10 reasons why Cyprus is a must-visit

If you are following my posts, you may have noticed that I do enjoy islands (Capri, The Aeoilian islands, Malta, the Canary islands being my favorite). Not sure why’s that, maybe the atmosphere on an island is way more different than on mainland – lots of traditions and peculiarities of the island are preserved, tourists are typically less (well, not on popular islands like Santorini), life tends to be less busy and – there are so many hidden spot to explore, to swim, to enjoy!

Early this summer I checked out yet another interesting destination – Cyprus. And it was early in summer since summers in Cyprus tend to get hot and a whole day walking program would have been difficult to pursue. So – if you plan a trip there yourself, go outside the months of June – August.

I spent approx 5 full days on the Greek part of the island (perhaps you know it has a Greek and Turkish part, in terms of the culture/roots of the population, since Cyprus is a separate country) so this post covers the Greek part only. There is no problem to travel between the Greek and Turkish parts, but if you have a rental car – you have to pay some add-on insurance at the Turkish border.

So, here’s what I’d name as top 10 reasons why you should definitely visit this island, based on my Greek-side experience:

Top 10 reasons for visiting Cyprus

Low cost destination

Ryanair flies to Cyprus from a number of european cities and even last-minute we got a pretty decent price. Ryanair is a preferred low-cost airline for me considering the bigger free luggage allowance on board – so it’s perfectly possible to travel without paying for luggage.

Travel around the island easy and fast

Lots of islands have those tiny streets and poor connections between different spots, so if you want to cover a few more distanced island sights in one day – you lose most of your day in travel! In Cyprus there’s a highway passing through the southern part of the island so – travel between cities is very quick! Thus it doesn’t really matter which side of the island you will pick as your ‘base’, since you can move around within really short time..

Ancient basilica in Agia Napa, on the far east coast

The tombs of the kings near Paphos, on the far west coast

Try driving on the left hand side

Well, this sounds interesting at first for those used to driving on the right side of the road. But, it is challenging and you shouldn’t underestimate the confusion you will experience in the first couple of days. So, be very careful. Which is more, you are not alone (other right-side drivers are also around and as confused as you are) and you better watch out.

But, this is exciting and, as they say, helps develop the other side of your brain 🙂 Advise: insure your car tires (requires add-on to the standard insurance), as driving on the other side makes you kind of unaware of the exact location of the payment. Hence -> flat tire 🙂

Visit a city divided between two countries

You probably know that the island of Cyprus has a very recent political history. As a result from it, the capital of the island – Nicosia – is half greek cypriots, half turkish cypriots. There isn’t any political tension and you don’t generally experience any inconvenience, it’s just strange to see the walls and the net dividing the city, right in the middle of it.

The border between the two parts of Nicosia capital

Liberation monument in Nicosia

Mix with amazingly warm and helpful local people

I’ve travelled pretty much in the recent years and I can say that it’s here that I saw the most helpful and wam local people. We had two occasions where we had issues with our rented car (guess why – the left-side driving!), and it was locals from the neighbouring cafes that came over and helped us repair the car, brought us cold mineral water, cafe, assisted with calling the right authorities and so on. We never asked them, they just saw us and showed up to help. Wow!

In the guesthouses we got accommodated we were also surprised with so many small gifts like local wine, snacks, candles, fruit..(special mention is deserved by Astrofegia apartments) – you feel like staying with close people, simply wonderful!

300 days of sunshine in the year!

Cyprus is located pretty much on the south of Europe, very close to Africa actually. This makes the weather there very nice and suitable for bathing in the Mediterranean sea since April, if not even earlier.

Enjoy awesome beaches

Cyprus has more than 50 amazing beaches, both crowded and noisy and secluded ones. Some of the beaches, like the ones on the far north-western part, e.g the Blue Lagoon, are only accessible by jeeps (or 3-4 hours of walking), but you can book a day return trip for like 10 euro per person. The most busy/touristy beaches are in the area of Ayia Napa. Still, even the busy spots looked fairly peaceful in April..

This is what a busy beach in Ayia Napa looks like at the end of April

Try delicious sweets

Even though we saw a lot of typical Greek desserts in Cyprus, they also have delicious local sweets made up of walnuts, loukoumi, fruit, sugar syrup. Just enter some of the small local sweet houses and ask them to recommend their specialty – you will usually end up with lots of free samples, in addition to what you chose to try.

No idea what these were, but they were absolutely yummy

Tons of historical sights

Within 5 days with a very dense program we could hardly see 10% of the island’s historical sights. You should specifically dedicate a whole day to Paphos to see the lovely and well-preserved mosaics in the 4 roman houses – those of Dionysos, Orpheus, Aion, Theseus (houses of noble roman people named after these important historical figures). The Tombs of the Kings in the outskirts of this city and Paphos castle are also not to be missed.

Mosaics in Paphos

Cyprus had been colonised around 1200 BC by the Mycenaean, Minoan and Greek settlers. Lots of artefacts have been found showing specifics of their culture and these can be seen in the Museum of Cyprus in Nicosia. The museum offers free guided tours two times a day, at 10.30 and 12. and, considering its rich exhibition, should not be missed. One of the most interesting museums I’ve been to actually.

Artefacts exhibited in the Museum of History in Nicosia

Spectacular natural sights

The rocky shores of the island have formed wonderful natural shapes – amazing caves, rock bridges, picturesque caves.

Rocks, caves and turquoise water nearby Ayia Napa

We enjoyed a lot the caves near Ayia Napa and the rocky beach shapes in the north-eastern end of the island. Aphrodite baths also had an interesting story, although being a small dripping waterfall with pool nearby the beaches.

Aphrodite baths

In all, Cyprus offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience – a combination between sights to see and attitude of the local people, an opportunity to grab some sunshine very early in the year, while the rest of Europe is still chilly.

A detailed post on the sights we visited within 5 days is coming soon.

One Response to 10 reasons why Cyprus is a must-visit

  1. Sarah Blinco says:

    Lovely post – Cyprus is on my list too! Definitely bookmarking for when I get there 🙂

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