Meet Europe’s top destination for expats, business professionals, retirees and tourists.
With an average of 340 days of sunshine in a year, Cyprus enjoys one of the top rank places to be. Is it its strategic location at the cross-roads of Middle East, Asia and Africa? Or maybe its superb coastline teeming with endless stretches of golden sands, secluded bays and rocky coves? Or perhaps the crystalclear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. How about its fascinating history dating 10.000 years back? The people? The food? The hospitality? The tradition? The endless opportunities? The evolving future?
With Cyprus one thing is for sure. The sky is the limit!
Every single rock on the island has a story to tell of dominant powers who battled to conquer and colonize Cyprus through the millennia. Starting from Achaean Greeks, the first to believed they arrived around 1200 BC introducing their language, religion and customs. Since then the island has been subsequently colonized by the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians. Then it was Alexander the Great who claimed the island followed by the Romans. After the disintegrate of the Roman Empire, Cyprus became a part of the Byzantine Empire. Then it was the English King Richard the Lionheart who conquered it on his way to The Third Crusade, who later sold it to the Knights Templar, whom sold it on to the Franks of Lusignans, who ceded the island to Venice, only to find themselves unable to withstand the invading Ottoman troops who on their turn ruled until the arrival of the British!
What to see
The island’s long history offers visitors a journey of discovery paved with ancient archaeological treasures. From the must-see catalogue of historic sites you can find the ancient city-kingdoms of Kourion and Amathus, the Neolithic settlements of Choirokoitia and Kalavasos-Tenda, the Tombs of the Kings and the famous Sanctuary of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, who legend claims was born on this island.
After its independence from Britain, a sponsored coup d’état gave the opportunity of an invention by the Turkish forces to occupy the northern one-third of the island. Despite the numerous efforts over intervening decades, the island remains until today de facto divided, and the self-declared Turkish Republic of the Northern Cyprus remains unrecognized by the international community.
The capital city, Nicosia, is the last remaining divided capital city in the world, split between the two sides, although visitors can access each side through the controlled check points of Ledra Palace and Ledra street.
The best definition to characterize Cyprus climate is what its commonly known as “skiing at the sea and then skiing at the mountains”. Long warm dry summers are followed by mild winters.
The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, however English is widely spoken and written due to the international business activity and the educational background of the majority of Cypriots who studied overseas.
Cyprus greatest machine is tourism and hospitality where one can find every conceivable type of accommodation, from budget priced two and three-star hotels and boutique hotels to luxurious five-star hotels, all offering exceptional services for a once in a lifetime experience.
For such a small island cultural events and happenings are a part of the everyday life. From music concerts and cultural performances with famous stars, sports events to religious and traditional festivals. Cyprus is the host of the Cyprus Rally which is part of the WRC and the FIA. For the vintage car enthusiasts, you can find the annual Historic Cyprus Rally. The Kypria International Festival withdraws music, dance and performance arts and the Thalassa International Festival includes photographic exhibitions, movie screenings and music performances. But the King of the festives is the Limassol Carnival Festival, one of the most famous and large carnival events in the world. 10 days in a row are dedicated to dance, music, satire, games, street performances and, of course, colorful carnival processions. The Lemesos (Limassol) Carnival is an important institution; a tradition for the Limassolians, which remains alive and will survive throughout times. It is a festivity so much expected desperately by everybody, thousands of children, younger and adults from all the free parts of Cyprus. One more not-to-be-missed event is surely the traditional Wine Festival. Limassol has earned the reputation as the “Wine capital of Cyprus”, mainly due to the Wine Festival, which takes place every year in the Limassol Municipal Gardens on the sea-front, near the old town of Limassol. It was first held in 1961, as a tribute to the island’s wine-making tradition, dedicated to the God of Wine Dionysos and the Goddess of Beauty and Love Aphrodite. At the Wine festival you can taste the variety of local wines from large and small wineries, and traditional Cypriot food, enjoy the performances of different artistic groups. The festival is also filled with traditional music, bouzouki, dancing, singing and traditional treading of the grapes, as well as amazing firework displays.
In Cyprus you can shop till you drop! Almost all of the famous brands and chains are reachable at shops, malls or boutiques throughout the major cities of the island, ready to satisfy every taste, requirement and budget.
Sports and outdoor activities
Golfing is definitely one of the best attractions on the island with first-class facilities at four professional courses. The mountains are full of hiking trails for cyclists and walkers in a scenery that looks as if it has been lifted from a book of fairy tales. In winter months, skiers can test the slopes on Troodos. The island provides excellent opportunities for water sports such as kite-surfing and windsurfing. There are also unique dive sites, with one of the best wreck dives in the world, the Zenovia.
It is impossible to mention Cyprus without its food. For Cypriots, food is what bonds people, friends and the family. Cypriot cuisine holds a distinct resemblance to that of the Greek cooking, but you can also find a palette of influences from the Middle East. The typical Cypriot Meze – a meal in small plates similar to tapas – can consist of up to 30 dishes. Cypriot cuisine features lots of fresh fish, meat, beans, pulses and vegetables. Typical Cypriot dishes are the famous cheese Haloumi, the Afelia and the Ofto Kleftiko.
Cyprus is one of the oldest grape-growing and winemaking regions in the world and the home of the Commandaria, a rich sweet amber-colored desert wine, made with an ancient technique dating back to 800BC and holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine in production.
Flights is the easiest and quickest way to get to Cyprus and is well connected – with frequent schedules – to Europe’s main cities, as well as to Asia, Russia and Middle East. By air, Cyprus is 1.5hrs away from Athens, 4hrs from Frankfurt, 3.5hrs from Dubai and 5hrs from London.