Cyprus Destination Guide
Cyprus is a diverse travel destination, floating leisurely on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Despite its Eastern influences, the Republic of Cyprus has decidedly Western aspirations, having joined the European Union in 2004.
The sometimes detached Cypriot character can be hard to read, but beneath the tough exterior Cyprus is warm, welcoming and rightly proud.
Towns such as Agia Napa offer the best of old and new worlds, boasting booming new developments, flashy resorts and a party atmosphere, while the country's sleepy seaside villages are where traditional character and fascinating culture are best enjoyed on your Cyprus holidays.
Explore countless civilisations
Over the years, the island has been colonised by every possible civilisation in the region, including the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Roman, the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, the French, the Venetians and finally the British until 1960.
These days, friction can still be felt between the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots, the latter of whom have declared an independent state in Northern Cyprus.
Don't worry about picking sides though. Strained political relationships have little impact on tourism with border crossing between the two zones a relatively simple process. It even gives quirky capital Lefkosia the claim to fame of being the only divided capital city in the world.
The major attraction in the Turkish side of Cyprus is the beautiful harbour city of Kyrenia, boasting a historic castle and picturesque mountain backdrop. When here, make sure to travel down the coast to the village of Bellapais to visit Bellapais Abbey ruins, as well as several fantasy-like Gothic castles erected by the French along the Kyrenia Range.
See both sides of Cyprus
In the south, Cyprus tours are likely to direct you to the World Heritage-listed village of Khirokitia, which dates back to Neolithic times. Other stunning ancient heritage sights include the port city of Paphos – the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the 'goddess of love' – with its Roman governor's palace ruins and fine mosaics.
Make sure you also pay a visit to the Painted Churches of the Troodos Mountain region, dating back to the Byzantine era.
Cyprus’ vast cultural heritage can occupy much of your time, so it is recommended to have a rest on one of the island’s stunning beaches every now and again.
Everyone has their own opinion about which is Cyprus' best beach but Pissouri Bay, Coral Bay and Fig Tree Bay are definitely up there on most peoples' list.
Flights to Cyprus depart regularly from Australian capital cities, usually stopping over in Asia and the Middle East on the way to capital Lefkosia.