Five Reasons to Travel to Cyprus in 2020
Cyprus is one of the best holiday spots on the Mediterranean. People flock here for the sun, the sights and the ambience.
Here are five reasons why this jewel of the Eastern Mediterranean – perhaps best known as the birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite – should be on top of your list this year.
1. The Weather
Cyprus has the most amazing climate. The island sits in the Eastern Mediterranean at the junction between Europe and Asia. Mild winters and dry, sunny summers are what you will find.
You will likely not be sunbathing in January and February! That said the temperatures are going to feel more autumnal than wintery.
There may be snow on Troodos, there is at the time of writing (New Year’s Eve). You can ski in the morning and drive down to the beach to swim in the afternoon!
Pack your bag to suit the temperature range and you can’t go far wrong.
2. The Beaches
Cyprus has mile after mile of beaches. If you delight in being in the company of others, head for Finikoudes or Makenzie beaches in Larnaca. Should you prefer splendid isolation, drive the coastline. It will not take long for you to find somewhere that suits you.
One of those locations that should be on the list is Aphrodite’s Rock. Here, legend has it that the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, emerged from the sea.
Tourists come to this beach to swim in the mystical waters.
3. The Food
Cypriots love food! They are known to indulge in a spot of gluttony from time to time. Expect a generous plate of fresh food. Freshly prepared and cooked.
You will find seafood of all kinds, including fish, squid, and more. Fruits and vegetables feature in the cuisine. Maroni is at the heart of the Cyprus tomato growing business. Salad crops are also grown with pride and vigour.
There are similarities with Greek, Italian and Turkish cooking. Given the history of Cyprus, this is unsurprising and adds to the charm of the experience.
Dining on small bites – mezes – is popular. You can expect humus, houmus or hummus, spellings vary. Taramasalata (fish roe), olives – green or red (verging on black), tzatziki, feta cheese, yoghurt. The list is long!
A firm favourite of vegetarians – halloumi – often served grilled, this cheese squeaks when chewed.
Kebabs are endlessly popular, lamb chops (Niki’s personal favourite), gyros, pork (ask for afelia), are all popular as mains.
Many restaurants and tavernas give desserts and coffee ‘on the house’. Expect preserved fruits, seasonal fresh fruit, nuts, or perhaps a syrup-soaked pastry.
There is no reason to go hungry in Cyprus, where simplicity is the order of the day. Grab a seat, order a sharing plate and indulge. Here we live to eat!
4. The History
You will find history at every turn on Cyprus. Neolithic remains – tick. Byzantine civilisation – tick. Over its long history, Cyprus has been of strategic significance. This lead to conquest by Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Venetians, Crusaders and the Ottomans. The British were the most recent occupiers of Cyprus before it became a Republic in 1960.
You can see fabulous mosaics at the Tomb of the Kings, Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Relive the stunning views that Richard the Lionheart will have experienced whilst at Saint Hilarion Castle. This during his Crusades campaign in 1191.
These are tastes of what awaits you.
The divided, walled, city of Nicosia, boasts bastions built in the mid-16th century by the Venetians. There is a difference in the air when you cross from side to side.
5. The People
You will always find a welcome in Cyprus! The Cypriot, no matter what part of the island they know as home, are welcoming and generous hosts. Kopiaste is a traditional phrase that means – welcome friend, come and join us.
It remains the case that when a Cypriot hears an English voice s/he will want to know where you are from. The same can be said for many other voices – Russian, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, you name it. Let the conversations begin!