Rich in history and natural charms, Cyprus has much to offer the visitor. The following information is intended to give you a feel for the island and its people.
Cyprus is an island of legends, which basks all year round in the warm Mediterranean sun. Its history goes back 10,000 years and it has seen civilizations come and go. Many people including Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, have all staked their claim here. Aphrodite made her home on Cyprus, and travellers throughout antiquity came here just to pay her tribute. Aphrodite's spirit still abounds in Cyprus - it is found in a red poppy or fragrant rose, both sacred to the goddess of love - and the apple of antiquity is just as tempting today.
Cyprus is still a big draw to holidaymakers and foreign residents alike. It offers sun-splashed shorelines with hidden coves and high standard resorts as well as hilltop villages surrounded by lemon and olive trees, and mountain peaks thick with pine trees and golden oak.
Sunshine is a staple of life in Cyprus. There are more than 300 days of sunshine every year. The warm Cyprus sun makes swimming an enjoyable experience all the way through to November. There is a legendary warm welcome to visitors from the Cypriots themselves.
Cyprus beaches are at their hottest and best from May through October. Late autumn is like summer in the rest of Europe and still a great time to be outdoors, whether to take a dip or explore archaeological sites. Though wintertime is cooler, it's still a season of sunlight with plenty of cultural activities to enjoy. Spring is when the seductive powers of Aphrodite reach their peak, pushing clouds aside and transforming the hills and meadows into a verdant tapestry of wildflowers.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean. It is situated at the north east end of the eastern Mediterranean basin. It is 380km north of Egypt, 105km west of Syria and 75km south of Turkey. The Greek mainland is some 800km to the west and the nearest Greek islands are Rhodes and Carpathos 380km to the west. Cyprus is also close to Europe, Asia and Africa and it rightly claims to be a stepping stone to three Continents.
More detailed area information can be found in our sections for: Limassol region of Cyprus - Nicosia region of Cyprus - Larnaca region of Cyprus - Paphos region of Cyprus - Guide to North Cyprus
Cyprus is an island whose rich dramatic history can be traced back over 10,000 years. Cyprus has been so coveted over the centuries that it has been invaded and claimed by a fascinating mixture of civilizations from near and far all of which have left their culture and shaped its character.
The archaeology of Cyprus can be traced from the Neolithic Age through the Ancient Greek and Roman periods to more recent history. It is where churches and monasteries still stand from Byzantine times, castles and palaces from the days of Crusaders and Frankish Lusignans and splendid city walls from Venetian days.
The mythical gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece, who indulged themselves in sport pleasure and tragedy, chose Cyprus. It is where Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, emerged from the Paphos foam to become a famous cult figure - centre of attraction for the first visitors who flocked to the island to worship her.
With such a historic and legendary background it is hardly surprising that Cyprus has developed a character that is quite unique. It is blessed with natural beauty that ranges from golden beaches and rugged coastlines to rolling hills and forest clad mountains, dotted with picturesque villages.
Flights to Cyprus are plentiful and frequent. Most budget airlines fly to either of the airports at Lanarca and Paphos. The airports have modern facilities and taxis are available for travel into the city. Car hire is available at both centres and can be reserved in advance either through travel agents or internet.
In Cyprus health inspectors of the medical and public services of the Ministry of Health and the local authorities monitor the safety of food and drinking water quality. Food and drinking water are of high quality, absolutely safe and no food or water-born diseases occur.
Water is safe to drink in Cyprus, as water pollution is negligible and every home has fresh running drinking water. All the district water boards are in constant collaboration with the government health services and the general laboratory for the prevention of any toxicological and bacteriological infection of water. Tap water in hotels, restaurants, public premises, etc., is safe to drink.
Cyprus is also free from dangerous infectious diseases. There are no vaccination requirements for anyone travelling to Cyprus.
Citizens of the European Union countries as well as Switzerland , Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway may enter Cyprus with their national identify card (passports) provided there is a photo.
Cyprus currency is based on the decimal system and one Cyprus pound (C ) is divided into 100 cent (c). There are banknotes in the following denominations: 50c, CP1, CP5, CP10 and CP20.
Time in Cyprus is 2 hours ahead of GMT in Winter and 3 hours ahead of GMT in Summer.
Cypriot voltage is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Plugs are of the round two-pin continental type, while lamp fittings are of the screw type.
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