If the dreary British weather has got the better of you, you might be looking for an affordable European destination that can guarantee you summer sunshine without breaking the bank. When it comes to a year-round good climate, stunning beaches and a plethora of cultural delights, Cyprus really does have it all, and with plenty of strong deals on cheap all-inclusive holidays, Cyprus has to be one of the top contenders for your next winter sun holiday.
What’s so great about Cyprus?
When you visit the unique island of Cyprus, you have many options as to how to spend your time. Of course, many off-season sun-seekers are happy to lie back on a lounger with a good book for the duration of their holiday, pausing only for a dip in the crystal-clear warm waters of the Mediterranean, and Cyprus offers that in spades. But if you long for something more enlightening, more entertaining and less ‘touristy’, there is so much more to discover about this island and its culture:
· Anoyira: If you’re tired of the crowded resorts and over-modernised facilities, head to the traditional Cypriot village of Anoyira. Nestled in the rural vineyard countryside between Paphos and Limassol, Anoyira was once the heart of the carob trade in the region, and boasts a great little museum which explains this important heritage. There is also the Oleastro Olive Park where you can discover and taste olive oil products to your heart’s content.
· The Shacolas Observatory: In the old city of Nicosia on the 11th floor of a department store, hides the Shacolas Observatory and Museum where you can learn about the history of the island and enjoy a 360 degree bird’s eye view all over the city. Nicosia remains the only divided capital in the world, and a trip to this fascinating museum will explain why.
· Kykkos Monastery: The richest monastery in Cyprus, this striking building dates from 1100, and contains a priceless icon of the Virgin Mary, said to have been painted by the apostle Luke himself. There are many other incredible Byzantine icons in the museum at the monastery, too.
· Avakas Gorge: To the northwest of Paphos, the Akamas peninsula is well worth a visit not only for the wonderful hiking trails to be found around the area, but also for the stunning Avakas Gorge. The gorge is so deep and long the sunlight rarely penetrates to the bottom, meaning a hidden world of plants and animals rarely found elsewhere on the island thrives there.
Good enough for the A-List
Cyprus has been a favourite with tourists for many years, and among its visitors are many well-known names that you might not have expected to see in such a modest European destination. Stars of the big screen who have holidayed in Cyprus include Leonardo DiCaprio and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. Diana Ross and Elton John have been known to take trips there and award-winning actor John Malkovich has recently been spotted in Cyprus preparing for his latest play.
The eternal sun, fascinating history and warm hospitality of Cyprus make it a prime destination for anyone, celebrity or not. Choose to do nothing or everything while there but, whatever you opt for, make your next sun-soaked destination the colourful Cypriot paradise.