Top events in Cyprus

October
01

Koilani is a pretty village between Ayios Amvrosios and Pera Pedi close to Limassol on the coast. Despite its small size, it is home to four...

March
18

This public holiday marks the start of Lent and is the culmination of ten days of celebrations that in Limassol centres on its carnival and fancy...

March
31

Easter is the biggest celebration in Cyprus and marked by two weeks of festivals, religious ceremonies and flower parades. Family and friends...

Bellapais Abbey, Cyprus
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Bellapais Abbey, Cyprus

© 123rf.com / Vlasis Vlasidis

Cyprus Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

9,251 sq km (3,572 sq miles).

Population

1.2 million (2013).

Population density

129.7 per sq km.

Capital

Nicosia (Greek: Lefkosia; Turkish: Lefkoşa).

Government

Republic since 1960.

Head of state

President Nicos Anastasiades since 2013.

Head of government

South: President Nikos Anastasiade since 2013. North: President Dervis Eroglu since 2010.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Square 13-amp three-pin plugs (UK-type) are used.

With beautiful villages surrounded by vineyards and cities full of trendy art galleries, spas and restaurants, to shipwreck diving, skiing on snow-covered mountains and strolls around fabulous archaeological sites, colourful Cyprus is every inch a sophisticated Mediterranean destination.

The island, which legend has it was where Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, was born at the picturesque Petra Tou Romiou near Paphos, lies on the fringes of Europe at a point where Asian, Middle Eastern and European cultures merge. While giving the island a rich mix of traditions, cuisine and music, Cyprus’s strategic position has also made it desirable to countless powers over millennia. All have left their mark.

In fact, Cyprus’s history is legendary. More than 10,000 years of history has seen periods of rule by the ancient Mycenaean Greeks and Byzantines, and invasions by the Persians and Ottomans. The Romans, Venetians and the Lusignans, along with England’s Richard the Lionheart – who acquired Cyprus in the 12th century – have all ruled, before it became part of the British Empire in the 19th century, independent in 1960 and divided fourteen years later.

Nicosia is the capital and, famously, the only remaining divided city in the world. The south of the city, known as Lefkosia, is a modern metropolis and the governmental, business and financial hub of the Republic of Cyprus, while the north (Lefkoşa) is considered the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Since the Turkish invasion of 1974, north Cyprus is internationally considered an occupied territory.

South Nicosia is characterised by wide boulevards lined with designer fashion shops, pavements cafés, offices and museums. It is dominated by huge city walls that separate its old town full of Venetian houses and the shiny new city around Eleftherias Square. Nicosia is a popular day excursion from the island’s other cities, Larnaca (Larnaka), Limassol (Lemesos) and Paphos (Pafos).

Cyprus embraces contrasts: old and new, traditional and contemporary. Sassy Larnaca, which lies on the island’s rugged south coast near the holiday resorts of Protaras and Agia Napa (locally Ayia Napa), has sandy beaches and modern hotels, while Limassol is best known for the famous Kourion. An ancient city, Kourion is one of the ‘must see’ archaeological attractions in Cyprus.

Limassol, and the gentle slopes that ascend from here to the island’s Troodos Mountains, is at the heart of Cyprus’s wine region. In fact, the deliciously sweet amber-coloured Commandaria made from the Mavro and Xynisteri grapes is one of the oldest wines in the world.

Paphos, like Limassol, has world famous archaeological sites, including its Greco-Roman mosaics showing scenes from mythology, its medieval castle and the site of the ancient kingdom of Palaipafos. Paphos is an UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety and set to be the European Capital of Culture in 2017.

Enjoying Cyprus’s heritage or sports, or simply relaxing over a glass of local wine in a taverna, whatever speed you choose to go Cyprus is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 29 September 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Cyprus is implementing measures to protect its banking sector. Check with your bank for further information.

You can use ATMs, debit and credit cards as normal. Limits have been imposed on withdrawals from Cypriot bank accounts, but this should not apply to withdrawals from UK or other foreign bank accounts.

Capital controls remain in place and are subject to revision. There are limits on how much cash you can take out of Cyprus, including when travelling through one of the checkpoints to the north of the island. Refer to the notices displayed in the arrivals halls at Larnaca and Paphos airports for the latest information, check with your tour operator/airline, or see the Cyprus Ministry of Finance website.

There is an underlying threat from terrorism.

Around a million British nationals visit Cyprus every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.

Cyprus has a strict zero tolerance towards drugs. 

Driving standards are poor. You should drive with great care. See Road travel

Newsletter