Country guide Cyprus

Cyprus bears the mark of many empires; the Egyptians, Romans, Byzantines and British - who sought the nation’s strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea. As the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, it seems fitting that this island nation is renowned for its stunning natural scenery. These beautiful mountainous landscapes – as well as its gorgeous cuisine and ancient heritage – contribute to Cyprus’ popularity as a holiday and relocation destination.

Sights and Attractions

With crystal clear shorelines and an alluring climate, Cyprus has much to boast.

If it's thrills that you seek, top resorts like Paphos and Ayia Napa offer adrenaline inducing activities such as jet skiing and windsurfing that are sure to satisfy your needs. Cyprus also caters for those with a penchant for antiquity. The nation is home to a treasure trove of ancient monuments that tell a million stories about the nation's colourful past. Monuments like the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park and St. Hilarion Castle in Kyrenia allow you to travel back in time and truly connect with the country's deep past. If, however, you prefer exploring the scenic landscapes of Cyprus on foot, you're in luck; famed as a walker's paradise and with hikes to suit all abilities, you can uncover some of the best views of the island, especially on the hillside paths of the Troodos Mountains.

Restaurants and Cafes

Celebrated for its fresh and high quality cuisine, the food in Cyprus is one of its main attractions. Meat-eaters should head to towns such as Dali or Galata to sample exquisite local cuisine such as kleftiko - an oven-baked lamb dish, or visit traditional souvlaki shops, which provide succulent grilled kebabs and platters. However, vegetarians needn't be disheartened as there are many veggie-friendly delicacies for them to choose from such as Yalanci Dolma – a stuffed vine leaf. Other Traditional delicacies that locals and visitors can sink their teeth into include hummus, halloumi, calamari and tahini, along with sweet treats like baklava, kadaifi, and loukoumi.

Aside from the authentic eateries that can be found, there are a plethora of highly regarded and popular restaurants normally found in major towns and cities like Paphos, Kyrenia and Limassol – which not only serve hearty Cypriot cuisine, but food that pleases international palates.

Shopping

Although small, Cyprus offers a good range of shopping opportunities. With mainstream fashion favourites, notable designer boutiques and modern shopping malls filled with European and world-renowned brands like Zara and Topshop – notably, Kings Avenue Mall in Paphos – fashion conscious shoppers will not go wanting.

Cyprus also proudly boasts a thriving craft industry and a particularly good reputation when it comes to leather, lace and silverware. There are also fine rugs, embroidery and ceramics that can be snapped up. All of these wares can be found in multiple boutiques across the country.

If, however, you are on the hunt for fresh produce, visiting the Old Municipal Square of Nicosia is a must. A daily market is held here, but on Saturdays, the local farmers offer their goods for sale. Along with fresh fruit and vegetables, there are also foods such as homemade breads, cheeses, olives and salami on offer.

Travel

The simplest way to travel into the country is by air. Two international airports: Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport help connect locals and visitors to Cyprus and other parts of the world.

In terms of travelling around the country, there is no rail system in place, but its immense popularity as a tourist destination has meant that the nation's travel infrastructure has vastly improved. By far, the best form of transportation is via car. Driving allows one to fully discover and absorb the scenic landscapes of Cyprus. Thankfully, as in the UK, the Cypriots also drive on the left!

Taxis also provide a suitable alternative and are readily available. Quite often, taxis will honk at intervals whilst they drive in order to show that they are accepting fares – a convenient, but rather loud method. However, the cheapest and most popular method of travelling across Cyprus using public transportation is by bus. Intercity buses conveniently link locals and visitors to all of the major towns.

Currency zone

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