Introduction to Southern Cyprus A Holiday Travel Guide

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Mother Nature has been particularly kind to Southern Cyprus and the region has some of the best beaches in the entire Mediterranean. Its geographic location means an almost perfect climate and the intriguing culture is a blend of centuries of tradition. Today Southern Cyprus attracts millions of visitors every year and historic ties with the UK make it a firm favourite with British holidaymakers.

The main resort towns are strung out along the southern coast; each boasting a unique list of selling points. Ayia Napa is perhaps the best known of all and retains pole position as the island’s party capital. The once sleepy fishing village now draws garage devotees from across Europe, giving Ibiza a run for its money as the continent’s hedonist HQ. Ayia Napa’s sudden rise to fame has relegated Limassol to second place, although both resorts keep most people awake well past their bedtimes.

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For anyone looking for a more relaxing break the smaller resort towns of Coral Bay and Protaras are perennial favourites; offering families help with the kids and an environment that allows you to do as much (or as little) as you like. If you are hoping for a glimpse of island life before the tourist boom there are a number of coastal villages such as Polis, Pissouri and Peyia that remain pleasingly out of touch with the pressures of the modern age. Lanarca’s charms are more prosaic but this busy city retains elements of Levantine charm.

The harbour town of Paphos is an enticing blend of the old and the new; with luxury resorts butting up against ancient ruins. Paphos serves as the gateway to some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on the island as well as some of the least developed countryside (such as the untouched Akamas Peninsula to the north). It’s also a great spot for history buffs and the nearby ruined city of Amathus is one of the region’s unmissable cultural treasure troves.

The Troodos Mountains form the island’s rugged backbone and provide a perfect antidote to the searing summer sun and crowded coastal strip. In the winter you can ski on the slopes of Mount Olympus and still be back on the beach by dusk for a quick dip. Rustic vistas of resin scented forests and tiny Orthodox churches tucked away in quiet groves await those prepared to stray from the beaten track. Descending into the dusty plains below will take you to the capital city of Nicosia; divided by the Green Line, which serves as one of the island’s more unusual tourist attractions. Heading southeast takes you to industrious Paralimni and then back to Ayia Napa for another night on the town.