Aaah, the magnificent Cyprus! Though it is not probably the first pick when it comes to travel destinations (due to its distance from other European countries and the fact that it is an island so you really cannot just “hop” there anytime you want), once you actually get there, you will probably ask yourself why you haven’t visited Cyprus much earlier. Beautiful beaches, wild parties, delicious cuisine are just a small part of exciting stuff which Cyprus offers. We have chosen top 10 reasons why you should add this magical Mediterranean island to your to-visit list, so let’s check them out!
1) Clean beaches and clear sea water
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and its beaches are absolutely amazing. Crystal clear sea along with tidy and neat beaches will make you feel like you are in a paradise on Earth. And when you add the fact that the most of the year is sunny, you’ll get the recipe for an unforgettable experience. The most popular beaches are those in Ayia Napa, but the one that is the most interesting is the beach in Paphos with the famous “Aphrodite’s Rock”. The legend says that the birth of the Greek goddess happen exactly on this beach, more precisely, that she rose from the sea which surrounds the rock.
2) Cultural diversity
As you may know, Cyprus’s population mostly consists of Greeks (78%) and around 18% of the population make Turks. Very particular is the case of Nicosia which is the only divided capital in the world. The southern part of Nicosia is Greek and the northern part is mostly inhabited by Turkish Cypriots. On top of that, Turks have proclaimed an independent state named Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is only recognized by Turkey. So in some way you could say you actually visited two countries, not just one!
3) Tasty traditional dishes
Since Cyprus is a country of ethnic Turks and Greeks (for the most part), it is obvious that the majority of Cypriot cuisine will consist of Turkish and Greek dishes. Their favourite starter dish is mezedeswhich consists of several different smaller dishes (up to 20 of them!), mostly meat and fish dishes with vegetables. Try spicy spicy Loukaniko sausages and various dips like Tahini (sesame dip) or Skordalia (garlic and potato dip). Their local soft cheese is called halloumi and locals like to eat it grilled. As for the desserts, Cypriots love eating pudding pies, such as galaktoboureko or mahalepi, corn pudding malahapi covered in rose syrup. Besides delicious dishes, don’t forget to try their sweet dessert wine called Commandaria which goes great with hard cheeses. Hard liquor like ouzo, anise brandy and filfar are definitely worth of tasting.
4) “Ain’t no party like a Cyprus party”
Cyprus is very popular destination among young people because during summer the nightlife in Cyprus is on fire! Ayia Napa is the unofficial “party capital” with more than 10 nightclubs and numerous bars where you can get drinks starting from 2€ and a lot of them have “happy hours” for tourists. Although some of the nightclubs are open entire year, the best parties are held from June to August. Every day there are open air stages and worldwide famous DJs who will entertain you until the sunrise! Also, did you know that the main square in Ayia Napa becomes open air party during summer, called Circus Square? How cool is that!
5) Travel to the past with historical monuments
The history of Cyprus is more than 10 000 years old and many monuments witness the cultural change over the past centuries. Since we have already mentioned that Cyprus is culturally very diverse, it is logical to expect a rich historical background. The best “trip” to past can be found in Cyprus Museum in the capital, Nicosia. The museum has an enviable collection of artefacts dating back to Neolithic and Byzantine age. Besides ancient Greek ruins like Amathus and Korion in Limassol and old Turkish mosques, there are even traces of old Venetian culture such as the Venetian walls in Nicosia which are considered to be the best example of ideal Renaissance city.
6) One of the safest countries in Europe
Cyprus is known to be among the safest countries in Europe due to its low crime rate. According to Eurostat statistics, Cyprus has the lowest number of recorded crimes, which include robberies and violent crimes. This is very useful information because who would want to visit a country which could be potentially dangerous for tourists? And given the fact that these days pickpocketers are just waiting for tourist season to “earn” some money, it is a big relief to hear that Cyprus doesn’t really have to deal with this kind of issues.
7) Good road connection between the cities
Since Cyprus is an island, one would not expect a very good road network, however, here we have quite the opposite situation. For example, you can get from Nicosia to Limassol in just one hour via state motorway. And what’s best, all of the bigger cities on the island can be reached within 2 hours or less. This is excellent news for those who like to explore on their own, because in this case it is a lot easier and more economic to rent a car and to do the round trip by yourself.
8) Perfect Mediterranean climate for 365 days
Climate in Cyprus is one of the most stable and warmest climates in Europe and the average annual temperature is 24 °C. This means that Cyprus has warm winters with very small amount of rainy days and summers are mostly dry and hot. Also, it should be noted that Cyprus has an average of 3000 sunny hours per year. For example, compared to Glasgow in Scotland which has a little over 1200 sunny hours annually, Cyprus comes very close to a perfect climate. When we look at all the given data we come to a conclusion that there is actually no bad season to visit Cyprus. Whether you wish to go there in summer or in winter, you can expect good weather and there is no fear of having to spend your vacation under umbrella.
9) Skiing in Cyprus? Yes, it’s possible!
No, this is not a joke – skiing on the slopes of Mount Olympus is quite popular among the locals during winter season. Although there are only 4 pistes, each of them is for different types of skiers, from beginners to advanced skiers. Also, each piste has its own ski lift so there’s no fear of getting stuck in queues. The ski centre is also budget friendly (compared to bigger European ski resorts) – daily ski pass is only €18. The Mount Olympus is actually the highest peak of Troodos mountain range where daily temperatures rarely go under 4 °C.
10) A tree that makes wishes come true? There’s one in Paphos!
Not many people know that there is an actual wishing tree in Cyprus. The tree is located in Paphos, in front of Christian catacombs of Ayia Solomon. The tradition is to tie a piece of handkerchief on the tree and make a wish so it can come true. Though the tree doesn’t look very pleasing with all the handkerchiefs hanging, the story behind the tree is attractive to the tourists who come here to seek fortune.