With a remarkable array of sights and attractions, the island invites you to feel the mystery and the Mediterranean temperament.
The coast of Cyprus is indented and rocky in the north, with long sandy beaches and numerous coves in the south. The northern coastal plains is covered with olive and carob trees and backed by the steep limestone Pentadaktylos mountain range, which rises to a height of 1024 meters. In the south the extensive Troodos massif, covered with pine, dwarf oak, cypress and cedar trees, culminates in the peak of Mount Olympus, 1953 meters above sea level. Between the two ranges lies the fertile Mesaoria plain.
The climate never fails to delight the island’s guests and residents. Every season has a charm and beauty of its own. Summer brings guaranteed sunshine and the warm inviting turquoise blue sea which lasts well into Autumn, when days are still long and warm enough to enjoy swimming and provide the perfect conditions for sailing, skiing and numerous other water sports. A complete contrast awaits in the pool, pine covered Troodos mountains, with delightful hill resorts and traditional hotels. The Cyprus Winter is short and mild with an average daytime temperature of around 16°C.
The people of Cyprus are traditionally warm and welcoming, and consider a visit to their islands as a compliment that is repaid with genuine hospitality. The native language is Greek, but English is the island’s second language and is widely spoken. In a world of ever increasing violence, Cyprus has a remarkably low crime rate, which is one of the reasons why Cyprus is becoming increasingly popular to visit.
The flora of Cyprus is unique and constitutes a truly out-standing botanical heritage. With an estimated 1800 species of flowering plants, 8% of which are fount only on the island, it is a paradise for botanists.
The arrival of animals on the island has long been a subject of fascination for zoologists. Evidence suggests that the first animals were pigmy hippopotami and elephants, which swam to Cyprus some 1, 5 million years ago. Apart from certain species of mice and shrew, they remained the only inhabitants of the island until the arrival of man.
The largest wild animal found on the moufflon (Ovis orientalis ophion), a rare type of mountain goat unique to the island.
Each year Cyprus is used as a stopping off point by millions of migrating birds travelling between Europe and Africa, something that has been observed since Homeric times. The island’s two salt lakes at Larnaca and Akrotiti attract the birds.
Other seasonal visitors to the island include the Greek and loggerhead turtles (Chelonia mydas and Caretta Caretta), which travel to the island’s sandy beaches each year in order to lay their eggs.
Cyprus is truly a holiday paradise with something for everyone since you can swim, scuba diving, ski, sightseeing, safari and clubbing, all in one day.
The people of Cyprus owe their individuality and warmth to the fact that they are the product of an amazingly colourful history. This sun drenched island has been at the crossroads of world events for centuries. Roman, Byzantine, Greek and British influences (to name just a few) have all had a bearing on life in Cyprus.
Perhaps that’s why Cypriots have a special knack of making visitors feel at home as soon as they step off the plane or ship. That warm welcome, plus the unhurried pace of daily life, makes Cyprus an instant favourite of anyone who goes there.
The island nation is a fascinating land of contrasts. It has some of the most sophisticated cities in the region, and yet, a short distance away, you can feel as if you have stepped back into a previous century, not just the 19th, but far back to a time when people pursued simpler pleasures. Drop into almost any country tavernas, or join the locals at a town market, and you will feel the atmosphere of a way of life that has remained essentially the same for centuries.
The island has proved irresistible to many famous historical personalities, such as Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Leonard da Vinci and Richard the Lion Heart. When Richard freed his imprisoned bride-to-be, Berengaria of Navarre, in 1191, Cypriots all across the island seized on the opportunity to have a party!
As you can see, a delight in having a good time is at the heart of the Cypriot personality. Observe the fun Cypriots have when they go out – perhaps in large family groups – to eat and drink, and you will see how important a lust for life is on this enchanted island. Get to know the people, and you will probably be invited back to a Cypriot home to enjoy a meal of meze. Then, you’ll truly learn the meaning of the word “hospitality.”
Cyprus is deservedly called the “Island of Love.” Come and find out for yourself!