Turquoise coastlines, mouthwatering cuisine, warm locals and a seemingly endless supply of sunshine. These are but four of the many reasons you should go to Cyprus, the others lie within its verdant, wholly picturesque landscapes. If you were ever in any doubt, here’s why you should make visiting this Mediterranean gem a number one priority.
Eating out plays a big role in Cypriot culture, whether that’s from the terrace of your villa or from one of the island’s many tavernas. Typical meals include moussaka (a tantalising blend of aubergines, sliced potatoes, a creamy sauce and lamb), sheftalia (homemade pork and lamb sausages cooked over a live fire) and barmies (okra stewed in tomatoes, parsley and onions). There’s one ingredient you’ll find cropping up time and time again in many Cypriot dishes, though, and that’s halloumi – indulge in this squeaky cheese as much as possible before you head home.
A holiday to Cyprus wouldn’t be complete without witnessing some of the local animals in their natural habitat. The country is renowned as a sanctuary for wild sea turtles. As an endangered species, these lovable sea creatures have their very own Cypriot sanctuary. The Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station is a popular spot for turtle watchers, sheltered from the influx of tourists on nearby hotels and beaches. Quite often this particular beach is littered with cages to protect turtle nests from predators, such as birds and foxes.
Who doesn’t love kicking back on a beach and letting the warm sea breeze wash all over them? Cyprus and beaches go hand in hand and many of which are found near Coral Bay in the Peyia municipality. It’s just north of Paphos, a city renowned for vibrant history and rich marina. If you’re here, you can do no wrong by heading to the Potima Bay. Upon arrival, you’ll be instantly tempted to swim amongst the pale blue waves and, after a while, fall gratefully back into the comfort of a sunlounger for the remainder of your day.
Cyprus’ UNESCO-listed sites of cultural protection draw in thousands of culture-vultures each year. Head to the Tombs of the Kings, ancient burial grounds for a number of the country’s forefathers. Inland, you’ll find the Kykkos Monastery, an affluent place of worship located around 20 kilometres west of Pedoulas. The design of some of these buildings harks back to Cyprus’ deeply religious roots. Most of the country are from the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, while a small minority of Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslim.
Cypriot people are known for being friendly. The idea of the family plays a strong role in society here, with many families convening on a regular basis to catch up over meze and cold drinks. Don’t be too surprised if one day you’re asked to join them! Traditionally, Cypriots take a great deal of pride in their ability to host. If you’re lucky enough to be sat down at a table with some natives, be prepared to be spoilt with copious amounts of food and drink!
With that all in mind, are you ready to find your own slice of Cypriot paradise?