This sun-soaked island over in the east of the Mediterranean has long been a favourite destination for British holidaymakers. It’s where cultures collide and fuse into an exciting and vivacious whole, where secluded bays sheltered by dramatic rock formations give way to endless sandy beaches with their inevitable rows of beach-front bars, restaurants and clubs.A warm welcome awaits every visitor to the island, and singles will feel completely at ease the moment they allow themselves to get wrapped up in its calm, relaxed atmosphere.
But Cyprus isn’t just about sea, sun and sand. One of the best ways to enjoy the island is to pack your walking boots and help yourself to the rolling hills of the exceptionally beautiful inland regions.Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon some ancient ruins or a hidden eatery serving local culinary gems. That’s just the way it is here – every step will reveal a new treasure.
Our favourite city is Kyrenia, about 15 miles to the north of the capital Nicosia and famous for its fabulous harbour and castles that can trace their history back to the Romans. And of course you’ll find cafes, restaurants and tours to occupy the palate and the mind during your stay.
Cyprus enjoys one of the warmest climates and warmest winters in the Mediterranean, experiencing a warm window that typically lasts around 8 months, starting in April through to November.
During the winter months, the temperatures remain mild, rarely dipping below 15 degrees Celsius, most of the rainfall occurs during these months, but even then it rains on only around 1 in 7 or 8 days, and when it does rain, there’s usually celebration as that’s how infrequent it rains. So expect bright sunny skies or cloudy sunny spells, perfect for exploring and taking in the culture and historical sites or excursions, as the country is relatively quiet during this time of the year.
However, don’t let the warming sunshine of the day give you a false sense of security, as the evenings are much colder, with temperatures dropping to below 9 degrees Celsius. If you’re looking for snow capped mountains head to the Troodos Mountains, where you’ll be sure to find an enchanting picturesque winter scene.
The hottest time of year to visit Cyprus is during the summer months of July and August, with coastal temperatures averaging around 25 degrees Celsius due to the cooling sea breeze, whilst inland temperatures can rise to over 35 degree Celsius.
No trip to Cyprus is complete without a visit to Karpaz Peninsula, a place which has escaped modern development and tourism, representing a land of Cypriot times gone by. Here you will find not only stunning views, but also an unspoilt landscape famous for its wild donkeys and marine turtles, which can be spotted laying their eggs at certain ties of the year.
Spend a day underwater in the crystal turquoise waters of Deniz Kizi regarded as one of the best dive sites in the Mediterranean. Teaming with marine life, the sea is warm with visibility often over 30 metres. Down below you’re sure to discover an abundance of underwater life, don’t be surprised to see sting rays, sea turtles and octopus’ not to mention exploring fascinating reefs and numerous ship wreck sites.
A holiday to Cyprus wouldn’t be complete without trying some of the traditional Cypriot dishes and delicacies. The cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern cultures, from hearty meat dishes such as Souvlaki and specialty cheeses such as Halloumi. Tavernas offer Mezes with a variety of dishes available to give you a taste and favour for what Cyprus has to offer.
Cypriot’s are known for their genuine hospitality and sincere friendliness, always greeting people with a warm smile, making visitors feel at home and at ease whenever they arrive in Cyprus, whether you’re a stranger or well-known.
Although many say the culture of Cyprus is similar to that of their Grecian neighbours, it differs somewhat, especially where music and dance are concerned. These traditions are unequally dissimilar, with traditional Cypriot costumes and authentic music played with flutes and violins, so be sure to look out for this on your trip, especially in local villages.
Family remains an extremely important value within the Cyprus culture, with widespread espect for the eldery, famed for huge gatherings of up to 20 members of the family, or more. Frequent get-togethers and celebrations over meal times can often be expected, as food remains at the centre of many customs and traditions.
It is quite common for Cypriots who have only just met strangers to invite them into their homes for a drink or even for a meal, so be sure never to turn down an invitation of hospitality, as food is key in Cyprus.
Although a friendly nation Cypriots can often be reserved, therefore a simple handshake is often the norm, along with a warm smile and eye contact when greeting people for the first time.
At restaurants, it is very normal for there to be a complimentary glass of Ouzo – a traditional spirit - as a sign of gratitude to your host, so be sure to give it a try!
Tipping: In Cyprus tipping isn’t obligatory – however most service staff are paid insufficiently, and have become accustomed to foreign tourists contributing to their livelihood, so a small tip, usually around 5% of the bill will be warmly appreciated, that’s if a discretionary service charge hasn’t already been applied, so its worth checking.
GREETINGS & LANGUAGE
If you’re looking to socialise whilst in Cyprus, it’s handy to have a few simple phrases on hand to converse with the locals.
To say hi, it’s pronounced ‘Ya Sou’.
To say good morning it’s pronounced ‘Kaleemeerah’, whilst good night is Kaleenihkta.
Be sure not to forget your please and thank yous, to say thank you it’s pronounced ‘Efharisto’, and please it’s ‘Parakalo’.