Explore ancient historical sites, relax on pristine sandy beaches, and hike up pine-scented mountains. Cyprus has a lot to offer for such a small island and Larnaca is the entry point for most visitors. It was first settled by Greek colonists in the 14th century BC and its far-reaching history is evident all around. It’s also less than an hour’s drive from the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, and Ayia Napa, the party capital of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Cyprus has a turbulent history and a beautiful landscape, which the locals continue to enjoy as much as visitors do. Having been repeatedly settled and conquered, the island is rich with culture, and anybody looking for a deeper understanding should head straight to the Cyprus Museum and the Ethnological Museum, both in Nicosia.
Known as Lefkosia to the locals – Nicosia is the world’s only divided capital city, straddling the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot border. There you’ll find many theatres, including the Cyprus National Theatre, and many cultural events hosted in the city’s outdoor spaces.
People and Traditions
Cypriots are a pretty informal bunch by most standards. Expect strangers to initiate conversation quite casually with wildly varying approaches to personal space.
Greek Cypriots are Greek Orthodox while Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslim, although the people on both sides hold mostly secular beliefs. The subject of the island’s long-standing division remains highly controversial, so it’s generally a good idea not to bring it up unless you’re prepared for a fierce discussion. However, there are considerable numbers of Cypriot unionists on both sides.
Cyprus enjoys a subtropical climate and some of the warmest winters in the European Mediterranean, particularly in Limassol. Summer lasts from April to November and sees very little rain. In July and August, expect temperatures to repeatedly exceed 30ºC during the daytime.