Cyprus has always been a favourite holiday destination for my family. With my grandparents, parents and myself taking numerous trips to the Eastern Mediterranean island over the years. The main reasons? Well, firstly, it is a beautiful country with so much to see, do and offer. Secondly, the weather is amazing and because of its location, the summer season is slightly longer than most other European countries. This means a trip later in the year is possible if you want fun in the sun. Thirdly, and one for us Brits, people drive on the left in Cyprus meaning exploring the island, which we highly recommend, is very easy and you don’t have to worry about having to alter the way you drive.
Cyprus may be the third largest island in the Mediterranean, however, it is still relatively small. That does not mean that it is not diverse. Cyrpus has a lot to offer and the first big decision you have to make is where on the island you should base yourself whilst on your holiday. Therefore, we have put together the following list highlighting our 3 favourite locations on the island and what they offer. Hopefully, you will find it helpful when booking your Cyprus holiday.
Located on the southwest coast of the island, Paphos is a popular holiday destination. Particularly as it is a modern city and has a number of beautiful hotels, yet still embraces its history. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite landed in Paphos when she rose from the sea and you can visit Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Romiou), a sea stack, which is best viewed from Paphos Harbour.
Another great place to head if history is your thing is the Paphos Archaeological Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Extraction is still ongoing, however, so far impressive Roman villas with stunning mosaic floors together with a number of other buildings have been discovered including a necropolis known as the ‘Tomb of the Kings’.
If something more carefree is top of your holiday agenda then Paphos has lots of fun things to do. Watersports are extremely popular here. They include windsurfing, waterskiing, kayaking, and parasailing. However, one of the best things to do is to take a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon to swim or snorkel in its crystal clear blue waters or to simply relax on the beach. Bliss.
Limassol was a personal favourite of my parents and they visited on no less than 8 separate occasions. Having visited other parts of the island, they liked that it was quieter and more traditional than the larger tourist destinations such as Paphos and Protaras. Located on the southern coast of Cyprus, there is a good range of hotels and other accommodation, many of which offer great views over the Mediterranean sea.
There are a number of fabulous places to visit and things to do in Limassol. Located close to the harbour is the medieval Limassol Castle which is now a museum that you can visit all year round. The entrance fee is €4.50 and it is well worth it to take a look around and see the exhibits on display. If you do hire a car make sure to make the 40-minute drive north to the Millomeri waterfalls, which is considered to be the highest waterfalls in Cyprus and well worth the journey.
Limassol is famous for its festivals, events and street parties throughout the year. From the Amathusia dance festival to wine and beer festivals there is something for everyone. Therefore, why not time your holiday to ensure that you are in Limassol during a festival? If you could only pick one then we would recommend Limassol Carnival. It is held every Easter and dates back over a hundred years. It involves a lot of fancy dress costumes, floats and, of course, fun.
People often think that Ayia Napa is just for youngsters and party animals and I’ll be honest I did myself indulge in a misspent summer in the bars and clubs of Ayia Napa in the early 00s. Yes, that side of the resort is still alive and kicking and attracting people from around the world on an annual basis, however maybe not to the extent it was prior to 2013 when the resort implemented a series of actions including shutting down troublesome places making it a more family friendly place to visit.
Ayia Napa is a beautiful part of the island and has so much to offer. For me, it’s the beaches here that are the real draw. All 14 beaches that stretch along the eight-kilometre coastline have Blue Flags. The most popular is Nissi Beach, which is also probably the most well known in Cyprus and a favourite with locals and tourists alike. It is home to Nissi Bay Beach Bar which hosts beach parties on a regular basis during the summer months, complete with mouthwatering cocktails and world-famous DJs. If a more laid back beach is more your thing then Makronissos Beach is the place to head.
There are also some very unique things to see in Ayia Napa including the 20,000 square meter open-air sculpture park which is home to numerous large pieces which have been designed by over 50 artists. The park is free to visit and is the perfect place to take a late afternoon/early evening stroll whilst not only admiring the sculptures but also watch the sun set over the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea.
Maybe you have never considered Cyprus before? If not, we hope our list has helped you realise Cyprus is a fantastic holiday destination with something for everyone! Have you been to Cyprus before? If so, where is your favourite place on the island?
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