It is general consensus that the healthy climate and natural beauties of Cyprus, as well as its archaeological wealth and the traditional hospitality of its people make the island an ideal holiday destination. Since the independence in 1960, tourism development has been accorded a very high degree of priority by the Cyprus Government.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Other neighbouring territories include Syria and Lebanon to the east, Israel to the southeast, Egypt to the south, and Greece to the northwest. The physical relief of the island is dominated by two mountain ranges, the Troodos Mountains and the smaller Kyrenia Range , and the central plain they encompass, the Mesaoria . The Mesaoria plain is drained by the Pedieos River , the longest on the island. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western portions of the island and account for roughly half its area. The highest point on Cyprus is Mount Olympus at 1,952 m (6,404 ft), located in the centre of the Troodos range. At Troodos Mountains, wild moufflons roam and cedars grow, and gem-like churches and monasteries are replete with unmatched Byzantine frescoes and icons. Ten of the finest examples are designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies substantially less area, and elevations are lower, reaching a maximum of 1,024 m (3,360 ft).
Cyprus is a haven for archaeology lovers. From Neolithic settlements more than 10,000 years old, to spectacular Greco-Roman ruins, such as the ancient seaside amphitheater of Kourion, to Crusader fortresses such as Kolossi, the list of treasures is boundless. By no means will you want to miss Pafos, a wellspring of antiquities in the west, including the mysterious Tombs of the Kings…and Roman mosaics that are so colourful, extensive and well-preserved, they are recognized by UNESCO.
Although Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, it is surprisingly compact and easy to explore. In between rugged mountain peaks and the shimmering coast you’ll traverse untrammelled landscapes and rolling hills with vineyards that still produce the world’s oldest named dessert wine, sweet Commandaria. Linger in idyllic villages such as Omodos and Lefkara where the rhythm slows down and there’s always time for another coffee. All across Cyprus, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a distinctive cuisine composed of meze, small plates of everything from flame-grilled, delicately spiced meats to
fresh vegetables and amazing cheeses, such as the famous halloumi (the savory sheep’s cheese that grills).
With its rich past as anchor, Cyprus is also a thriving modern nation with a service economy second to none in the whole region, and the Cypriot people, worldly and warm, are only too happy to share it with you. Which means among other things, an attractive range of accommodations, luxurious hotels with both local flavour and the highest international standards, quality tourist villas, agrotourism options and more.
Cyprus’ location, coveted by empires since ancient times, is still ideal today for visiting nearby countries, such as Greece, Israel and Egypt. But with so much history to see and culture to enjoy and cuisine to savor – and with Aphrodite as your guide – you will have more reasons to stay and explore Cyprus than you might think.
Limassol is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and is the second largest urban area in Cyprus, with an urban population. Limassol has been ranked by TripAdvisor as the 3rd up-and-coming destination in the world, in its Top 10 Traveler’s Choice Destinations on the Rise.
Limassol was built between two ancient cities, Amathus and Kourion, and during Byzantine rule it was known as Neapolis (new town). Limassol’s historical centre is located around its medieval Limassol Castle and the Old Port. Today the city spreads along the Mediterranean coast and has extended much farther than the castle and port, with its suburbs stretching along the coast to Amathus.
Limassol’s elegant old quarter focuses on a small covered produce market, surrounded by tavernas and bars, and an equally diminutive medieval castle sheltering a superb medieval museum, surrounded by a former carob-pod mill refitted as eating, drinking and exhibition venues by the Lanitis Foundation.
Wander round the narrow streets of the old town radiating out from the fishing harbour. The medieval castle was the site of the royal wedding in the Middle Ages between Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria of Navarre, and now houses the Cyprus Medieval Museum. Browse through the array of goods and produce in the atmospheric Market.
The town’s inhabitants are renowned for their love of fun so not surprisingly the nightlife is varied, with all sorts of tavernas, discos and clubs. Enjoy a summer concert under the stars in the Greco-Roman theatre of Kourion, or join in the Bacchian excesses at the Wine Festival in September, or have fun at the Carnival with its fancy dress chariot parade and parties.
A short drive out into the surrounding countryside will take you through vineyards and quaint wine producing villages. The castle of Kolossi is where the sweet dessert wine “Commandaria”, the world’s oldest named wine, was produced by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who had their headquarters here in the Middle Ages.
Cyprus Tourism Organization