There are myriad islands nestled in the Mediterranean, but only Cyprus can lay claim to being the birthplace of beautiful Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek Goddess of Love. Whatever your preference, pace or special interest, Cyprus is uniquely poised to welcome you. Our idyllic and picturesque beaches are certified as among the cleanest in Europe, with the crystal-clear waters of the coast unfolding towards the pine-clad Troodos Mountain Range, where the wild sheep, Mouflon, freely roam, and cedars grow amidst the rich history of gem-like churches and monasteries adorned with unparalleled Byzantine frescoes and icons. Cyprus is a haven for archaeology lovers. From Neolithic settlements of over 11,000 years old to spectacular Greco-Roman ruins – such as the ancient theatre of Kourion, to Medieval fortresses such as Kolossi, the list of treasures is boundless.
Although Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, it is surprisingly compact and easy to explore. In between rugged mountain peaks and the shimmering coast, you’ll traverse the undulating landscape and rolling hills with vineyards. Linger in idyllic villages where the rhythm slows down and there’s always time for another coffee.
All across Cyprus, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a distinctive cuisine composed of meze; small plates of local delicacies from flame-grilled, delicately spiced meats, to fresh vegetables and amazing cheeses, such as the famous Halloumi (the savoury sheep and goat’s cheese that is beloved for its versatility, and particularly popular grilled or eaten with watermelon).
You will soon discover that Cypriot people are worldly and warm, and only too happy to share their island with you, including, among many other things, an attractive range of accommodations – luxurious hotels of the highest international standards infused with local flavour, quality tourist villas, agrotourism options and more
Embraced by the sapphire waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus’ sun-drenched coasts are definitely able to wow all types of visitors. The beach experience varies from coast to coast, with unique characteristics in each region, including the colour of the sand and water; the marine life and natural significance; the organised facilities and water sports activities, and the popularity – or seclusion – of the shore. One common factor that unites all coasts and beaches is the seal of quality. The island consistently receives awards, accolades and top rankings for its water quality and safety, its eco-initiatives and the general cleanliness of its beaches. Cyprus is the proud recipient of 76 Blue Flag beaches (74 beaches and 2 Marinas – 2022) – an eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas across the globe that meet its standards – and is also regularly crowned ‘Cleanest Bathing Waters in Europe’.
Blessed with the beauty of nature’s best palette, the scenery of Cyprus unfolds across glittering coasts, rolling mountains, fragrant forests and rugged headlands. From the warm shores of the mainland to the unspoiled and cool oasis of the Troodos mountain range, nature lovers, artists, photographers and explorers will all delight in meeting shy creatures, and discovering rare plants that peep out amidst waterfalls, coves, woodland, winding trails and secluded sandy beaches. As the island is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus is a birdwatcher’s dream, with flocks of flamingos frequenting the salt lakes, and many other significant species passing through or nesting. And deep in the forests, the national animal – the Mouflon – roams freely, with catching a glimpse of this timid, wild sheep a real treat for locals and visitors alike.
The ritual of sharing good, fresh local cuisine is an important part of the island’s culture. From hearty meat dishes and speciality cheeses to unique desserts of carob and grape, the Cypriot cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern cultures, sprinkled with remnants of ancient civilisations such as indigenous Roman root vegetables or old Phoenician delicacies. And it is no secret that the ‘Mediterranean diet’ is considered to be of the healthiest, thanks to its abundance of heart-healthy olive oil, pulses, lean meat, local herbs and freshly grown fruits and vegetables.
Synonymous with Cypriot cuisine is the ‘meze’ – a variety of small dishes that combine to create a feast, and a good starting point to become acquainted with the local dishes, such as moreish dips, braised, stewed and clay-cooked meats; local, freshly caught fish; pulses and legumes in various sauces; speciality cheeses and delicatessen cuts, and more unusual bites, all authentically prepared.
The island’s longstanding tradition of winemaking needs no further proof than its claim to the world’s oldest named wine still in production – that of Commandaria, proclaimed by Richard the Lionheart as the “wine of the kings and the king of the wines.”
Cyprus is a small island with a long history and a rich culture that spans 11.000 years, making it one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean – as evidenced by the many fascinating cultural sights, museums, monuments and galleries. Situated at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa – the island’s unique geographic position has played an important part in its turbulent past since antiquity. Its Prehistoric Age inhabitants were joined 3,500 years ago by the Mycenaean Greeks, who introduced and established their civilisation, thus permanently instilling the island’s Greek roots. Many other cultures followed thereafter, including Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Romans, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans and British, who all left behind visible remnants of their passage, and have thus created a mosaic of different cultures and periods.
When visiting Cyprus, you will never have to look far to find a piece of its history and culture, whether you want to discover more about the traditions of the island, or immerse yourself in its captivating past.
The Deputy Ministry of Tourism Ministry has designed a route that travels through Cyprus’ heartland areas. The route brings visitors close to Cypriot nature and gives you the opportunity to familiarize with local traditions and to experience the Cypriot way of life. The route is called “Heartland of Legends” and consists of a main route, which passes through rural, mountainous and remote areas, and of several smaller thematic routes, which start or end along the main route. Practical information as well as a variety of suggestions on what to do, are available on different sites along the routes. Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of standalone experiences (day trips) or do many stops with similar themes. The route includes not only a variety of attractions and places of natural beauty, but also accommodation establishments, restaurants, small businesses, communities and other places that offer different and alternative experiences.