Skip to navigation Skip to content

Birthplace of the Greek goddess of beauty and love, this sun-drenched island is worthy of such an accolade

Year-round warmth and sunshine tempt travellers, while azure seas, white sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and rolling hills complete Cyprus' roll call of dramatic scenery.

Discover the inviting cosmopolitan capital of Lefkosia (Nicosia) which is uniquely comprised of an ancient walled city and a modern fast-paced metropolis or explore the Tombs of the Kings in Paphos and soak up the atmosphere in the island's historic castles, churches and mosques. Cyprus' culture serves up some delicious cuisine, from sweet, sticky baklava to irresistible mezze and kebabs.

No matter where you go on the island the people of Cyprus have a welcoming and friendly nature - prepare to be charmed.

 

See All Holidays to Cyprus

Culture and history

Cyprus was a British colony for many years and most Cypriots understand and speak some English - many Cypriots have family in the UK - and they drive on the left too.

As a society, the Cypriots value family, are respectful to their older relatives, welcome children and are hospitable to visitors. The Greek Orthodox Church plays an important role in society and church attendance is high. When visiting churches or monasteries, modest dress is required - for men, this means long trousers and longer sleeves; women will need to cover legs and shoulders.

Cyprus has a rich and varied history with evidence of human habitation dating back to 10,000 BC. Throughout the late Bronze Age there was a brisk trade in pottery, jewellery and copper between Cyprus, Egypt and the Islands of the Aegean Sea, and it was around this time that Greek settlers first arrived on the island.

Over the centuries Cyprus was ruled by a procession of empires, including the Egyptians, the Persians, the Romans and the Ottomans. In 1878 the British, keen to establish a strategic base in the Middle East, signed an agreement with Turkey (the then rulers).

Despite early expectations that the British rule would substantially change the political, economic and social lives of the Cypriot people and fulfil their desire for a union with Greece, it instead led to a struggle against colonial power in 1955-59.

This resulted in the end of British rule and the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1959 following the Zurich-London agreements.

Things to do

Our holidays to Cyprus take full advantage of some of the island’s top beachside hotels in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos, or you could join one of our tours and explore the island's towns, beaches and countryside, from the red soil villages of Ayia Napa to the lovely Cape Greco and the Baths of Aphrodite.

History buffs can delve into Cyprus' many museums, temples and historical sites; while garden enthusiasts and walkers can discover sweet smelling herbs and colourful Mediterranean flowers on a combined botanical and walking tour in Agros.

Last, but not least, the fleet footed can invite a partner to dance the balmy nights away on a ballroom and Latin American dance holiday.

The island is home to the stunning Mediterranean resorts of Paphos, Larnaca, Limassol (all three boast inviting beaches and seafront promenades), as well as the popular beach and party hotspot of Aiya Napa.

In contrast to the coast there are the mighty Troodos Mountains and Mount Olympus: in their foothills you'll find delightful sleepy villages such as Lefkara, famed for its lace making, and the lovely, lofty Agros nudging heaven at 1,100 meters. Beyond the Troodos Mountains, you'll find the city of Nicosia (Lefkosia) which was, and remains, divided in two following the Turkish invasion of 1974.

Flight time

From London to Cyprus is around 4 hours 15 minutes.

Currency

Euro - The currency is the euro.

Passports and visas

It’s a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport showing your passport number and photograph. Bring this with you on holiday but keep it in a different place from your passport just in case it gets lost or stolen.

Phrases

Here are some basic phrases in Greek to get you started:

Please - Parakalo

Yes - Ne

No - Ochi

Thank you - Efcharisto

Good morning - Kalimera

Good evening - Kalispera

Good night - Kalinikta

Goodbye - Adio

Toilets - Toualeta

How much does it cost? - Poso kani afto?

Timezone

Cyprus is two hours ahead of GMT.

Electricity

Mains voltage in Cyprus is 230 volts AC (50 cycles). Most British appliances can be used without an adaptor as sockets take the standard three-pin.

Language

Greek, Modern,Turkish - The official languages of the island are Greek and Turkish. English is also widely spoken and French, German and Russian are also spoken in tourist areas.

Tipping

As a rule of thumb, service is included in the bill for hotels and restaurants but feel free to leave a 5-10% tip if you’ve had good service, and tip drivers and local guides at your discretion.

Climate

Cyprus has a typically Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

From late May to mid-September rainfall is rare. Spring and autumn have more rain but even then stormy or wet weather tends not to last more than a couple of days.

The main attraction is sunshine – the average is six hours in the winter and up to 12 in midsummer.

Health

Tap water is safe to drink. It’s advisable to carry the name, address and telephone number of your local GP, as if you become unwell, your insurance company may require this information. Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide.

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Cyprus has a population of around 946,000, a little smaller than the population of Northern Ireland.

It is the third largest island in the north-eastern end of the Mediterranean basin, with an area of 9,251 square kilometres (3,572 square miles).

Smoking

Since January 2010, smoking in the workplace, bars, restaurants and nightclubs is illegal.


Places in Cyprus

Limassol

A city blessed with warm sunshine, sandy beaches and wonderful promenades...

Paphos

Rich in archaeological treasures, Paphos lies on the south-west coast of Cyprus


Climate

LOW DEPOSITS OF JUST £99 per person when you book by Apr 30, 2017

Secure your European holiday with a deposit of just £99 per person

Cyprus - an island for everyone

Cyprus - an island for everyone

Read article
An insider's guide to Cyprus

An insider's guide to Cyprus

Read article