Floating on the waters of the European Mediterranean, but pointing longingly towards the shores of Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, Cyprus is an odd mixture. It is a kaleidoscopic blend: its cultural influences are dominated by Western Europe, but its geographic proximity to Asia and Africa gives it more than just a hint of the East. Long coveted by mainland Greece and Turkey, this small island has its own definite and beguiling character.
Whether you know it as the ‘island of sin’ (or ‘fun’) thanks to wild stories from Agia Napa; the country that entered the EU only as a half; or, as the tourist brochures love to point out, ‘the island of Aphrodite’, Cyprus both confirms and confounds the stereotype. Parts of Cyprus have been overrun by keen developers who (depending on who you’re talking to) have either ‘sold the country’s soul’ or ‘are bringing great wealth to the island’. Whatever the truth, in the tourist centres of places like Pafos, Agia Napa or Lemesos (Limasol), you might feel as if you’ve entered a sunny, scorching Essex suburb with lobster-red Brits letting it all hang loose with a lukewarm can of Foster’s in tow. But if curiosity draws you out of the cities, you’ll discover the small villages of the Akamas Peninsula and the heavenly golden beaches of the Karpas (Kırpaşa) Peninsula. Walk the gorgeous Troödos and Kyrenia (Girne) & the Northcoast and inhale the scent of the citrus groves of Morfou (Güzelyurt), or climb to the medieval castles with their shimmering island views. Wander through the sea of wildflowers covering the island in spring, and Cyprus will take your breath away. With good walking shoes, a swimsuit and some sunscreen in your bag, you can have a trip you’ll remember for years.
Cyprus has a subtropical climate – Mediterranean and Semi-arid type (in the north-eastern part of island) – according to Köppen climate classification signes Csa and Bsh, with very mild winters (on the coast) and warm to hot summers. Snow is possible only in the Troodos Mountains in the central part of island. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry.
Cyprus has good roads. It was once a British colony there is still left-hand driving. There is no railroad, but buses go almost everywhere, and there are many taxies. Hired cars have red plates so you can watch out for tourists :-) Rental cars have red plates. Then you are warned that it might be a tourist, who is used to right-hand driving.
The most interesting historical sight are in Paphos and the area west of Limassol (Kourion). In Larnaca there are ruins of the ancient city Kition. In the winter Larnaca's salt lake is home to many birds. The lake dries out during summer and many birds migrate. If you are interested in churches there is ample opportunity to visit Greek orthodox churches in Cyprus. A visit to the split capital Nicosia (Lefkosia) is also interesting. During the winter the salt lake outside Larnaca (near the airport) is home to many birds. The lake dries out in the summertime. It is definitely worth your while to visit some of the villages in the Troodos Mountains. Here you get a good impression of an older and more original Cyprus. The mountains are beautiful (especially in the springtime), and the temperature can be more comfortable. If you don't want to drive yourself you can take a bus or go on an organized tour. It is also possible to make an arrangement with a taxi.