PLACES TO VISIT

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Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea with an area of 9251 sq. km. With its sunny climate, beautiful beaches and rich history Cyprus is a prime holiday destination and has extensive tourist facilities to accommodate every taste and budget. Virtually all major European airlines have daily flights to Larnaca or Paphos (the two Cypriot airports). Larnaca is a 45 minute drive from our apartment, Paphos is on the other side of the Island and a considerably longer journey.

Kapparis

Unlike many other areas, Kapparis is an all year round resort meaning that no matter what time of year you come to Kapparis there are always shops, bars and restaurants open. The local bus (from the end of our road) serves the main town of Paralimni, through Kapparis onto the beach resort of Protaras then onto Ayia Napa making it an excellent holiday spot. Many British and other Europeans have made Kapparis their home due to its friendly small village feel with a friendly local community.

The coastline is dotted with some lovely beaches with golden sand including Malama (pic) and Fireman’s beach (pic), both are perfect for families due to the shallow waters. The headland makes for a delightful walk with beautiful views

Protaras

Protaras is situated between Cape Greco and the village of Paralimni and boasts the fabulous Fig Tree Bay, which stretches over 10 miles of sandy Beach. Protaras also offers a good choice of shops, tavernas, nightclubs and bars. Here you can find golden sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and coastal walks, together with all the bustle of a holiday resort location; mainly open in the summer months. Diving and Watersports (pic) are available at a number of local centres.

The European long distance path E4 crosses the island and passes through the area. Head off across country and find the old cave church of Ayia Saranta.

Along the coast, between Protaras and Ayia Napa lies the National Park of Cap Greco (pic). The rugged coastline, large variety of wild flowers, small headland chapel with old sea cave below, the natural rock bridge (pic) and the coastal sea caves (pic) all provide a wonderful area for walking, picnicking and other leisure interests.

Ayia Napa

Ayia Napa, once a small fishing village, has become the perfect base for the fun time holiday that appeals to the young or the young at heart. Its golden beaches and shallow waters offer the perfect way to spend a relaxing day in the sun. At night there's no livelier place in Cyprus. The discos and tavernas really turn on the style and you can party well into the early hours.

During the day, relax at a fish taverna overlooking the harbour, visit the Sculpture Park (pic), follow the Roman water course and Aqueduct (pic), visit the old monastery in the centre of the town (pic) or take one of the many boat trips around the coast (pic). To the west you can find one of the largest Waterparks in Europe, great fun for all the family, adults and children alike.

Along the coast you will find the ancient site of Makronisos with it’s rock carved graves (pic) from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The Tourist Office in Ayia Napa has details of all local interests and sites, as well as running a winter tour program with walking tours using the local vintage bus.

Paralimni

The town of Paralimni has quickly gained a reputation for it’s superb facilities. As the main shopping centre in the area you will find a range of Supermarkets, Boutiques, Shoes, many other shops, Restaurants and Cafes as well as a large children’s indoor play area (pic). Pharmacies and Opticians are plentiful and a new local hospital is also located in Paralimni.

Explore for a few miles inland and you will discover the delightfully scenic "Valley of the Windmills" where what seems like hundreds of rotating fan blades help to pump the water that irrigates the surrounding fields. The large 'salt lake' at the back of the town is home to a wide variety of wildlife and has, on occasion, been home to the pink flamingos more often associated with the Larnaca salt lake.

The month of May blooms with all the excitement and pageantry of the much-celebrated flower festival known as the "Anthestiria", a gala procession of brilliant, flower-decked floats climaxing with a spectacular flower show. The festival of Kataklysmos (Whitsuntide or flood) marks the end of May with the customary songs, dances and playful water games on the beaches of Protaras. For several days in late June music, dance and theatrical performances from around the world thrive at the International Arts Festival as each day offers an exciting new programme. 

Nicosia (Lefkosia)

The 15th century Venetian walls surround the old city of Nicosia. In the narrow alleys of the walled city, with its bazaar like atmosphere, or in the modern quarter shopping precinct with its modern shopping malls, the shopper can find anything from Lefkara lace to silver, gold and diamond jewellery, from traditional craft (pic) to the latest Paris fashion.

Provided you have your passport with you, you can cross into the northern sector of the old city via the pedestrian crossing point at Ledra Street. Here time seems to have stood still once you leave the bustling shopping street and you walk around the smaller streets with their workshops of tailors, shoemakers, upholsterers, leather workers, material and clothes shops.

Southern Nicosia has many first rate restaurants ranging from traditional Greek tavernas serving meze and souvlaki or fish to more cosmopolitan spots serving French, Italian, Lebanese, Indian or Chinese delicacies.

Lefkosia offers a lot in entertainment for both locals and visitors with its many cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, discos, cafes, pubs and hotel lounges. During summer its many open-air swimming pools offer some relief from the heat of the day.

Limassol

In the city's environs there are numerous archaeological sites to visit covering the whole spectrum of the island's history and even pre-history from the Neolithic settlement at Sotera, to Roman Kourion, to Mediaeval Kolossi Castle and Byzantine churches. Then there are the picturesque villages on the mountain slopes, known the world over for their excellent wines, including the famous Commandaria. Higher up the mountains still is the summer resort of Platres and the Monastery of Trooditissa among the pine forests of the Troodos massif.

The city's cultural life is quite hectic with ancient Greek drama, Shakespearian plays and modern works being performed every summer in the open air Greco-Roman theatre of Kourion by local and visiting theatre companies, contributing greatly to the cultural life of the island. The city based theatre companies continue their activity during the winter season in city theatres.

Restaurants and tavernas also abound serving the whole range of local, regional and international dishes. It is famous for the variety of its evening and late night entertainment, its tavernas with Greek bouzouki, modern discos and steamy nightclubs. Two big festivals taking place in the city. First, the Spring Carnival with its traditional Parade and, second, the late summer Wine Festival. 

Larnaca

The modern city of Larnaca is built on the shores of the Bay of Larnaca in the SE of the island, a few kilometres to the north of the ancient kingdom of Kition

The city of Larnaca is well known for its picturesque sea front, which includes rows of palm trees, oifinikoudes, in the local Greek dialect. Much of the activity is centred around the city promenade during the major festivals. The most important of these for the city of Larnaca is Kataklysmos or the Festival of the Flood, celebrated in early summer with a series of cultural events.

Troodos Mountains

The Troodos Mountains take up a large part of the island’s surface and are a loved destination for excursions. In the summer months, while inland the temperatures are high and in the coastal areas, only the sea or a pool can bring refreshment, up in the mountains the temperature is lovely. The forests are empty and the air is filled with the fresh smell of pine. It is also where the national animal, the very timid Cypriot Mouflon lives. The Mouflon is thought to be one of the two ancestors for all modern domestic sheep breeds and has been protected for a number of years in a huge natural reserve in the magnificent Cedar Valley,

The extensive variety of animals, flora and fauna, over 120 native kinds of plants, innumerable birds and insects, especially in the mountain regions of Cyprus, are a paradise for nature lovers. 

There are many churches and monasteries to be seen; nine of the many Byzantine churches are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the exquisite art depicted in their icons, frescoes and architecture. 

The largest and most important monastery is Kykko Monastery, with a golden icon of the Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by Saint Luke. Not far from the monastery on a hilltop, the tomb of President Makarios can be found. 

The highest peak in Cyprus, Mount Olympus, is 1951 metres high. The locals name the Olympus also Chionistra, a name that is based on the snow that falls here in wintertime. There are four ski lifts, which make winter sports possible. Cyprus is one of the only places in the world where, in the winter, you can spend your morning skiing in the mountains and your afternoon lying on the beach in lovely sunshine.

The mountain villages are absolutely charming and the people friendly and hospitable. Each village has a special crop, craft or product for which it is known - fruits such as cherries, apples or peaches, sweet specialities like soujoukko and palouze, wines, zivania, rosewater, pottery, lace... the list is endless. The villages are of immeasurable charm to wander around, simply dallying and observing the unhurried peace of rustic country life. The village of Lefkara is famous for its lace, known as lefkaritika and for silver handicrafts.

Go North !

A valid passport and the required car insurance (purchased at the border) are all that is needed to explore the sights of Northern Cyprus. The border may be crossed just south of Famagusta or to the west of Nicosia.

Famagusta has developed into a modern city to the west of the closed hotel area and the centre of old Famagusta is well worth a visit. A few miles to the north of Famagusta you will find the ancient ruins of Salamis (pic). Excavations show that the history of Salamis (pic) goes back to the 11th Century BC but the principle site is from the roman era. The theatre dates from the time of Augustus and originally consisted of 50 rows of seats and held over 15,000 spectators. Remains of the Roman Villa, Basilica, Gymnasium and Baths enhance your visit to this ancient site.

Across the northern range of mountains you may find the ancient crusader castle remains of Kantara (pic), Buffavento and St Hilarion. Well worth a visit for the fitter amongst you as the climb up into these hilltop castles can be quite steep, but the views from the top are simply stunning.

A visit to Kyrenia (Girne) will take you to the historic harbour and imposing Girne Castle, the largest and best preserved castle in all of Cyprus, with traces of the Byzantine, Lusignan and Venetian periods. The mediteranean's second oldest recovered sunken trading vessel is to be seen in the maritime museum. In the foothills of the mountains overlooking Girne can be found the lovely Bellapais Abbey.