Cyprus: Incredible Island

Kurion

With a tradition of celebration and hospitality, Cyprus is every traveller’s dream destination

Located at the crossroads of several civilisations, Cyprus is a land of snowcapped mountains, pristine beaches, historical locales, exotic wildlife and ancient traditions. Lush, verdant and authentic has become the hallmark of the island nation, catapulting it to one of the most promising holiday destinations in the Mediterranean region.

“Our peak tourist season is summer, starting from June till the end of October. Cyprus has mild weather, which is neither as cold as Europe nor  as warm as the GCC countries. With its pleasant year-around temperature, even winter months are a great time to visit the country,” Vassilis Theocharides, Director, Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Middle East and Arabian Gulf, told Khaleej Times.

Cyprus is just three and a half hours flight time from Dubai and 4 1/2 hurs from the UK. “The country is a perfect get-away for tourists. With great connectivity and direct flights it has never been easier to reach Cyprus. Since the average stay of tourists is seven days, the country offers a great prospect as a short-haul destination.

Bestowed with a great landscape that is mottled with natural splendours and a multilayered past, Cyprus is a traveller’s abode. Adds Theocharides, “If you plan a Cyprus trip don’t forget to visit the Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s rock) and the Greco-Roman theatre of Kourion, overlooking a bay. Muslim tourists would find the ancient mosque of Hala Sultan Tekke (Mosque of Umm Haram) quite fascinating. Located in a serene setting on the shores of the Larnaca Salt Lake, this historic mosque overlooks the beautiful lake that attracts flamingos to its waters. There are also several well-preserved churches in Cyprus.”

With its superbly clean beaches, the country has been drawing sun-seekers from around the region and beyond. “We stand out by being a country which is three hours driving distance from one side to the other. If you go to Cyprus now you can enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun and drive 45 minutes up in the mountains and see snow. That is the dramatic landscape and variation you will come across in Cyprus. Everything is locally produced; it is organic and inexpensive. The country offers a lot of experience in a relatively small area.”

Cyprus has an old world Mediterranean charm to it. With over 10,000 years of history that includes a lot of Greek but also Byzantine, Ottoman and British influences the country offers a unique blend of culture and hospitality. “Nicosia is a great place to visit. It is the last divided city in the world with a Turkish occupied area and the Republic side. The capital is a no-car city with a unique all-pedestrian culture. There is resurgence in many tourist destinations in Cyprus to keep things authentic,” avers Theocharides.

The island nation gets over 2.5 million tourists annually with tourism forming a strong component of the economy, contributing anything from 17 to 19 per cent to the GDP. The country still has myriad untapped areas with crystal clear woods and lively resorts. With a contemporary cosmopolitan lifestyle and facilities like wind surfing, para sailing and scuba diving for those seeking fun, there is loads to explore in Cyprus.