyprus uses their own currency—the new Turkish lira. Most banks across the country will provide exchange for all major cash or traveler’s check currencies, including Euros, US dollars, UK pounds, Turkish Lira, and Cyprus pounds.

euros

4. Visa Requirements

Visas are not required for tourists to enter the country of Cyprus. However, you will require a photo passport that is valid for 3 months time beyond your stay. There are a few countries exempt from the passport requirement, including Nationals from Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland, who only require a national identity card for entry; United Nations issued with a Laissez-passer passport if they hold a previous entry permit from the Immigration Office of Nicosia; Nationals of Egyptians and Israel with proper travel documentation, and Cypriot nationals and Nationals of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus and Macedonia.

cyprus passport stamp

5. Driving Laws in Cyprus

Driving is Cyprus follows the British UK standard of keeping to the left hand side of the road. Many North American travelers have outspokenly complained about the poor road quality and driving standards in Cyprus as many roads are dirt covered, uneven, and winding in nature.

driving cyprus

6. Electrical Conversion

The travel adapter needed to plug in electrical devices in Cyprus is the UK output with the 3-pins, and 240 standard voltages. North Americans may need a European 3-prong adapter to charge cell phones, camera batteries, and etc.

power outlet

7. Political Climate of Cyprus

Since 1974, Northern and Southern Cyprus have remained divided in the wake of the Turkish invasion of the north in reaction to a military coup supported by the Athens government. Now the northern part of the island is largely inhabited by Turkish Cypriots; while a southern portion (two thirds) is inhabited by Greek Cypriots. The divide is located at Morphou through Nicosia to Famagusta, physically separated by a United Nations (UN) Buffer Zone referred to as the “Green Line”. Today, the long standing political dispute between North and South Cyprus continues. However, the tension has eased significantly and border crossings are quite smooth.

muslim flag northern cyprus

8. Social Drinking

Getting socially inebriated or public binge drinking and carrying on in an embarrassing fashion is largely frowned upon and considered shameful in Cyprus. You must remember that certain portions of Cyprus are Muslim while other portions are largely Greek Orthodox. The island also has a strict zero tolerance regarding drug use.

Wine

9. Language Spoken

The official languages of Cyprus are both Greek and Turkish. Obviously, due to the border division of the country, Greek is largely spoken in the southern portion of the island and Turkish is largely used on the northern part of the country. As a former British colony, English is also widely spoken in the country, and you will find most official documents as well as street signs are usually in Greek or Turkish and English (depending on what side of the island you are on).

cyprus flag

10. Dress Etiquette

Attire in Cyprus is similar to most European conventions. However, you must remember that when entering a sacred place of worship men are expected to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts while women are expected to wear long skirts and have their arms covered. If it is hot, wear a long sundress and be sure to bring a wrap or sweater to cover your shoulders when entering tourist areas that demand modest dress.

couple on beach cyprus