If you are planning a visit to Cyprus, then it is important to get some basic information and facts about the island before getting there.
Cyprus as an island, is a beautiful tourist destination that has something for everyone. It is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean stretching 150 miles (240 km) from the west coast to its easternmost tip and 60 mlles (96 km) from north to south and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, attracting over 2.4 million tourists per year.
The people of Cyprus are traditionally warm and welcoming and consider a visit to their island as a compliment. Their naitive tongue is Greek, but English is readily spoken in all the shops, restaurants and hotels – in fact just about everywhere. In a world of ever increasing violence, Cyprus has a remarkably low crime rate, and from just one visit to the Island the visitor can understand why. The pace is leisurely, the people kind and helpful, always ready with a smile. The Cypriots are hard workers too, resilient people who have withstood and accommodated the succession of invaders throughout their long hlstory.
Towns and villages
There are six major towns Nicosia, the capital situated inland in the middle of the Mesaoria plain, and the 5 coastal towns of Limassol, Larnaka, Pafos, Kyrenia and Famagusta. The later two, in the north and east respectively, have been under Turkish occupation since 1974 . The towns of Cyprus present a modern cosmopolitan atmosphere blended with historic buildings and ancient monuments. Imposing colonial and classic style buildings rub shoulders with well designed contemporary hotels, apartment blocks and attractive shopping streets, some narrow and quaint, others thoroughly modern. By contrast, life in the villages follows a slower pace, reflecting the importance of agriculture, cottage industry and family ties. Traditional flatroofed village houses made of mudbrick are a common sight, while stone-built dwellings with tiled roofs can be seen in the mountains.
Food and wine
A Cyprus Meze is certainly one of the most famous Cypriot delicacies. Or to put it another way: Mezedes are a great number of different Cypriot delicacies. Meze can include up to 20-30 dishes! Cyprus wine has been produced for thousands of years and since the time of the Crusades it has also been exported to Europe. ‘Commandaria’ has enjoyed a reputation as a fine dessert wine since the 12th century. Today wine is one of the most important exports of Cyprus.
Things to do
Explore the Troodos mountains : There are many different villages and areas for you to explore within the Mountains and each has its own unique character.
Visit the Kykko monastery : The Kykko Monastery is the richest and the most famous monastery in Cyprus. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it was founded in 1100. It is the only monastery that still has one of the three remaining icons which was ascribed to St Luke. It is a very religious place and there are religious fairs held in Kykko in August and September.
Hiking and Cycling : If you are an outdoor lover whether walker, cyclist, or just a plain lover of nature, then head for the far west of the island, where even the coastline remains unspoilt by modern development. Near the town of Polis on the north west of the island immerse yourself in the pine forest nearby or explore the beauty of the wild and rugged Akamas peninsula. Here you can indulge in the thrill of mountain biking or hike the many trails on the peninsula.