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Destination of the Week: Cyprus

Posted by Nicole West on 10/06/2015
Destination of the Week: Cyprus

As the birthplace of the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite, Cyprus enchants travellers year after year. Blending a tumultuous past with sweeping valleys, stunning beaches and irresistible local cuisine, the third largest Mediterranean island is a feast for the senses you’ll want to experience again and again.

What to do

The ancient city of Kourion, an archaeological site, is home to a spectacular Roman Theatre, the Temple of Apollo, the House of Achilles and the House of the Gladiators, for a wonderful day of historical exploration. You can also visit the Chirokitia Neolithic Settlement, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site that’s thought to be one of the earliest human settlements in Cyprus.

With great visibility, mild water temperatures and the shipwreck, RS Zenobia, dive enthusiasts are in for a treat off the coast off Cyprus. As for the beaches, you can choose from family-friendly stretches of white sand, like Coral Bay or Fig Tree Bay with water sports and fantastic facilities, or Pissouris Bay for a laid-back vibe among traditional Cypriot culture.

The wine industry in Cyprus is one of the oldest in the world and you can tour wineries until your heart and taste buds are content, before taking a trip into the mountains to explore quaint villages and rolling valleys. As the day winds down, Ayia Napa is the place to be for nightlife, with hundreds of clubs, bars and restaurants to keep even the hardiest of night owls happy.

Where to stay

The most important thing to consider when you’re choosing a place to stay in Cyprus, is whether you want to be in the action, or far away from it. Tourist hotspots include Larnaka, Paphos and the capital, Nicosia, while Karpas is the spot for a secluded escape on pristine beaches.

The Annabel Hotel (£££)

Right on the Mediterranean in Paphos, The Annabel Hotel captivates with free form pools, waterfalls, gardens, four restaurants, bars and live entertainment. If you really want to splash out, you can get a room with a private plunge pool or if you’re with the family, there’s a plethora of activities the kids will love.

Okeanos Beach Hotel (££)

For those wanting to be smack bang in the middle of the action, yet right on a pristine beach, the Okeanos Beach Hotel ticks all the boxes. Located in Ayia Napa, the hotel has balconies with sea views and tennis courts, a pool, gym, sauna and a restaurant serving Cypriot food.

Metropole Hotel (£)

Right in the heart of the Limassol old town, close to the Medieval Castle and a waterpark, the Metropole Hotel is a great budget option with an onsite Retro Bar and rooms equipped with TVs and fridges.

Where to eat

Cypriot food blends Turkish, Greek, Arabic and English influences to create a culinary culture that’s irresistible. You’ll be able to find typical Western food, however, you simply must try mouth-watering mezze, souvlakia and Cypriot deserts wherever you go.

Pyxida Fish Tavern (£££)

With restaurants in both Nicosia and Limassol, you’ll definitely be able to try a Fish Meze, with 19 different plates, at Pyxida Fish Tavern. The seafood specialists also have Saganaki Shrimp and Casserole Octopus to tempt the taste buds.

Ta Perix Taverna (££)

Located in Paphos, Ta Perix Taverna is the place to go for traditional Meze at fantastic prices. The platters are made with seasonal ingredients and you can try stuffed zucchini flowers, wild mushrooms and endless meat dishes with some local wine to wash it down with.

Stou Rousha (£)

Instantly inviting with tables covered in blue check cloths, Stou Rousha, behind the Town Hall in Larnaca, serves succulent grills and traditional dishes in a quaint courtyard. This place is popular, so book in advance if you can.

Image source: (c) istock/thinkstock