Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, is best known for its year-round sunshine, gorgeous sun-kissed beaches, crystal clear warm waters, lively nightlife and mouth-watering mezze platters. But a holiday in Cyprus has so much more to offer its visitors.
Away from the stunning beaches, you can enjoy waterparks, swim in a blue lagoon, wander picturesque mountain ranges and explore ancient ruins and the islands rich culture
We take a look at a few of the top places to visit on this beautiful island
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Soaring almost 2,000 meters above sea level and covering much of southern Cyprus, the Troodos mountains range is one of the island’s most idyllic spots and, thanks to the its cooler climate, a hotspot for outdoor activities. A network of hiking, cycling and climbing trails crisscross the mountains, set against a photogenic backdrop of pine forests and lush alpine landscapes, blooming with wildflowers throughout the summer months. Climbing the 1,950-meter summit of Mount Olympus, Cyprus’ highest peak is another popular pastime and it’s even possible to ski in the mountains during January and February.
The Adonis Baths played an important role in Greek mythology. It was here that lovers Adonis and Aphrodite spent much of their time, conceived many of their children and ultimately, where a wounded Adonis died in the arms of Aphrodite. Today, the romantic spot is a popular choice for visitors to Cyprus and swimming in the natural pools is said to bring virility and long-lasting youth, while touching the waterfront statue of Adonis and Aphrodite is alleged to bring fertility.
Rock of Aphrodite
Standing off the southwest coast of Cyprus, the UNESCO-listed Rock of Aphrodite, or Petra Tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek), is one of the island’s most famous landmarks and the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, according to Greek mythology. Swimming around the rock in the clear waters is a must on your visit, although no one is permitted to climb on the rock itself. Legend has it that circling the rock will bestow beauty and fertility on those swimmers who complete the loop.
With so many archaeological sites, Cyprus is packed full of museums, but the Cyprus Museum in the capital Nicosia is where you go to pull together all the island’s history. The museum takes visitors on a journey from the Neolithic age right up to the Ottoman era using beautiful artefacts to show the sophisticated artistry of each period. The standout exhibits are the huge collection of terracotta votive statues that date from the 7th century BC. You should definitely make a half-day trip to the capital just to view the museum.
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Tombs of the Kings
Located just 2 km north of Paphos harbour, you will find the rock-cut chambers of the Tombs of the Kings. These impressive underground tombs date back to the 4th century BC and are carved out of solid rock, some decorated with Doric pillars and all sporting a distinct Egyptian influence. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was a burial ground for Paphos citizens during the Greek and Roman periods and probably was used for high ranking officials or members of society of those eras. There are seven tombs to explore here, but tomb number three contains the most interesting architectural elements with a wealth of columns surrounding its atrium.
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With a turquoise sea and beautiful white sand, Nissi Beach is Cyprus’ most famous beach. The water is very shallow at the shoreline and very calm within the bay, making it a great spot for families with young children. Windsurfing and pedal boating are just some of the water sports available on the beach as well as bungee jumping. There are plenty of facilities and a variety of bars and restaurants in the area meaning you can make an entire day at the beach.
Limassol Old Town
Limassol’s lively old town is the most interesting part of the city to explore. Right in the centre, on the main square, is Limassol Castle, built in the 14th century and where Richard the Lionheart of England married Berengaria, and later, the Ottomans used it as a military base. The main square is surrounded by bustling cafés and restaurants. Check out the city’s modern vibe at the innovative Lanitis Art Foundation (also on the main square), housed in an old Carob Mill and home to a rotating schedule of exhibitions.
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Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark
Featuring pools, attractions, and rides from light to extreme, Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark suits all ages. Nestled in 3.5 hectares of natural landscape, the park includes a 420 m long lazy river, kamikaze slides, rafting, a fast river, and artificial waves. You can plunge down several multiple-story slides, shoot through twisting tubes, or hop in a Jacuzzi and spend time overlooking other rides. Children can climb a slippery bubble, explore caves, and look for a shipwreck in their own special zone. You’ll find numerous eateries and beach chairs throughout the site.